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Alaska Educators Steer Young Students Toward College

By Corey Allen-Young, Education Reporter, cyoung@ktuu.com
Published On: Nov 13 2013 07:00:46 PM AKST
Updated On: Nov 15 2013 11:53:25 AM AKST

By Reporter Corey Allen-Young and Photojournalist Shawn Wilson.  (KTUU-TV)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

A state agency dedicated to boosting college attendance gets kids thinking about careers long before they make it all the way to high school. 

As early as 2nd grade, students across the state are being pushed by the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education to think about their future.

The commission uses a children's book and the words "I Know You Can" to start conversations at an early age.

A team of volunteers promotes the message with the goal of getting kids thinking and to start showing what it takes to achieve goals. 

Lindsay Williams, a legislative aide and small business owner, came to Alaska for college and said she wants to inspire students.  

"If they have their minds, that they want to go school they are going to work harder in their classes, they are going to take those harder classes they need to be prepared for school." 

That message is similar to the one told by Sara Smith in her second grade class at Mountain View Elementary.

"If we start instilling in them from the very beginning: I'm going to go college, I'm going to go to college, I'm going to go to college, they will end up going to college because they have been thinking about it all along," Smith said. 

The "I Know You Can" program is active in 34 communities in rural and urban Alaska. 

It is co-sponsored by the University of Alaska College Savings Plan.

After filling out postcards with their future goals, the program continues through sixth grade. 

"It helps that student be able to work with another adult recognize they are valued," said Shelly Morgan, a K-12 specialist for the commission.