Elective Phases Begin at HCSD

Elective Phases begin

Superintendent’s Message

Hoonah City Schools is committed to providing the best education to all of its students. In order to do that we must evolve as a school to meet the needs of a changing world. While we are committed to staying grounded in are core cultural beliefs, we cannot escape the reality of our changing world. It is getting bigger and more connected daily. However, with those changes comes opportunity, opportunity for us to be on the forefront of changing and transforming education. Within the state of Alaska schools look different in each community as they try to be reflective of the populations they serve. Yet, even within that diversity, I am seeing more agreement than disagreement about “what” great education looks like in our world today.

The agreement that most are centering on, is the preparing of students with the skills and knowledge that they must possess to succeed in 21st century jobs and civic life. At its heart, it is a set of outcomes students must master in order to develop a keen understanding of academic content and apply their knowledge to problems in the classroom and on the job.” Here is a list of those outcomes:

  • Mastering core academic content
  • Thinking critically and solving complex problems
  • Working collaboratively
  • Communicating effectively
  • Learning how to learn
  • Developing academic mindsets

At Hoonah City School our efforts to meet these needs as take a new look, the Variable Term Schedule. The VTS (Variable Term Schedule) is a unique way of looking at how time is distributed and utilized throughout the year. We have divided the semester into three six-week blocks. Four of those six weeks are spent in a student’s core academic subjects, math, science, social studies, and language arts. The remaining two weeks are spent in student selected electives. These electives are offered in extended blocks. Students take either one or two electives during the day. They spend 186 minutes in each class. This extended time allows them to work more deeply in the selected area. This semester we are offering: EMT/ETT certification, welding, wood-shop, robotics, outdoor environmental science, art, hunter safety, creative writing, culinary arts, health relationships, and automotive technology. We will be adding additional courses for the second semester.


We were pleased with our first phase. When surveyed, students expressed an overwhelming positive attitude about the scheduling and courses. One of our hoped-for outcomes, was providing students with exposure to many career pathways and fostering a desire for exploring the many opportunities that exist for them as they complete their schooling. 


At HCSD we believe in education and its power to transform lives. We also believe that in order for that to happen we must first transform education. Why? because we must. Because we want to. Because we know better. Because we can. Education is meant to prepare young people for their lives, both in the moment and in their futures. The world our young people will engage with over their lifetimes is already very different from that of former generations and will become even more different as the rate of change accelerates. While there will always be a timeless set of knowledge that helps in this preparation, students need skills that help them navigate a future that is increasingly changing.



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