New Learning Opportunity: iPads for Orcas

“iPads for Orcas” Celebration Rolls Out New Learning Opportunities for Port Graham School


Wednesday, September 21, 2016, rolled out iPads for Orcas, a festive celebration in Port Graham School. Students, staff, community, and guests gathered in anticipation for every student to be presented with their very own iPad for use in school. Before presenting the devices, Principal Kleine explained to the joyful audience how this project came to life.

Until just a few years ago, Port Graham was not only geographically isolated—technology more typical of what students on the road system experience was not available, as the internet was exceedingly slow. In 2014, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District subsidized a microwave broadband upgrade in Nanwalek and Port Graham, allowing much faster access. As students and staff watched neighboring Nanwalek School enter a new way of learning through the Apple ConnectED Grant, staff and site council supported efforts for iPads to become a reality for Port Graham students.

img_1931Through requests, Port Graham School was awarded donations from two corporations that important to Port Graham residents. Chugach Alaska Corporation donated $10,000, and through the Paluwek Heritage Foundation, Port Graham Corporation provided $4200, the remainder of the funds that would have provided a 1:1 implementation. However, Port Graham experienced a population explosion this fall, growing from the expected 29 students to 36! Determined to put ipads into every student’s hands, the staff opted to use rollover funds from the school budget for the remaining iPads.

Principal Kleine expressed thanks to everyone who helped this innovation, and invited students to be like the orcas for which they were named. She invited them to swim into the digital world, exploring safe places on the internet, and apps that would help them increase their skills. She encouraged them to dive as deeply as they dared into their research, learning to think more deeply as well. In this celebratory environment, she asked everyone to be partners in this new way of learning, and “to keep a joy of learning in our school, using our strength of helping each other as we leap into this new world of technology!” Teacher Devin Michel read the vision statement for the project, encapsulating the ideas by asking students to “Develop the way we think, the way we work, and the tools we use to expand our minds.”


As words of gratitude and invitations to learn were presented, students were signaled to express their joy with kazoos and pompoms whenever Principal Kleine sounded her tambourine. Finally, each student’s name was announced in a commencement-like manner, and elementary teacher Ms. Devin Michel presented each with an iPad, followed by congratulatory hand-shakes from Second Chief Martin Norman, site council secretary and staff member Heather O’Domin, and secondary teacher Colby Way.

img_1894Title VI tutor Camille Parry guided students in front of a poster thanking Chugach Alaska and Port Graham Corporation. After a group photo, and cake, students went to classrooms to turn on their iPads and take their new devices for a spin. The activities were riddled with smiles and laughter as the “iPads for Orcas” came to life!

Story contributed by Nanwalek School and Port Graham School Principal Nancy Kleine



In his words… | Dave Daniel, KPBSD teacher

Dave Daniel, Mountain View Elementary, 2016

Dave Daniel, Mountain View Elementary, 2016

Celebrating Dave Daniel, KPBSD 30+ year teacher, 1986 – 
In his words…

“They will not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

“Our children are our future, literally. They come from all possible walks of life, all socioeconomic backgrounds, all types of living conditions, and with their own unique gifts and challenges. The number one thing an elementary teacher needs to remember is, ‘They will not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.’ I’ve been saying that for many, many years, and it has proven more times than I can recall in my students.”

#iAmKPBSD history

In 1986, I started teaching at William H. Seward Elementary School, the same school I had attended. Many of the same teachers were still teaching on staff! I taught 4th grade for two years, and was fortunate in that Roger Sampson was my principal and an excellent mentor. In 1988 I moved to Kenai, and began teaching at Mountain View Elementary.

Room memories:

  • Room 8: three years of 4th graders
  • Room 19 for twenty years! Three years with 6th grade; 15 years with 5th grade, and then back to 4th grade.
  • Portable: two and a half years with 4th grade
  • Room 14: my current classroom to this day!

When I think over my career in the KPBSD, I especially recall:

#Golden student…

I really appreciate those students who came to realize, I genuinely cared about them as people. Many of them come and visit me still to this day, or drop me a note now and again. This is especially rewarding, because often they are students that may have needed a firmer hand at times. Just this year I received a poignant note from one young man who is on the threshold of graduation. Evidently he was asked to consider those who had helped him through the rough patches, and he thought back to me. Then he took the time to write me a nice letter thanking me for the times I would pick him up for field trips, or go the extra mile for him in some other way. It was nice to know it had a positive and lasting impact on him.

