UAA graduates some of the school’s last teachers

504 students were enrolled in School of Education, 363 of them are affected by accreditation loss

School of Education graduate Jennifer Hoeldt walks across the stage at the University of Alaska Anchorage spring commencement ceremony, on Sunday, May 5, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

School of Education graduate Jennifer Hoeldt walks across the stage at the University of Alaska Anchorage spring commencement ceremony, on Sunday, May 5, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Many of Alaska’s newest educators walked across the stage at the state’s largest university to graduate last weekend. Many of them were also the last to come out of the University of Alaska Anchorage’s School of Education initial licensure programs.

Kelsey Hernandez graduated on Sunday with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and an associate of applied science degree in early childhood development. After this semester, the program she graduated in will no longer exist in the University of Alaska system.

“They have completely cut it,” Hernandez said. “It’s not being picked up by UAF or UAS. It feels like we don’t count, like we don’t matter. It’s even sadder because the growing population of children who need services is increasing and there aren’t enough educators to fill the void. I don’t know how we’re going to do it now as a state if we don’t prioritize education and fund the programs that actually provide.

Hernandez said the first thing she’s going to do after she graduates is take a nap and then find work somewhere in the state.

Jennifer Hoeldt also graduated on Sunday with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and an associate of applied science degree in early childhood development. She said she’s excited she and her classmates made it through the program.

“But also sad we’re not going to have it in Anchorage anymore,” she said.

She said she hopes to find a job within the Anchorage School District.

In January, the University of Alaska Anchorage’s School of Education was notified its accreditation was revoked, a letter from the Accreditation Council for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation said. Out of five required standards, the school only met one, according to the accreditation report. The accreditation letter and report instructed the university on how to meet standards, and apply for an appeal. At the recommendation of the University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen, the Board of Regents voted April 9 to discontinue initial licensure within the School of Education.

“Though this decision may disappoint some of you, I hope you will come to realize that it is the only option to provide you with a clear path to licensure,” Johnsen said in a letter to School of Education students. “I also hope you will stay the course, graduate, remain in Alaska to teach our children and contribute your unique talents to Alaska’s future.

Affected programs include:

Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education

Post‐Baccalaureate, Elementary Education

Master of Arts in Teaching, Secondary Education

Bachelor of Arts, Early Childhood Education

Post‐Baccalaureate, Early Childhood Education

Graduate Certificate, Special Education (initial licensure)

M.Ed, Early Childhood Special Education (initial licensure)

The University of Alaska Fairbanks and Southeast are both working with UAA to offer the ability for Anchorage students to become licensed educators. While UAF and UAS both have many of the same licensure programs, neither campuses have early childhood special education and special education initial licensure programs. Those programs would be entirely discontinued from the University of Alaska.

In January, there were 504 students enrolled in the School of Education, with 363 of the students being affected by the accreditation loss. The university said 34 students from affected programs were expected to graduate this spring and summer.

More in News

Tim Navarre argues against Ballot Measure 2 during the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce Joint Luncheon at the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center on Oct. 28; 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Navarre brothers debate Ballot Measure 2

The ballot measure would implement open primaries and ranked-choice voting in Alaska.

Ron Gillham
Election 2020: State House District 30 candidate Ron Gillham

Gillham discusses the state budget, PFD and COVID-19

Image via Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Remote learning extended for 35 schools

Central, southern, eastern peninsula and Susan B. English schools continue to operate remotely.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy addresses the public during a virtual town hall on Sept. 15, 2020 in Alaska. (Photo courtesy Austin McDaniel, Office of the Governor)
State stocks up on supplies to fight coronavirus

Governor says decision on whether emergency declaration will expire has not been made

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Statewide ICU bed capacity enters ‘red’ zone; one borough death reported

DHSS announced 353 new cases of COVID-19 in Alaska on Wednesday.

Crews work along the Sterling Highway over the Kenai River on Monday in Soldotna. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
State repairing Soldotna bridge damaged by quake

The damages were caused by the November 2018 earthquake.

Linoleum prints made by Seward Middle and High School students are seen on display at Fine Thyme Cafe in Soldotna, Alaska on Oct. 23, 2020. Anyone who brings in a receipt showing they donated $10 or more to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward gets to take home a print of their choice. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Sea life on display

Seward students make linoleum prints to raise money for SeaLife Center

COVID-19. (Courtesy of CDC).
COVID-19 update: Borough positivity rate hits 11.13%

381 new cases were reported in 38 communities.

Most Read