Alaska has a unique educational scene due to the state’s vast geography, small population, and diverse communities. The sparsely populated terrains present uncommon challenges in creating a robust public education system. The state is the largest in the U.S., with a land area of over 663,000 square miles and a population of just 733,583 people.
With over 500 public schools in 54 operating districts and a variety of private and charter schools, Alaska’s educational system serves over 129,944 kids in K-12. The state’s unique population distribution contributes to Alaska having some of the largest schools in the nation by student enrollment.
This post explores the thirteen largest institutions in the state, from the elementary to the college level. We’ll explore their location, student populations, notable course offerings, faculty size and experience, and academic performance, among other metrics.
Keep reading to gain valuable insights into Alaska’s educational landscape and the opportunities available to students throughout the state.
Denali PEAK Correspondence School
4240 Old Seward Hwy #4, Anchorage, AK 99503
Denali PEAK Correspondence School is a statewide correspondence or homeschooling program operated by the Denali Borough School District. The online school is one of the largest in the state, with 1,034 kids in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. More than half of the student population is in the elementary section.
The school provides a unique educational experience for homeschooling kids. Enrolled students receive various resources, including support for core courses and electives, an accredited online program, and tech learning devices. Students receive one-on-one advisor-teacher consultations in their daily learning programs.
The unique educational approach is highly effective, with most students excelling in state assessments for proficiency. 55% of the students attain proficiency in reading and 45% in math. Students can also partner with Denali PEAK vendors to learn specific technical skills, such as baking, dance, ballet, aviation, and flooring, among other skills.
The school has a student-teacher ratio of 162:1. All teachers are certified. The U.S. News ranked the school at 79 overall for Alaska’s Elementary Schools.
143 E. Park Avenue Soldotna, AK 99669
Connections is an above-average school in Soldotna, AK, under the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. The school also operates an online homeschool program for families in Kenai Peninsula who prefer to educate their children from home. The school is home to over 1,157 students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Test scores for the school show that students perform about the same as most of their peers across the state. Roughly 29% attain proficiency in math and 53% in English. 60% gain proficiency in science. The school also runs a gifted and talented program that seeks to identify and support intellectually gifted kids in the district.
Students at the school can participate in various extracurricular activities, from skiing and spelling bees to fly-tying workshops and Battle of the Books. Connections has one teacher for every forty-seven kids. The teachers are highly qualified, with all instructors having over three years of teaching experience and holding state-approved certifications.
Family Partnership Charter School
4400 Business Park Blvd # B22, Anchorage, AK 99503
Family Partnership Charter School is a public charter school in Anchorage, AK, under the Anchorage School District. The school also operates a correspondence homeschool program for interested students. Family Partnership serves roughly 1,234 kids in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The majority of the kids are in the elementary section.
The school offers multiple educational offerings for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The K-5 Home Study gives students a personalized online learning experience, with frequent consultations with their teachers in small group settings. The K-5 Blended program allows kids to attend a Montessori program from the Morro Bay Resource Center.
Students in the blended program attend 3 1/2 school days at the center, receiving instruction from experienced Montessori teachers. Students at the school excel in state standardized tests, with 47% attaining proficiency in math and 60% in reading.
The school has 26 teachers, with a student-teacher ratio of 47:1. All teachers have over three years of teaching experience. Additionally, all full-time faculty have over three years of teaching experience.
Cyberlynx Correspondence Program
406 E 2Nd St, Nenana, AK 99760
Cyberlynx Correspondence Program is a public school in Nenana that offers an online correspondence program to homeschooling kids. The school provides various educational support materials such as school books, online classes, technology support, music or activity lessons, and much more. The school is home to roughly 1,538 kids in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. Nearly half of the students are enrolled in the elementary section.
The school offers a comprehensive curriculum that meets Alaska’s State Standards and is reviewed by the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC). Academic courses include Language Arts, math, science, social studies, world language, and technology. 52% of the students at the school attain proficiency in English, and 22% in English.
Cyberlynx also offers non-academic programs in art, music, physical education, and general electives. The students must maintain an individualized learning plan created together with a certified teacher and their parents.
The school has eleven teachers, with a student-teacher ratio of 140:1. All teachers at Cyberlynx are certified and have over three years of teaching experience.
