About Our School

  • school buildingChugach Optional Elementary began in 1973 and is the oldest optional program in Anchorage. Proud of its history, Chugach Optional’s strong program has inspired students in a supportive and exciting learning environment for several generations. Through our optional curriculum, we work to foster a joy of learning that extends beyond the classroom. We encourage the development of critical thinking and self-directed learning. We meet these goals by collaborating with our staff and families while providing ongoing staff professional development.

    Philosophy of Chugach

    Our philosophy is based on the following beliefs and assumptions:

    • Children are naturally curious, want to learn, and can learn
    • Instruction should be child-centered, that is, responsive to the special interests and aptitudes of each child
    • The learning environment should nurture growth of the whole child, emphasizing physical, emotional, and academic development
    • The joy of learning lies in meeting challenges, discovering new territory and gaining knowledge through experience
    • Children who share responsibility for their own learning and are encouraged to think independently will grow into self-directed responsible adults


    handbook image Chugach Optional Handbook

    Click on the attached link for a comprehensive look at the core principles and values of our school:


    Chugach Optional Handbook




  • Why don’t students receive grades?

  • How are we aware of student progress?

  • Who is in charge of the student’s learning?

  • Why does each class include two grades?

  • Why do students address teachers by their first names?

  • What is inquiry learning?

  • How is reading taught at Chugach Optional?

  • How are students motivated to work hard?

  • Why does Chugach emphasize cooperation and avoid competition?

  • What are the expectations for parent involvement?

  • Are services offered for students with special needs?

  • Why are students sent home early on many Fridays?

  • How do students get to school?

  • Does Chugach offer art, PE, music and library?

  • Are after-school activities available that are led by parents or teachers?