In Alaska schools, Alaska Native students make up 25 percent of the student body – but less than 5 percent of the professional educator labor force. The PITAAS program was created in 2000 with the goal of addressing this discrepancy by preparing more Alaska Native educators for Alaska classrooms.
“When students have a teacher who has direct experience with their culture, they have a mentor, a leader and an example of the power of education in their lives,” says Ronalda Cadiente-Brown, MA, Assistant Dean of Indigenous and Multicultural Education, and the director of PITAAS.
Since inception, 160 degrees have been awarded to 126 Alaska Native students with PITAAS scholarship support, and PITAAS graduates are employed by 26 of 54 school districts across Alaska.
“The best thing for me about being a Native educator is knowing that I’m helping to bridge that healing that needs to happen, all that transgenerational trauma that happened with our Native people and schools, and the negativity that happened there,” says Mary Folletti, a PITAAS graduate and teacher in Alaska.
Students who are accepted to the program receive a scholarship that generally covers tuition, fees, books, and room and board for the entire program period. They also have access to tutoring and other support services.
“If I hadn’t done the PITAAS program, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today,” shares Mary.
Investments with a Lasting Impact
Private support is vital to programs like the ones featured in this year’s report. Because of you, and donors like you, the University of Alaska is able to provide opportunities such as these for the benefit of our students, future students, and ultimately the entire state of Alaska. Make a gift