Curriculum Tools | News

Rural Alaska District Boosts Digital Content Integration

The massive and remote Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) of Soldotna, AK is expanding its use of streaming media and other digital learning materials, along with teacher professional development, to support its educational mission. The district, which covers 25,600 square miles, has renewed its contract with Discovery Education for the company to provide access to an array of online digital content services, including Discovery Education streaming Plus, Discovery Education Science, and Discovery Education Health.

Located roughly 65 miles due southwest of Anchorage, or about 150 miles by roadway, KPBSD doesn't allow its somewhat remote location to interfere with providing its students and staff with 21st-century skills development and the technology it requires. "Our classrooms are dynamic environments that seek to engage every student, no matter their learning modality," said Sean Dusek, KPBSD's assistant superintendent of instruction. "Our district is committed to empowering educators not only with flexible digital content that engages all types of students, but with the latest strategies and techniques to help us meet the goals of our science and literacy programs."

As part of the renewed and enhanced agreement, Discovery Education will also have its curriculum alignment team thoroughly analyze the district's documentation in order to determine the optimal collection and course of digital content, including audiovisual files, images, articles, and interactive exercises and games, to integrate directly into the grade and course curricula of each grade and course of study offered in the district's 44 K-12 schools.

In addition, the company has contracted to provide an additional 130 days of professional development over the next three years. This component of the company's services is designed to help instructors integrate digital content into the classroom, and to support district initiatives including the teaching of elementary science with an emphasis on overall literacy, integration of STEM instruction into middle school curricula, and emphasizing English language arts as part of standard social studies instruction.

KPBSD initially contracted with Discovery Education to provide digital content in 2009, has become an integral resource for teachers and students throughout the district, said Superintendent Steve Atwater. "Our school system's mission is to provide stimulating, integrated learning opportunities that develop creative, productive learners who demonstrate the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to meet life's challenges," he explained, adding that the enormous success of the initial implementation led to the desire for improved student and staff proficiency at the services' use and their further integration into all areas of instruction.

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.