Southeast Alaska Small Schools Math Network

The Southeast Alaska Small Schools Math Network is a professional development program aimed at increasing student math knowledge in rural Southeast communities.

A coalition of small districts lead by the Craig School District have partnered with the University of Alaska Southeast Mathematics Department & School of Education and the STEM AK program of the Juneau Economic Development Council to help educators implement new math standards and provide advanced instruction for the highest quality math education for students.

Courses are available for K-5, K-8, middle and high school teachers including a week long Outdoor Math Institute offered every summer.

Educators interested in advancing their teaching strategies are encouraged to apply for the certification program. 

This program is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Math & Science Partnership administered through the Alaska Department of Education Early Development.

Program Summary

The Southeast Alaska Small Schools Math Network provides a professional development program that aims to improve student achievement by increasing mathematical content knowledge while practicing the pedagogical skills essential for teaching that content. The Craig City School District heads a coalition of three small Southeast Alaskan school districts (Craig, Southeast Island, and Hydaburg) who will work with the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Mathematics Department and the School of Education , and the Juneau Economic Development Council's STEM AK program to assure that teachers throughout SE AK are ready to implement the new math standards and provide the highest quality math education to our students. The intent is to establish a network of schools that can support each other in novel ways that pool resources and accentuate the quality of instruction in rural schools.

The University of Alaska Southeast has a well-established graduate certificate math program containing a sequence of six 3 credit courses that will result in an institutional recommendation to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (AKDEED) for a K-5 Mathematics Endorsement, or seven 3 credit courses for the-Middle School Mathematics Endorsement. The program provides the opportunity for teachers to gain a deeper understanding of the math they teach and instructional strategies for reaching students at their differing knowledge levels. All courses are offered online which allows teachers to learn from their home communities. In addition to using technology for UAS program delivery, courses provide exposure to and model the use of emerging technology and digital learning in the K-8 classroom. The emphasis is on implementable non-traditional hands-on methods and approaches providing both rigor and engagement. Topics addressed by the program include:

  • problem solving
  • numeration and operations
  • algebra and functions
  • geometry and measurement
  • data analysis
  • statistics and probability
  • calculus and trigonometry
  • using technology
  • STEM pedagogy

Middle school teachers will have the opportunity to participate in an online problem-based course integrating the content, tools and methodology of real world math and science professionals (including engineers) to research and design a solution to an actual Alaskan problem. Through coursework, the teachers will learn how to provide the class structure so that students can collaborate across districts using digital learning tools to investigate the problem and pose solutions.

A small group of early innovator teacher leaders at the high school level will have the opportunity to brainstorm ways to increase engagement and incorporate the new Alaska State standards across Southeast Alaska. Through activities such as mentoring, conferences, and camp challenges we hope to build lasting professional relationships to support the continuum of rigorous math content delivery students in the Southeast.

Each summer, a week long Outdoor Math Camp will be held in Southeast Alaska featuring math used by professionals who manage the forest and ocean habitats. Program participants will be invited, as well as high school mentor teachers.

A classroom mentor will visit each of the participating districts to support and model the Math that teachers are learning through their coursework. The mentor will be available to support challenge-based projects. Mentors will be experts in applying resources (such as the use of probe-ware) in applying new math content in support of the Alaska math standards. Release time will be provided for participants and school partners to share and collaborate to extend math knowledge and pedagogy, further fostering a sustainable professional development community.

All aspects of this are intended to provide an atmosphere of inquiry, nurture collaboration, enhance critical thinking and exploration, integrate emerging technology, and incorporate authentic uses of mathematics from real life. As a result of these experiences, teachers will:

  • Think mathematically and extend their mathematical knowledge,
  • Acquire tools and habits of mind to engage students in interesting and rigorous standards-based mathematical problem solving,
  • Personalize and develop a deeper understanding of the Alaska State Standards for Mathematical Practice,
  • Develop an understanding of how to implement the Alaska State Standards for Mathematical Content,
  • Create a cadre of teacher leaders who are highly qualified to teach math and ready to provide the support their coworkers will need to implement the new standards,
  • Increase students' interest and achievement in mathematics, and
  • Be encouraged and invited to attend and present at the Alaska Math and Science conference in Anchorage on October 18-20, 2013. Check conference details here.


Visit the University of Alaska Southeast Graduate Certificate Mathematics Education program website.

Apply for the Program

The Southeast Alaska Small Schools Math Network (SASSMN) grant is an opportunity to increase both your content and pedagogical knowledge about the teaching of K-8 mathematics.  Participation in the SASSMN grant will result in obtaining a UAS K-5 Math Education certificate, which allows a teacher to add an Alaska K-5 Mathematics endorsement to their existing teaching certificate. The grant is expected to cover costs of tuition and fees for participants.  It is also expected that those desiring the K-8 Math Education certificate, which allows a teacher to add a Middle School Math endorsement to their existing teaching certificate, will be allowed to complete that option.

The Application Process

Step 1. Contact Dr. Fredenberg, to ensure a position as a grant participant.

Step 2. To apply, go online to this link: , then, under the application tab, apply for the Spring 2014 term. (This is necessary because fall applications have already closed.)  Submit the application with $60 fee, have your official transcripts sent here (if your undergrad degree was from the UA system we can access them and there is no need to have them sent).  Have the two letters of recommendation and a copy of your teaching certificate also sent (if you have a current state of Alaska teaching certificate, we can print it ourselves).