School District Responses to Coronavirus School Closures

Following school closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic, boards, educators, and parents across the state rapidly developed effective ways of delivering instruction and support to home-bound students during the final semester of the 2019-20 school year. Learn how some districts responded.

Week 10

Ingenious Graduations:

Districts devise creative social distancing ceremonies to honor graduates.

(Local Media Coverage)

Lessons From Pandemic Prepare Graduates For Future – Anna Rose MacArthur, KYUK, Bethel

KYUK Partners With Kuspuk School District To Host Radio Graduations – Gabby Hiestand Salgado, KYUK

Graduation 2020 Call-In Show – Karen Trop, KNOM

Western Alaska Celebrates Its Seniors With Parades To Cap Off COVID-19 Semester – Davis Hovey, KNOM, Nome

CHS brings pomp and circumstance online – Zachary Snowdon Smith, The Cordova Times

Congratulations Class of 2020! – Reprinted from the Viking Saga Newsletter, Denali Borough School District

Congratulations to Unalaska’s Class of 2020!– KUCB Staff

Farewell – Sitka Sentinal

Nenana School Class of 2020 – Kris Capps, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Anchorage’s graduating seniors get ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ at a safe social distance – Emily Goodykoontz, Bill Roth, Anchorage Daily News

This 80-vehicle car parade drives around Anchorage celebrating high school graduates – Mayowa Aina, Alaska Public Media

Adult Education student succeeds during COVID-19 and a new baby – Alex Bengel, KTVF, Fairbanks

Week 9

Week 9 Question:

Under what conditions will your district consider re-opening schools this fall?

Aleutians East Borough School District
Carleen Hoblet, School Board

Only if state mandates allow.

Anchorage School District
Deena Bishop, Superintendent

Even if school starts in-person as usual, the district will have extra health precautions in place. ‘Low-risk’ does not mean ‘the way it used to be.’ A high-risk scenario likely means that school buildings would be closed and classes online. The district is preparing to launch its classes as “online hybrid” so it can switch between in-person and online learning as risk levels change. We could move in and out of any of these risk levels at any time during the year.

Hydaburg City School District
Bart Mwarey, Superintendent

No active cases in June, July and August.

Skagway School District
Jaime Bricker, School Board

If there are no confirmed covid 19 cases in Skagway around the time of reopening, I suggested we get kids back in the classroom with stringent cleaning and disinfecting in place. We need to address as a board all of the issues listed on the ASA Elements for Consideration for a return to learning. This includes support from parents, teachers and community on returning with solid virus mitigation processes in place.

Yukon-Koyukuk School District
Kerry Boyd, Superintendent

Clear guidance from the medical community and communication between community members and the Governor, DEED, and District indicating satisfaction with the conditions to open. Families need assurance it’s safe to send their children back to school. Staff need the same assurance. Schools need the required health measures in place.

Week 8

Week 8 Question:

What summer education options is your district offering to assist students with credit recovery and address learning gaps?

Anchorage School District
Deena Bishop, Superintendent

Highlights of the planned opportunities for summer are listed below with more detailed information coming soon about registration, schedules, and calendar dates.

High School:

  • Four-week Summer Extension of Fourth Quarter Online:  Students having an F grade in their fourth quarter online courses have the option to work up to four additional weeks to complete their coursework.
  • Credit Recovery:  Students having previously failed a course during high school may retake it through iSchool to recover the credit.
  • Original Course Credit:  Students may take courses for the first time to free up their schedules during the year by completing classes early.

Middle School:

  • Learning and Review Modules using APEX Tutorials: Apex Alaska Tutorials are supplemental curriculum that can be used to make sure students are ready for academics at the next level. Alaska Tutorials also provide extra practice on the topics and state standards with which students may struggle. In addition, students may accelerate their learning if they are ready for more challenging work. APEX Tutorials are ideal for families looking for a structured and rigorous curriculum that adjusts to the individual pace and skills of each student and is monitored by an ASD teacher. ASD Summer APEX Tutorials are offered for students in grades six through eight.

