Hooper Bay Charter School Is Open, Emphasizes Yup’ik Culture

Small Alaska village on a cloudy summer day, with waterfront and fishing boats in foreground

A new charter school opened in Hooper Bay this fall, serving children in grades 4 through 8.

The curriculum centers around scientific topics or concepts found locally in Hooper Bay. Principal Jamie Wollman believes this will empower her students to recognize the connection between education and traditional Alaska Native culture.

“The biggest thing is that they connect with their community, they connect with their elders, and that they see a relevance for their Yup‘ik culture, and they can add that as part of their learning,” Wollman says.

The charter school recently won a large grant, which will help sustain their operations. Wollman calls it “icing on a beautiful cake that had already been made.”

According to the press release, the grant will allow for a “high level of training for staff in the collaborative and interdisciplinary instructional
methodology to support a unique STEM and dual-language focus, allow for the training and support of at least three local Alaska Native teachers, and provide resources for the regularly scheduled community events to showcase locally-relevant and science-based student learning for the community”.

Image at top: Boats are lined up for subsistence in the village of Hooper Bay. Photo from the public domain.

1 Comment

  1. Sue Steinacher on December 2, 2020 at 11:07 am

    I pray this approach is successful in preparing kids to excel in mastering certain western demands while remaining deeply rooted in their culture and communities. And I hope other school districts will study this model, embrace it, and continue to adapt and innovate it in the manner which has made Native culture successful for thousands of years.