#Golden staff…

I have been extremely blessed over the years to teach with many, many staff. Some have been memorable for their amazing abilities, dedication, love for students, wisdom, or sense of humor. I will never forget Alice Johnson and Jan Daniel’s efforts to help me loosen up and be less regimented. I was an extremely inflexible young teacher who lived by my lesson plan book and the clock. Alice made it her personal goal to cure me of this and would regularly bring her children into my class … Unannounced … to read our combined classes a story during my math lesson, or something else that made me flex. Jan on the other hand regularly hid my lunch in the staff lounge when I was not paying attention. I never knew it was her until the day she retired. Really, you just don’t expect that of such a sweet, kind, and lady. At least I didn’t, and I would accuse everyone else of doing it. She never said a word till we were celebrating her retirement.

What’s best for kids?

Then there was Jim Dawson. Jim started calling me sir the day I met him. I could not figure out why and told him to stop, because I was sure I was not that much older than him. We were the same age. Jim was the PE teacher at Mountain View, and over the years he became my friend, and the principal. He taught me it was okay to take educational risks and think outside the box, if the students would benefit. He taught me to do my best and not sweat the rest, and he was the first person I ever heard say, what’s best for kids? It shaped the way I looked at my students, and my profession. It helped me to develop my tag line on all my emails over these many years, They will not care what you know, until they know how much you care.

A forever memory … #compassion #MakeaDifference

I will never forget the terrible day our class returned from a fieldtrip, and one little girl’s mom was very late coming to pick her up. The police arrived and explained that mom had been rushing back to Kenai when she lost control of her car and was fatally injured. There was no other family in the state for this little girl, besides her young brother. I had to break the news to her, and held her for hours as she cried and cried. I made a call to a close classmate’s mom, who came and took her home. She stayed with this family until her grandparents were contacted. Our little classroom community, and a local congregation, cared for her and her grandparents until all arrangements were made. Then she and her brother went home with the grandparents. That young lady is 22 years old now, and over the years she reached out to me, and even came back once to reassure us all she was doing okay. A teacher often finds themselves doing so much more than the rest of the world even begins to understand.


Dave Daniel, Mountain View Elementary, early 1990s, likely 1993

Investing my time in the KPBSD… #31years #PublicEducation

It has given me more perspective than many. I have seen so many programs, teachers, administrators, and curriculums come and go. The one common factor that has always been constant and made the biggest difference in any child’s education, is having a qualified teacher in their lives. The standards, programs, and assessments have never been as important as a community of dedicated professionals working collaboratively to help our students reach their potential. This was true 31 years ago, and it is today, as well.

Then and Now…

There was a time when the teaching reading, writing, math, science, and social studies well was good enough. Believe it or not there really was.


Mountain View Elementary School
Facebook: Mountain View Elementary
Explore Learning Educator Spotlight: Dave Daniel


“I am very proud of our staff that have been with our district for so many years. The lives they have made a difference with are incalculable. I truly appreciate what they have given the children of this district and hope they continue their careers with us for many more years! Thank you so much for helping our students and schools grow!” –Sean Dusek, superintendent


Homer residents: KPBSD seeks a school board member

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KPBSD Board of Education seeks applicants 

Soldotna, September 19, 2016—KPBSD seeks applicants to fill a vacant school board position in District 8 (Homer) through October 2017.

A nine member board serves the diverse Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, which spans 25,600 square miles, educates nearly 8,700 students, and has more than forty schools. This vacant school board position requires residency in Assembly District 8, located in the southern Kenai Peninsula. This geographical area includes schools in the Homer, Alaska.

For information on the role and responsibilities of board members, review the Bylaws of the Board on the KPBSD website.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, a qualified voter of the State of Alaska and a resident of the Kenai Peninsula and District 8 for 180 days.

Term of Office
Appointment will begin October 3, 2016.  Appointee will stand for re-election at the regular election in October 2017.

