21st Century Community Learning Center

Summer Learning: Reclaiming Summer Break for Alaskan Children

This season across Alaska, children are participating in camps and activities that boost confidence and prevent summer learning loss. Without continued engagement, students may start the new school year at lower academic achievement levels. Enrichment programs fend off the summer slide by helping youth maintain academic abilities, get involved with their communities, embark on outdoor adventures, or try out new areas of inquiry, such as hands-on STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics). 

The gap in learning becomes pronounced for those from lower income families.

How One Rural Town Is Investing in Alaska's Future Workforce

Nearly two-thirds of Alaska’s cities, towns, and villages are accessible only by plane or boat, which makes having a strong aviation workforce critical to having a strong state economy. Qualified and experienced employees in the aviation industry are in high demand throughout the state, especially in rural communities.


The 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) in Nenana is addressing this demand by preparing youth living in rural Alaska for this crucial industry.

Q&A: Iditarod Elementary Youth Talk About Their NASA STEM Challenge Experience

Students from five afterschool programs located in Mat-Su and Fairbanks participated in the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) NASA STEM Challenge earlier this year. This Challenge allowed students to demonstrate their engineering design skills and collaborate directly with NASA experts during out-of-school time to gain firsthand, real-world experience in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).


Five youth from Iditarod Elementary School in Wasilla shared a little bit about their experience working on their challenge “Parachuting onto Mars,” where teams designed, built, and tested a drag device.

Alaska 21st CCLC Youth Showcase Engineering Design Skills

After months of hard work, students at five afterschool programs located in Mat-Su and Fairbanks showcased their engineering design skills after completing the NASA STEM Challenge. Youth documented their hard work in videos, which were displayed during a webinar celebration that included students from around the state, families, and NASA engineers. Watch the students share about their experiences and learn how cargo is dropped onto Mars and how pressure suits protect astronauts!

Alaska 21st CCLC Programs Participate in NASA Challenege

For the past few months, students at five afterschool programs located in Mat-Su and Fairbanks have been hard at work mastering real-world engineering design challenges with NASA scientists as part of a NASA STEM Challenge. Through this program, participants have had the opportunity to collaborate directly with NASA experts during out-of-school time to gain firsthand experience in critically important science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skillsets. 

From Struggling Student to Straight As: An Afterschool Success Story

Dale Austermuhl’s daughter was struggling academically when she started the after school program at her Fairbanks elementary in the second grade. Dale did his best to help, but there’s only so much a single dad working full time on a swing shift can do.