Thursday, January 21, 2016

Alternative homeschool programs growing in popularity in rural remote Alaska

A growing number of students in rural remote Alaska are switching from traditional schools to alternative homeschooling programs such as Interior Distance Education of Alaska (IDEA), Kelly Sullivan reports for the Peninsula Clarion. The program, which has grown five percent annually the past five years, allows families to determine instruction.

Suzanne Alioto, field representative for the Kenai Peninsula region, said "there is no mandated curriculum, although, because it is a public school, students are required to take the Alaska Measures of Progress and state-required standardized tests," Sullivan writes. Alioto said "for some families, the trip to their nearest school is too far to comfortably travel in the state’s harsh winter temperatures, and IDEA offers a flexibility other public schools don’t have."

"Enrollment is also increasing in other areas of the IDEA program, such as the iGrad High School Recovery Program," Sullivan writes. Kristie Miller, a coach with the program, said more than 230 students are enrollment in the program, up from 170 in 2014-15.

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