Elementary School:

  • Summer Sign-up and Paper/Pencil Packets:  Families of elementary students will soon receive information with guidance on how to sign up for summer learning opportunities, including how to receive a paper packet of review materials for Reading and Math at the end of the school year. We will make it easy to request follow-up materials through the summer!
  • Paper/Pencil Packet Digital Download:  If you have printing capabilities at home, you may print your own selected materials by simply downloading the digital packets and printing the pages you choose from any grade level.
  • Math and Reading Review and Acceleration:  Families looking for a structured Math and Reading alternative for which most students are familiar may sign up for MathWhizz and Lexia access through the summer. An ASD teacher will monitor students’ progress and touch base with families throughout the program.
  • Acceleration Learning Modules using APEX Tutorials:  Apex Alaska Tutorials are supplemental curriculum that can be used to ensure students are ready for academics at the next level. Students may accelerate their learning if they are ready for more challenging work. Alaska Tutorials also provide extra practice on the topics and state standards with which students may struggle. APEX Tutorials are ideal for families looking for a structured and rigorous curriculum that adjusts to the individual pace and skills of the student and is monitored by an ASD teacher. APEX Tutorials are currently available and will extend through the summer.
  • AKLearns:  The Alaska Department of Education & Early Development offers an online supplemental curriculum for grades K-12 which is free of charge for all Alaska students. Online teachers, outside ASD, are available to support students as they work through the curriculum. Students continue enrollment in their local school. This curriculum is available now through June 30, 2020 for students in grades K-5.

Chatham School District
Bruce Houck, Superintendent

8 weeks, half days.

Week 7

Week 7 Question:

What grading system is your district using to ensure equitable achievement among all students?

Anchorage School District
Deena Bishop, Superintendent

I have asked high school teachers to ensure that no student who continues to engage with his or her online work through the end of the year on May 21 will earn less than the grade he or she earned at the end of the third quarter. Students can still improve their overall semester grade, but they do not have to worry about their grade dropping below whatever mark they earned prior to spring break, provided they continue to be engaged in their online coursework through the end of the school year. I believe this is a fair way to recognize students’ on-going efforts, maintain academic standards in our high school courses, and acknowledge the challenging circumstances many students face with independent learning at home.
We will offer a four-week summer extension period for any student who fails a second semester class. This extended period will run June 1 – 26, giving students four additional weeks to earn a passing grade and credit. For those students who would like to improve their grade in any second semester class, we are offering our online six-week iSchool courses at no-cost to students this summer. We will provide additional opportunities into next school year for students who may wish to improve their academic standing.

Chugach School District
Charlene Arneson, School Board

Chugach School District is competency-based on user’s levels, not grades. Individual learning plans.

Fairbanks North Star Borough School District

Elementary students will receive NS for their fourth quarter grade, with middle school students receiving NG. Both of these indicate insufficient evidence to assign a grade. Third quarter grades will still be counted. For high school seniors, academic indicators like grade point average, class rank and honor cords will be based on their academic standing at the end of the school year’s first semester.

More Detailed Grading System Information from Superintendent Karen Gaborik

Juneau Borough School District
Bridget Weiss, Superintendent

K-5 no grades for 3rd trimester; 6-8 pass/fail for 4th quarter and NG for semester; 9-12 no grade lower than what they had for 3rd quarter. Flexible due dates; ample opportunities to make up work from 3rd quarter, no Fs unless approved through principal, pass/fail is an option; seniors can withdraw w/o penalty from any class they don’t need for graduation.

Week 6

Week 6 Question:

How is your district planning to celebrate graduating students?

Anchorage School District

The district created committees of students, staff, and parents at each high school to brainstorm ideas for graduation alternatives. They decided on providing yard signs for students to personalize, memorabilia boxes, and commemorative graduation videos that will air on KTUU along with a longer video on ASD’s YouTube page. Each school will create festive stations in their parking lots with balloons, signs, and decorations. Students to come by and pick up their items and have their photo taken. The distribution will follow social distancing guidelines, and schedules will outline when students can pick up their items.

Bristol Bay Borough School District
Michael Swain, School Board President

We plan to hold a “traditional” graduation ceremony later in the summer or fall when social distancing mandates allow. Also, I will personally deliver diplomas to the homes of each graduate on May 9th, the original scheduled date of their graduation. We are looking at a couple other ways to additionally honor our seniors, but those plans aren’t finalized as of yet.

Denali Borough School District

Letter to the Class of 2020
Ms. Gretchen Striker, Class Advisor
Reprinted from the Viking Saga Newsletter

Dear Tri-Valley Seniors,

Here we are, expecting this year to be memorable because it marks the 50th graduating class at Tri-Valley. We planned to celebrate those that came before you and the history of your school and community.

