Register for 2020 Iditarod Conference for Educators – Anchorage, Alaska, March 3 – 6

2020 Iditarod Conference for Educators:  Anchorage, Alaska

March 3 – 6, 2020

Join us for a professional development conference event in Alaska to provide you with information, projects, and lesson ideas for you to use with your students. No matter if you are new to using the race with students or you are well experienced, this event offers you and opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of the race while experiencing the 2020 race start and restart  and gain the inspiration and knowledge you need to improve your teaching skills.

Iditarod Educational Learning Projects connect a real event, in real time- to content learning by providing experiential, project based, place based, standards aligned/common core aligned, and 21st century technology rich learning projects that focus on best practices of education and enhance curriculum areas of literacy, science, math, and other content areas. (STEM strong!) These technology based projects put rigor in your curriculum, enhance classroom instruction,  and inspire students to read more, write more, solve more mathematical and scientific problems while involved in technology based and experience enriched lessons. Iditarod Educatonal Learning Projects are standards based, common core aligned, motivational, and a key to academic success.  Join us at the conference to learn more about using Iditarod in the classroom and experience first hand this motivational teaching tool.

Register for the conference by clicking here.

Conference Fee Information
$385 for the first 50 attendees, $425 starting with attendee 51.  After Feb. 15, $525
Fee includes all conference events, a ticket to the Musher Autograph Signing and  Musher Drawing Banquet,  and all field trips and speakers, including the Friday speakers. 
Tickets may be purchased for a spouse or guest, or a member of the public may purchase a ticket to be seated with our group. Banquet Ticket:  $110, Field Trip tickets: $100. Friday Speakers:  $20 per speaker, $20 for Friday lunch.

Payment:  Click here to pay for the conference and events by credit card. 

To pay by check, mail the check to ITC EDU Conference Events, (Payable to Iditarod Trail Committee), 2100 S Knik Goose Bay Road, Wasilla, AK. 99654 

For other payment options or if you have questions, please call 605.290.3423 or email Education Director Diane Johnson at

The 2020 Iditarod Conference for Educators 

March 3 – 6, 2020 –  Anchorage, Alaska – Conference event location to be announced soon.

Quick Summary of Conference Schedule  (A more detailed schedule will be posted in February.

Tuesday:  March 3, 2020:  Get in the Sled with us!  Integrate the Last Great Race on Earth into Your Existing Curriculum.

  • Speakers and sessions will provide attendees with examples of lessons and activities for classroom use with a focus on STEM and applicable to common core and content standards.  Among the speakers will be the educators who have been selected as finalists for 2021 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ and other presenters who are experts in delivering Iditarod instructional materials to students.  A focus on authentic learning techniques, technology, and STEM instruction are key elements of this day. 

Wednesday: March 4, 2020:  Get on the Bus!  Site Based, Project Based, Experiential Learning

  • This is our field trip day.  We will be visiting Iditarod Headquarters in the morning, enjoying a delicious lunch, and visiting a musher’s kennel in the afternoon.  We’ll leave at 7:45 a.m. and return around 5:00 p.m.
  • At Iditarod Headquarters, attendees will observe the work day of the team of Iditarod veterinarians who are in the process of examining the dogs who will be racing.  Each dog must pass medical exams and be pronounced fit for the trail.  The veterinarians will be conducting physical exams, recording data, and visiting with mushers.  We’ll be stepping into a serious work environment to gain the opportunity to better understand the focus on dog care before, during, and after the race.  Attendees will be able to observe the examinations – temperatures being taken, urine collected, and other details examined, photograph or video record for instructional purposes back in the classroom, and ask questions about the science behind the true athletes  who run this race — the Iditarod sled dogs. 
  • At  Matthew Failor’s kennel, attendees will have the opportunity get a behind the scenes look at a working – racing dog kennel.   The culture of the life of a musher will easily be observed and better understood after this visit.  Not to mention, most likely attendees will get an opportunity to meet any puppies that are at the kennel.
  • Attendees are encouraged to bring their devices (Smart phones/tablets) and to communicate with their classrooms if possible while on this field trip.  We’ll provide attendees more information about this in February. 
  • A list of optional evening activities that you may wish to choose from will be provided to attendees.

