Baby Steps to Alaska

This is the new version of the Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) forum for teachers, education majors, and school administrators to discuss working and living in the state of Alaska. Those considering an Alaskan job, or considering a new Alaskan education job ask questions, and those with information and/or opinions provide answers. Although many users are teacher or principal candidates from the Lower 48, a large number of current and former school district HR and school administrators subscribe.

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Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Planetwalker » Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:26 am

My student teaching is almost over! Just two more weeks. What a pitty. I sure do love those kiddos and will miss them dearly.

Here's what I h̶a̶t̶e̶ ( i don't really hate much in life) my Wisconsin collage told me that I would not be receiving my state license until 4-6 weeks after the last day of my student teaching. I can't even substitute. I've been filling out a few applications, but until I get that license in hand I'm nowhere.

Most of the applications I have been working on are up there in Alaska! As the time passes, I am giving more details to the over-all applitrack form, such as a new letter of recommendation from the principal, or a new cover letter. But without my license, I feel like my applications are incomplete. Should I just stop applying for jobs until I get the state issued license? I'm sure the people looking at my application are laughing as they press the delete button on my profile.

Waiting for the state to issue a license is like waiting for the kettle to boil water that's too hot to drink anyway.

~planet~
Last edited by Planetwalker on Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
Changes come from the Power of Many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible. The Power of One. - Bryce Courtenay
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby esbynum » Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:39 am

I know how you feel. I was told it would take 16 weeks after my program in Florida to finally get my certification. They said after 8 weeks I could apply to have my fingerprints done and then it would be another 8 to get my certification in hand. They were just being safe though. It only took 4 weeks for the state to process the paperwork. I then called to have a fingerprint card sent to me and when on the phone they said it would only be 7-10, but up to 30, days to process that. So all in all it won't be near as long as my program told me. Hopefully, you will find the same true.

Are you not able to sub without certification? I live in Texas and sub where I did my student teaching. You just don't make as much money, although it's only $2 less a day.
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Planetwalker » Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:56 am

heh heh, uh no. Up here in Minneapple land you need to be licensed to sub for a licensed teacher.

I feel like I'm wasting time, but mostly ruining my credibility by applying to jobs too early. I can't help myself. I really want to teaaach 8-)
Changes come from the Power of Many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible. The Power of One. - Bryce Courtenay
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby esbynum » Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:59 am

The good news is you will have your certification in hand in plenty of time for the next school year. I would just keep pressing on and I'm sure things will work out, especially if you really want it that bad. Good luck.

Are you attending any of the job fairs coming up in March/April?
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Planetwalker » Tue Dec 30, 2014 12:06 pm

Yes, you are right! Good news indeed.

I attended an ATP fair here in Minneapolis last year. It was very interesting. I may attend this year, I am looking to work either here in St.Paul, Washington State, or the my true calling...Alaskahhhh.
Changes come from the Power of Many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible. The Power of One. - Bryce Courtenay
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby cyclone67 » Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:27 pm

Keep working on your applications! You will be fine. Make sure you go over the EED website during this time to make sure you will have everything you need for your packet. When you get closer and positions open you'll be ready to go.
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Planetwalker » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:23 am

yes, thanx for the encouragement ;)
Changes come from the Power of Many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible. The Power of One. - Bryce Courtenay
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Planetwalker » Sat Jan 17, 2015 5:02 pm

I see new jobs posted for next fall. :P
Changes come from the Power of Many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible. The Power of One. - Bryce Courtenay
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Planetwalker » Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:37 pm

Hey again,
I've been doing a lot of research on different school districts again. Last year I did a lot of looking to the south.
This year I am looking throughout the entire state, and it is HUGE! :shock:
I'm looking for a district with some kind of topography.
Plus, over the last three days, I also was thinking about being on the Iditarod trail somewhere due to my interest in participating somehow, someday.
Does anyone have any input on IASD? McGrath perhaps? I understand that I may not have many choices, just curious of first choice district picking.
Changes come from the Power of Many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible. The Power of One. - Bryce Courtenay
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Johncn » Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:17 am

Hello,

As far as applying for jobs while student teaching, or while in the final stages of a completing your paperwork for certification, don't fret. Districts will treat you as a certified teacher for application purposes. You have to be a believable candidate...one that seems to have completed a program, and is simply putting the finishing touches on the documentation, or process in your home state, or Juneau. If they didn't take end-of-program students seriously, they would be seriously impaired in recruiting. However, you WILL have to have certificate in hand - Alaska Certificate - in order to teach kids when school starts.