Now the focus has shifted and the spotlight is on all of you. You are now the pioneers, the first to graduate during a global pandemic. You will now equate your graduation with a very different historical event but be sure that you will all be revered in Tri-Valley history.

Reminiscing on your high school career, there are so many wonderful memories of this senior class, a group of unique individuals who each left their mark on TVS. The path forward is uncertain, but you are surrounded by friends and family celebrating your achievements and sharing your aspirations for the future.

As much as we all share your disappointment and feel sadness for being deprived of those final days of senior year, the class of 2020 brings hope to a desperate situation. It is okay to grieve the loss of traditions and a normal graduation ceremony, but you are trailblazing new traditions, new ways to honor the achievements of all graduates. You provide the rallying cry of strength and resilience, of creating the best possible outcome of a difficult situation and you are beacons of light in these dark times.

The whole community is rallying around you to proclaim the immense pride and delight we all feel towards every graduate. Let’s make some noise, let’s shout from the rooftops that the class of 2020 has persevered and they are unstoppable! Horns Up!

Haines Borough School District
Sara Chapell, School Board

Haines is planning an online webinar-style graduation ceremony.

Hydaburg School District
Margaret Peele, School Board

We are planning to do a caravan of cars by each graduate’s home, and decorating their homes.

Hydaburg teachers hold a special event for hunkered-down students – KINY, Juneau

Teachers and staff in the City of Hydaburg got together on Friday to do something special for their students. As the days of hunkering down unfolded in Hydaburg, some teachers and administrators began to realize that they were becoming disconnected from their students. “We didn’t feel good about it,” said teacher Prophetess Hayden. “So, we decided to do something about it.” The teachers, Hayden said, decided to let students know how much they love and miss them by having a parade. “We wanted it to be fun and memorable,” Hayden said. According to Hayden, Assistant Superintendent Camille Booth, who lives in Ketchikan, ordered decorations, and teachers and staff got together using social distancing to decorate vehicles in one location, while others decorated their vehicles from their homes. With music blaring and the firetruck leading the parade procession, the educators began the parade route honking horns, yelling, “We love you” and, “We miss you.” “We were so glad we did it,” Hayden said, “It uplifted us and we felt like it uplifted the community, so much so we’re going to do it again in May.”

North Slope School District
Madeline Hickman, School Board

For the village of Wainwright, the principal had been meeting with the seniors and have been planning the type of graduation they will do. They have planned an outdoor graduation for people to watch as they are given their diploma. The Mayor of Wainwright, SAC president, and myself will be having a meeting with the principal as to do’s and don’t s that will happen on May 1.

Week 5

Week 5 Question:

How is your district supporting students at home?

Anchorage School District
Margo Bellamy, School Board

  • Food distribution centers
  • Chrome Book distribution
  • Technical support
  • ASD Help Center (742-HELP)
  • Homework help
  • Online Resources/Guidelines for online learning
  • Remote Education portals
  • Educational Resources for distant learning

Lower Kuskokwim School District
Bessie Weston, School Board

Though we have not been getting regular updates from administration, my local school continues to send home school work and meals.

Wrangell School District
Debbe Lancaster, Superintendent

We have a variety on online support. Our teachers are contacting students on a regular basis but not pressuring them unnecessarily.

Our paraprofessionals are delivering lunches and reaching out to support students either one on one or in small groups. We keep administrators available to support students, staff, and community members as needed. We communicate as needed and have a tiered systems of how intense our information is distributed.

We have regular admin and department meetings to regroup, refresh, and stay fluid in planning. We empower anyone with a great idea to move forward. We keep safety and well-being in the fore front of our minds.

Graduation Ceremony Ideas!

As traditional graduation ceremonies are cancelled to comply with social distancing mandates, here are some alternate ideas we’ve heard about this week that are currently in the discussion, planning, and implementation phases!

Hydaburg City School District

GRADUATION CAR PARADE: In honor of their 2020 graduates, Hydaburg families and staff are planning a Car Parade. Students and families will decorate their cars and drive them in a parade through Hydaburg in a graduation celebration. Families are invited to drum and sing from their cars.

