Native student achievement gap closing

Posted: Sunday, August 09, 2009

The latest educational numbers may indicate progress among Alaska Native students in Juneau. Ten of the 12 schools in the Juneau School District met academic benchmarking requirements among the Alaska Native population in the 2008-2009 school year.

"We feel very positive about that," said Assistant Superintendent Laury Scandling. "That is a continuing trend."

Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School and Riverbend Elementary School were the two schools where the Native cohorts didn't perform well enough to make the Adequate Yearly Progress benchmarks.

In the previous two school years, eight of 10 district schools' Native student populations cleared the AYP thresholds. The new schools were Thunder Mountain High School, which opened last fall, and Yaakoosge Daakahidi Alternative High School, which was newly accredited last year as its own school separate from Juneau-Douglas High School.

The trend statewide is positive for Native students, said Eric Fry, spokesman for the state Department of Education and Early Development. Eighty-four schools statewide failed to meet requirements among the Alaska Native population during the 2007-2008 school year. That number fell to 79 last school year.

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