Teeland Middle School
2788 N Seward Meridian Pkwy, Wasilla, AK 99654
Teeland Middle School is a top-rated public middle school in Wasilla, part of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District. The school is one of the largest middle schools in the state, with 786 kids in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. U.S. News ranks the school as the second-best middle school in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
The school offers a traditional curriculum on common core subjects enriched with several elective programs. Students at the school perform better than most of their peers across the state. 45% attain proficiency in math, 60% in English, and 61% in science.
Students can participate in extracurricular opportunities such as chess club, D&D club, art adventure, soccer, science Olympiad, basketball, cross-country, wrestling, volleyball, and track.
The school has thirty-five teachers, translating to a student-teacher ratio of 22:1. All teachers are certified and have over three years of teaching experience. The school also has a full-time nurse that caters to the kids’ medical needs.
Clark Middle School
150 South Bragaw St, Anchorage, AK 99508
Clark Middle School is an average-performing middle school in the Anchorage School District. The school is home to roughly 900 students in sixth through eighth grade. The school is committed to creating a supportive environment that fosters life-long learning.
Students receive explicit instruction in core subjects such as Language Arts and math. 12% of the kids attain proficiency in math and 22% in reading. The school also provides various elective courses such as music, P.E. and health, exploratory arts, and world languages. Clark Middle also offers the Project Lead The Way (PTLW) Gateway curriculum to students interested in STEM Programs.
The school has roughly 46 teachers, with one teacher for every nineteen kids. 83.5% of the teachers have taught for over three years. Additionally, all full-time instructors are certified. Clark Middle also has a full-time nurse, law enforcement officer, and security guard on staff.
Nicholas J. Begich Middle School
7440 Creekside Center Drive, Anchorage, AK 99504
Nicholas J. Begich Middle School is one of the largest middle schools in the state, housing roughly 901 sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students. The school is part of the Anchorage School District. Through its website, the school aims to build a solid social and academic foundation for each student.
Test scores at the school fall below the state’s average. According to state assessments, 6% of the students attain proficiency in math and 15% in English. Students can also participate in enrichment programs such as art, applied technology, business technology, family and consumer science, and foreign languages.
Begich Middle has fifty-two teachers, with a student-teacher ratio of 17:1. All full-time teachers at the school are certified. Besides, 86% of the instructors have over three years of teaching experience. The school also has a nurse, security guard, and law-enforcement officer.
Mat-Su Central School
600 E Railroad Ave, Wasilla, AK 99654
Mat-Su Central is a public magnet online school under the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District. The school provides an online curriculum for homeschooling kindergarten through twelfth-grade students. For the 2020-2021 school year, the school had 2,179 students enrolled, making it one of the largest schools in the state.
The school includes exclusive “homeschoolers” and a larger percentage of kids participating in a range of on-site classes, workshops, and clubs. The students choose the programs they want on their Individualized Learning Plan contract. 75% of the students graduate after their four-year program in high school.
The school has unique course offerings, including five A.P. programs with a 4% participation rate. Mat-Su Central also offers dual enrollment courses in which 3% of students enroll. The school also provides various technical programs through its educational vendors, with students learning skills such as equine therapy, dance, welding, and gymnastics.
Raven Correspondence School
4762 Old Airport Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99709
Raven Correspondence School is a public online school under the Yukon-Koyukuk School District. The school serves roughly 3,127 kids in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. The school has offices in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Delta Junction, Eagle River, Juneau, and Wasilla.
Since its inception in 2002, the school has partnered with thousands of Alaskan families in providing tailored homeschooling options. Raven Correspondence provides specialized high school support, working with students to create a Plan for Success. The school has a four-year graduation rate of 47%.
The school has 24 teachers specially trained in online tutoring. The teachers meet the students in small group settings to offer feedback and support to the kids. Students can enroll in their local schools’ after-school activities, sports, and clubs.
Interior Distance Education of Alaska (IDEA)
2157 Van Horn Road, Fairbanks, AK 99701
Interior Distance Education of Alaska (IDEA) is the largest and longest-running homeschooling program in Alaska. The school is home to roughly 9,216 pre-kindergarten through twelfth-grade students, making it the twelfth largest K-12 school in the nation. The school is part of the Galena City School District.
The school offers an online program with students creating an individualized learning plan with a certified teacher and their parents. 50% of the coursework the student completes must be in core subjects of math, language arts, social studies, science, technology, or world languages.
The school has a 75% high school graduation rate, with 6% of the students sitting for ACTs or SATs. The school has 58 teachers, translating to a student-teacher ratio of 181:1. All teachers at IDEA are certified, and 95.6% have taught for over three years.
University of Alaska Southeast
11066 Auke Lake Way, Juneau, AK 99801
The University of Alaska Southeast is a small, four-year public college in Juneau. The school has satellite campuses in Sitka and Ketchikan and serves roughly 1,997 students. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accredits the university.
The school has an open admissions policy and is open to anyone with a high school diploma or a GED-holding student. The school does not ask for submission of ACT or SAT scores, but it’s recommended to include them.
The University of Alaska Southeast charges an in-state tuition fee of $5,616. Out-of-state students may have to pay $19,200, excluding boarding and other expenses. 86% of full-time undergrad students benefit from financial aid, with an average aid package of $5,753 per student.
Notable University of Alaska Southeast Alumni
The University of Alaska Southeast has several notable alumni, including:
- Ernestine Saankaláxt Hayes, an author and member of the Tlingit Nation
- Mary Peltola, former tribal judge
- Mia Costello, member of the Alaskan Senate
- Valerie Davidson, 13th lieutenant governor of Alaska
- James Miller, parachutist and paraglider
- Tiffany Zulkosky, member of the Alaska House of Representatives
University of Alaska Fairbanks
1731 South Chandalar Dr., Fairbanks, AK 99775
The University of Alaska Fairbanks is a mid-sized, four-year public university in Fairbanks. It is home to 6,826 students. The university is classified under “R2: Doctorate Universities High Research” under the Carnegie Classification.
The university has an open admissions policy and is thus available to anyone with a high school diploma or a GED-holding student. The application threshold to the university is low, with the university admitting all applicants as long as the minimum requirements are met.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks charges roughly $5,616 for in-state students. Out-of-state students pay about $19,200 annual tuition fees, excluding boarding and other expenses. 91% of the students receive financial aid. The average aid package is $8,599 per student.
Notable University of Alaska Fairbanks Alumni
The University of Alaska Fairbanks has some notable alumni, including:
- Tom Albanese, former CEO of Rio Tinto Group
- Charles E. Bunnell, first President of the University of Alaska
- Curtis Fraser, retired Canadian hockey player
- Jay S. Hammond, 4th governor of Alaska
- Jordan Hendry, former hockey player with the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks
- George Polk, journalist for whom the George Polk award is named
- Don L. Lind, NASA astronaut
- Matthew Emmons, Olympic medalist sport shooter
- Bob Bartlett, first Alaskan senator
University of Alaska Anchorage
3211 Providence Dr, Anchorage, AK 99508
The largest institution of learning in Alaska is the University of Alaska Anchorage. It is a mid-sized, four-year public university that serves roughly 10,845 students. It also has four community college campuses spread across southcentral Alaska.
The university is classified under the “Master’s Colleges & Universities: Larger Programs” under the Carnegie Classification. The school retains an open admissions policy, with popular areas of study in health professions, business, and liberal arts.
The University of Alaska Anchorage charges an annual in-state tuition fee of $7,224. Out-of-state students have to pay more, with an average $23,072 tuition fee. The figure may go north of $46,000 once boarding and other expenses are factored in. 80% of full-time students benefit from financial aid, with an average of $7,584 per student.
Notable University of Alaska Anchorage Alumni
The University of Alaska Anchorage has several notable alumni, including:
- Neal Foster, member of the Alaska House of Representatives
- Tom Anderson, radio talk show host
- Mark Begich, former U.S. Senator
- Loren Lernan, 8th lieutenant governor of Alaska
- Johnny Ellis, former member of the Alaskan Senate
- Bryce Edgmon, member of the Alaskan House of Representatives
- Jay Beagle, former player with the Arizona Coyotes
Finding The Right School For Your Child
Alaska’s sparse population creates unique educational hurdles for families searching for the best learning environment for their student. The state’s Department of Education and Early Development developed a unique correspondence system that provides academic support to families homeschooling their kids. The programs have created some of the largest online school systems in the nation.
The schools in this list have unique course offerings, with most allowing kids to customize their learning process. This post can help you find the right correspondence school for your homeschooling kids in Alaska and will enable you to take charge of your child’s educational future.
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