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Chugach Optional AEL Program in Full Swing

The Academic English Learners (AEL) program at Chugach Optional is in full swing. From academics to sports students get to continue learning throughout the summer.

Students learn baseball A Chugach Optional student learns the basics of baseball with Gamers Baseball Alaska during the Chugach Optional AEL Summer Program. (Photo Courtesy Matt Crockett)

Chugach Optional Principal Clare Hill said that students in the summer program are working on core academics and also experiencing Science, Technology, Engineering,Art, and Math (STEAM) based instruction through hands-on lessons. 

She said that with the help of the wonderful business partners like the Campbell Creek Science Center, Bricks 4 Kidz, Under Ground Dance Company and Gamers Baseball Alaska students in the program are given this amazing opportunity to continue to grow and learn throughout the summer months.

Working with legos An AEL Summer Program student works with Legos during a robotics building class at Chugach Optional. (Robert DeBerry/ASD)

The summer program helps students with enhancing their academics and language, while also enjoying STEAM instruction, hip hop classes, baseball, friendship and more.

The program has 300 students in kindergarten through sixth-grade. Hill said that the AEL program serves English learners and new to the country students.

Students in Chugach Optional Summer Program A student in the Chugach Optional AEL Summer Program paints during an art class. (Courtesy Matt Crockett)

"This program has been going on for five years," said Hill. "The strength of the program is that it not only supports students in language development and building strength in their academic areas, but it is so enjoyable for the children. They love being here and feel more connected to their community."

Students in the AEL Summer Program Students in the Chugach Optional AEL Summer Program pose for a photograph. (Robert DeBerry/ASD)

This program is one of the most diverse summer programs in Anchorage.

"Children come from all over the world. In one classroom there will be children from 10-15 different countries," said Hill. "It is a beautifully diverse school."

Chugach Otional Group Photo Learning Baseball A Chugach Optional AEL Summer Program students works on his baseball skills. (Courtesy Matt Crockett)

Learning Letters A student in the Chugach Optional AEL Summer Program works on her letters. (Robert DeBerry/ASD)


Robert DeBerry