To Apply
Applications are available through the KPBSD website, or at the District office. The vacancy will remain open until filled. However, applications will be reviewed at 12:00 noon, (AKST), on September 27, 2016, and if there are viable applicant(s), the position will be closed.

Questions? Contact Debbie Tressler, 907-714-8836,



Changing school start and end times : community meetings

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School start and end times will change in southern peninsula schools served by bus transportation

Soldotna, September 14, 2016—Changes are coming next year, and in order to inform and gather input, three southern peninsula community meetings will take place in September. Discussion centers around the necessary adjustments to school start and end times, modification of bus schedules, and additional implications because of these changes. Parents, KPBSD staff, students, and community members are invited and encouraged to attend a community meeting:

  • Homer area: Monday, September 19, 2016, 6:00 PM, Homer High School


  • Ninilchik area: Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 6:00 PM, Ninilchik School


  • Anchor Point area: Thursday, September 22, 2016, 6:30 PM, Chapman School

When the school board awarded a ten year transportation contract to Apple Bus, and also approved a change from the current single tier busing to double tier (or two-tier) busing starting in August, 2017, the ramification is that to implement two-tier busing, school start times will need to stagger in order for buses to serve two routes every day. Running two tier busing requires a minimum of 60 minutes between the first and second bus run schedules.

Changes will take place at southern peninsula schools served by bus transportation and include:
Chapman School
Fireweed Academy
Homer Flex School
Homer High School
Homer Middle School
McNeil Canyon Elementary
Nikolaevsk School
Ninilchik School
Paul Banks Elementary
West Homer Elementary

Two-tier busing throughout the rest of the school district has been in place for many years. Southern peninsula schools will collaborate to select new school start and end times.

Next steps
After these preliminary community meetings, school principals will work with district administrators to analyze the input and feedback, then propose school start and end times and create draft bus schedules. Follow up school-based or area meetings may be scheduled, if needed. The district intends to finalize changes for the 2017-2018 school year by early spring, 2017.

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Contact: Pegge Erkeneff, communications liaison, 907.714.8888

September 14, 2016 News Release



SURVEY | KPBSD parents, staff, community, students…

Kenai Peninsula Borough School DistrictKPBSD logo 4c today

News Release
Do you care about educational and resource needs in the KPBSD?

Soldotna, September 12, 2016—KPBSD requests parents, staff, students in 6th grade and above, and community members to provide personal opinions and input about educational and resource needs in the diverse KPBSD through completing an online survey.

The survey offers questions to evaluate programmatic, staffing, and resource needs throughout our district. Survey topics include educational and resource needs within our diverse school communities as well as opportunities to offer personal experiences with the district. Survey responses are anonymous, and feedback will assist the district’s efforts to increase the equity and efficiency in allocating resources to better serve KPBSD schools.

Take the survey now:

The survey will be open through September, 2016

“Our district is committed to listen to the voices of all our constituents as we look to continuously improve and be more efficient. This survey will go a long ways toward how we will implement our instructional model in the future and provide a high quality education for all of our students. Thank you for your participation in this important opportunity for input.” –Sean Dusek, superintendent

KPBSD partnered with Hanover Research to administer this survey. Hanover Research is an independent education research firm based in Washington, D.C., and is in no way affiliated with any other entity or organization. All responses will be kept completely anonymous, and no identifying information will be provided to the district. Similarly, grouped results will not be presented in a way that could potentially allow the identification of any specific respondents (e.g., faculty within a specific grade teaching a specific course).

Questions or difficulties with survey? Please contact Conor Kelly, Hanover Institute,

Contact: Pegge Erkeneff, KPBSD communications liaison


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National Suicide Prevention Week #NSPW16

An open letter to the community from Sean Dusek, Superintendent  of Schools

September 5 – 11, 2016 is National Suicide Prevention Week #NSPW16. World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10, 2016.

Alaska has a high rate of suicide. In 2014, according to the CDC, our state was ranked second in the nation for death by suicide. In that same year, Alaska was rated the highest in the nation for youth ages 15-24, to die by suicide.

Experts believe that most suicidal individuals do not want to die, and they just want to end the pain they are experiencing. Experts also know that suicidal crises tend to be brief.

