Nurse Tracy Silta awarded Golden Apple

      Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Golden Apple Award | July 9, 2018
Mrs. Tracy SiltaGolden Apple FY18 Tracy Silta 1

“Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Nurse Tracy Silta demonstrates on a daily basis all of the personal and professional qualities of an efficacious school nurse for students,” wrote nominator James Knoebel, Special Education Department Chair, Soldotna High School. “She embodies what a school nurse and role model should be.” Since 2002, Nurse Tracy Silta has been optimizing students’ health. She is in a critical role that makes certain Soldotna High School students are safe, healthy, and ready to learn. Her open door policy and the judgement-free space she creates exemplifies her commitment to students. Tracy makes her office a place where any student or staff member can go to for words of encouragement, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, or even a cup of tea.

Passionate about her job, every day she strives to be the best school nurse within Alaska. Mr. Knobel explains,

“Her commitment to her job shows through what she does on a daily basis with students along with the additional responsibilities she takes on outside of the daily nursing duties. She has led first aid trainings for several years, creating a collaborative environment in which staff members obtain the tools needed to be competent and prepared first responders. Our readiness to be able to act appropriately in emergencies is a true credit to Tracy’s teaching style and innovative approach to this training. Even with a large group of adults, she finds ways to allow us to connect with the material, while also providing us time to feel comfortable activating emergency protocols and providing care in various scenarios.”

Focus On Learning (FOL)
Two years ago, she spearheaded the creation of yoga FOL time. Noticing that Soldotna High School had a need for enrichment opportunities during the last 30 minutes of the school day, Tracy was able to respond to this need by coordinating with Lisa Wells, a support staff and certified yoga instructor, and James Knobel to run a yoga group four days a week. This FOL provided students with a perfect way to find relief from their stressful day, reduce anxiety, increase flexibility, boost their emotional health, and promote personal vitality.

Intensive Needs Special Education
Soldotna High School houses the largest secondary Intensive Needs Special Education department in the district, and the success in meeting all of the students’ medical needs is in good hands with Nurse Tracy. Her compassion comes through in every interaction she has with students. Preserving student dignity is at the forefront of everything Tracy does for our medically fragile population. She is one of the strongest advocates these students have within the school. “I have been fortunate to collaborate with her on various medical protocols, and the knowledge she imparts in these plans allows parents to feel comfortable and assured that at Soldotna High School their child has access to a responsive nurse and a prepared support team,” said Mr. Knobel. “The appreciation parents have for these detailed plans is frequently communicated to the Individual Education Program (IEP) team and case managers.”

Cinderella’s Closet
Over the last three years, during her own time, Tracy has been a member of a small group that run Cinderella’s Closet. This program provides all students within the district a chance to find a dress that will allow them to experience the magic of a memorable homecoming or prom. Through Cinderella’s Closet, Nurse Tracy’s scope of contribution has been seen as north as Nikiski to as far south as Homer. Megan Murphy, a counselor at Soldotna High said, “Tracy is able to make every student that is seeking out a dress feel beautiful, special, and important. As they seek out that dress, Tracy always makes sure they leave with a smile on their face.”

The connections Nurse Silta creates are often the catalyst that lead to students being able to overcome the obstacles to obtain a diploma that often feels unattainable. Her responsiveness, innovation, and scope of contribution is commendable. Principal Tony Graham said,

“I made Tracy part of our intervention team. She has keen insight and acute awareness of what students go through. The bottom line is that kids know how much she cares by her actions. They want more of what she is giving: love.”

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education is proud to recognize Mrs. Tracy Silta for her dedication to the students of the school district, past, present, and future.

Mrs. Tracy Silta Golden Apple certificate

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School district budget awareness reductions and savings useage

KPBSD fiscal reality, budget 101, and FY19 budget

2018 Spring KPBSD Budget Awareness for schools PDF flyer

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Download the 2018 Spring KPBSD Budget Awareness for schools flyer

Action ideas

  1. Attend a Facebook Live Q & A; community budget forum; KPBSD school site council meeting, school board meetingBorough Assembly meeting; Alaska legislative opportunities with elected officials
  2. Communicate with your school, friends, neighbors, legislators, and elected officials
  3. View any of the other short videos that explain aspects of funding and budgets, and review handouts. Links:

Webpage: KPBSD Finance Department

If the future success for our KPBSD K-12 students is dependent on a quality education so graduates will be prepared for college or a career, funding public education is crucial. KPBSD asks everyone to attend a public budget meeting, and become involved in the financial solutions for our school district and state.

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Special education student grade rate on the rise!

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Students receiving special education services in the KPBSD continue to find success!

In the most recent reporting year (2016-2017), 73 percent of students receiving special education services in the KPBSD graduated within four years! The State of Alaska graduation rate is 58.7 percent.

