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2023 Alaska

PR Award #: H323A230006
Name: Alaska Department of Education and Early Development
Title: Growing Reading Excellence through Alaskan Teachers (GREAT Alaska)
City, State: Juneau, AK
Project Director: Colleen Shivers
Project Director Email:


The GREAT Alaska project will increase the number of special education teachers that are local to rural districts and less likely to leave the district and increase all teachers’ capacity to better provide reading intervention and instruction to Native Alaska students with disabilities. In order to build the local special education teacher workforce, Alaska will empower Alaska Native and American Indian paraprofessionals to assume additional professional responsibilities and progress toward teacher certification through enrollment in an IHE. The project includes professional development activities aligned with Alaska’s Reading Strategic Plan and the State’s approved ESSA Plan. 


A State Implementation Team with agency and community partners will oversee the project, which will engage three cohorts of Local Implementation Teams (district, teacher coach, paraprofessionals, and parents) throughout the project, coaching up to 36 paraprofessionals to make progress toward teacher certification. Participating paraprofessionals will be assigned an instructional coach in their district to provide ongoing support and to increase the likelihood that they will implement evidence-base practices with fidelity. Experienced Native Alaskan and American Indian teachers will be selected and trained as coaches, receive coaching, and participate in an ongoing professional learning community.