Juneau School District

SIGN FAIRIES: Class of 2020 graduating Seniors throughout the community awoke one morning to find signs celebrating their academic achievement had been mysteriously placed in their yards!

Nome Public Schools

ALASKA ADOPT A SENIOR 2020: Parents and family members of Class of 2020 Nome Beltz High School Seniors are invited to visit an awesome Facebook page called, Alaska Adopt A Senior 2020. Find the page and request to be added, or leave a comment and I’ll get you an invite. You can post pictures of your senior and share a little bit about them. Folks then “adopt” your senior and send them some goodies in the mail to help celebrate them. So many of our wonderful students will miss out on the traditional rites of passage and celebrations for their senior year, so we want to find special ways to recognize them and show them that they matter to us. Deadline to post your student to get “adopted” is May 1st!

Unalaska City School District

VIRTUAL GRADUATION CEREMONY: The administration, parents, and high school seniors are looking at other, possibly virtual, ideas to celebrate the senior class. We’re working hard to make this a memorable year for the seniors, in a positive way, because they’ve had a pretty rough year under very unusual circumstances.

Yukon-Koyukuk School District

GRADUATION IN A BOX: The district mails graduation decorations and diplomas to each graduate’s family. The decorations are used to create a background and a photo is taken of a family member presenting the graduate with their diploma. The district collects the photos and posts them online as a virtual graduation ceremony.

YKSD has also sent birdhouse construction kits to every student in the district. The birdhouses are designed to be simple to construct. Developmentally appropriate connections to math, science, and language arts are included in each student’s kit.

Week 4

Week 4 Question:

How is your district supporting students at home?

Anchorage School District
Starr Marsett, School Board President

The instructional division continues to improve procedures and implement next-level practices in the following areas:

Paper packets: The District’s most recent paper and pencil packet mailing is in the 4,000 student range and growing. Individual mailings for special education students needing special materials or activities that are tied to their IEP are now underway. The Administration is researching costs and materials required to provide all students in K-8 a summer packet of educational activities to supplement work that is already underway.

Clearing lockers and retrieving personal items: A team is developing protocols for clearing personal items out of the schools. Logistically, this will be major undertaking but certainly needs to be done if it can be done safely.

Progress monitoring: The Administration is researching the levels of student engagement and hopes to have sufficient data to report at the next Board meeting. The major research questions are: To what extent are students engaging in the online content being provided by the school district? Are students who have been given devices using them to engage?

Bering Strait School District

BSSD has created a Google folder system organized by grade and content for staff to share resources.

Denali Borough School District
Nikki DeMers, School Board

Our teachers are going above & beyond to deliver quality education to our kids at home. Using Zoom, Seesaw & Google Classroom kids are coming together from the safety of their homes to learn, collaborate, turn in their work & enjoy new technology. Our kids have had their school IPads & laptops, all their school supplies & texts delivered safely to them by coordinated efforts of school staff. We are still learning & revising methods, delivering & accomplishing our District’s mission: Nurturing, empowering & inspiring today’s student to positively shape tomorrow’s world.

From the Viking Saga Tri-Valley School Newsletter:
Elementary Spirit Week (Week of April 13-17). Even though we are not together physically, we can still show our school spirit and have fun together!

  • Monday (4/13): PJ Day (Wear your comfiest/silliest/best pajamas to your class meetings today.)
  • Tuesday (4/14): Hat Day (Show off that cool hat you have!)
  • Wednesday (4/15): Prince/Princess Day (Now it is time to dress to impress with your fanciest and most royal garb!)
  • Thursday (4/16): Twin Day (Coordinate with a friend (or make a group!) and dress the same
  • Friday (4/17): Blue/Gold Day (Show off your Warrior pride with some blue and gold today! **

Thanks to Mrs. Legrismith’s super-awesome first graders for these ideas! **Can’t meet on Zoom? That’s okay! Dress up anyway and send your teacher a picture!**

Dillingham City School District

Distributing pre-packed lunches. Teachers are preparing take-home packets with written instructions for students on a week-by-week basis. Students read aloud at home with family members using learning materials from class that they are familiar with.

Hoonah City Schools

Hoonah had a “front window teddy bear hunt” where families could drive around the community looking for teddy bears. There are scheduled drumming times when folks gather in their driveways for drumming and dancing together.

Juneau School District

Families with young children in the community are participating in the “Rainbow in the Window Campaign” by leaving messages of hope made by kids in the windows of their homes.

