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Nikolski looks to reopen public school as Western Aleutians face student enrollment challenges

Students turn cartwheels outside of Atka's school.
Laura Kraegel
Students turn cartwheels outside of Atka's school.

Adak’s school closed last summer due to under enrollment, making Atka the only school left in the Aleutian Region School District, but that might soon change.

Superintendent Mike Hanley said the district is working to reopen the school in Nikolski on Umnak Island, which has been closed for more than a decade.

In this “Island Interview,” Hanley discusses public schools in the Western Aleutians and how the community in Nikolski is stepping away from statewide trends, reopening its doors to local families.

This interview originally aired on KUCB on Jan. 11, 2024.

Sofia was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She’s reported around the U.S. for local public radio stations, NPR and National Native News. Sofia has a Master of Arts in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism from the University of Montana, a graduate certificate in Documentary Studies from the Salt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder. In between her studies, Sofia was a ski bum in Telluride, Colorado for a few years.