Thursday:  March 5, 2020: Get on the Runners with Applicable Lessons, Projects, and Activities for You Students

Location:  (TBA) Anchorage

Speakers will include educators who are experts in using Iditarod as a classroom tool to deliver Iditarod based curriculum to students in k-12 classrooms. There will be both break out sessions and general sessions with a focus on what we call: SLED:  STEM, Literacy, Experiential Learning, and Differentiated Instruction.

Evening:  Musher Drawing Banquet

Friday:  March 6, 2020:  Theme:  Behind the Scenes of “The Last Great Race on Earth®”

Location:  Lakefront Anchorage, a Millennium Hotel

  • This day is designed to deliver information on the race, Alaska, and the icons that have played an important role in 47 years of Iditarod.  Location:  Lakefront Hotel.  There will be at least 4  speaker sessions scheduled this day for attendees.   The sessions will be open to the public for a cost of $20 per speaker.  In addition, there will be sessions for the conference attendees which will be small group break out sessions for collaboration, goal setting, and accountability of instruction.
  • Speakers will include: (Exact times and additional speakers will be added at a later date.)
  • Dr. Stu Nelson, Chief Veterinarian for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Dr. Nelson will provided a detailed accounting of the care before, during, and after the race that these dogs receive by a highly trained veterinarian staff.  These incredible sled dogs are amazing athletes.  They are always priority one!  Everything you need to know about there care is available in this session.
  • Susan Smith:  Principal/Teacher, Takotana, Alaska, a village along the race route.  Susan will share insight on how the village prepares for the race and student involvement in the race as well as what she does with students at her school.  Susan will also share about the National Geographic state map project.  Susan says, “Do you know National Geographic gifted each state with at least one gym floor sized map for teachers to use? What do you know about Alaska’s geography? Do you know exactly where the checkpoints are? On the Giant AK 20’ X 20’ map participants will locate geographical points of interest, learn to use the scale of miles to find where you live and how far you are from Anchorage (Only if you live elsewhere in AK). We will pick out towns where mushers live and measure how far they must travel to get to the start line. Teachers will be certified to check out the map for their classes upon completion of this session. All participants must wear socks for this presentation- no bare feet or shoes are allowed on this vinyl educational tool.”
  • A CHILL- Alaska Care and Husbandry Instruction for Lifelong Living –  Teachers and Students will provide a joint session on how this program,  a 4-year Indian Education project that brings together Alaska Gateway and Yukon-Koyukuk School Districts and their communities, that engage students in grades 6-12 to be inspired and learn valuable knowledge and skills related to the sciences, math, language arts, and college & career readiness.  AND the sled dogs are theessential element of this program.  Learn more at this link.

Information about Meals:

Tuesday, Thursday – Light breakfast and lunch will be provided.  A ticket to the Musher Banquet Thursday night will be included for all 4 day attendees.  Additional tickets for family members or attendees will be available for purchase through conference registrations.  (Contact, or call 605.290.3423 for information)

Wednesday – Lunch will be provided

Friday – Lunch will be provided. (Guests may purchase lunch for $20)


*Special bonus:  The 2020 Iditarod starts on March 7 in Anchorage and Restarts on March 8 in Willow.  Make your plans to stay for those events!  We can provide you information on how you as an attendee of our conference, can sign up to volunteer at the start or the restart of the race.  This provides attendees with an opportunity to be involved in Service Learning projects. Contact for further information.  We suggest if you are flying to Alaska for our conference that you book your itinerary to arrive by 5:00 PM on Monday, March 2 and if at all possible, your departure late Sunday evening, March 8 or on Monday, March 9 to allow time for you to attend the Restart.

This conference is created for educators of students in all grade levels and disciplines and homeschool educators.  Administrators are encouraged and welcome to attend.

