Our Beginnings

The Galena City School District, a small village on the Yukon River, is known throughout the state for innovation in education. The district includes two other schools in addition to IDEA. The Galena City School educates local children and includes both an elementary school and a high school. Galena Interior Learning Academy is a boarding school that combines the best in educational methods with a focused effort to teach the students practical vocational skills.

In June 1997, the Galena City School District began an innovative homeschool support program. At the time, there were several state-wide correspondence programs that sent a set curriculum to enrolled families and graded all of the student’s work through the mail. Galena was the first to recognize national statistics showing the excellent academic experience that most homeschoolers were experiencing and the first to honor the individuality of homeschool approaches. IDEA was founded on the then-unique principle of honoring the parent’s ability to provide an excellent one-on-one tutoring experience, using individualized curriculum materials and educational methods. Much to the surprise of most educators in the state, we enrolled 1157 students that first year, and we tripled enrollment the following year. As a result of IDEA’s unprecedented popularity, there are now many similar programs in Alaska. However, IDEA was the first and we strive to continue to be the best!

 

Our Educational Philosophy

We believe that you know your child better than anyone else does, and we can support you best by bringing to you educational tools and tips, a wide variety of high-quality materials, advice and guidance, helpful workshops, and encouragement!

We believe that academic materials and an educational style that is truly individualized for each child provides the finest education. We do our best to allow for the most flexibility and individuality possible within a public school system.

We believe that we can learn from each other. We learn from our experiences with homeschoolers that excellence in education is dynamic and can take many forms. You learn from us what the “outside expectations” are for schoolchildren, and how you can best meet them. We hope that every interaction between IDEA and each homeschooling parent is one in which each comes away richer.

We believe that you are capable of providing a solid education, and that you will ask for input when needed. We are here to provide support and recommendations and to encourage you at all times. We are your cheerleaders!

 

Our Mission

IDEA Mission Statement:

The mission of the IDEA program is to provide resources and support to parents who have elected to educate their children at home; to achieve a partnership with families that honors the efforts and dedication of home-schooling parents.

IDEA Belief Statements:

  • Committed parents who have a keen understanding of their children's learning styles and needs are capable of selecting appropriate curricular materials to meet each student's individual educational needs.

  • A free-flowing exchange of knowledge and ideas among a community of learners is necessary to achieve quality instruction.

  • The best instruction is based upon the individual needs of each student.

  • A priority is to promote academic and civic excellence, meeting and exceeding the standards established by the State and the responsibilities needed for life in contemporary society.

Galena City School District Mission Statement:

Every student will be afforded the opportunity to be successful on the exit exam. In accordance with state education policy, the purpose of education is to help ensure that all students will succeed in their education and work, shape worthwhile and satisfying lives for themselves, exemplify the best values of society, and be effective in improving the character and quality of the world about them.

 

Who may enroll in IDEA:

You must be physically residing within the state.
The student must be between the ages of 5 and 19 on September 1st.
At least 50% of the coursework that the student takes through IDEA must be in core subject areas of English, math, social studies, science, technology, or world languages. (Or courses required by an IEP for students who are receiving special education services.) Exceptions can be made to this only for seniors who do not need core courses in order to fulfill graduation requirements.

Families who have at least one older child enrolled full-time in the IDEA Program may enroll pre-school siblings if they will be 4 years old by September 1 of the enrolling year.

When may you enroll?

Returning IDEA families are given the opportunity to re-enroll and/or add siblings in March of each year. We begin the enrollment process for new families in January for the following school year (beginning July 1). Although family enrollment for the new year does not begin until July 1, these new families will be included in our listservs and may begin to enjoy IDEA resources and activities. We scale back our enrollment efforts at the end of October so that we can turn our attention to serving the enrolled families' specific needs. While we are allowed to enroll families throughout the school year, we strongly recommend not displacing a student mid-year.

 

Enrollment Options:

IDEA has several options to meet students' needs. There is no cost to students who qualify. Full-time Enrollment - In order to receive a full allotment, a student must be enrolled full-time in IDEA, which is defined by the state as four or more classes using non-sectarian materials, at least two of which must be in the core subject areas of math, language arts, science, social studies, foreign language, and technology.
IDEA students taking classes at a local public school - Funding from the state is awarded first to the district in which the student lives, and is awarded at a rate of 25% per class. For example, if your child takes one class at the local school, the local district receives 25% funding, and IDEA receives 75% funding for that student, regardless of the number of classes taken through IDEA. Since the money that IDEA receives from the state is reduced by ¼ for each of these classes, this student's allotment is also reduced by ¼ for each class taken elsewhere.


IDEA students taking classes at a local private school - Since private schools receive no funding from the state, allotment is not affected when an IDEA student takes classes at a private school. We are prohibited by law from "counting" such classes toward enrollment in IDEA. No money nor materials purchased with IDEA funds may go into the private school.
Part Time Enrollment - Students may be enrolled on a part-time basis in IDEA, taking 1, 2, or 3 courses through IDEA. The allotment available to them would depend on what other enrollment they may have elsewhere, so questions should be handled on an individual basis. Because all enrollment criteria apply to part-time students as well as full-time students, if only one course is taken through IDEA, it must be a core class as defined above.


Special Education

Both state and federal laws guarantee the right of special needs children to a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment within their district of residence. Before IDEA enrolls a student who is eligible to receive special education services, the student must meet IDEA's enrollment criteria and the student's IEP team (parent, child-when appropriate, and representatives from IDEA and the district of residence) must determine the least restrict environment. The IEP team determines if your child would be best instructed through homeschooling or if services will be provided by the district of residence. If the district of residence will be providing services, IDEA must enter into a cooperative agreement with your local school district to determine the delivery of those special education services specified in your child's IEP (State regulation 4 AAC 33.432). Please read the Special Education section of this handbook for further information. If you have questions, feel free to call Tracy Culbert, GCSD Director of Special Education, at 907-374-2200.

 

Report Card to the Public:

This is a report that each school district prepares each summer, summarizing the previous school year.  It is a multi-page pdf document, so you need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it and it will take several minutes to download. It will go faster if you right-click and choose "Save Target As..." to save on your computer, then open after it has finished downloading.

2011 - 2012 Reportcard to the Public
2010 - 2011 Reportcard to the Public
2009 - 2010 Reportcard to the Public

 

NCLB - Adequate Yearly Progress

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) mandated that all students in grades 3 through 10 score proficient on standardized tests for language arts and mathematics by 2014. All school districts and schools in Alaska are required to demonstrate Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) towards meeting this goal. Each school year the Department of Education uses the combined test scores from all of our students who were tested in April to determine Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for our school, along with other schools around the state.

Alaska’s AYP calculations are based upon three factors set forth within the law: (1) the percentage of students meeting or exceeding state standards in language arts and math; (2) testing participation rate; and (3) the factor of “other academic indicator”, which is a combination of average daily attendance and graduation rate.

The IDEA program did make AYP for the 2009-2010 school year. Until we make AYP two years in a row, NCLB requires that we notify parents and develop a school improvement plan. Each year, we look at the areas where we could improve and work with the PAC’s and staff to come up with workshops or changes to our procedures that will move us towards our meeting AYP for the next school year.

Below you will find links to the AYP report for IDEA from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development for the last several years, with the most recent on top, along with a letter from IDEA Director Tim Cline about this year's report. If you have any questions regarding NCLB, AYP, and what this means to the IDEA program and/or to you specifically, please contact Tim Cline in the Fairbanks IDEA Office.

2011-2012 Adequate Yearly Progress Report
GCSD District Improvement Letter from the Superintendent