Klawock City School District
Mary Edenshaw, School Board President

The teachers are so awesome, going above and beyond to make this situation less difficult.

Kuspuk School District
Sue Hoeldt, School Board

Sending out packets and then texting parents twice per week. No internet options unless you have it at home, no proactive Zoom or other ways to promote education.

Lake and Peninsula School District

K-12 students receive homebound packets each Monday. The district provided science kits for students to take home, along with iPads and computers with preloaded coursework. Igiugig’s head teacher, District teachers meet twice a week, online to share ideas. Students and community members can participate in the district’s art contest. Another teacher created a platform online for people to share poems and speeches.

Lower Yukon School District

Kotlik uses a texting app to communicate with parents. VHF radio is being used in the region to give announcements and have church services. Bilingual teachers are encouraged to do short connecting activities for students by VHF.

Nome Public Schools
Jamie Burgess, Superintendent

Local food deliveries continue. NPS was recently authorized to feed all children up to age 18 with Monday through Friday breakfast and lunch deliveries. How the school year will close is still uncertain. If students are struggling, or feeling like they have too much or not enough work, parents are urged to to give feedback to their child’s teachers. We are all learning together what works best for our families and our kids.

Petersburg School District
Erica Kludt-Painter, Superintendent

Students are staying positive and coming up with creative ways to have fun. Rae C. Stedman Elementary School has started a reading challenge and students have been participating in spirit week. The kids are just doing pretty darn well, and they’ve been amazingly resilient during this whole situation.

Southeast Island School District
Sherry Becker, Superintendent

All SISD staff have been involved in the myriad aspects of switching to distance education. Our secondary students that have internet capability join their regularly scheduled classes online with their SISD instructors. Those that do not have internet access, participate by phone, if they have service, or by completing packets/alternate assignments to address their core learning needs. Elementary student services are provided similarly. Teachers working together with paraprofessionals ensure that special education and 504 services are provided to the extent possible. Many of our students with disabilities receive speech/language services via distance while some practice on iPads at home.

The variety of assignments that have been created in such a short amount of time shows the staff dedication to providing a quality education for all students. Alternate assignments include outdoor activities that can be completed by the whole family and are enriching the coursework received throughout the week. Daily phone calls, emails, and Facebook posts encourage/support our families as they take on the daunting task of supporting their children full time academically and emotionally while also struggling through the concerns that fall upon us all in these difficult times. SISD students, staff, and parents are growing stronger as a result of this experience and will be much more confident in their abilities when schools reopen. #AKSISDProud

Southeast Island School District
Becky Saffold, School Board

Internet service supplied by state and email from school site aide.

Southwest Region School District

Sent students the first set of homework this week. Teachers are staying in touch with families while the schools are closed. Distributing meal services in the form of pre-packed lunches.

Week 3

Week 3 Question:

How is your district supporting students at home?

Anchorage School District
Starr Marsett, School Board President

ZOOM Security: The District has implemented major security options including requiring passwords, alternate session numbers, and virtual waiting rooms that require students to be “let in” to the room. The Administration continues to work through the issues as they come along.

Device Distribution: Device distribution into the middle schools next week will begin next week. The Administration is researching business procedures for how elementary distribution could work should there be sufficient resources after distribution to secondary students is complete.

Paper/Pencil Distribution: Three weeks of ELA and Math assignments are being printed and will be mailed next week by the ASD print shop. This will kick off the schedule that will result in regular assignments to be mailed for the purpose of providing equity for families without internet or devices.

Door-to-door delivery, aptly named “STUBER” (think student Uber-style deliveries) will commence next week. This service is a joint effort between Special Education and Student Transportation. ASD drivers will be safely delivering items that cannot be bulk printed or mailed.

Annette Island School District
Tia Atkinson, School Board President

Our teachers are calling home once a week to check in with parents. Homework packets go home every week. Our school has drop offs for breakfast and lunch in the morning for kids of all ages 0-18, including our head start kids due to high demand and program’s loss of funds so our district stepped in to help the community during this trying time. Teacher encourage parents to feel free to get creative with their kids education. Homework packets are being mailed home ever Monday for Elementary and classes are online for the middle and high school.