Our school district and communities are not immune to this public health issue. In several of our schools, staff and students are planning activities to provide support and educational opportunities for their peers, including the creation of a Wall of Hope. A Wall of Hope identifies positive aspects in the lives of students to highlight why living is important to them.

We work diligently to recognize the warning signs and provide as much support as we can to those in need. Our schools are staffed with caring adults who are there to help. Our teachers and staff receive training on suicide prevention and how to identify warning signs.

While prevention is our first priority, we know postvention is a critical component of a comprehensive wellness program when faced with the tragedy of suicide in a community. Postvention has the ability to ease distress, break the cycle of suicide, and be a preventative measure.

While KPBSD’s overall health and wellness curriculum is in place, a high priority need for our district is further education and supports for suicide prevention. Our goal is to create a network of community mental health providers collaborating to develop a purposeful and coordinated community support that responds quickly and effectively to provide safe havens in response to suicide.

This past spring, several high schools hosted You are Not Alone school assemblies. You are Not Alone is a peer-led youth suicide prevention campaign that includes elements of Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR)—an evidence-based training that helps people understand suicide warning signs and how to connect people in crisis to help.

Through a five-year Project AWARE grant, KPBSD will train 125 staff and community members every year on Youth Mental Health First Aid. We are in year two of these trainings. Additionally, KPBSD received the state’s competitive Suicide Awareness Prevention and Postvention Grant (SAPP) and the funds will be used to provide gatekeeper training to staff, students, and any interested community member or organization in the next several years. We will also be developing a suicide awareness toolkit as a community resource.

When suicidal behaviors are detected early, lives can be saved. Please join the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District in supporting suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. Together we can reduce the number of lives shaken by a needless and tragic death.


Alaska’s Suicide Prevention and Someone to Talk To Line
Need  to talk ?

phone Call anytime, toll-free:
1-877-266-4357 (HELP)
love or text 4help to 839863
3-11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday


News Release: KPBSD Indian Education advisory committee seeks members

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Contact: Pegge Erkeneff, 907.714.8888

News Release
Indian Education advisory committee seeks parent, student, and staff members to serve

Soldotna, September 7, 2016—Are you interested in setting priorities to meet the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of our 1,200 Alaska Native and Native American students? Is encouraging or assisting our Alaska Native and Native American students to stay in school and pursue further education a value to you?

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Title VI (Indian Education), formerly known as Title VII, seeks parent, student, and staff advisory committee representatives. The qualities desirable in the members of the advisory committee are:

  • Willingness to actively participate
  • Involvement in community affairs
  • Represent the interest of all children in the KPBSD who are eligible for Title VI

Committee members must commit to quarterly meetings, usually held at the KPBSD office building in Soldotna. Remote area representatives participate via Skype for Business.

Seats by Region

Parent Representative A parent is any person who on the date of election for Advisory Committee membership is the parent, acting local parent, legal guardian, or elder of a student currently eligible for Title VI and enrolled in KPBSD

  • Seat A—Region 1 (Tyonek, Nikiski, Kenai)
  • Seat B—Region 2 (Sterling, Soldotna)
  • Seat C—Region 3 (Seward, Moose Pass, Cooper Landing, Hope)
  • Seat D—Region 4 (Ninilchik, Anchor Point, Homer)
  • Seat E—Region 5 (Seldovia, Nanwalek, Port Graham)
  • Seat F—At-large (any region)

Student Representative Any KPBSD Title VI enrolled student

  • Seat G—At-large
  • Seat H—At-large

Staff Representative Any KPBSD employee

  • Seat I—At-large

Seat terms will be staggered in the first year of bylaw implementation:

  • Seats A, B, and C, and seats D, E, and F will rotate on two year terms (except for the first year the bylaws are in effect)
  • Seats A, B, and C will be a one year term in FY17
  • Student Seats G and H will be a one year term
  • Staff Seat I will be a two year term

New members will be voted by a majority of a quorum to accept new members to the Committee, and nominees must be present to be elected.

The KPBSD Title VI Advisory Committee is a requirement of the federal government to receive Title VI funds and assists KPBSD in setting the priorities to meet the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of Alaska Native and Native American student population. The KPBSD Title VI Advisory Committee will also consider and make recommendations as to programs, projects, or other efforts specifically aimed at encouraging or assisting Alaska Native and Native American students to stay in school and pursue further education.

