Upstream Academy: STEM, speed, drones, connect, learn!

KPBSD Upstream Academy 2017_10 PE (6)

KPBSD’s second Upstream Academy in October expanded to include students from both Title VI and Migrant Education–this brought a new dynamic and an element of cultural diversity and sharing to the academy! Students from Kachemak-Selo joined other migrant students from Homer, Soldotna, and Sterling and were able to share their lifestyle and culture with our Title VI students to the benefit of everyone.

KPBSD Upstream Academy 2017_10 PE (4)

Students were able to design their own obstacle courses for their drones, then code their drones on an aerial pathway through the course. Students could choose the difficulty for the courses and often had to rework the courses as they coded along. In addition, student’s problem solved issues facing drone technology and sought to understand how the current technology could be improved upon. This led to creative designs for future technology.

Upstream Academy October 2017 (10)

The success of Upstream Academy in part goes to the amazing community partners who help put together a week of STEM-based activities. The Alaska State Troopers came with their armored Bear Cat and demonstrated how the current technology in law enforcement keeps all of us safe. Students were even able to check for speeders in the Kenai Spur Highway using the Trooper radar equipment and drive their SWAT team robots. The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Rangers taught students how they collect evidence in the field and how to read topography maps with their high-tech sand table.

Students enjoyed a visit to the Kenai Peninsula College where they learned about dorm life “ResLife”, and the welding, paramedics, and process technology departments. Dr. Nels Anderson even taught students how to start their own fires in the wilderness, using what they have on hand. The Kenaitze Tribe’s Yaghanen Youth Center provided a great afternoon learning about and participating in Native Youth Olympics.

Upstream Academy October 2017 (3)

“This week was so inspiring because I saw students who came in very shy and timid, but by the end of the week, these were the very kids that were helping other students troubleshoot their drones. It was an amazing transformation to see! This academy brought many kids out of their shells and they really seemed to have a sense of belonging and purpose.” –Kristin Jones, Lead Interventionist, Skyview Middle School

Upstream Academy October 2017 (1)

Story contributed by Rachel Pioch, KPBSD Migrant Recruiter, Skyview Middle School Title VI Tutor, Native Youth Leaders Advisor

Facebook: KPBSD Upstream Academy

Tuesday: KPBSD Facebook LIVE Q and A with Superintendent Dusek

20171114 KPBSD Live Q and A event

You’re invited to the launch of KPBSD
Facebook LIVE Q & A
with KPBSD Superintendent Sean Dusek

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
7:00 – 7:30 p.m.

How-to watch:

It’s simple. Go to the KPBSD Facebook page on 11/14/17, at 7:00 PM, via your device or computer, and connect! You’ll see that KPBSD is live – click to view.

How-to ask questions or share thoughts:

Post your questions ahead of time on the Facebook event page, or live during the event in a comment on the live video.

How Facebook LIVE Q&A works:

  • KPBSD launches Facebook LIVE video, viewers click to view, and see content live in real time.
  • Viewers type comments into the feed below the video.
  • KPBSD does not “see” viewers via videoconferencing, this is a one way video view feed from KPBSD. Interaction happens via comments and post likes or emojis.

Everyone is invited to tune in – KPBSD parents and students, staff, community members, KPBSD partners, and KPBSD Key Communicators. Afterwards, the Q&A will be saved as a video to review at your convenience.


This Facebook live event is the first in a series to expand the KPBSD Key Communicator program, engaging our people and publics with conversation, and offering accurate stories, information, and responses to questions about the KPBSD. Please join in, and offer your thoughts and ideas.


You don’t need a Facebook account to watch live.

  • At 7:00 PM, go to Locate the live event streaming from Soldotna, Alaska, using the interactive map.
  • Click the blue dot indicating Facebook LIVE is happening in Soldotna, and the video will pop up.
  • Click on the video image to enlarge it on your screen.
  • note: You cannot post questions without a Facebook account. You can email them to, and we will answer as many as we can during the video LIVE Q&A.

The mission of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is to empower all learners to positively shape their futures.
Facebook Kenai Peninsula Borough School District


Contact Pegge Erkeneff, KPBSD Communications Liaison, Or private message Kenai Peninsula Borough School District on Facebook.

