Mission Statement and Goals

Mission Statement: Iditarod Education Department:

Promote the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race® by providing educational opportunities for classrooms around the world.

Our mission is to help teachers be better teachers and students to achieve academic success while involved in Iditarod based curriculum.

View the Iditarod Education Department Video Clip.

Educational opportunities:

  • teacher training
  • standards aligned curriculum, projects, and programs
  • technology integration

partner_exxon_flash Exxon Mobil is our Partner in delivering Iditarod as a teaching tool to classrooms in Alaska and around the world.

2009-2010 Projects revolve around the following goal areas:

1.  Teacher Training

  • Includes: workshops, conferences, online opportunities, and projects/ programs for teachers and students, bring in national educational speakers to address content and teaching strategies (multiple intelligences, science/math, leadership, and other areas identified through our data collection)

2.  Curriculum Development

  • Includes Curriculum on the For Teacher’s section of the website and the Iditarod Insider,
  • Includes *NEW this year,  our ‘real time’ curriculum for the months of January- March –  (Daily lesson updates to utilize Iditarod Insider and our other content on a daily basis before, during, and after the race.)
  • Curriculum is aligned to national standards and is data driven

3.  Technology enhancement and enrichment

  • Includes development of educational projects for Iditarod Insider teachers/classrooms.

  • Belief Statement: We believe that that Iditarod Insider video and GPS Tracker provide educational opportunities and should be free to those in educational environments. Therefore, our quest continues to seek sponsorship for Insider and GPS Tracker.  Currently (4/2010) Insider is a pay for use section of our site.
  • Subscription Status: total: (classroom and school wide subscriptions) about 2, 175 (7/23/09)
  • Subscription Status:  total: (classroom and school wide subscriptions) about 2, 511  (4/30/2010)

Educational Department Goals:

1. Empower Students for Academic Success in Science, Math, and Core Content and Culture Curriculum Areas for preschool through university level students.

2.  Support Teachers to use Best Practices of Teaching and Learning, Research Based Instruction, Technology Integration, and Continuing Education for Educators through teacher training and curriculum development

3.  Provide projects (on line real time and stand alone) to enhance teaching and learning.

Teacher workshops:

The Iditarod Education Department strives to assist educators in connecting the Iditarod to content and cultural standards required by each state and according to NCLB.

We are dedicated to empowering educators to use best practices of education using research based instructional methods, develop quality standards driven lessons, create units of study that engaging students in the learning process, encourage them to practice basic skills, and to encourage the use of technology as a teaching tool and a tool for students to use as they complete lessons and projects.   Iditarod’s website, the Teacher’s section, and Iditarod Insider with GPS Tracker are technology tools that are engaging and empowering.

Iditarod is a tool of instruction that leads students to academic success. University credit offered through the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Although these conferences are intended for teachers, race fans are welcome to attend as well.

Information about our teacher training can be found on the website.

ACADEMIC PURPOSE AND JUSTIFICATION:

IDITAROD BASED CURRICULUM WORKS AS A TEACHING TOOL because:

  • Teachers CHOOSE to use Iditarod Based Curriculum
  • The  standards aligned curriculum is created by teachers for teachers
  • Teachers have an interest in the topics and students develop interests, make personal or emotional connections to the topics and themes, find the curriculum as reality based, and have fun
  • Iditarod Based learning aligns with: Experiential learning, place based, project based, problem based, adventure learning, and service learning
  • Content is presented in a multiple intelligences approach, interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary, involves all content areas
  • Content is motivational and inspirational
  • Content promotes inquiry, problem solving, and is challenging
  • Technology is used as both a tool for the teacher and a tool for the students
  • Iditarod Based is ‘real time’ learning and applicable to the real world.


Our Outreach

Educators in all 50 states, many countries around the world and on most continents, connect the race in curriculum connections.

Thousands and thousands of students, preschool — through university level complete Iditarod related school projects to practice their skills in math, science, social studies, reading, writing, technology, and other curriculum areas. Preschool teachers use the race to help develop beginning math and reading skills, university professors use the race to inspire students to use real time math data from real events to gain skills in statistics class, and all curriculum areas in between, help students build basic skills through the Iditarod activities.

