Kenai Peninsula School District extends blended course offerings to rural schools

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District officials have one universal goal in mind for this upcoming school year.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 10:05 PM AKDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2022 at 7:00 AM AKDT
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SOLDOTNA, Alaska (KTUU) - The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is home to 42 schools throughout the region. According to district officials, it is the size of West Virginia and serves schools from Homer to Seward, as well as others located on islands.

“We have some schools you can only fly to,” district Superintendent Clayton Holland said. “One of which we take a four wheeler to a lot of the times, or walk or ski to.”

Having a unique district like this, Holland said, requires his administration to look at the individual needs that each school may need.

“We actually have some different calendars too,” Holland said. “So we have a few schools that have different calendars than the majority of the other schools due to the holy days or other activities that take place in the communities.”

However, despite academic calendars varying across his district, Holland has one universal goal in mind for this upcoming school year: creating equity among the education opportunities he has for his students.

Holland said keeping this in mind is important when creating a school-wide academic curriculum that meets all his students’ needs while providing an equal level of education across their district.

“How do we offer that same experience or similar — maybe not the same. It can never be the same — for a student living across the water? How do we give them that CTE training or that college career readiness aspect,” Holland said.

In order to ensure that students in their district have equal access to education no matter where they are located, the district has implemented online curriculums called “Vertical Course Work.”

“Kids can take courses anywhere in the district asynchronously,” he said. “So they can do it anytime and maybe they don’t have an offering at the site or they want to take it at a different time, you can sign up for that course.”

The district said this has been a project that has been implemented for a few years and is continuing to be worked on this year, with its goal this upcoming school year to provide even more equity within the district’s academic offerings for students.

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