Indian Education Advisory Committee works toward goals

Members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s committee that oversees funds for Native students brainstormed ways to reach more students with services and how to continue working toward its goals Wednesday.

The district’s Title VI Indian Education Advisory Committee members decide how to spend the roughly $500,000 in federal dollars the district gets to target services to its Native student population. This demographic has a high school graduation rate of 67 percent, according to the 2014 Native Youth Report filed through the Executive Office of the President.

The committee currently focuses Title VI funds mainly on providing Native students with tutors, sending middle schoolers to the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, or ANSEP, and working with partner Project GRAD to identify and support Kenai Peninsula Native Youth Leaders at district schools. Identifying Native students helps determine how much funding the district gets for these services.

There is no way to predict for sure how much money the district will get for Title VI per student, said Native Education Program Coordinator Conrad Woodhead, who is also principal of Chapman School. The federal funds are based on formulas that are subject to fluctuations based on national numbers and other factors, he said.

“There’s a lot of variables at the federal level,” Woodhead said.

The district currently has 1,206 Native students identified, Woodhead said at Wednesday’s committee meeting. That number could change throughout the year before the district submits a final number to the federal government, he said.

“It’s a moving target,” Woodhead said at the meeting. “It’s always kind of growing and our goal is to continue to expand it. We’re still up about 80 to 90 kids from last year.”

Woodhead said the district gets a new identification form to approve about once a week.

Committee members Michael Bernard, Yaghanen Youth Program Coordinator for the Kenaitze Tribe, and Krystalynn Scott, a math teacher at Skyview Middle School, were voted the committee chair and vice chair, respectively. With Bernard’s appointment, Woodhead will step down from facilitating the committee meetings from this point on, he said.

Other ongoing work discussed Wednesday was the application for a Native Youth Project grant that would place four additional tutors in four district schools that aren’t covered by Title VI funds that provide tutors. The schools identified to have the most need are Seward Middle School, Kenai Middle School, Ninilchik School and Homer Middle School, Woodhead said at the meeting. The grant will be due in May 2017.

Committee members also addressed the ongoing idea to create the district’s own ANSEP-like program in the future. While the institute has been valuable and the middle school students who attend seem to get a lot out of it, Woodhead and others said they would like to be able to offer the hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, education to more Native students than currently get to attend ANSEP. The school district used to pay for students to go to the institute, but since that responsibility was shifted over to the Title VI funds, Woodhead said those involved have started thinking about a way to offer the opportunity to more students for the same amount of money.

A recurring hurdle to developing a similar program in the school district is location and travel, Woodhead said at the meeting. Appropriate venues, like the schools themselves, are often not available until the summer, when it’s harder to get kids involved.

Scott emphasized the importance of forming a subcommittee specifically to explore ANSEP-related options.

The committee also heard from two of its partners, Project Grad, which oversees the Kenai Peninsula Native Youth Leaders, and the Seldovia Village Tribe. Several at the meeting said that, in addition to the tutors, school principals and secretaries, the Kenai Peninsula Native Youth Leaders program has been very helpful in terms of helping the district identify its Native students.

The partners who are out interacting with Native students, and non-Native students in the case of Project Grad, report that the district’s numbers of identified Native students seems low to them, Woodhead said. This keys the district in to the fact that there are still students to find.

“They can ask the question a little more at the ground level, at the kid level,” Woodhead said.

The committee’s meetings are open to the public, and members will next meet at 3 p.m. on Feb. 1, 2017 in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Chambers in Soldotna.


Megan Pacer can be reached at

More in News

David Brighton (left) and Leslie Byrd (right) prepare to lead marchers from the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex to Soldotna Creek Park as part of Soldotna Pride in the Park on Saturday, June 3, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna celebrates LGBTQ+ pride

The event featured food trucks, vendors and a lineup of performers that included comedy, drag and music

Judges Peter Micciche, Terry Eubank and Tyler Best sample a salmon dish prepared by chef Stephen Lamm of the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank at Return of the Reds on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at the Kenai City Dock in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai celebrates ‘Return of the Reds’ in food bank fundraiser

Chefs competed for best salmon recipe; fresh-caught fish auctioned

A freshly stocked rainbow trout swims in Johnson Lake during Salmon Celebration on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, at Johnson Lake in Kasilof, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Excellent lake fishing, good halibut and slow salmon

Northern Kenai Fishing Report for June 1

Map via Kenai Peninsula Borough.
Assembly to consider emergency service area for Cooper Landing

Borough legislation creating the service area is subject to voter approval

Peter Micciche (center) listens to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly certify the results of the Feb. 14, 2023, special mayoral election, through which he was elected mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Thousands respond to borough services survey

Many of the survey questions focused on the quality of borough roads

Two new cars purchased by the Soldotna Senior Center to support its Meals on Wheels program are parked outside of the center in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, March 30, 2022.(Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion file)
Soldotna budget defunds area senior center

The unanimous vote came after multiple people expressed concerns about how the center operates

An Epidemiology Bulletin titled “Drowning Deaths in Alaska, 2016-2021” published Wednesday, May 31, 2023. (Screenshot)
Health officials say Alaska leads nation in drowning deaths, urge safe practices

A majority of non-occupational Alaska drownings occur in relation to boating, both for recreation and for subsistence

Chief J.J. Hendrickson plays with Torch the cat at the Kenai Animal Shelter on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna, Kenai to extend animal control partnership

So far this year, the Kenai shelter has served roughly 190 animals

Transportation professionals tour the Sterling Highway and Birch Avenue intersection in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, May 22, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna brainstorming pop-up pedestrian safety project

The temporary project aims to boost pedestrian safety near Soldotna Creek Park

Most Read