“A graduation rate this high is not something seen in the state of Alaska, and is high for anywhere in the United States. The reported graduation rate includes the three to five percent of students receiving special education services who stay past four years of school due to the significance of their disability, participation in secondary work transition program such as Project Search, or as part of a plan to develop more independent living skills prior to leaving school.” –Clayton Holland, KPBSD Director of Pupil Services

Statistically, students receiving special education services in the United States are significantly more likely to be at risk of receiving a long-term suspension (three to five times as likely for some subgroups). However, according to the most recent disproportionality in special education report, in comparison to other students, KPBSD students receiving special education services are less than half as likely to receive long-term suspensions.

Mr. Holland attributes both the high graduation rate and low student discipline rate to targeted and ongoing professional development and training, staff collaboration, and the development of a positive district culture that take responsibility for every student. Most importantly, Holland says, “we have teachers, paraprofessionals, related services providers, families, and community partners who believe our students can achieve and find success in school and in life, and then they take the steps to help that happen.”

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and has been able to show that the steps we take to provide positive outcomes for our most at risk learners also equates to increased success for all students, and for our community.

KPBSD Pupil Services

 

Understanding Disabilities and Celebrating Kindness

Individuals with disabilities, as well as experts in the field of disabilities, came to Mountain View Elementary to set up eight different stations for presentations on a wide variety of physical and cognitive disabilities. These experts presented information about disabilities to our students and staff and provided engaging activities that facilitated the understanding of challenges that individuals with disabilities face and overcome on a daily basis. Among other activities, students had hands on experience with creating and reading Braille, using alternative communication devices and manipulating artificial limbs. Art was the focus at one station where students worked with illustrator Maggie Winston to paint without using their hands. Her artwork, done holding the paintbrush in her teeth, was yet another example of focusing on abilities as opposed to disabilities.

7 Special Education Disability Awareness Day

As KPBSDs largest open enrollment elementary school, Mountain View provides a number of programs designed to meet the needs of students with disabilities. All of our students benefit from their daily interactions within this diverse student body. It was our hope that this year’s Diversity Day would broaden this natural development of empathy and further prepare our students to participate in an inclusive society.

Kindness was the focus of a school wide assembly. A variety of short skits, songs and other presentations focused on all aspects of kindness. Teachers and students from across the school teamed up to celebrate the conclusion of our annual start of the year, and eight weeks focus on Positive Responses to Conflict and Kindness. During these eight weeks, age appropriate lessons for our teaching kindness, empathy and our six positive responses to conflict happen at all grade levels.

Combined, these two events provided a powerful message to our students of what we value here at Mountain View Elementary, Kenai’s Neighborhood School.

https://www.facebook.com/MountainViewElementaryKPBSD

KPBSD celebrates the #ClassOf2018

KPBSD celebrates our diverse schools and students! Be inspired by #Classof2018 graduates.

Class of 2018 Graduation

“Congratulations to the class of 2018! I am very proud to send another high caliber group of young people into their future. I wish all of our graduates the best and look forward to seeing the positive difference they will make in the world!” Superintendent Sean Dusek

How does KPBSD understand #ready for life beyond graduation?

Ready is one of the 4 R’s in KPBSD – in 2018 how is being ready for life defined for students, and in K-12 education? Superintendent Dusek shares his vision, and what happens in KPBSD schools and classes.

Suicide prevention and resiliency

#findyourstrength

KPBSD takes a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention and resiliency training for both staff and students. This school year, KPBSD received two grant awards, a Suicide Awareness Pre and Postvention grant from the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) and the GCI Alaska Community Foundation Suicide Prevention grant. Combined, these awards allowed our schools to begin implementation of an evidence based, upstream suicide awareness program for our middle and high school students.

Sources of Strength is a strength-based comprehensive wellness program that focuses on suicide prevention but impacts other issues such as substance abuse and violence. The program is based on a relational connections model that uses teams of peer leaders mentored by adult advisors to change peer social norms about help seeking and encourages students to individually assess and develop strengths in their life.

In addition, these student programs, staff, and outside partners received training in Youth Mental Health First Aid, which is designed to teach parents, family, teachers, school staff, and the community at large to help adolescents who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Students from Homer Flex School, Kenai Alternative School, River City Academy, Seward High School, Skyview Middle School, Soldotna High School, Soldotna Prep School have received training from Sources of Strength. Kenai Central High School will bring SOS to the school in fall, 2018.

Thank you to the individuals and companies who provide grant funding and donations to make these opportunities possible.

Link: Sources of Strength suicide prevention efforts in KPBSD video and story

Sources of Strength frisbee KPBSD

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David Sanarov, Voznesenka School #ClassOf2018

Voznesenka David Sanarov Class of 2018

David Sanarov
Voznesenka School, Class of 2018

David Sanarov is the standout senior selected for 2017 – 2018 at Voznesenka School. He has game, humbleness, and an incredibly kind heart. David is the type of person that most of us want to aspire to become. David’s athleticism is an inherited family trait that did not skip any of the six boys in his family. When following in the enormous footsteps of his brothers one might think that there could be no way for David to also fill those shoes. Astonishingly, he was no exception to the talent that came before him.