Nominations for membership are due by September 20, 2016, and can be submitted by Region to Conrad Woodhead, KPBSD Native Education Coordinator, at Questions? Please call 907-235-8671.




This and all KPBSD media releases are online at this web page:

News Release: KPBSD, KPEA, KPESA reach Tentative Agreement

Kenai Peninsula Borough School DistrictKPBSD schools map 2016
Contact: Pegge Erkeneff, 907.714.8888

News Release
KPBSD and the KPEA and the KPESA reach Tentative Agreement

Soldotna, September 7, 2016—The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD), the Kenai Peninsula Education Association (KPEA) and the Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association (KPESA) reached a Tentative Agreement, for a three year contract with certified (KPEA) and classified (KPESA) employees, for the time period July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2018.

The three year negotiated agreement adopts recommendations from the Arbitrator’s report (August, 2016) as is, with the addition of the FY16 bonus for KPESA members as offered by the KPBSD in its April 15, 2016 offer, and other date changes related to the new health care plan.

When the Associations ratify the tentative agreements, they will be presented for final approval by the Kenai Peninsula Board of Education during a public school board meeting.

Sean Dusek, superintendent said:

“I am pleased that we have reached a tentative agreement with our staff. I appreciate the hard work that all of the bargaining teams put in throughout the process. We are now able to move forward together to continue to provide a high quality education for all of our students.”


KPBSD Collective Bargaining* webpage

*includes September 7, 2016 Tentative Agreement, and Advisory Arbitration August 2016 award to KPBSD, KPEA, KPESA documents


This and all KPBSD media releases are online at this web page:

Time to volunteer on a KPBSD committee?

Are you interested in health and wellness, or sports and cocurricular activities? Indian education? Setting the districtwide school calendar?


Consider volunteering for a KPBSD committee! Several opportunities are open:

KPBSD logo 4c no tag SMALLThe Kenai Peninsula School Activities Association (KPSAA) is seeking a Parent Representative to serve the remainder of the current term ending with the current school year. Parent Representatives are an important voice on the KPSAA Board, and will seek information from other KPBSD parents to report back to the KPSAA Board at our quarterly meetings. For more information, please contact Tiffany Eck no later than September 9, 2016 via email or by phone 907-714-8884. Our first meeting is scheduled for September 15, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. at Soldotna Prep school.

KPBSD logo 4c no tag SMALLThe KPBSD Wellness Committee is seeking nominations for a Parent Representative. The Wellness Committee is responsible for reviewing Board Policy 5141.6 Student Nutrition and Physical Activity for districtwide compliance and seeks input from our schools, parents and community members. The committee meets 2-3 times per year, typically in the central peninsula area. For more information, please contact Tiffany Eck no later than September 15, 2016, via email or by phone 907-714-8884. The first Wellness Committee meeting will be held on October 4, 2016 at the District Office building from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

KPBSD logo 4c no tag SMALLThe KPBSD Title VI Indian Education advisory committee seeks parent, student, and staff members to serve. Are you interested in setting priorities to meet the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of our 1,200 Alaska Native and Native American students? Is encouraging or assisting our Alaska Native and Native American students to stay in school and pursue further education a value to you? Committee members must commit to quarterly meetings, usually held at the KPBSD office building in Soldotna. Remote area representatives participate via Skype for Business. Nominations for membership are due by September 20, 2016, and can be submitted by Region to Conrad Woodhead, KPBSD Native Education Coordinator, at Questions? Please call 907-235-8671.

KPBSD logo 4c no tag SMALLThe KPBSD is recruiting members to review the 2017-2018 school calendar and make recommendations to the Board of Education for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years. Details and the application can be found here. Questions? Email, or call 907-714-8858. Apply by October 3, 2016.

KPBSD Annual Report #golden #iAmKPBSD #innovation

 Thirty two pages of stories and photos offer a glimpse into our diverse district. You’ve got options if you missed the print version:
flip through the online page turning version
view in a PDF format online
download it to your computer or device

FY16 KPBSD Annual Report (1)


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Tip: When you see this icon, you can click it to read more story details online. #golden

The mission of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is to develop productive, responsible citizens who are prepared to be successful in a dynamic world.