Alaska Native Students as English Learners: Exploring New Research

August 2021
four young children together

Most English learner policy and research has focused on immigrant-origin students. This has left a critical gap in understanding the needs and experiences of an important student group: Indigenous English learners. In Alaska, Alaska Native students make up more than 40 percent of all English learners. To better understand this unique group, researchers recently conducted two studies exploring how Alaska Native students experience English learner policy and practice in Alaska. Learn how the findings could inform more equitable policy and practice. This presentation benefits policymakers and educators in Alaska and other states that serve Indigenous English learner students.

Thank you so very much for doing the research to give voice to this very real need! Everything resonates and validates what I have seen, felt, and experienced as an Alaska Native student and educator! I feel like we now have a foundation to stand on to change how we look at this topic to actually be effective in serving our students' needs.
—Suzzuk (Mary Huntington), Bering Strait School District

Webinar Recording

Presenters discussed findings from:

  1. Resource for Self-Determination or Perpetuation of Linguistic Imposition: Examining the Impact of English Learner Classification among Alaska Native Students
  2. Alaska Native Students as English Learner Students: Examining Patterns in Identification, Classification, Service Provision, and Reclassification


  • Ilana Umansky and Lorna Porter, University of Oregon
  • Manuel Vazquez, Education Northwest