David Sanarov- Cougar Football

  • 4x letter winner and team captain
  • 2x Peninsula Conference Defensive Player of the Year
  • All-State Linebacker and Return Specialist
  • 2x All-Conference Offense
  • Most decorated player in program history

 David was no stranger to media attention during his high school career. On the local level David was featured in the Homer News as the Senior Spotlight student, he was heavily covered at the State level in the Alaska Dispatch News, and on the National level he was given much attention in the New York Times.

“I had the fortunate pleasure of attending a Close Up trip to Washington D.C. and New York City with David as one of the students,” said Principal Michael Wojciak. “Being such a kind, polite, and thoughtful student his participation made the trip an even greater experience for myself and our other chaperone Ksenia Kuzmin who similarly gives David high praise as a student, community member, and family member. It is hard to imagine, but David was an elementary student when I first started my position as the principal of Voznesenka School. He is certainly a student that I will never forget, mostly for his humility and overwhelmingly positive personality. His career will take him in the direction of his family’s commercial fishing business, where he will eventually become a boat owner, permit holder, and captain. We wish him safety, good health, and prosperity as he disembarks from Voznesenka School.”

Desmond Moon, Tebughna School, #ClassOf2018

Desmond Moon

Tebughna School, Class of 2018

Desmond Moon is Tebughna School’s Student Body President. “But he is so much more than that—he is thoughtful, intelligent, patient, kind, fun to be around, a fabulous leader and a great role model,” said Principal Pamela Potter.

Mr. Desmond says, “So many people helped me throughout my life. I want to thank my parents, my siblings, and all my teachers through the years. In tough times, I turn to my sister Christy. My parents taught me to be respectful, and I believe we all should lead by a higher standard. I enjoy guitar, video

games, hobbies, hanging with friends, and working on building things.

In the future, I see myself independent, self-sufficient, employed in construction, and married with a wife and three children.

His advice to younger students: “Stay positive. Do not slack off along the way. Listen to your teachers. Be respectful.”

“Tebughna School is so proud of Desmond. We hope you always remember to follow your dreams,” said Principal Potter. Congratulations on your graduation!

Connect with Tebughna School on Facebook

Heleana Backus, Seward High School #ClassOf2018

Heleana Backus

Heleana Backus
Seward High School, Class of 2018

Heleana Backus was a member of the Seward High School Debate, Drama, and Forensics Team, Student Council, and the National Honor Society. However, she wrote that, “The most pivotal points in my development as a thinker and human being have happened in the English classroom.” It was this passion for literature that prompted her to apply for and be elected as the Student Representative on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s English/Language Arts Curriculum Review Committee. Her work on this committee prompted teachers and leaders, from across the District to nominate her for the District’s Golden Apple award.

They wrote, “Heleana’s willingness to participate in creating a strong foundation for future students make her an excellent candidate for the Golden Apple award. Her work will leave a lasting impression in our district and help guide our district’s growth and improvement for many years to come.” Of her own experience with the process, she wrote, “I push myself towards [my] goals with this constantly in mind: conformity can no longer be taught under the guise of public education. I am actively helping to integrate this idea into the classroom with the ELA curriculum committee, but I want to take that further. I strive to bring the vision that the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has for personalizing education to every school.” The Golden Apple was awarded at the May 7, 2018 School Board Meeting in Seward.

When she is not reading, she is most likely working the pottery wheel in the Art Room. The quality of her work prompted Ms. Waggoner, her art teacher, to select Heleana for the Master Potter Award. She has also found commercial success participating in her own First Friday Art Show in Seward on June 1, 2018.

Heleana graduated with a 4.126 Grade Point Average and as Seward High’s Class of 2018 Valedictorian. She is planning to attend Whitman College in Washington, where she will pursue a Secondary Teaching Degree in English and Language Arts.

Seward High School website

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District www.KPBSD.org

Olivia Delgado, Ninilchik School #ClassOf2018

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Olivia Delgado
Ninilchik School, Class of 2018

Olivia Delgado graduated this year as the Valedictorian with a cumulative GPA of 4.0. She studied at Ninilchik School for 12 years and from sixth grade on always earned A grades. During her valedictorian speech, she talked about how it is important to move forward and learn from our mistakes, and that people tend to learn more from trying something and failing than not trying at all. Olivia was active in many activities at Ninilchik. She invested time helping with elementary basketball and also took care of the books for many of the middle school and high school basketball games. Olivia lettered in both volleyball and basketball all four years. She was a quiet leader; she led more by example than by her words. She always had a kind word when she met up with the younger kids in the elementary.
Olivia has dreams of becoming a nurse—a field where caring and kindness is important as knowing how to perform your job with excellence. She will be attending Kenai Peninsula College before transitioning to the UAA pre-nursing program.

Connect on Facebook with Ninilchik School

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District www.KPBSD.org