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Real Results: Alaska

Keeping Students in One of America’s Most Rural States Learning During a Pandemic

  • 2,208 Students Served
  • 190+ Alaska Teachers Trained
  • 2 Weeks to Launch Program

The Challenge: Quickly and Seamlessly Setting Up a Statewide Online Learning Program

Student participation data

Alaska is home to some of the most rural school districts in the continental United States with nearly 70% of the state’s land considered remote and full of hard-to-navigate mountains and tundra. With thousands of miles between towns, teachers in small schools often teach across multiple subjects and grade levels. At times, this requires flying across the state by plane to meet the needs of their unique student population. For this reason, the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development (AK DEED) was already in talks with FlexPoint Education Cloud (formerly FLVS Global) in early 2020 to launch a statewide virtual school. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit—forcing school closures and requiring AK DEED to press fast forward on their plans for Alaska’s first statewide virtual school.

The Solution: Customizable Online Curriculum to Support Students, Families

With no time to spare, FlexPoint partnered with AK DEED to help the department launch Alaska State Virtual School two years ahead of schedule in March 2020. Over the course of two weeks, FlexPoint was able to quickly support the launch of Alaska State Virtual School by utilizing its national tuition-based school. This gave AK DEED an extensive offering of digital courses via an online learning platform, certified instructors, and a safe online learning option that was open to each of the state’s Kindergarten-12th grade students amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In a press release announcing the program, Alaska Education Commissioner Dr. Michael Johnson stated, “our partnership with [FlexPoint] means that learning can and will continue regardless of the challenges we face as a state, nation, or world. Alaska’s students deserve every chance to learn and grow, and the establishment of a statewide K-12 virtual school is just one way we are ensuring equity and opportunity for all.” 

Program setup information

Following a successful spring launch, FlexPoint quickly got to work to continue supporting AK DEED through the 2020-21 school year. This included continuing to license its digital curriculum, which included over 200 courses for students at all levels, while providing Alaska’s teachers the ability to customize the course materials—creating a personalized learning experience for students. FlexPoint also hosted intensive training for more than 190 Alaskan teachers who wanted to help as many of their students as possible by teaching online during the pandemic. This included strategically scheduled webinars, consultation sessions, support materials, and other resources to support their virtual school with a fully trained staff. 

To support AK DEED through the launch and continuation of its online program, FlexPoint held multiple product training sessions for teachers and admins. The customer support team also held daily check-in calls to ensure the AK DEED staff had everything they needed, and every question was answered for the program’s launch. 

In a press release announcing the online program, AK DEED stated the reason for partnering with FlexPoint, “was because of the organization’s long-standing success and reputation as an education leader with a history of innovation.”

The Bottom Line: Student Success

The FlexPoint team provided training and support for nearly 200 teachers and administrators and more than 2,200 Kindergarten-12th grade students during the 2020-21 school year. Keeping students learning when they needed it most. 

Understanding Alaska’s Remote Rural Economy. Scott Goldsmith. 2008 (PDF).

Alaska Department of Education and Early Development—Implementation, Professional Development and Support Plan (OPSP).