Other areas of instruction include: Special Education students, children who are non-English speaking gain skills in speaking English while following an engaging project such as this.

Outside of school: After school programs and summer camps, retirement communities and rehab facilities, wellness programs.

*
Students served by this project are from all learning environments: Public, private, and home school situations as well as university level teachers –use the race as a theme for content connections. Preschool students, elementary, middle school, high school, and university students who are in general education course instruction or who are in the field of teacher education are involved in our projects. Special education students, English as second language, foreign language classes, behavior problem programs and schools, as well as other specialized areas of instruction are included in our projects.

Diversity, multicultural, global, —-students from all walks of life, from all ability levels, age levels, under the guidance of thousands of teachers are involved in our projects and activities.

Our program is unique because it is designed for year round use and is not limited to one unit of study, one semester or one year and all curriculum areas making it the perfect ‘theme’ for cross curriculum instruction, thematic or project based instruction.   Our materials are applicable to all learners ages 0 -100.


Partners and Collaborators:

  • partner_exxon_flashExxon Mobil is our educational Partner

  • Target® is the Official Sponsor of Target® Iditarod Teacher on the Trail.

  • Alaska National Guard Stay on Track

  • Anchorage Public Library (Books to the Trail)

  • AK NOAA Storm Ready

  • Dozens of Educators, contributing and collaborating with us on the website and on our curriculum

  • Authors who enjoy writing books and delight in sharing Alaska and the race with readers of all ages

*

Committees:

Teacher on the Trail Selection Committee

Conference and Workshop Committee

Teacher Focus Group (Steering Committee)

Teacher on the Trail™ Alumni Advisory Council

Book Committee (Librarians and Teachers Revision Committee)

Curriculum Committee

Educational Journalists

*

Project Examples

Our 5 Year Plan builds upon the major goal areas and are driven by data collection and needs assessment

  • Teacher Training

  • 2010 Bring in national speaker at winter conference. (yearly from 2010)

    Years 2011- 2014: each year expand on the teacher’s experience to add technology training, additional university credit and teacher training opportunities, on line teacher training, Teacher Training expands to educational opportunities for students such as day camp events at ITC HQ and virtual fieldtrips.

    Bring Iditarod conferences to lower 48, regional conferences and/or bring the Ak conferences technologically to locations outside AK.  (starting 2010-11) Interested in an Iditarod Conference in your state?  Contact us.

  • Curriculum Development

  • 2010:  Update science/math strands, add real time race curriculum, mini curriculum for the teacher new to using Iditarod as a curriculum theme.

    2011- 14: Upgrade curriculum each year as indicated by needs assessment and documentation:  expand current curriculum.  Enact a collaboration team to develop curriculum, utilizing curriculum writers and experts in the field of math/science/technology/etc.

    Organize the curriculum in a user friendly manner allowing teachers to access by standard or objective, the lessons they need.  (technology and curriculum goals)

  • Technology

*** Secure funding/sponsorship for FREE IDITAROD INSIDER in all school settings remains priority.

2011 – 2012-  improve on web conferencing, web/ pod casts, on line offerings and experiences, virtual fieldtrips, on line classes for teachers, virtual attendance at race events and conference events, connecting regional conferences technologically

*** Continuous LIVE news broadcast of the race, 24 – 7 by “Iditarod Educational News Team” to provide on line coverage of the race, interviews, chatting, etc.  Classrooms/students can go on line any time of day and the ‘news’ team guides their experience…  highlighting what is going on at that moment and guiding the students to ’see it’, the next step beyond Iditarod Insider.


Assessment Tools:

  • Data collection:  Examples include but are not limited to: email, verbal/written communications, workshop evaluations, survey, media articles, scrapbook, digital images, video images, website analytics
  • Website serves as a collection of data for our projects and programs
  • Feedback from variety of sources such as teachers, students, race fans, ITC staff and board members, partners and collaborators

We’ll be updating this page to provide you with additional information as goals and projects are developed and objectives are met.  Feedback is appreciated.

