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Fairbanks district program aims to provide flexibility for families

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Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 12:21 am | Updated: 11:30 am, Tue Apr 8, 2014.

FAIRBANKS — Great scholarship and academic achievement are not limited to the traditional classroom setting in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.

As an educational alternative, the district offers both a homeschool and an online learning program through the Building Educational Success Together school.

For the BEST homeschool program, students in grades kindergarten through 12 receive an allotment of funds for technology as well as curriculum materials of their choice that align with their individual learning plan and state grade level expectations.

In the online learning program, students in grades seven through 12 can enroll in a minimum of four courses through fully accredited, online learning programs with highly qualified and certified teachers.

While the majority of academic instruction takes place outside of the traditional school setting, BEST students still have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities and share time with their peers. Students in both the homeschool and online learning programs may enroll in up to two classes at their attendance area school and are eligible to participate in athletics, music programs, and other activities.

The programs also provide a range of events developed specifically for BEST students such as workshops on scientific topics or art lessons from visiting artists.

At the secondary level, BEST students have the flexibility of setting their own daily schedules and their courses run the spectrum from remediation to Advanced Placement.

“Some of the top hockey players, wrestlers, swimmers, cross country skiers, musicians and world language declamation participants are enrolled in BEST,” said executive director of alternative instruction and accountability Kathy Hughes.

“Everyone’s story is unique. Our students include those who are too ill to sit in a classroom, athletes whose talents require travel, students attending the university for dual credit, those whose families live part of the year in very remote areas and many others,” Hughes said.

BEST was founded in 2008 and serves about 290 students today. To learn more about alternative options available for students, visit the BEST Showcase from 1-6 p.m. April 14 at Noel Wien Library or the BEST Book Fair/Showcase from 1-7 p.m. April 22 at Barnes and Noble. Additional information is available at www.best.k12northstar.org.

This column is provided through a partnership with the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. Scott McCrea and Johanna Carson can be reached at publicrelations@k12northstar.org.

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