Ayaprun Elitnaurvik–Yup’ik Immersion School of the Lower Kuskokwim School District, aims at strengthening Yup’ik language and culture, and promoting an understanding and acceptance of cultural differences. This K-6 school that enrolls 170 students currently, believes that learning to communicate in more than one language improves the cognitive skills and academic achievement in all other subject areas.
In the 1970s, Bethel only had a bilingual kindergarten that taught all in Yup’ik. A concentrated community effort led to the formation of Ayaprun Elitnaurvik that offered a total immersion Yup’ik program. The school expanded one grade at a time, and was given Charter status in 1999. Sixth grade was introduced in the year 2002. K-1 school is in their own building, while 2-6 is in the south wing of Kilbuck Elementary.
The program at Ayaprun Elitnaurvik is based on the elementary school curriculum offered in all district schools. This includes language arts, music, art, social studies, math, science, and physical education. But here, the students also acquire a second language. K-2 is mostly taught in Yup’ik along with the delivery of oral English Language Development. In grade 3, Yup’ik is taught 75% and 50% in grades 4-6.
Children in this program are also exposed to many language and cultural events held in Bethel, including visits to villages, berry picking and fish camps etc. This helps a child prepare for college and career, as knowledge of a second language promotes worldview and cross-cultural understanding. The school’s thematic approach and close connections with the tribal leaders prepare students for the future in the best way possible.
1010 Fourth Ave.
Bethel, AK 99559
[google-map-sc address=”Ayaprun Elitnaurvik Yup’ik Immersion School, 1010 Fourth Ave., Bethel, AK 99559″]