Meet Chris Mburu, be inspired by A Small Act

Kenai Peninsula! Meet Chris Mburu and be inspired by
A Small Act
November 16 – 17, 2017

Kenai | Ninilchik | Port Graham | Razdolna

Chris Mburu A_SMALL_ACT_Credit_Patti_Lee(3)
Chris Mburu, international human rights lawyer currently serving with the United Nations as a Senior Human Rights Advisor, is visiting Kenai, Ninilchik, Port Graham, and Razdolna schools, November 16 and 17, 2017. Originally from a small village in Kenya, Mburu benefitted from the generosity of a holocaust survivor named Hilde Back who sponsored his education. Thanks to her philanthropy, he successfully completed secondary school, went on to college at the University of Nairobi and Harvard Law School. He continues in this philanthropic vein through an education fund he began in her name. The Emmy nominated film, A Small Act, tells this story. For the last 20 years, he has worked extensively in the areas of human rights, governance, democracy, rule of law, transitional justice, peacekeeping, and conflict resolution. Joining Chris Mburu will be Kimani Nyambura, a young man who benefitted from the Hilde Back Education Fund, and is now attending college at Washington State University in Richland, Washington, USA.

KPBSD families and the community are invited to meet Chris Mburu and be inspired by his story. Bonus: in Kenai on November 16, everyone will also view the Emmy-nominated documentary, A Small Act, which shares his powerful story. Mburu is committed to justice in action and education as a human right.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Port Graham School | 9:45 AM

Chris Mburu and Kimani Nyambura will speak to students and community members at the school from 9:45 – 10:30 a.m. The morning will culminate when the cross-country team runs through the village wearing Education is a Human Right t-shirts from 10:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Kenai Central High School | 5:00 – 8:00 PM 

Join Chris Mburu and Kimani Nyambura for a reception and hear them speak from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., followed by a film screening of Emmy-nominated documentary, A Small Act. Everyone is welcome! Free.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Ninilchik School | 10:45 – 11:40 AM

Chris Mburu and Kimani Nyambura will visit Ninilchik School to speak. This is open to 7th – 12th grade students, parents, and community members.

Razdolna School | 2:00 – 3:30 PM

Chris Mburu and Kimani Nyambura will visit Razdolna School to speak. Everyone is welcome.

Education is a human right, and small gestures of kindness and giving can change individuals, families, communities, societies, and the world at large.

Thank you to Project GRAD Kenai Peninsula for sponsoring Chris Mburu to the Kenai Peninsula.

Questions? Contact Jane Beck; Executive Director Project GRAD Kenai Peninsula

About Chris Mburu
An international human rights lawyer currently serving with the United Nations as a Senior Human Rights Advisor.
He graduated with a Master’s degree in law from Harvard Law School, where he had focused primarily on international human rights. For the last 20 years, he has worked extensively in the areas of human rights, governance, democracy, rule of law, transitional justice, peacekeeping and conflict resolution; he has served in many countries including USA, Switzerland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Uganda, South Africa, Burundi, Ethiopia, Cuba, Rwanda, Kenya and Eritrea, mainly with the UN. He also served as Senior Advisor and later Acting Director for the UN Regional Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Outside of the UN, Chris has served as an expert with leading human rights organizations and policy think-tanks, including Global Rights, the International Crisis Group and Amnesty International.

Outside of his professional work, Chris founded a charitable organization in Kenya in 2001 which he named “The Hilde Back Education Fund” ( in honor of a Swedish woman called Hilde Back, a Jewish holocaust survivor who sponsored his education when he was a poor needy child growing up in rural Kenya. The story of Hilde and Chris became became the subject of an Emmy-nominated Hollywood documentary film called “A Small Act” (, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010 and went on to win several awards. Chris’ charity has supported the education of hundreds of poor children and inspired the creation of “small act” initiatives in different countries.



Hockey players assist wounded man #KindnessCounts

Homer High hockey 1

“I witnessed an amazing act on Friday, November 3, 2017.”
-Steve Nevak, assistant coach, Homer High Mariner hockey

“When Homer High School students, Charlie Menke, Douglas Dean, Tucker, and little brother Phinny Weston walked over to Qdoba for dinner after our hockey game against Bartlett they found an inebriated homeless man bleeding profusely on the sidewalk. They guided him to Qdoba and got help, and called Head Coach Chance Rockett to inform him of the situation. I left immediately to the scene.

On the way over I noticed large piles of blood on the sidewalk and parking lot. After the fact, kids that went to Fred Meyers mentioned they followed a heavy stream of blood all the way out of Fred Meyer. When I arrived, Charlie was dressing his wounds with bandages and gloves from the Qdoba manager, while Tucker was on the phone with 911. We got the man bandaged, settled down, and I started conversation with him. He mentioned he was robbed at Fred Meyer and stumbled to where the kids found him. He mentioned he was feeling woozy from the loss of blood and the amount of pain he was in. We kept him talking and alert until EMS arrived. I told the kids how proud I was of them.

