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Welcome to Bowman Open Optional Program

This site was made possible and is maintained by our generous Parent Group.

imageThe Bowman Open Optional Program, a small “school-within-a-school,” is housed at Willard L. Bowman Elementary School on the south side of the Anchorage School District (ASD).

Our mission is to provide students with a strong foundation in all academic areas. We honor individual strengths, needs and interests, and we support social and emotional growth.

The Bowman Optional Program offers education to students in kindergarten through sixth grade with multi age classrooms, team-teaching, and assessments based on goal-setting, self-evaluations and portfolios rather than traditional report cards.

Our program provides students with personal accountability and academic rigor, using the curricular concepts and grade level standards of the Anchorage School District. Bowman Open Optional students participate in all standardized achievement testing required by the Anchorage School District.

Learning is organized within four family groups — a full-day Kindergarten with one teacher and an aide; then multi age classes with team teachers for 1/2, 3/4, and 5/6 family groups. The program draws students from throughout Anchorage, as well as the immediate Bowman neighborhood; names are chosen by lottery twice a year and students are assigned as space is available or added to the wait list.

Some features of the Bowman Open Optional Program include:

  • Personal and academic accountability
  • Self-direction within curricular frameworks
  • Development of organizational and time-management skills
  • Portfolio-based assessments / no letter grades or report cards
  • Critical-thinking and decision-making
  • Encouraging respect for self and others
  • Team-building in the classroom and across age groups
  • Communication, cooperation, and conflict-resolution
  • Parent participation
  • Community service
  • Public speaking

The teachers, staff and parents work to make the Bowman Open Optional Program a safe, supportive school environment where children are encouraged to challenge themselves and participate actively in their own learning.

Read more about our program from our official handbook…