Dillingham School District
Heather Savo, School Board

I think one of the most important ways they are supporting kids is they are making sure kids are getting food by way of daily bus stops. I really hate to think that we have kids going hungry because that was the only place they got a meal. Education wise they have sent packets home with homework for 3 weeks worth and are calling and checking in with students, seeing if they need help with anything. They have set up cell phones for all teachers so they don’t have to give kids their personal number. Kids can call during working hours and get help with whatever they need.

Hydaburg School District
Bart Mwarey, Superintendent

Each teacher put enough work together for the next four weeks to each student. Some teachers are teaching through video conferencing platforms through cell phones. Most students do not have internet access. We are waiting for help from AP&T and AT&T.

Kuspuk School District
Paul White

They are not doing very much. Sent a packet home and no information about returning or the next packets. Teachers are calling home. One box of fresh fruit sent out per family. No options for families that don’t have internet for additional access. Limited communication and I am based in Aniak so farther villages are having a hard time. DEED does not work for the rest of Alaska without internet.

Lower Kuskokwim School District
Bessie Weston, School Board

Sending home work packets. Providing breakfast and lunch. Teacher phone calls. Reading books on Facebook live. Parading past students homes. Delivering parent requested Language material (dual language school) to help parents teach a language that they do not know. Providing pencils. Texting next week’s meal menus. Physical distancing.

Sitka School District
Mary Wegner, Superintendent

“The teachers are great and my kids are doing well” is a quote from a text message that a friend just sent me. It is also a common message I have heard this week from many people – all from virtual meetings or electronic communication, of course. I am in awe of the creative ways you are dreaming up to reach out and connect with students and families during this time of remote learning. Academics, the arts, movement, social emotional support, and more are all part of what you are offering our learning community, and it is making a huge difference for our families. Already students are learning and engaging! Your professionalism has been highlighted during this time of disruption. Those of us who get to see you at work regularly already knew this; however, now everyone is noticing and appreciating it, too. I can’t say it enough… Gunalchéesh hó hó!

Unalaska School District
John Conwell, Superintendent

During the extended spring break, teachers and administrators have been developing plans to transition to home-based education. The first priority has been to assemble instructional materials, such as textbooks, workbooks, and supplies, to be delivered to students’ homes. This is a gradual transition. It’s a totally new way of teaching and learning for our school district, but we’re confident that it’s going to go well and we’re going to improve on it each week. I think I’m only seeing the tip of the iceberg with regard to teachers’ innovation and creativity when it comes to providing this new model of education, so we are letting our teachers have as much academic freedom as they need or require. And all we ask from our teachers is that on a daily basis they submit a summary of their efforts in providing home-based learning to our students.

Week 2

Week 2 Question:

How is your district supporting students at home?

Alaska Gateway School District

AGSD schools have implemented meal delivery for families who have requested it, and Grab and Go for easy pick up of meals and school packets every day from each child’s school. The district produced an informational video to instruct parents on Grab and Go procedures. YouTube Link

Anchorage School District
Starr Marsett, School Board President

Our first task was to call every students family or email with a survey. Do you have internet access, a laptop or PC, or a phone with internet? Is daycare an issue? To date I believe we have made contact with all students and families. Our priority is our graduating seniors to ensure that they do graduate for those who still need credits. ASD is providing Chrome Books to students who need them and making sure that internet access is available. We should have plans out this week to getting other students online.

Chugach School District
Mike Hanley, Superintendent

Delivering learning packets and breakfasts to our kids. The following day when delivering, we pick up the previous day’s work. We are also doing video lessons, using google classroom, and providing online curriculum to students.

Fairbanks Northstar Borough School District

The district has launched an interactive map that shows meal distribution sites. The map lets users to search for a location in their area at which parents and students can pick up school breakfasts and lunches. Map Link

Juneau School District
Dawn Pisel-Davis, Principal, Riverbend Elementary School

Here is what families can count on from us:

  • Communication on DOJO, both the school story and your classroom story.
  • Older students will use Google Classroom.
  • We are preparing activity bags for each student. The bags have workbooks, art materials, books, and other items.
  • We are launching a RB YouTube channel that will have teachers reading, singing, demonstrating math or science, and other exciting videos.
  • Will continue to use the online sites kids are familiar with: IXL, reading eggs, math seeds, etc.
  • We will be mailing each student a letter and including a stamp, addressed postcard that the student can use to write back to their teacher.
  • Teachers will be calling their students once a week chat. You are also welcome to check in with the teacher.

