K-12 students receive window of opportunity #Apple #ConnectEdInitiative


A year ago it wouldn’t have been possible…

Fast forward: “It makes me want to go upstairs and register for school,” said Chief John Kvasnikoff speaking at Nanwalek School. “We always want it better than what we had, and now we do. We’ve got a lot of potential and it opens up more.”

A two megabit satellite transitioned to a 20 megabit microwave in the village of Nanwalek, Alaska. “The timing on this event worked out wonderfully in Nanwalek,” said Jim White, KPSBD director of information services. “After years of the school suffering with agonizingly slow satellite Internet performance, Alaska Communications was able to bring terrestrial high speed Internet into the school, and DSL into village homes. Principal Nancy Kleine had a story to tell in the White House ConnectEd initiative grant application and Apple was listening. The grant award brought quality technology for every student and teacher to use with that new data capacity, but also important, it brought recognition to the community of Nanwalek. It all just seems like a giant leap forward over-night, and I think a great opportunity to learn in a new way for the students of Nanwalek. This is an exciting time, in a very special place.”

August 18, 2015, marked the day eighty students in Nanwalek School crossed the school stage to receive their very own iPad—part of the White House ConnectEd initiative. Nearly a year in preparation with professional development for the teachers, Nanwalek was the only school in Alaska to be selected for the initiative, and one of 114 schools in the country. The White House ConnectEd initiative began in 2013.

The iPads will be integrated in all classes, including during special education service and for Sugt’stun class. Academic core learning will be strengthened through resources and e-books on the devices. Professional development for teachers includes differentiation to strengthen core instruction, and intervention processes to increase student achievement. Students will leave their iPads at school, an incentive to increase attendance as engagement with learning grows. By giving students access to the latest technology and powerful learning tools, the classroom will transform into a place of deeper exploration and creativity.

“We are very excited about this opportunity for our students in Nanwalek,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “A key part of any initiative is professional development for our teachers and through the training commitment from Apple, we are confident that the new technology will have a tremendous positive impact for all of our Nanwalek students.”

Nanwalek School honors cultural identity while developing students to be effective members of society. School goals for the ConnectEd initiative include:

  • Students, parents, and community will be our partners
  • Teaching will be transformed
  • Students will be active learners
  • Students will strengthen their academic learning
  • Students will have a tool for preservation of language and culture
  • Students will have more possibilities for postsecondary options

It’s definitely a new year in Nanwalek; watch for update stories to discover what is taking place in our small village school located on the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, across the bay from Homer, Alaska.


The mission of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is to develop productive, responsible citizens who are prepared to be successful in a dynamic world.

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