A federal grant will help expand class options for some Prince of Wales Island students.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program is providing $360,000 to the Southeast Island School District’s distance learning program. Alaska Director Jim Nordlund says the money will pay for equipment. It will allow students at remote schools to attend classes that are not available locally.
“It’s difficult to get good-quality educational materials to those distant locations. So with this grant, they will be able to connect the schools on the island to the school in Thorne Bay,” he says.
The district operates schools in nine small communities, including Coffman Cove, Whale Pass and Hollis.
Another Rural Development grant, about $280,000, is going to the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium’s telemedicine program.
Nordlund says it will help 12 clinics provide a wider range of health services.
“Those clinics will be hooked up and provide for better medical care for folks who in some cases would otherwise have to travel maybe to Sitka or Juneau or Ketchikan for care,” he says.
A third grant sends about $430,000 to the Aleutians East Borough School District’s distance learning program. It will allow students to attend University of Alaska and Alaska Vocational-Technical Education Center courses.
The USDA three grants total about $1 million.