Kodiak Island Borough School District

As the coronavirus pandemic exposes vulnerable Kodiak families to joblessness, poverty and food insecurity. the district has launched a meal delivery program to ensure that students ages 1-18 have access to breakfasts and lunches.

Lake & Peninsula School District
Shannon Johnson-Nanalook, School Board 

Home schooling program and breakfast and lunch provided. Teacher phone and texting available every day.

Northwest Arctic Borough School District
Terri Walker, Superintendent

Since the majority of families don’t have internet, teachers are preparing two week learning packets. Students come to the school at lunch time to pick up their sack lunch and learning packet. Depending on site locations, learning materials for younger students will vary. Packets for elementary schools, audio conference lines for students to call into, using the VHF, etc. High school students will use the Canvas platform to upload assignments and download materials. Not all classrooms or high school teachers have used Canvas previously, but we’re going to work in that direction since students have one-to-one laptops in high school. The district is partnering with GCI and Alaska Communications to get internet access to students who don’t have it. Scammon Bay teachers made a video for students about how much they are missed.

Petersburg School District
Sarah Holmgrain, School Board

Breakfast and lunch are served to every child ages one through 18. So we’re also serving kids that aren’t old enough for school. We are utilizing our school buses to deliver prepackaged meals and handed out by staff that will be properly covered for their own protection but to deliver both lunch for the day and breakfast for the following morning. Deliveries are at specific times and cover the bus routes and more.

Skagway School District
Heather Rodig and Jaime Bricker, School Board

Most teachers have a Google classroom they use during regular instruction, so that has been a huge help. Teachers have gotten creative with email check-ins & videos sent via the Remind app. Students have been asked to respond to a survey on what is working and what is not for their learning environment. Additionally, there is a curbside pick up system in place for picking up anything that cannot be delivered electronically. As COVID-19 events change daily, our district is getting information out to the parents and adjusting as necessary. Parent support has been another huge part of the success.

Our superintendent has pushed out information to board and staff as soon as it becomes available. Staff worked diligently to prepare “home schooling” packets for every student. Parents were allowed to pick up items via curbside service at the school. All of last week, teachers engaged with students and parents via e-mail, text, Google Docs, classroom videos and chats, even some social media. We are incredibly lucky and in many ways unique because we are such a small school and this process was easier to facilitate then it would be in a large school. I’m grateful for our district, board, superintendent, staff, teachers, parents and students for powering through this. I’m a parent and not the best teacher for my kids, but they provided the tools I need to support my kids’ education and they’ve made themselves available to help.

The Code Must Go On!
Cheryl Bobo, Program Manager, Alaska

Interior Alaska middle school and high school  teachers found themselves unable to meet for their final followup workshop due to COVID-19 school closures. They had completed the first five days of their training in Fairbanks last summer. Computer Science Discoveries Facilitators Brian Meade of Mat-Su and Teresa Hintze of Anchorage decided to take their class online. I packaged up the needed Circuit Playground Kits and began shipping them to the cohort that still needed their last workshop to complete their course. They will prepare the teachers for the Discoveries course that teaches how to use the circuit boards with sensors to teach programming. Students will write their own APPs using the boards and sensors.

The Circuit Playground is family of small microcontroller boards with LEDs, buttons, and sensors built in. Designed specifically for novice programmers, the Circuit Playground enables students to get up and running quickly with physical computing, without worrying about many of the traditional barriers to entry. Developed by our friends at Adafruit, the Circuit Playground is the core tool used in CS Discoveries Unit 6, Physical Computing. The teachers teaching from home this semester are from Alaska Gateway in Tok, Denali, Delta Junction, Fairbanks and North Pole. Thanks to ASDN for supporting Computer science PD opportunities for all K-12 Alaska educators. Contact for info about CS training for next summer.

Week 1

Remote Instruction Begins

Classes began on Wednesday, March 19, 2020, with teachers delivering instruction to students remotely using a variety of methods, including online distance learning and distribution of printed materials. Meal distribution systems were also coordinated for students who rely on the school for breakfast and lunch.

Schools Close

On Friday, March 13, 2020, Governor Dunleavy issued a mandate that all public schools in Alaska are to be closed to students to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Teachers and staff dedicated in-service days to organizing education plans for remotely delivered schooling.