Program Data (July 2010)

Our Customers:  Teachers, Students

Teachers in all 50 states and many foreign countries use Iditarod as a teaching tool.  

Iditarod Inside:  Subscription Status

  • Subscription Status: total: (classroom and school wide subscriptions) about 2, 175 (7/23/09)
  • Subscription Status:  total: (classroom and school wide subscriptions) about 2, 511  (4/30/2010)

  • * Each subscription services multiple teachers and students, and allows usage at home outside of school hours,  a low estimation of audience is more than 100,000 participants.  (Each classroom subscription represents 25 – 50 individuals and each school wide subscription represents from 200- 35o individuals using the website materials.)

Newsletter Data: Each year, 10 – 12 newsletters, Educator Insight, are emailed from the Education Department to teachers who have subscribed via our website to the newsletter service.  Newsletters feature Target® Teacher on the Trail™ resources and educational materials as well as race information.

Newsletter subscribers:Educator Insight

2008: 3,128

2009:  3, 200

2010:  4, 100

Iditarod’s Newsletters also carry articles about Target® Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ and Iditarod’s Educational Department reach an audience of more than 100,000 subscribers.

Website Analytics:

Page hits: For Teachers (July 1 – June 30)

2009: 471, 562

2010:  567,535 (excludes April- June 30, 2010 due to technical difficulties)

Iditarod News: 1,153,124 (July 1 2009 – June 30, 2010)

Teacher Conferences in Alaska

Summer Camp Teacher’s Event: (Held June each year.  50% of participants eventually apply for Teacher on the Trail™ within a 3 year period)

  • 2008: 11
  • 2009:  6
  • 2010:  12

Winter Workshop (Feb/March prior to the start of the race)

* 20 – 30 teachers attend this event each year.  The ‘Finalists’ for the ‘next’ Teacher on the Trail™ and the current Target® Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ are speakers at the event and the Teacher on the Trail program is a focus.

Teacher on the Trail School Visits and Presentations:

2008: Jane Blaile

In Alaska:

  • 12 schools in the MatSu and Anchorage School District, Nome school presentation, home school presentation in Anchorage

In Arizona and other locations: (2008, 2009, 2010)

  • Elementary and secondary schools, community church groups, teacher’s workshops in AZ, CA, Community organizations/clubs
  • 2010 (Oct) We will be hosting Target® Teacher on the Trail workshop in Phoenix

2009:  Cathy Walters

In Alaska:

  • February/March 2009, 12 Schools in the MatSu and Anchorage School district, about 3000 students/faculty/homeschool family members
  • June 2009:  Presentation with Herb Brambley at Anchorage Summer School Program

North Carolina:

  • Elementary and Secondary schools, retirement communities, nursing home, local community organizations

2010:  Herb Brambley

In Alaska

  • June 2009:  Herb and Cathy Walters, Summer School Program
  • February/March 2010: 11 School visits:  Wasilla, Palmer, Big Lake= 5 Schools, Anchorage 6 schools,  and students along the Iditarod Trail and in Nome,  about 3000 total students

Pennsylvania and elsewhere, Fall 2009, Winter/Spring/Summer 2010, school and community visits included:

  • Summer 2009, Trail to Every Classroom representing Iditarod and worked with teachers from Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina on the project (80 people)
  • (75 people) Fulton County, Pennsylvania Chapters of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority
  • (25 people)  Breezewood Elementary
  • (60 individuals) Daughters of the American Revolution
  • 475 Students, Southern Fulton Elementary School (35 Teachers)
  • 40 at Summer Reading Program, Fulton County Library
  • 50  at Boy Scouts, Bedford County
  • 70 at Mid State Trail Association Fund Raiser
  • 80 at National Parks Trail to Every Classroom Summer Teachers Program 2010
  • Still to Come – Gettysburg Summer School, PA Sled Dog Club, Bedford Rotary Club, Everett Paws in the Park
  • Still to Come – Gettysburg Summer School, PA Sled Dog Club, Bedford Rotary Club, Everett Paws in the Park
  • Will be presenting September, 2010, at an Iditarod Teacher’s Workshop in MI

Teacher on the Trail Applications:

2008:  7 (15 teachers contacted department for specific information.)

