Partnerships and Grants
AASB works with partners and member school districts to improve outcomes for students through grants, funding collaborations, and other agreements.
Why Do Partnerships Matter?
AASB believes we are most effective when communities, families, schools, and statewide organizations work together to align program delivery and funding and develop innovative ways to improve outcomes for students. This takes commitment, good facilitation and dialogue, and strategic action.
Partnerships: AASB partners with a range of organizations including school districts, tribal organizations, regional native non-profits, community-based non-profits, state organizations, and others. AASB focuses on consensus building, goal setting, and using data to drive collective impact.
Funding: Through federal, state, and philanthropic funding, AASB works with school districts and communities to create better conditions for learning for all Alaskan students. AASB is committed to:
- Extending the reach and impact of federal, state and philanthropic resources to serve Alaskan students and families.
- Using resources to serve the needs and priorities of the AASB Board of Directors and school districts. AASB Long Range Plan
- Providing services that support partners and members to effectively manage grants and grant-related resources.
- Ensuring that grant funds help school districts and partners to improve conditions for learning and student outcomes.
- Using resources to improve cross-district collaboration and community/school partnerships.
A 2011 report shows the impacts of AASB community engagement program grants on students including reduced risk behaviors, increased attendance, and increased academic achievement compared to districts not participating in AASB’s community engagement programs.
How Can AASB Help with Partnerships and Grants?
AASB can directly support or link districts to services that include:
- Facilitating or participating in building partnerships.
- Grant writing for multi-district or single district partnerships.
- Training, facilitation, coaching, evaluation or project management for district or partner-awarded grants.
- Grant design and planning consultation.
- Cross-district professional learning communities for trauma engaged
schools, family partnership, place-based learning, or other areas.
Grant Partnerships: AASB has directly written grants, passed funding on, or provided design guidance for more than $40 million in grants, including competitive i3, Promise Neighborhoods and others. These grants largely focus on community engagement, family partnerships, trauma informed schools, or other conditions for learning.
Lead Applicant: AASB has been awarded extremely competitive grants such as the i3/EIR, “Culturally Responsive Embedded Social and Emotional Learning” and the Promise Neighborhoods grant “Supporting Transitions and Educational Promise in
Southeast Alaska” (STEPS AK). These grants provide funds and technical assistance to 10 school districts.
Partner Contracted: AASB has supported project management for the State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development and the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. These funds were allocated to other community and
school district partners. AASB worked closely with early childhood stakeholders in 2019 and 2020 to shepherd the development of the early childhood needs assessment and strategic plan for Alaska.
Member Contracted: AASB has been contracted by school districts with Alaska Native Education Program Grants, Indian Education Demonstration Grants, School Improvement Grants to provide training, facilitation, coaching, engagement, and evaluation support.
What Do Partnership and Grant Services Look Like in Practice?
“Supporting Transitions and Educational Promise in Southeast Alaska” (STEPS AK) is a five-year, $21 million grant from the US Department of Education awarded to AASB. AASB has served as the fiscal agent and collective impact backbone for the partnership, which includes five school districts, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA), six non-profits, and the University of Alaska Southeast. STEPS AK brings together community members, families, organizations and schools to align and strengthen early childhood supports, K-12 strategies, post-secondary preparation, and prevention and engagement activities in six school districts.
One focus has been on young children transitioning from community and tribal early childhood programs into school. Sitka has used an integrated approach to the Wooch’een Head Start/preschool jointly run by the Sitka School District and CCTHITA which has become a model for creating continuity for students and families as they begin their educational journey.
Sitka also considered how to build relationships with families as they entered elementary school and created an early start bus mobile program that began building relationships with families before school even started.
“While much of the early childhood, K-12, and post-secondary programs are carried out by school districts, tribal organizations, and non-profit partners, AASB has developed learning communities and opportunities for sharing across the region. The staff support family partnership training, cultural and language immersion programs, and trauma informed school/SEL learning communities. School district staff report these peer resource learning groups are an asset to their work.” – Sitka Family Coordinator
While much of the early childhood, K-12, and post-secondary programs are carried out by school districts, tribal organizations, and non-profit partners, AASB has developed learning communities and opportunities for sharing across the region. The staff support family partnership training, cultural and language immersion programs, and trauma informed school/SEL learning communities. School district staff report these peer resource learning groups are an asset to their work.
“Our gathering was resourceful and enriching. I loved hearing about the strategies that other early learning programs use to keep their children meaningfully engaged and traditionally grounded. I absorbed many ideas that I’d like to implement at Hydaburg’s program. That meeting was a critical affirmation that we are all in the same canoe.” – K’uyáang Ben Young, Language Immersion Teacher, Hydaburg School District
Considering Equity: Some schools and communities are better positioned to apply for and manage funding that aligns with their priorities and some school districts dedicate funds to specific activities that may benefit one group of students. How funding is dedicated and awarded in district budget decisions, grant applications, or other funding and partnership mechanisms, can be an equity issue in determining outcomes for students. AASB can help level the playing field and ensure that funds are dedicated to shift disproportionate outcomes based on income, race, community capacity, or other determinants.
How Do We Get Started?
If you are interested in working with AASB to leverage and align funding or programmatic goals please reach out to Lori Grassgreen.
All grants must be aligned with the AASB Board of Directors’ priorities, which include:
- Family partnership
- Using data and equitable outcomes for students
- Increasing access to innovative early childhood learning
- Trauma informed schools/social and emotional learning
- Youth engagement
- Cultural responsiveness, cultural integration, and cultural safety
- Project-based, STEAM, and place-based learning
- Policy development to support AASB membership priorities
- Developing digital books or learning materials in Alaskan languages
- AASB partnership STEPS AK (Promise Neighborhood) resources
- US Department of Education grants
- US Administration for Children and Families
- US Department of Justice
- US Department of Health and Social Services
- STEPS Alaska Update newsletter