The Iditarod Trail runs through several rural districts, and starts in the road system district of Mat Su. Some maps show the race starting in Anchorage, but that is the Ceremonial Start on a Saturday (lots of fun, but not a race), and the dogs and sleds are driven to Mat Su for the "Restart" on the next morning. That is the actual beginning of the race. This is further complicated by the fact that the race alternates between the Northern Route (even years) and the Southern Route (odd years). They are slightly different in the middle segment.

Here is the comparison of the routes, but it has "checkpoints", not villages. Not all checkpoints are located in a village, and only villages have schools:

Image

The rural districts include Iditarod Area School District (IASD), Yukon-Koyukon School District (YKSD), and the Bering Strait School District (BSSD). Some of villages on the race route in IASD vary from year-to-year, from three schools in odd years, six schools in even years. There is a single town district in Galena (GCSD) that gets the race in even years. YKSD also gets the race in one village every year (Kaltag), and two others on even years. BSSD has six schools in Iditarod checkpoint villages every year, so technically has the most. IASD ties them in odd years when the Southern Route is run. The race ends every year in Nome, which is a single town school district.

EED has a very cool tool for researching school districts that allows you to learn what schools are in what village, and what villages are in what district. In addition, you can get some idea of what the school is like by looking at the number of students, and whether or not they have a full time principal, a principal/teacher or a "head teacher".

Alaska EED School Rolodex
http://education.alaska.gov/DOE_Rolodex/SchoolCalendar/Home/Districts

Image

Image

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Hope this helps,

John
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Planetwalker » Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:01 pm

Are you kidding?! That helps A LOT! Cheers to you John 8-)
Changes come from the Power of Many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible. The Power of One. - Bryce Courtenay
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Planetwalker » Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:32 pm

HEY PEEPS! I just got my yellow card in the mail!
Changes come from the Power of Many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible. The Power of One. - Bryce Courtenay
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby marymatt718 » Tue Jun 02, 2015 5:06 pm

Hello Planetwalker!

Congratulations on your yellow card. What grade level are you teaching? We are an awesome school in the SWRSD in the pleasant village of TOGIAK (please see my "shameless plug" posting PLEASE LOOK AT TOGIAK) and we are short a kindergarten or 1st grade teacher and a Guidance Counselor. If one of those is the type of position you're looking for, please check out my posting and give us some consideration.

We are not the "drama queens" of Alaska.... you know, "Ooooooooh, Barrow," or "Oooooooooh, Kodiak", or "Kenai is so cool!" <gag> No, we're more like, "Togiak, where the heck is that...never heard of it!" See, we're the best kept secret in Alaska, just a nice normal place in the Bristol Bay area, beautiful tundra surrounded by gorgeous mountains, and an awesome school with awesome (somewhat) kids (hey! they're kids!) and an awesome, supportive group of teachers. (I am shamelessly biased, but whatever!) If you want a decent salary (nobody can compete with North Slope salaries, but at least WE get sunrises and sunsets ALL YEAR!) and want an easy transition to Alaska living, we are your BEST choice....jus' sayin'.... :D
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Planetwalker » Wed Jun 03, 2015 6:13 am

cool, thanks ;)
Changes come from the Power of Many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible. The Power of One. - Bryce Courtenay
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Planetwalker » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:40 am

LOTS of interviews now. Too many to keep up with the kind of research that I did for Nulato. Schools down in the Twin Cities are opening up as well. This is a very busy month for me. I would like to have 3 solid choices. 1 bush-North, 1 bush midddle, and one Minneapolis choice. I have my latter choices set, i believe, just looking to get an interview with another North Slope spot.