I worked a long time at the Alaska Native Medical Center with people such as this man. People with this horrible addiction, are still just that … people. The kids didn’t scoff, snicker, or walk past like so many in our society would have. Charlie later mentioned he was amazed by the looks he was receiving from kids his own age that walked by into the restaurant, as if they were wondering why these kids with Homer jackets on were helping this bleeding, inebriated Alaska native man. With how cold it was, how inebriated this man was, and how much he was bleeding, I can’t imagine he would have survived if he wasn’t found.

What a great example these kids have set for the future of our community. I am a proud Homer Mariner coach, Homer Mariner dad, and Alaska Native man. I really want to highlight and thank these four great kids.”



Curious teens prep for college and careers

COVER 1 KPBSD College Fair October 2017 (9)

Hundreds of teens–nearly 500–positively shape their future during the eighth annual Kenai Peninsula College Fair.

High school students from all points in the district arrived at host site, Soldotna High School, to explore future options during the eighth annual Kenai Peninsula College Fair on October 17, 2017. KPBSD junior and senior high school students arrived armed with questions, curiosity, and support from their school counselors. Students from local homeschooling programs and private schools were invited to come as well. Representatives from KPBSD and KPC assisted answering financial aid questions and giving scholarship information.

Living in Alaska, along with the cost of travel, can often make college visits difficult for prospective college students. The KPBSD College and Career Fair brings students together with college and career and technical institutional representatives to meet face-to-face in one convenient location.

“This year’s college fair was a high quality event for students and college representatives alike. With more than 50 colleges, trade schools, armed forces, and universities from around the state and nation in attendance, the 500 plus students who attended had the opportunity to personally meet with the schools and recruiters to talk about admission requirements and get a feel about what campus life at each of those schools is like,” said John Pothast, Director of Elementary and Secondary Education. “This is an invaluable opportunity for our students to explore a variety of options for their post-high school futures.”

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Fifty plus colleges and institutions were present, including:

Alaska Career College; Alaska Christian College; Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE); Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Peninsula Job Center; Alaska Pacific University; Alaska State Troopers; APICC (Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium); Augsburg College; AVTEC; Boise State University; Central Washington University; Chadron State College; College of Fisheries and Ocean Science – UAF; College Saint Benedict-Saint John’s University; Colorado Mesa University; Colorado State University; Corban University; Eastern Washington University; Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Fort Lewis College; Gonzaga University; Grand Canyon University; Idaho State University; Kenai Peninsula College; Leading Edge Aviation; Lewis-Clark State College; Linfield College; Northern Arizona University; Pacific Lutheran University; Presentation College; Saint Martin’s University; Southern Oregon University; Southwestern Oregon Community College; The College of Idaho; The Moody Bible Institute – Spokane; UAA College of Engineering; United States Army; United States Military Academy; Universal Technical Institute; University of Alaska Anchorage; University of Alaska Fairbanks; University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Engineering and Mines; University of Alaska Southeast (Juneau campus); University of Alaska Southeast Sitka; University of Idaho; University of Montana; University of Montana Western; University of Oregon; University of Portland; University of Puget Sound; Washington State University; Washington State University Tri-Cities; Weber State University; Western Washington University; Whitman College; Whitworth University; and Willamette University.

“We are excited to have so many post-secondary institutions visiting our district to meet with our students,” said Sean Dusek, Superintendent. “This partnership allows our students to explore their college and career aspirations in a convenient and safe location. This is due to the large number of students in our district that are qualified for post-secondary education.”


Thank you to the organizers, institutions, and counselors who make this annual event possible for KPBSD students.

COVER 2 KPBSD College Fair October 2017 (3)

Tebughna youth learning traditional Native American skills


Tebughna School middle and high school students are participating in a Native American unit of study, where they read Native American themed novels, write Native American folk tales, and practice picture-writing. Students are studying Native American geographical regions, and researching famous Native Americans. In science, students are using STEAM* engineering challenges to create the various types of housing used, such as teepee, long house, adobe, and wigwams. Students learned how to make fry break “aladies”, dissected salmon, learned bear safety, and heard about Tyonek history from Katherine Chickalusion (elder niece of Chief Chickalusion). Students are practicing singing and drumming, beading, making spears, and painting using traditional ochre.

