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Kwig High School occupies one wing of Kwigillingok School, which is a large blue building that includes Junior High and Elementary classes. The majority of students are bilingual, speaking Yup’ik and English.

Kwig School, right side

Kwig School, right side


The high school enrolled about 33 students this first semester. Graduating classes average 3-5 students a year, as many as 5 being rare. First semester begins in August and ends in December, before Christmas Break. Second semester begins in January, upon return from break and ends late May.kwig-students


Kwig High School curriculum, as well as many schools in the Lower Kuskokwim District, instruct and assess using the Phase system. The four main subjects, Reading, Writing, Science and Math are those monitored and measured by the Phase system. **I preface the description and explanation of this curriculum/assessment method with, it is difficult to fully grasp – there are veteran teachers here in the bush that consistently express frustration with the Phases since the District is constantly toying with and revamping the structure, standards and tools of implementation. So this student teacher, with all of 4 months of Phase experience, will do his best to be fair and thorough.

First and most basic foundation of the Phase system, is it does away with grades. The phase of a student in Reading may be higher or lower than their Phase in Writing, Science, or Math. This offers a certain amount of freedom for the student in any one subject. Example: A student could be in Phase 15 Writing, Phase 18 Reading (final Phase), Phase 16 Science and Phase 15 Math. As you can see with this example a student, and this is not unrealistic for some students, could complete all Reading Phases, with no more requirements in that subject but still be 3 or 4 Phases from meeting the standards for any of the other subjects.

Reading most commonly is the subject students advance more steadily. Writing, similar to any student body in Alaska  or the lower 48, is the subject that seems to pose the greatest challenge. However, in a Yup’ik village, the bilingual factor, I’ve observed, is a prominent obstacle. Example: In the “lower” level Writing courses – so those students’ writing that would make apparent any deficiency in an earlier, purer form, before being twisted or disguised as a more English grammatical issue – I have observed many students write in English as they would speak Yup’ik. ONE sample utilized the freedom of the language by listing and describing, in a single sentence, many different verbs and attributes of a single subject, despite the coordination and forms of those verbs and attributes.

one step at a time?

one step at a time?



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