How A Rural Alaska School District With Shrinking Enrollment Kept Its Class Offerings Up
Alaska Dispatch News
Tim Shumway teaches high school classes from the second floor of his Anchorage home, where he has three computer screens set up on his desk so he can talk to his students, who sit in three separate classrooms, all more than 100 miles away.
The untraditional schedule and increased reliance on technology are part of the Copper River School District’s strategy to counter declining enrollment, said school district Superintendent Tamara Van Wyhe. In the past decade, the district’s student population has shrunk by about 22 percent, and the district has closed three of its six brick-and-mortar schools, according to state data. But at the same time, Van Wyhe said, the district has drastically increased its number of online classes and, last year, overhauled its high school schedule.
It’s trying to do more with less — grappling with the effects of shrinking enrollment, like many other rural school districts.