This has been an eye-opening experience. Thanks to Betty, John, Bushteacher and many others for much needed insight on this journey
Changes come from the Power of Many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible. The Power of One. - Bryce Courtenay
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Bushteachers » Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:10 am

Planetwalker wrote:LOTS of interviews now. Too many to keep up with the kind of research that I did for Nulato. Schools down in the Twin Cities are opening up as well. This is a very busy month for me. I would like to have 3 solid choices. 1 bush-North, 1 bush midddle, and one Minneapolis choice. I have my latter choices set, i believe, just looking to get an interview with another North Slope spot.

This has been an eye-opening experience. Thanks to Betty, John, Bushteacher and many others for much needed insight on this journey

Awesome. Be patient. Choose wisely. And if you need anything don't hesitate to ask.
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Planetwalker » Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:07 am

Can you believe this thread? I started it 6 months ago! With the help from all you experts here, I found the job that feels right for me. Right on the Iditarod trail like I wanted! :D Nulato is in transition, and this coming school year will be the perfect time to get started at ground zero with a whole new staff. Well almost....I believe there is one person staying this year. The challenges will be intense for me as a first year noob teacher, but I feel that the new principle is on target and focused. Plus, I have every confidence in the teacher mentor program, as many of you have already mentored me as well during this great hunt.

I have a few new questions, that I am sure are already posted somewhere here. YKSD does not help out with moving expenses. Being a collage grad, and having a low income job at the moment, I find that thi king about logistics to be wearysome. I haven't said yes yet (but will do so by noon tomorrow), because I am on a Rollercoaster of "what if's" at the moment. My family says that I can always go next year, but my gut says this is the spot and time and situation for me now. Ive been waiting for almost 2 years already.

So now, what are some ideas to cut costs?
What happens if I say yes, but then can't find money for plane tickets?
If I spend all of my moola on travel, how do I live (ie. Food) during august, before my first paycheck?

I got my letter of intent last tuesday, and they wanted an answer by friday. Lol I held them off until tomorrow. But now is crunch time. I have a few ideas to find funds, but nothing is guarenteed, and I don't want to mess this up.

Cheers for your time and answers in advance. See you on the trail.
Changes come from the Power of Many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible. The Power of One. - Bryce Courtenay
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Johncn » Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:55 pm

Hi,

Districts paying for moving expenses is rare. However, many will either make the arrangements for you, and pay the costs for your airplane tickets if that is a barrier to you getting to the job site. They then will deduct the cost out of your first several checks. I would contact your district HR director and ask if that is possible in your case. I'd be surprised if they were not able to assist in some way.

Congrats on your position, and don't let them hang for too long at this time of year. ;-)

You will also not need a ton of food to start with, as you can order incrementally online as your finances improve with your initial couple of checks. Just worry about a starter amount (couple weeks of food) at first. Don't forget that no matter whether you are "home" where you are now, or in Alaska, you are still going to have food expenses during the same time period. Life isn't free anywhere....lol. Just keep that in mind.

Regards,

John
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby esbynum » Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:21 pm

I am in similar shoes so to speak. One thing that will help me tremendously is the district I am going to will help with an advance on the first paycheck in August. Perhaps your school will do the same. Mine also will reimburse the cost of a round trip flight from Anchorage to the village once a contract. I don't know how that works but that might help too. Not sure how quick it gets reimbursed but something you might want to ask.
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Re: Baby Steps to Alaska

Postby Planetwalker » Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:32 am

Yes, YKSD participates in such helpful activities. However, I am hesitant to indulge. I am working on several avenues down here for funding. Holding a garage sale soon as well. Everything goes! HAHA.

a Few new questions that I am sending to YKSD for this week:

Can you give me a list of crucial items that I will need to have with me as far as housing? (such as kitchen stuff, bedding, etc)

I am still very interested in arriving early (Aug.1st) Will this be ok to happen?

How does housing work? If I arrive on August 1st. Is there some kind of deal that I can work out for the month of August? If not, who do I pay, and how do we get into our cabin/housing?

Also, Is it ok to get to Nulato a week early? My old man (the Scotsman), my cat (Inspector), and I want to get a good start on this new experience.
Changes come from the Power of Many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible. The Power of One. - Bryce Courtenay
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