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Chugach School District, Whittier, AK

In 1994, Chugach School district created a new vision for what learning in the Prince William Sound area could look like and got to work developing this model. Now known as the first competency-based (or performance-based) school district in the United States, students move at their own pace, ­advancing upon their own individual performance rather than in age-based grade cohorts. The Chugach team has provided insight in the process of developing a learner-centered education from designing, refining and continuously improving the education system to meet the needs of all students. This work influenced systems like Highland, Lindsay, Westminster and many others across the country. Chugach has removed the organizational structures that are driven by time and age and replaced them with learning as the constant for which they strive.

School Type


School Context

Small Size, Rural


  • Outcomes: Whole child, Learner Profile, College Ready
  • Learner Experience: Personalized, blended, project-based, competency-based
  • Competency & Credentialing: Competency-based system with learner goal setting
  • Wellness: Advisory, Lifelong focus and advising, Youth and family services, community partnerships, integrated health, before & after school programs
  • Equity: Full inclusion, Opportunity Youth, Trauma supports, Cultural Competency
  • Professional Learning: Teacher leadership; Mentors and alumni; Teacher-led; Multi-age cohorts; SPED facilitation model
  • Strategy: District Model, Tight expectations
  • Partnerships: Before and after programs; Education Reimagined, RISC
  • Technology: District built LMS

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"Texas Rural Education Association supports and collaborates with school districts in order to promote positive public education efforts. We are appreciative for these services that benefit and advocate for rural schools."

Bill Tarleton, Executive Director, Texas Rural Education Association

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Dr. David Harris, President of the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators