The Sister School Exchange program connects Alaskans by pairing an urban and rural team together for a school year. Each team takes a turn hosting and visiting another community. As they travel and spend time together, connections are made. This year, 24 teams participated in the Sister School Exchange program. Click on the map above to see photos of the teams.
Through the program, students learn more about their own community, are exposed to new experiences, make new friends, and get a glimpse into how another Alaskan community functions. The common thread between all SSE participants is that they build a stronger network of connections throughout our state. These stronger networks help to create a more unified Alaska. At the end of the program, students are asked to create a top ten list of most memorable experiences - making new friends consistently tops the list!
A teacher from Juneau’s DZ Middle School described the joy she had in seeing her students outside the classroom. “It was a chance to really get to know them better.”
A parent described how she facetimes with a student she hosted. “We talk almost every day. We are hoping to see him this summer.”
During the final days of the exchanges, students are often a little sullen because they know they have to say goodbye. Often this is the time for slumber parties, closing circles, and giving of presents as a way to remember.
Even communities become closer after pulling together to host. A Girdwood teacher said, “I couldn’t have created this experience without the support of the host parents, teachers, and community members.”
Teachers often enjoy getting to know each other too. One teacher from Eielson said, “I was able to teach a few lessons and demonstrated how I infused technology into lessons to my partner teacher.”
Drumming and Dancing in Anchorage - It was so cool to see the joy on our sister school team's faces when ever they got the chance to singe, dance, drum.
Talking with Elders.
Walking around the village - snow machining, riding in sleds