Award Year: 2019

Fred and Sara Machetanz Elementary School

4961 E Nelson Road
Wasilla, AK, 99654-8413

(907) 864-2300

Ms. Jennifer Dowd, Principal at time of Nomination

Choice School

Matanuska-Susitna School District

School Website

School FaceBook


Machetanz will provide our community a safe, proactive, and responsive environment to grow socially, emotionally and academically through STEM and Place Based Service Learning opportunities.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 2%
  • White: 73%
  • Hispanic: 6%
  • Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 2%
  • Asian: 1%
  • Native American: 10%
  • Two or more races: 6%
Students using radio telemetry equipment used to track wolves

Students using radio telemetry equipment used to track wolves

Machetanz Elementary is a Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM) school with an emphasis on Place-Based Service Learning and Art. Our school is situated next to 28,000+ acres of public lands called the 'Palmer Hay Flats' that offer incredible opportunities for outdoor education. Each day students experience hands on lessons that engage them in their education. Each year, Machetanz Elementary partners with scientists, engineers, medical professionals, and artists in our community to enrich the classroom experience of our students. We also partner with community agencies to provide place-based service learning opportunities like volunteering to do annual stream clean-up of the local salmon stream or citizen science monitoring migrating birds.

Our teachers differentiate instruction using the blended learning model of instruction and use cooperative learning structures for our students to share in their learning. Students are 1:1 with technology allowing for further differentiation for student learning. We also have an inclusion model for our special education students so they stay in the general education classroom with their peers until they need increased interventions or small group instruction to support their individual learning needs.

In addition to the curriculum methodologies, students at Machetanz loop for two years with their teachers beginning in Kindergarten. This provides for stronger teacher-student and teacher-family relations as well as enhancing academic needs. The dedicated staff, parents, and community members along with our STEM teaching philosophy and location make Machetanz a unique learning environment for all of our students and their families