Alaska

Professor Katie Dawson dresses for the Alaskan cold
Professor Katie Dawson dresses for the Alaskan cold

The village of Galena, Alaska is located on the North bank of the Yukon River, 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle. It is a small community with just over 600 residents, comprised of about 150 families (Census). Galena is unreachable by roads and residents rely on barges and airplanes to import all supplies. 63% of Galena's residents are Native American, 30% are White with the remaining 7% of the population representing Black, Latino, Mixed Race or Other ethnicities. Galena has two high school campuses, the local K–12 Sidney Huntington School and the Galena Interior Learning Academy (GILA) which educates high school students from across the state.

UT Professor Katie Dawson and NYC–based teaching artist Gwenyth Reitz began co–facilitating drama–based residencies in Galena since in 1999. DFS was first implemented with K–12 teachers in Galena during the spring of 2005 as part of Dawson's two–year research study on the efficacy of a collaborative, dialogic professional development program model in drama–based instruction in a remote, rural school district. Since 2005, Reitz and Dawson have partnered with the Galena City School District (GCSD) to facilitate ongoing DFS training for Galena teachers; additionally, they supervised a UT internship program in Galena, providing a dynamic, unique fieldwork experience and thesis location for select graduate students. The ongoing research and partnership with GSCD was the catalyst for the DFS distance learning support initiatives, as DFS considers how to best support partnerships across the country.

Gwenyth Reitz and UT Graduate Students with Community Members in Galena, AK
Gwenyth Reitz and UT Graduate Students with Community Members in Galena, AK
UT Grad, Nitra Gutierrez, waits at the Galena Airport
UT Grad, Nitra Gutierrez, waits at the Galena Airport
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