How Chugach schools work

Dee wanted to know how does the school district that my kids are in work? Is it totally a distance/homeschool program?

Chugach is the school district we use for homeschool. They have traditional schools in 3 small coastal villages. They also have correspondence/homeschool programs based in Anchorage, Valdez and Fairbanks. I go through the Fairbanks program. There are several things that make Chugach Schools unique.

At the end of the summer, each student and their parents must meet with the teacher to develop goals and an individual learning plan for the upcoming year. Curriculum and materials are decided at this point. This is true of both the schools and homeschools.

We don’t have traditional K-12 grades. Each subject has different levels based upon state standards that need to be completed before graduation which are not directly related to each other. The students progress through the levels of each subject separately. As long as every level is completed before graduation, students can go at their own pace. This is good because if a student is advanced or slow in a subject, they can spend as much time as needed. For instance, I just moved my son into science 3/4. There are 8 science levels to graduate.

We also don’t have regular A-F +/- grading. Instead each subject level is broken down into specific targets. Once a student has shown competency in all the targets for that level, he can then be moved up to the next level. This can be shown through reports, projects or tests. For the homeschools, parents must submit specific proof depending upon the subject. For his science I made a list of the proof for each target and submitted it in a packet along with the proof so it was understood which item went with what target(s). It’s very objective. Either they know it or not. So instead of just getting an A in first grade math, the Chugach student would need to demonstrate (and parent submit proof if homeschool) competency for all 17 targets of the first level of math.

Homeschool students are given an allotment based upon what grade they would be if in a traditional K-12 system. This money can be spent on curriculum, materials, or lessons. There are limits to how much can be spent on PE and other non-academic subjects. The money can’t be spend on religious classes, materials or curriculum. The Abeka and Christian Light Education that I use aren’t covered. Thankfully, they aren’t very expensive. This also means I have more allotment left to spend on more expensive things like science and WinterPromise history. You need to have 4 subjects with the majority of curriculum from non-religious companies to be considered full time. Allotments are pro-rated for part time students depending upon how many classes they have. Curriculum from religious companies like Abeka and Christian Light does count toward graduation, just not enrollment or allotment eligibility.

There is a waitlist to keep enrollment down so the supervising teachers aren’t overloaded. You must contact your teacher at least once a month. Progress reports are sent out three times a year. On them are listed the targets for your students’ current levels. Parents simply mark what targets the student has become competent in during that trimester. Once all targets are met, assessments need to be submitted to move the student into the next level. This can be done at any time in the year.

There are no specific record keeping requirements other than proof of progress when completing levels. I do however use a Teacher Planner where I mark down daily what we’ve done. This is mostly to keep me on track but also in case I need to recreate proof.

For more information, their website is http://www.chugachschools.com/home_school/index.html

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7 Responses

  1. Sounds a lot like portfolio based program.

  2. Yes. It’s pretty much an individualized, standards based, portfolio program. I really like the freedom it gives us while at the same time the targets make sure things are covered thoroughly. Since it’s a state program, the kids will get diplomas and I don’t feel like I’m winging their education like some other homeschools.

  3. I have been told from friend’s who lived in Alaska that homeschooling is quite common there because of the geography. Is that true?

  4. Yes it is. That’s why my husband was homeschooled. That was back when there was only one state correspondence program. It was quite different from most of homeschool programs available now. They were more like distance ed: they gave you all the books and materials like regular schools were using and you did the work at home. Before then, the only option was state mandated boarding schools. Those were a disaster. They cut off kids from their family, culture, and even language. Of course that was the intention, but that’s another story.

  5. Boarding schools? Is your husband Native American

  6. No. His dad worked as station manager for the FAA. It didn’t matter if you were Native or white. If you were a village child, you went to boarding schools.

  7. My Grandpa was Native but his dad lied about it to protect the family.

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