District celebrates first graduating class of Russian Immersion students


May 3, 2016



Contact: Brandon Locke

ASD Director of World Languages




Sixteen students in the first graduating class of the Anchorage School District’s Russian Immersion Program will be recognized at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3 in Recital Hall located in the UAA Fine Arts Building.

These students began their Russian language study in 2004 as first-graders at Turnagain Elementary School where they learned their curriculum in Russian for half of the day and English for half of the day.

ASD’s Russian Immersion Program is the first of its kind in the United States. It began with parental support and encouragement from the local business community to prepare students for Alaska’s future economic and social ties with neighboring Russia.

A less commonly-taught language, Russian requires more time to learn and having an early start at the elementary school provides students the time and intensity to immerse themselves in a foreign language which is sometimes considered more difficult to learn.

“Russian is considered a critical language by the U.S. government, meaning the supply of Russian-speaking professionals is much less than the demand, especially in terms of global finance, trade, diplomacy and national defense,” said World Languages Director Brandon Locke. “Russian continues to be one of the most in-demand languages among employers in both the public and private sectors due to its international relevance and unique versatility. This program, along with all of our language immersion programs, puts students on a path to success and enables them to peruse unique opportunities after high school.”

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