1009:  12 (20 teachers contacted department for specific information.)

1010:  6 (25 teachers contacted department for specific information.)

* The application process is a 2 – 3 year process, with selection of the ‘next’ teacher finalized in April of each year.

Our Teacher on the Trail™:  Job Description Summary

  • Serves as the “leader” in creating curriculum aligned to national standards, developing projects and connections for schools and home school families for the www.iditarod.com website, and via Internet.
  • Shares in ‘real time’ specific observations and personal experiences with the world before the race, during the race while flying with the Iditarod Air Force bush plane pilots, from checkpoint to checkpoint along the Iditarod Trail, as well as after the race.  (1 Year term)
  • While in communities along the trail, the Teacher on the Trail™ is a good will ambassador for the race and the Teacher on the Trail™ Program, as well as a teacher– sharing the ‘Teacher’s Message’ when possible.

For a full year, before, during, and after the race, the ‘Teacher’

  1. Maintains a section of the Iditarod website and provides curriculum and journal entries.
  2. Develops projects and curriculum connections which reflect that teacher’s expertise and goals.
  3. Provides presentations in the teacher’s school/community/state/and/or region that are designed to share the race, the Iditarod Education Department goals, the teacher’s own educational project and goals, and shares the Target® messages.  Target® is the sponsor of this program.
  4. Exemplifies the Teacher on the Trail™ Program, the sponsor, the teaching profession, and Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Prior to the start of the race once arriving in Alaska, the Teacher:

  1. Visits schools and presents programs for students in Alaska.
  2. Shares experiences and observations of Alaska and the pre-race activities, posting these experiences, observations, and lesson connections to the website
  3. Represents the Teacher on the Trail™ program and the race at events, provides interviews to media, presents at the Teacher’s Conference and other functions

During the race, the Teacher

  1. Visits the checkpoints and communities along the Iditarod Trail and shares the ‘Teacher’s   Message’ to students, teachers, and community members to promote the race and quality teaching and learning
  2. Observes all aspects of the race/checkpoint/community, reports the observations  connecting those observations and experiences to the curriculum, reporting them on the website as well as to students/teachers along the way as possible/appropriate.
  3. Uses technology as a vehicle to bring the race to teachers, students, and race fans.

After the race, the Teacher

  1. Assists in program evaluation and summaries the experience in a variety of ways.  (website, journal, presentations, etc.)
  2. Remains an important team member and Teacher on the Trail alumni

Who Follows the Teacher on the Trail™?

* Educators in all 50 states, many countries around the world, and on all continents

* Thousands and thousands of students, preschool — through university level complete Iditarod related school projects to practice their skills in reading, writing, and other content areas of instruction.

* Private Schools, Public Schools, and Home School Families use the race in their studies.

* Preschool teachers use the race to help develop readiness and reading skills

* Elementary, Middles School, and High School Students are involved in thematic instruction with the race in all content areas.

* University professors use the race to inspire students to research, read, write, and use real-time math data from this event to gain academic skills.

* Special Education students are empowered to read more and learn academic skills. Children who are non-English speaking gain skills in speaking English, writing, and reading.

* After school programs and summer camps use the race as motivational and learning tools.

* Retirement communities and rehab facilities have used the race to inspire residence and patients to achieve therapeutic goals.

Summary/Review:

Students served by this project are from all learning environments. Public, private, and home school situations as well as university level teachers –use the race as a theme for content connections. Preschool students, elementary, middle school, high school, and university students who are in general education course instruction or who are in the field of teacher education are involved in our projects.

Special education students, English as second language, foreign language classes, behavior problem programs and schools, as well as other specialized areas of instruction are included in our projects. Diversity, multicultural, global, are words that could perhaps be defined within our projects and our communications. Thousands and thousands of students are involved on our projects, from all walks of life, from all ability levels, age levels, under the guidance of thousands of teachers.

