Friday, December 9, 2011

Barrow Elementary School

We also toured Fred Ipalook Elementary School on the weekend.  It is also named for an Inupiat man like the middle school is.

The weather in Barrow was about 10 degrees and, of course, there was snow on the ground. This photo was taken in the afternoon at about 3 p.m.

There is a statue of Fred Ipalook in the elementary school named for him.

The elementary school has 2 indoor playgrounds. This is in the upper elementary wing.

For Thanksgiving the students had made turkeys and listed the things they were thankful for. Maktak is whale blubber and fish quaq is the meat of a fish.

Tuttu meat is caribou. Maktak is whale blubber. Aapa and Aaka are Grandma and Grandpa.

Fish eyeballs are an Inupiat delicacy. Aapa and Aaka are Grandma and Grandpa. Maktak is whale blubber, and quaq is whale meat.

The lower elementary has its own playground in another area of the building.

Preschool playground equipment...

An elementary classroom...

I looked at the names of the children on the buses on the bulletin board to see if Inupiat children's names were different from those in the lower 48 states—they weren't.

Inupiat culture is evident throughout the school in bulletin boards... murals...

...and in banners on the walls. I loved the multicultural faces of the children!

Barrow Middle School

We toured Eben Hopson Middle School. Steve used to teach at the middle school before he became director of curriculum and distance learning.

This was in the afternoon—hey, the sun was going down about 2 p.m.
 Eben Hopson was an Inupiat Eskimo who fought for local control of the schools.
 The buildings are about 30 years old and have very modern amenities.
 Steve Culbertson points out the Inupiat word "ilisagvik" which means "place of learning."

 The 6th graders were reading Gary Paulsen's Dogsong.
 Every classroom has a sink.
 Notice the cart with laptop computers.
 LCD projectors are built in every classroom.

 This is the learning model being used, based on Inupiat culture.
 U.S. and Alaska flags...

 Carrels in the computer lab...
 Student computer projects are posted on the walls.
 We visited on the middle school on a weekend. Some teachers were laying out a quilt they were making for a co-worker from Minnesota (note the Vikings logo) who played guitar, interspersed with animal paws to represent Alaska.
 The middle school library...
 Steve's old culture classroom where they were learning to make thing with leather/fur and learning Inupiat stitching techniques.

 This poster shows how to sew the leather.
 A poster that names the parts of a sled.
 A poster that Steve had made with Inupiat grammar.
 The middle school gym...
Steve visits with a teacher who was using the weight room on the weekend.
 An industrial tech classroom...
The middle school band room...

What we learned was that schools are schools all over the country. However, in Barrow the population is about 65% Inupiat. The district tries to preserve the Inupiat culture by teaching it in schools.

Barrow High School

One of the reasons I wanted to travel to Barrow before Steve Culbertson retired was that I wanted to visit the North Slope Borough School District. It really allowed me as a retired teacher to learn about education "on the slope" and among the Inupiat Eskimos.
Barrow High School placed second in their division in the Alaska State High School Football Championship this fall. The season is in August and September, and someone is at each of the corners of the field with a rifle to watch for polar bears! They play on blue artificial turf.
 What a beautiful mural in the hallway of Barrow High School.
 M.J. allowed me to sit in on her sophomore English classes. In Barrow about 65% of the students are Inupiat. Others are Filipino, Hispanic, African American, and Caucasian.
 They were doing Daily Oral Language just like I did in my classroom! Every classroom is outfitted with wireless Internet and an LCD projector. Students are assigned laptops, but they are kept at school after someone wanted to test the Kevlar covers and shot one.

 M.J. showed a photo of her son who is a cowboy working on a Colorado ranch.
 The students were studying poetry with the Poetry Out Loud website as a source in addition to their literature textbooks.

Being able to visit the high school really was a "plus" for me. While I was in the English classroom, Carl was in the social studies classes presenting his Vietnam slides. Students didn't have any idea what the draft was, and the high school principal told them that it was like signing up for Selective Service today. It was comical that when she said that if you don't sign up, you cannot get your Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends (money from Alaskan oil) nor their Native Corporation Dividends. One boy wanted to know if he could sign up right then!