ANSEP Acceleration High School component doubles enrollment for 2017-18 school year, sees success rate of more than 90 percent in first-year students seeking college credits


ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – In its inaugural year, the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program Acceleration High School had 27 students who earned more than 250 college credits, which represents a 92 percent success rate for Acceleration High School students in their college-level courses. This, paired with the reputation ANSEP has built for success around the state, led to the Acceleration High School component more than doubling its enrollment for this new school year.

Offered in partnership with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District, the full-time high school component at Mat-Su Career and Technical High School in Wasilla offers students an accelerated learning style using ANSEP’s proven educational model. The component aims to save students, their families and the State of Alaska millions of dollars annually.
Data from the Alaska Department of Education 2017 PEAKS exam revealed 68 percent of Alaska’s 10th graders to be below proficient or far below proficient in English and more than 85.35 percent to be below proficient or far below proficient in math. In 2017, 20 percent of Alaska’s high school graduates met all four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, and only 16 percent of Alaska’s students meet the ACT STEM benchmark for college readiness.
“The Acceleration High School component is demonstrating how we can create change, improve the situation and assure students arrive not only academically prepared for college but even ahead of the game,” Schroeder added.
ANSEP Acceleration High School students begin taking college courses immediately and have the ability to accumulate college credits that apply toward many degree programs within the University of Alaska. The component strives to ensure students are college-ready by the end of their third year of high school as well as eliminate the need for a fourth year at the university. With three years in high school and three years in college, students will be career-ready by age 20. Through this model, ANSEP student Tommi Crist, a junior at Acceleration High School, is on track to exceed that goal.
“Right now I have 32 college credits – I earned 26 of those last year at the ANSEP Acceleration High School component and then the rest during the summer at Acceleration Academy. It’s hard to grasp how far ahead I am, but I’m really excited about it. There was a time when I was actually behind in school, but ANSEP changed that. It really showed me that I can take advanced classes, it’s just about how you look at the problem in front of you. It showed me math and science can be fun, and now it’s what I want to do with my future,” Crist said.
In its second year, the ANSEP Acceleration High School component has more than doubled the number of students participating, with 66 students now enrolled. Based on University of Alaska Anchorage requirements, the curriculum allows students to earn 55 credits or more toward a bachelor degree program from science and engineering to education, business management and others. Though not all students are certain which career path they will choose, the curriculum offers the opportunity to get a jumpstart on general education requirements. Brock Grant attended the high school as an eighth-grade student last year and earned 20 general education credits, including courses in Alaska Native language studies, English and math.
“I didn’t think that I could ever take college classes, especially not in eighth grade. Now I know I can actually do this, which is going to make me more confident when I get to college. I don’t know exactly what I want to do yet, but ANSEP is showing me all the different career options, and right now I’m just excited to take on more college classes and get ahead,” Grant said.
The school is open to students of all career interests who plan to attend college. In 2018, ANSEP will partner with the Anchorage School District, offering even more students year-round access to ANSEP’s proven educational model on the UAA campus. Since ANSEP began in 1995, approximately 600 Alaska Native students have graduated from the University of Alaska system with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field. With more than 2,000 students in the ANSEP pipeline, the program’s proven model is systemically improving the hiring patterns of Alaska Natives in STEM fields within Alaska. Learn more about ANSEP Acceleration High School here.