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August 12, 2016

Anchorage School District students experience UAA campus firsthand during Summer Academy

Deena Paramo, University of Alaska regent and ASD superintendent,addresses students participating in this year's UAA/ASD Summer Academy.(Photo courtesy of Anchorage School District)
Deena Paramo, University of Alaska regent and ASD superintendent,
addresses students participating in this year's UAA/ASD Summer Academy.
(Photo courtesy of Anchorage School District)
For many teens, attending courses on a college campus doesn’t happen until after graduating from high school. But a partnership between the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and the Anchorage School District (ASD) is giving more than 100 middle and high school students an opportunity to experience taking courses in a college setting.

In the UAA/ASD Summer Academy students in grades eight through 11 spend three weeks in late July and early August honing their math and writing skills in classes in which they earn ASD credit. The experience is designed for students who have finished ASD’s English Language Learner (ELL) program but need to catch up with core academics to become college ready.

“UAA is proud to host the academy,” said Shannon Gramse, director of the Learning Commons and chair of Preparatory College English. “This has been a highly collaborative process with ASD, and we’re happy to help students gain exposure to a college environment.”

Matt Cullin, UAA associate professor of mechanical engineering, uses hands-on activities to help students see algebra's practical applications. (Photo courtesy of Anchorage School District)
Matt Cullin, UAA associate professor of mechanical
engineering, uses hands-on activities to help students see
algebra's practical applications.
(Photo courtesy of Anchorage School District)
Writing classes are team-taught by UAA and ASD faculty, and math courses feature hands-on engineering applications related to the course material. Students take classes in the mornings and afternoons, with a special working lunch in between. These lunches feature special guests and tours representing a range of UAA programs and services, as well as a variety of high-demand career fields.

The program has been well received, and plans are already underway for next year’s academy. Principal collaborators on this year’s project are Phil Farson, ASD ELL director and Shannon Gramse. Lead UAA partners include the College Preparatory & Developmental Studies Department and the Learning Commons, part of the Community & Technical College. Additional partners include the College of Engineering, College of Business and Public Policy and New Student Orientation.


Story by Kirstin Olmstead, CTC Communications Coordinator