Progress and Initiatives in Alaska
While there is still much to do, promising work is happening across Alaska to increase access to affordable, high-quality early childhood education for Alaska’s children. Take a look at some of these initiatives!
In Juneau, two in five children do not have access to licensed child care. To address this issue, business and civic leaders are promoting a tax initiative called Best Starts for Juneau’s Kids. This funding initiative is a community effort to increase access to affordable, high-quality early childhood education.
The HEARTS (Hiring, Educating, and Retaining Teaching Staff) Initiative in Juneau is another initiative to increase the availability and quality of early childhood education. Based on education level, early childhood educators in Juneau can apply for wage bonuses funded through the Juneau Assembly.
Anchorage had a similar wage incentive program called the Alaska SEED ROOTS (Retaining Our Outstanding Teachers) Awards during a five-year pilot period that ended in 2017. The ROOTS Awards distributed more than $700,000 in wage bonuses to early educators based on education level and length of employment, significantly increasing professionalism and reducing turnover in the early childhood education field in Anchorage.
In the Mat-Su Valley, community members and organizations are joining together to promote family resilience and reduce child maltreatment through a collaboration called ROCK (Raising Our Children with Kindness) Mat-Su. The goal of ROCK Mat-Su is to eliminate silos in the community and replace them with a collective approach to support child well-being.
thread also works closely with communities to increase access to affordable, quality child care. In the North Slope Borough, thread partnered with the local government to establish the Barrow Early Learning Center.