Thank you to Monty Rogers for teaching Tebughna student’s traditional skills!

*STEAM is short for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics

IMG_8961 IMG_8967 IMG_8946 Traditional Skills Tebughna (3) Traditional Skills Tebughna (2) 20171003_093247 20171003_093239


Great Caribou Migration builds teamwork

The tradition continues! K-Beach Elementary participates in their annual Great Caribou Migration in early fall. Proudly donning their bright red t-shirts to record laps, the students stormed the field to support the PTO and school. This yearly event has become a tradition in which students, staff, parents and community members share in exercise, teamwork and school pride. Through diligence and perseverance, students worked together to walk, jog, or run over a thousand miles in a 45-minute time slot!

KBeach Jogathon fall 2017 (3)

KBeach Jogathon fall 2017

KBeach Jogathon fall 2017 (1)

KBeach Jogathon fall 2017 (2)


Posted in School Stories by Pegge. No Comments

How it works: weather related school delays or closures

snowflakeKPBSD School Weather Related Delays and Closures

Announcing a school closure or two-hour delay start in a timely manner for our students, families, and staff is important to KPBSD administration. Timing of the decision is crucial so we can notify transportation before busses begin their routes, employees head to work, and students and families prepare for a school day, potentially waiting at bus-stops. The decision to close school for the day or institute a two-hour delay start is the responsibility of the Superintendent of Schools.

KPBSD is committed to school safety, and educating every student. An involved process takes place early in the morning before the decision is made to close, or delay the start of school by two-hours. Additionally, if a school make-up day is necessary, several factors contribute to determine the date for one or more make-up days of school.

If school remains open, and you as a parent or guardian do not believe it is safe for your child to travel to school based on conditions in your area, please use your best judgment to decide what is safest for your family. Please notify the school if your child will not attend; absences will be excused.

How things work
Determine and Communicate school closure or two hour delay start


Is school open? Communication to Publicmicrophone

KPBSD district office communications will post two-hour school delays or closures, and subsequent updates, usually starting by 5:30 AM. If nothing is announced, assume schools are open on a normal schedule.


How-to calculate a two-hour delay start timepause time

  • Add two hours to normal school start time.
  • Add two hours to normal bus pick-up time. Thus, students are picked-up two hours later than their normal scheduled bus pick-up time.
  • KPBSD employees arrive two hours later than normal work-day morning schedule.
  • Schools will dismiss at the normal time unless announced otherwise.


Is school closed or delayed? Decision Making Process

Assistant Superintendent gathers information, beginning as soon as accurate information is available. Most of the time this begins very early in the morning. If a significant storm is expected, a decision might be made the night ahead of time, but this rarely happens. Consultation and assessment includes:

  • District transportation staff
  • Apple Bus Company
  • Alaska State Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Alaska State Troopers (AST)
  • Central Emergency Services (CES)
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management (OEM)
  • Homer Electric Association (HEA) and utility providers
  • Weather services
  • Onsite school district employees

The Assistant Superintendent contacts the Superintendent to give an update about specific conditions and offer a recommendation for a two-hour delay start* or school closure. (Delay starts are always two hours.)

The Superintendent of Schools makes a final decision to delay start by two hours, or close schools.

  • School principals are contacted with the decision and supporting information*
  • Principal contacts school staff
  • School may implement automated call system, social media post, or other type of contact message to parents if applicable

*KPBSD may be briefed with information that helps to determine that a two-hour delay start will result in school being in session for the day. At other times, the two-hour delay allows time to assess the evolving conditions, before making the decision to close school for the day. If the roads are impassable due to inclement weather, a two-hour delay will give road crews additional time for sanding and plowing. Updates are posted as soon as decisions are made.


Make-up Instruction Dayscalendar

If school is closed for the day, by state law, a make-up day must be scheduled. KPBSD does not build additional days into the annual calendar for potential inclement weather or school closures that may or may not occur.

A make-up day is generally scheduled on a vacation day, or after the official school calendar ends in May. One day is built into the calendar—typically the third Friday in the last quarter—and is often used as the first option for a make-up day.

Factors to consider when a make-up day is scheduled for one or more schools in KPBSD:

  • Coordinated bus transportation
  • Student nutrition services breakfast and lunch programs
  • Staffing


A few school facts in Alaskaschool

State law mandates a school term of 180 days with up to ten of these days used for teacher in-service.

Per state law, all students must attend school for the minimum of 170 student contact days.

