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Lower Kuskokwim School District
Department of Academic Programs and Support
P.O. Box 305
Bethel, Alaska 99559




Our primary goal is to help teachers and site administrators provide the best educational program possible for LKSD students in both Yup'ik and English. In order to meet this challenge, our responsibilities include all curriculum development and implementation, all state and district assessment, Yup'ik language and culture programs, staff development, and instructional support through grants, training and on-site services.

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta is home to over 15,000 Yupiit (Eskimos). The indigenous Yup'ik language is spoken in at least 18 communities in Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD). The majority of young children entering school in these villages speak Yup'ik. Cup'ig is spoken by elders in the village of Mekoryuk. In LKSD, Yup'ik/Cup'ig language and culture are critical components of the district's curriculum and instructional program for two significant reasons:

1. First language instruction and support in core curricular areas allow students to develop and "keep up" academically while learning English, a research based and United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) approved approach to English Language Development.

2. The Yup'ik language is valued as an important world language. The LKSD program supports students in meeting this state content standard, and supports communities in maintaining and strengthening their Native language for future generations.


Standards-Based Education (SBE) in LKSD

Background: Our district curriculum has been “standards-based” since the State of Alaska issued “content standards” in the early 1990’s. In subsequent legislation mandating Standards Based Assessments and graduation (HSGQE) assessments, it became clear that our curriculum needed to address the more specific “performance standards” providing the basic State Standards Based Assessments.

In a collaborative effort involving many hours of consultation with teachers and administrators, the LKSD rewrote the “core” academic curricula (reading, writing and math) and expanded to encompass our students’ entire academic program.

Under this standards-based continuing progress system, students are required to demonstrate basic proficiencies in one “phase” before being allowed to progress to the next one. Through SBE and the continuous-progress model all students have an opportunity to learn at their instructional level, moving at a pace appropriate to their needs. Other practices unique to this include the following:

  * Students are promoted on “proficiency,” not on “seat time.”
  * Students may be at different places on the curriculum “continuum.”
  * Students work in smaller instructional groups.



* Proficiency is defined as a performance level of at least 80%; level 4 on a 6 point scoring guide.
* A phase is a level of knowledge and skills; a “stage” in the overall learning continuum.
* Each core content area has a continuum that represents the continuous progression of skills leading toward eventual high school graduation.
* Formative assessments are given regularly by the classroom teacher to measure progress within a phase. These tests are usually created by the teacher.
* Instructional Indicators refer to the standards and Alaska Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) teachers use to guide instruction at each phase.
* Summative assessments are the district standardized tools used to measure a student’s proficiency and readiness to move to the next phase
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Every Child Is VISIBLE
* Every child is thought about and considered in terms of assessment and learning plans.
* Every child is instructed at a level s/he can demonstrate growth and proficiency and feel a sense of accomplishment.
* Every child has a Student Assessment Performance Record Sheet or individual profile sheet for each phase at both the school and district level.
* Every child is considered as we evaluate curricula, order materials, develop lesson plans, assess and group students.
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