Reading, writing, and every area of instruction can be addressed through our projects. Our outreach is from preschool through university level and to our cherished elders and includes all cultural groups.

Following the race is but a small part of our curriculum as students develop a focus on national questions as well as global questions ranging from global warming, to saving planet earth, to improving reading and math scores.

Teacher on the Trail is not a ‘two week’ program, nor is it simple a year-long program.  Teachers who use the race in their classrooms have discovered that this theme enhances classroom education and empowers students to be academically successful, develop essential character traits, be better readers, and become lifelong learners.

Our program is unique because it is not limited to one unit of study, one semester or one year.

It is year round and it applies to all learners ages 0 -100.

As 2006 Teacher on the Trail, Terrie Hanke states, “Teacher on the Trail isn’t a 365-day adventure. It continues for a lifetime.” The uniqueness of the Target Iditarod Teacher on the Trail program is that it reaches all cultures, all ages, all curriculum areas, not only in formal and home school environments, but in environments outside the school setting.

Mission Statements  and Program Information for Teacher on the Trail™

Mission Statement: Teacher on the Trail™  is an ‘Adventure Learning’ project that provides incredible opportunities for educators to focus on literacy and bring researched based teaching and learning opportunities to classrooms in the United States and around the world.

Literacy (reading readiness, reading instruction, reading for pleasure, writing/communication) and technology skills are core elements in this unique approach to integration of the Iditarod into academic instruction which begins with families and schools of preschool, kindergarten, and elementary students.

The Target® Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ program:

  • Enhances education by selecting a highly qualified educator each year to advance the objectives and goals of the Teacher on the Trail Program and promote the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race as a teaching tool. (Selection process information can be found at this link.)
  • Develops and Support Projects to Encourage Better Reading Readiness and Reading Strategies for the Early Reader and Stronger Skills for the Readers and Writers of all ages. (Additional information is found at this link.)
  • Empowers Students for Academic Success by providing teachers with standards aligned curriculum connections for reading, writing and all other content areas.
  • Emphasizes Best Practices of Teaching and Learning.
  • Maintains a focus on literacy.

Outcomes:

  • Provide teachers with standards aligned lessons
  • Provide students with pre-reading and reading opportunities and connections
  • Provide material to read and/or books to students: Books to the Trail project, On Line Journal
  • Provide inspirational programs that encourage reading: Idita Reads, Iditarod Reading Nights at School, Read Across the Iditarod Trail
  • Provide teachers, students, and race fan with unique opportunities to transition the learning experiences to their own location and specific needs such as: reading, writing, environmental awareness, communication skills, and community based learning projects

Assessment:

  • survey
  • program evaluations
  • verbal communications
  • written communications
  • website analytics

The Target® Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ program receives a variety of media coverage.  For more information, visit this link. (Or view a PDF document highlighting media coverage.)

Special Thanks to Target®!

Target® is an incredible partner for the Target® Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ Program.

Target® is working in Alaska with the Anchorage Public Library on our Books to the Trail project, which brings new books to schools in remote parts of Alaska and other areas of the United States that are in need of reading materials for Children.

Target® worked with 2009 Target Teacher Cathy Walters to promote helping take care of our environment by providing her with reusable cloth bags for a school wide environmental education project.

Target® has provided support to us in many ways. Examples include but are not limited to: special ‘gifts’ to students in Alaska’s schools, race fans attending the start of the race, necessary items for our Target® Teacher on the Trail, and gift packets to teachers attending our Teacher’s workshops.  Thanks Target®!

Please visit the Target® website and show your support by shopping Target®!

PowerPoint Presentations

tott applicationIditarod’s Education Department:  An Overview in 21 slides, presented at ITC Board Meeting, June 2009: Iditarod Education Department Summary

***  Presentation: What projects, activities, and curriculum materials are found in an Iditarod Based Educational unit of study?

An Overview of Iditarod Education Department Activities:  Iditarod in the Classroom (PowerPoint presentation)

Principal Partners

See All Sponsors