Alaska gets $2.9M grant from ‘Investing in Innovation’ fund

The Association of Alaska School Boards has been selected to receive a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s “Investing in Innovation” fund.

The grant, announced earlier this month, will go to six Alaskan school districts to support “culturally responsive social and emotional learning” programs.

In the Bering Straits School District, that means providing professional development to staff about how to help students deal with traumas.

“Many people have childhood traumas, and it affects learning,” Carl White, special assistant to the Superintendent for the Bering Straits School District, said. “It could be violence, but it definitely could be broader. You know, suicide is a huge thing…just so that we can look at some preventative factors, so we can create some strengths for our communities.

White says the district plans to bring cultural experts into villages to train educators.

An AASB newsletter says the other districts to receive funding will be Nome, Lower Kuskokwim, and Kuspuk School Districts in Western Alaska, and Sitka and another unspecified school in Southeast

The three-year, nearly $3 million grant to the statewide school board organization is pending confirmation of a 15-percent private sector match.