KPBSD teaching contract is 188 days (also includes orientation days and 7 mandated holidays.) Teacher in-service days are part of Professional Development and required by contract. Flexible work days are most often utilized at the front end of the school year (August) in preparation for the school year.

Closing school for the day or instituting a two-hour delay start is a complex decision, with several factors involved. Every effort is made to keep school in session.

If school remains open, and you as a parent or guardian do not believe it is safe for your child to travel to school based on conditions in your area, please use your best judgment to determine what is safest for your child and family. Please notify the school if your child will not attend; absences will be excused.



PDF printout of KPBSD school closure or two hour delay information

KPBSD webpage school closure or two hour delay information

KPBSD logo 4c no tag SMALL


October 17: Community Budget Meeting info

Building a school budget is foundational to schools, so bring your questions and concerns about funding, expenditures, and priorities.

Everyone is invited to participate. October 17, 2017. Twenty-two school locations. One hour, 5:30 – 6:30 PM


Additional Resources

Discussion process:

2017_10_17 Community Budget Meeting

Parents, staff, students, business partners, community members, and elected officials are invited to participate at the third annual KPBSD budget development session happening at 22 school sites.
Building a school budget is foundational to schools, so bring your questions and concerns about funding, expenditures, and priorities. Connect with your neighbors who care about K-12 education and vibrant schools.

*Some schools will meet at the same location. Look for your school to see where it will meet: 

Aurora Borealis Charter School – Kenai Alt main meeting room; Chapman School – Homer Middle School; Connections – Soldotna High Library; Cooper Landing School – First classroom next to office; Fireweed Acacemy – Homer Middle School; Homer Flex – Homer Middle School; Homer High – Homer Middle School; Homer Middle – Library; Hope School – Mrs. Truesdell’s classroom; K-Beach Elementary – Room 18; Kachemak-Selo – Homer Middle School; Kaleidoscope School of Arts & Science – Library; Kenai Alternative – KCHS Library; Kenai Central High School – Library; Kenai Middle School – KCHS Library; McNeil Canyon Elementary – Homer Middle School; Moose Pass School – Library; Mountain View Elementary – KCHS library; Nanwalek School – Secondary Classroom – Old Shop; Nikiski Middle-High School – Library; Nikiski North Star Elementary – Nikiski High Library; Nikolaevsk School – Room 11; Ninilchik School – Library; Paul Banks Elementary – Homer Middle School; Port Graham School – Library; Razdolna School – Homer Middle School; Redoubt Elementary – Soldotna High Library; River City Academy – Soldotna High Library; Seward Elementary – Seward High Library; Seward High School – Library; Seward Middle School – Seward High Library; Skyview Middle School – B104; Soldotna Elementary – Library; Soldotna High – Library; Soldotna Prep – Soldotna High Library; Soldotna Montessori – Room 411; Sterling Elementary – Library; Susan B. English – School Commons; Tebughna School – Room 7; Tustumena Elementary – Library; Voznesenka School – Homer Middle School; West Homer Elementary – Homer Middle School.

Everyone is encouraged to participate!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Budget MeetingS

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Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge. No Comments

Mayor Mike Navarre awarded Golden Apple

2017 Mayor Mike Navarre

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Golden Apple Award | October 16, 2017
Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre provides tireless support of public education in our borough and in the state.

Mayor Navarre is a graduate from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and did not forget his roots. A successful businessman and public servant, through his personal business he supports KPBSD schools through donations of funds, products, and most importantly, time. His love of kids is genuine and while he is a Kenai Central High School graduate, he supports all of the schools in the district with equal zeal and pride!

Mayor Navarre has consistently demonstrated his support for public education in his various public servant roles. He speaks to the accomplishments, while also asking the tough questions that hold our schools accountable to high standards. When the district has needed funding, he has recommended, supported, and followed through on providing additional funding.

What is most impressive about Mayor Navarre is that he believes in public education because he believes in children and is optimistic about their future, especially if it is grounded in a quality education. He has been a strong partner building the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. “Through this partnership, he should share in our successes, know that he has made a profound difference in thousands of students’ lives, and be recognized for his unwavering support,” said Superintendent Sean Dusek. “I sincerely appreciate all that Mayor Navarre has done throughout his lifetime to help make the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District a high quality institution that is considered one of the best districts in the State of Alaska. Thank you for all you have done and I hope you will continue to be fully engaged with KPBSD in the future.”

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education is proud to recognize Mr. Mike Navarre for his dedication to the students of the school district, past, present, and future.

2017 Mayor Navarre Golden Apple