Quick Facts About Attending the Teacher Conference

1.  If you are not from Alaska, book a flight to Anchorage.  Plan to arrive by 5:00 PM on Monday so you can attend the Pre Conference Social which begins at 7:00 PM. The Start of the Iditarod will be on Saturday, March 2 and the Restart will be on Sunday, March 3, in Willow.   If your schedule permits, plan to stay in Alaska to attend both of these events for the maximum Iditarod experience.  Contact us if you have questions about your departure or arrival times. (*We will sell shuttle bus tickets at the conference to those wishing to attend the Restart.  ($20)  The shuttle will leave and return to the conference hotel.  Time to be announced at a later date.  See below for more information.)

2.  Upon arrival at the airport in Anchorage, take a taxi to the Hotel  or other location for your lodging.

3.  Attending the Iditarod Musher Drawing Banquet:  Your banquet ticket is included in the 4 day conference fee.  Dress is casual.  The banquet is held at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center.  The conference hotel is a short walk to the Dena’ina Civic Convention Center.   Most attendees walk to the banquet.  Tickets for the banquet will be handed out on Thursday afternoon of the conference.  

4.  Attending the start of the Iditarod:  The race begins in downtown Anchorage.  The starting line is a short walking distance from our conference hotel. Plan to get up early and get on the street to meet mushers, handlers, and dogs!  Dog trucks start arriving around sunrise.

5.  Attending the restart of the race at Willow, Alaska:  A shuttle bus will depart from the Conference Hotel and take you to the restart and bring you back to the Hotel There will be a $20 shuttle bus fee for the shuttle bus.  Since parking in Willow is very limited and traffic is heavy, this is your best and only option for attending the restart of the race.  The $20 fee will be collected at the teacher conference and cannot paid in advance when attendees register.  Plan to ride the shuttle to the Restart of the race.  Times and details will be announced when registration materials are collected.

6.  What to wear:  Dress is casual for all events.  For outdoor events, ‘winter’ dress is necessary:  gloves/mittens, hat that can cover your ears and keep you warm, winter coat, *optional – winter pants/snow pants, winter boots are a must!. 

7.  What to bring to Alaska:  In addition to your clothing and personal items, we remind you to bring your camera, of course we recognize many of you have smart phones, but sometimes a camera is also great to have along. Bring your devices!  Most teachers also bring their laptop, ipad, or other technology tools they normally use.   Your cell phone will generally work in Alaska, but check with your personal cell phone service prior to going to Alaska.  Internet is available at the Hilton, Race Headquarters – , The Lakefront Anchorage, A Millennium  Hotel, and other places, however if you have a personal Wifi hotspot, you might consider bringing that with you.  There are places we may travel that you’ll find  Internet and/or cell service may be spotty due to the nature of your location and other factors.  Bring your devices!  Plan to use them!

Most attendees conduct Skype calls or Facetime to their classroom while they are in Alaska.  When doing so, we suggest you work with Jen Reiter, 2014 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™, our Iditarod Skype in the classroom expert.  She is an expert in using Skype in your local classrooms and in Alaska.  She’s got tips and ideas for you to use Skype and to create/maintain blogs for your classroom to view to and follow you while you are in Alaska.  Contact Jen for details.

8.  Attendees can opt to take up to four credits from the University of Alaska, Anchorage.  Please note, our conference schedule is designed to meet the hours in attendance necessary to be eligible to receive credits.  We therefore must ensure attendees are in sessions a minimum number of hours as required in order for us to provide this option of university credits.  Our days are long, jam packed with options, and designed to provide every attendee with maximum information and attention from our staff regardless of whether they are taking the university credits or not.  Attendees not in attendance for the required 4 days, and wishing to take the UAA credits must attend make up sessions and complete homework assignments in order to obtain the university credits.  Contact for additional information.  Attendees not taking the conference for UAA credit are free to limit sessions they attend or opt out of the Tuesday evening field trip, however those taking the UAA credit, must attend all sessions on Tuesday – Friday.  The additional fee to UAA for University credits is about $100 per credit.  The conference fee for all attendees is the same, with the additional cost for university credits collected at the conference when registration materials are collected.