ANCHORAGE -

From the Mt. Edgecumbe student living away from home, to the Akiachak School teacher doing the same thing, being a part of a rural school can often be an uphill battle.

Students at Mt. Edgecumbe in Sitka represent more than 110 locations in the state. When you live there 24 hours a day, issues like home sickness come up often.

"Helping them overcome those kind of life hurdles is really interesting, it can be a barrier but it’s also giving them some great coping skills when they do go off to college," said Blu Jacoby, a science and English teacher at Mt. Edgecumbe. 

Some 959 miles away in the Yupiit School District, Akiachak and Akiak school teachers from the Lower 48 feeling as similar sense of isolation.

"I really want to have spaghetti sometimes," said Akiak fourth grade teacher Breann Willis. "I ask myself, do I have spaghetti noodles, do I have sauce, do I have meat?" 

And if she doesn’t have one element, she said she thinks to herself, “I am going to have to order that, and that will be here in three weeks." 

It’s a struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy that has led some teachers to leave the villages and its schools for bigger communities.

"The Bush is what it is, and people need to accept it for what it is, and adapt to it and thrive in it," said Kim Langton, the superintendent of the Yupiit School District. 

First grade teacher Lindi Quaine has been in the district for four years. She said she loves the students in her school, but admits that at times it can be hard being so far away from her family.  

"I didn't want to come here and be one of those teachers that stayed for just a year or two years," she said.

It’s not just personal barriers that educators around the state have to overcome. Enormous costs play a major factor in running rural education.

"In our rural sites we are probably spending close to $25,000 to $30,000 per student," said Stewart McDonald, superintendent, Kodiak Island Borough School District. With the district’s seven remote village schools, what the district pays can be double or triple the amount compared to Anchorage. 

"I can't depend on that airplane, and I can't depend on the ferry, and so we have to connect with the rest of the world somehow," said McDonald. 

Issues that ultimately determine the fate of how a student learns and succeeds, and issues that educators say they are working to change.

"We don't do enough in Bush Alaska to help them understand why they are even in school and connect them," said Langton. "I mean, help them to dream those dreams, but connect school to the place where those dreams will come true." 

Dreams that, in order to come true, mean teachers and students have to be on the same page to get there.