Checking it out!

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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Checking it out!

Postby jessica.jasek » Sat Aug 08, 2015 6:24 am

So much wonderful info here!!! Thanks to everyone who contributes! Our short story is: I teach elementary school (general and special ed) in a small rural Wisconsin school. I am married and we have three young children. My family and I would like to make the leap and experience Alaska; hopefully beginning next summer. We are in the beginning stages of researching districts. There are basically only two things we are certain of at this point: We do not want to be in a city, and I would like to teach. Is there an area where we may be able to drive to in the summer (even if we are stuck there all winter?) So far it appears as tho Valdez may be an option? Does anyone have any adivice about where to start looking. We have so many other questions about housing, licensure, transportation, etc. But I think we may need to narrow down some districts first! Thanks everyone!
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Re: Checking it out!

Postby marymatt718 » Sat Aug 08, 2015 1:41 pm

Hello Jessica!
Just my two cents:
Look also at housing when you are considering where to go, and ask specifically about the village a district might be considering you for. For example, my district has 3 bedroom apartments and townhouses in some villages, so they are listed in the Negotiated Agreement. My village, however only has two-bedroom apartments. You may be thinking only about an on-the-road location so you can drive to it, but also look at places that can be accessed by the ferry, places like the Aleutians, Kodiak, and Hydaburg. A friend of mine went to Sand Point this year. It isn't on the road, but you can get there on the ferry, so you can take your car over. There is teacher housing, but it's reserved only for teachers with families. All the other teachers have to find a place to rent. He absolutely LOVES it there. He is on an island with no big predators (no bears and no wolves) so he and his wife, with their dog, can hike all over together without worrying about being attacked by either of these predators. On the other side of the coin, don't completely rule out large on-the-road districts like Anchorage School District because you don't want to live in the city. Anchorage has some schools in outlying communities such as Chugiak, that are smaller, more rural communities that just might be what you are looking for

When I was coming to Alaska, I made a list of my must-haves and I looked for the best possible fit for me. Don't just look at the drama locations, look at them all. Check out the rate of teacher turnover, which is on the ATP website under the researching districts tab. Check out the weather where you might consider going; do a keyword search on this and the old archived forum for things other teachers have said about other places; start saving NOW because the move can be expensive. You can take moving expenses as a tax deduction, but that doesn't help much while you're having to come up with the cash to buy groceries, plane tickets, and other supplies.

It's good that you're getting started now.
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Re: Checking it out!

Postby Bushteachers » Fri Aug 14, 2015 12:14 am

jessica.jasek wrote:So much wonderful info here!!! Thanks to everyone who contributes! Our short story is: I teach elementary school (general and special ed) in a small rural Wisconsin school. I am married and we have three young children. My family and I would like to make the leap and experience Alaska; hopefully beginning next summer. We are in the beginning stages of researching districts. There are basically only two things we are certain of at this point: We do not want to be in a city, and I would like to teach. Is there an area where we may be able to drive to in the summer (even if we are stuck there all winter?) So far it appears as tho Valdez may be an option? Does anyone have any adivice about where to start looking. We have so many other questions about housing, licensure, transportation, etc. But I think we may need to narrow down some districts first! Thanks everyone!



MaryMatt gave some good advise once again, so I really have nothing to add. I would say that some districts offer relocation stipends. Usually it is about the cost of a ticket. Not much but better than nothing.

With elementary and SPED you won't have a problem getting a job as long as you are a good teacher. How old are your kids? That is something that could make you more marketable. School age kids bring in money. Does the spouse work? If not, that opens up more doors, but some places (Valdez for example) are quite expensive and make one income living hard.

What does it cost to move with a small family? Well...I just made the move within the state of Alaska. Two small kids and the wife. We spent 10k to move 400 miles....

Now that included barging a vehicle and deposits on the new house we are renting. But moves are not cheap. Living on the road would lessen the initial grocery bill, but make sure you start saving now.

Also, I do not think any of the road districts offer teacher housing (Valdez doesn't).
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Re: Checking it out!

Postby jessica.jasek » Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:17 pm

Thanks again everyone for you advice. I didn't realize that typically "road" schools don't offer teacher housing...something to think about. Currently my husband is a deputy at the local sheriffs department doing dispatch and a jail. We have no plans set in stone, but we were hoping he wouldn't have to work at least for a while OR be able to do something more physically active or outside. My kids are 5, 7, and 9. We are currently living in WI and were planning on a roadtrip to AK; this obviously depends on where I could get a contract. I am currently teaching earlychildhood special ed as well as 4 year old kindergarten. I have taught in split classrooms as well as team teached.

I also have a question about licensure. I currently hold a WI license; I see that you have to take two Alaskan Culture classes at some point. Do you guys have any advice about when I should take these classes? Since we aren't going to move until the Spring, I could take the classes over the Winter and have them out of the way...I think? OR do I have to wait? Thanks again guys this forum is great!
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Re: Checking it out!

Postby cyclone67 » Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:45 pm

I would wait and not worry about those classes yet. You have 2 years from the time you get you initial AK license to finish them. A lot of the districts may pay for them and there are also some fun ways to knock these classes out. I got credit for the culture class by doing a culture camp and my district paid for it! I took the other class online during the summer after my first year. Didn't take long at all, just a few weeks. BTW, there are still ECE positions open for this year.
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Re: Checking it out!

Postby jessica.jasek » Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:49 am

Wow! Thanks for the reply I will definitly be waiting!!! Thanks for the tip on EC!
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Re: Checking it out!

Postby cyclone67 » Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:35 am

BSSD has a ECE position at Golovin. If it is still open that is a great village, great Principal, and very low turnover of staff. That is also a village I would feel comfortable recommending to someone with kids. Check it out!
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Re: Checking it out!

Postby Planetwalker » Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:01 am

Info on the credits: After attending inservice and a culture camp i am already 1 credit away from the 6 that I need to complete. I had not even thought about those credits,...they just happened upon my lap. So worry about the credits later ... at first.

Also, I did almost 2 years of research on Alaska, with interviews and digging. I met someone the other day who jumped into a job in one week, and is ready to leave after her first week! lol.... I would say, since this is last minute, you should pick a spot that looks promising, and do as much digging as you can before you get there, so that you are not surprised by what you see and experience. Half the battle is simply knowing what you are getting yourself into. The rest is being FLUID with what you experience AS you experience it.
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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