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Garey High School's Road to Alaska

Not Just a "Trip" to Alaska--It's a "Journey" Bridging Visions, Vehicles, and Voices for Student Engagement and Success.

Garey High School's Road to Alaska - UCLA TIIP Team


Road to Alaska pic main

Our Journey to Develop Our Skillset as Professional Educators

How can we motivate and engage urban youth to become more inquisitive about a world beyond their everyday experience? How can we increase our students' connection to the greater society, as global citizens of this planet? These are questions that are at the core of our problem of practice, and we traveled almost literally to the North Pole and back to try and capture the attention and engagement of our students while sharing our own learning about the geology, astronomy, unique ecosystems and biological resources that Alaska has to offer. Meanwhile, we pushed ourselves to "step up" to 21st Century technology with new technology devices, related applications and lessons plans incorporated into our classrooms.

TIIP Teacher's Share Out Learnings with Students and Teachers



NEWSPAPER CLIP FROM POMONA, CA FEATURING TIIP TEAM (above).(Note: NOT in Relation to "Pomona High School")


In Alaska, we explored some of Earth's most unique and precious resources including journeying to the Arctic Circle and examining the Trans-Atlantic [Natural Gas] Pipeline that traverses the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). We met with and learned from teachers at Alaska's Math and Science Teacher Conference looking for commonalities between the Alaskan subgroup of their indigenous population to our majority Latino and African American population in Pomona. We also used continued developing technology skills by blogging with our students and professional community from Alaska back to Pomona, sharing photos and posing related scientific and math questions about the small aircraft we were on and Arctic mountain range while literally flying over the glaciers of Denali National Park with immediate feedback from students while exploring the Arctic North of Alaska.Glacier Landing

While our "Road to Alaska" is both literal through our journey to Alaska, it is also metaphorical in the sense of our journey throughout this time period of our professional development grant and expresses our efforts to take our students "outside of their zip code" so to speak, to open up to global vision and possibilities beyond their day to day dimensions.

We have also attended a variety of other professional development conferences including National Science Teacher's Conference in San Fransisco and a Solar Energy in the Classroom conference in Colorado.

iPad and Blogging in Alaska



We put into use new (to us) technology in Alaska and in the classroom such as ipads, macbooks, document cameras, and more, in efforts to bring more relevant information to our students, capture their attention, and take advantage of student's higher learning engagement in the "Bring Your Own Device" mindset. (see "Technology in Classroom" for more information)



We have set up "share outs" with our students and professional colleagues, both within our district and beyond at TIIP photo northern lightsa local elementary school to share our once-in-a-lifetime experiences seeing and learning about the "auroras" and Earth's protective magnetosphere, the geometry and geology of what it means to cross into the Arctic Circle, the infrastructure surrounding the pipeline, and more. 

Then as a final step in our 2-year grant tenure, our TIIP cohort hosted a 3-day Teacher's Retreat to share our learnings, while offering a space for colleague teachers to brainstorm and explore deeper into our challenges and successes in capturing the attention of our students and leading them to successful academic outcomes.


Click on the following links to learn more about Garey High School's Road to Alaska-UCLA TIIP Team:


Team members

Team Garey

Ana Rodriguez -  High School Science (Earth Science and Physics)

Ana is in her 6th year teaching at Garey High School. Graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in physics. Co-Club advisor for the Earth Club. Certified Web 2.0 Training participant.

Debbie LeAnce - High School Science (7th-12th Science including Biology, Earth Science, and Physical Science)

Debbie is in her 7th year teaching in California, 5 years of teaching in the Pomona Unified School District. Graduated from UC Riverside with a degree in Environmental Science.  Co-advisor with Garey High School Mecha Club. Contact at

Ramona Dinger - High School Mathematics (Geometry, Algebra, and Preparation courses)

Ramona is in her 6th year teaching at Garey High School. Graduated from National University in 2002 with a BS in Criminal Justice and a MA in Cross-Cultural Education in 2008.  She also works afters school in a credit recovery program, helping students reach their goals of high school graduation. Certified Web 2.0 Training participant.


For more information contact us at

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