About Us: Overview
Alaska has 54 school districts, many of which are located in rural parts of the state. Most districts face high rates of teacher turnover and a general shortage of Alaska Native teachers. The Alaska Teacher Turnover, Supply, and Demand: 2013 Highlights report found that while Alaska Natives make up 22% of the student enrollment in K-12 public schools statewide, Alaska Native teachers represent only 5% of the teaching force.
Future Educators of Alaska (FEA) is a statewide collaborative effort to inspire Alaska Native K-12 students to become teachers and administrators. It is administered within the UA Statewide Academic Affairs Office of K-12 Outreach, in partnership with Alaska Teacher Placement and the Alaska Native Education Association.
The FEA program is patterned after the National Future Educators Association operated by Phi Delta Kappa International. With over 1,000 chapters across the world, their mission is to provide students with the opportunities to explore careers in education. FEA is unique in that it has culture-based FEA club activities from the five major cultural regions of Alaska.
FEA was developed in 2003 as a result of five rural educator forums co-hosted by the Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) program at the University of Alaska. The common theme that emerged from forum discussions was the need to grow our own teachers. As a follow-up to these forums, ATP, in partnership with the Alaska Federation of Natives and three rural school districts, applied for and received funds from the US Department of Education to establish the statewide program (formerly Future Teachers of Alaska). Under the three-year grant, over 20 clubs were established in the Bering Strait School District, Lower Kuskokwim School District and Nome Public Schools.
A second three-year grant was awarded in 2006 through a partnership with the Alaska Native Education Association. As a result, the program expanded to four additional school districts (Lower Yukon, Northwest Arctic Borough, Lake and Peninsula, and Yukon Flats) and numerous affiliates.
In 2009, FEA was awarded U.S. Department of Education funding for another three years (2009-2012) to:
- Expand FEA to all the cultural regions across the state of Alaska.
- Build statewide sustainability by supporting students along the pathway towards higher education.
- Plan and implement a college preparation and career exploration process that can be used at all University of Alaska campuses.
- Integrate FEA into the State Workforce Development System.
IIn 2012, the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development awarded FEA a Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education grant to further support FEA program efforts to build career pathways for students interested in education careers. Through this grant, and with additional support from the University of Alaska Technical Vocational Education Program, FEA gained recognition as Alaska’s seventh Career and Technical Student Organization.
Program Partners Include:
- Alaska Native Education Association
- Interior-Aleutians Campus: Bridging the Gap
- UAS Preparing Indigenous Teachers & Administrators for Alaska's Schools
- Rural Alaska Honors Institute
"FEA is necessary for improving the career outlook and opportunities for students in rural Alaska."
— Jennifer Romer, Teacher
FEA WEB OF CONNECTIONS:
FEA operates based on a "web of connections" that begins with the FEA students at its core. Students are guided by a local FEA Advisor (most often a teacher or school counselor). FEA Advisors are networked with a FEA Coordinator (typically a school district employee) who serves as a point of contact for all Advisors in their school district as well as the statewide FEA staff. The connections continue at the statewide level with partners that include the Alaska Native Education Association, PITAAS and ANESA, the FEA Planning Group and FEA Advisory Committee, as well as the many communities that support and nurture FEA students.