Growing awareness: helping students who are homeless

Are you, or is someone you know sleeping in a motel, a camper, a tent, couch-surfing, shelter, or “doubling-up” living with friends or relatives until you can find or afford a place on your own?

The KPBSD Students In Transition program can help families or unaccompanied youth who lack a stable, adequate, and permanent place to sleep at night.


FY19 SIT Program HL


“Homelessness isn’t an issue specific to a certain age, gender, ethnicity, or education level, it is a human experience that most everyone is vulnerable to.” –Kelly King, KPBSD Homeless Liaison

Are you seeking a way to assist? Connect at the KPBSD Students In Transition Facebook page where you will discover posts about ways to be involved, and stories KPBSD has permission to share.

KPBSD Students In Transition (SIT) Program
Thousands of KPBSD students have received supports and services from the SIT program since the beginning of the program in 2003. At the new start of every school year, the “number of students identified” count starts at zero. While students can be re-identified each school year based on their current living situation, there is no carry-over of students from the end of a school year in May to the beginning of a new year in August.

2018_09_12_SIT Homeless Students

On September 12, 2018, KPBSD Homeless Liaisons have identified 98 students as meeting the homeless definition given by the McKinney-Vento Act. This is a 42% increase (or 29 students) from this time last year (69 students identified 9.12.17 district-wide). Both Liaisons have additional referrals coming in, almost daily. For perspective, on average, the KPBSD SIT program identifies and serves close to 250 students per year.

Snapshot in time

“City of Onset Residency” is the community in which the student was sleeping on the day they were identified by SIT staff. Very small communities with Students In Transition were combined in order to protect the privacy of the identified students. Of the 98 students, 32 are unaccompanied youth (homeless youth not living with their parent or legal guardian). Sixty-six students are with a family unit, and 31 families are currently being service. KPBSD homeless liaisons will continue to identify and enroll students until the last day of the current school year, and expect final enrollment numbers to be upwards of 300 students.

Focus: educational opportunity

The primary focus of the KPBSD SIT Program is access to kindergarten through high school graduation for homeless students. School can be challenging for all students, but students living in unstable situations face many additional challenges. The goal of the SIT Program is to ensure that homeless students have the same educational opportunities as their peers in permanent housing–that they have the ability to attend school and focus on learning. There are a variety of agencies and organizations who work hard to support vulnerable residents of the Kenai Peninsula. Our KPBSD homeless liaisons provide information to students and families about these resources to help address their additional needs.

The Students in Transition program provides:

An advocate to help students and families find the resources they need in the community for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and permanent housing:

  • Free school meal benefits
  • Immediate school enrollment
  • School supplies
  • Paperwork assistance to secure school documents
  • Special academic support if needed
  • Local referrals to other agencies

To learn more about the Students In Transition program, which students may qualify, and available program services, please talk to your school principal, secretary, counselor or nurse, or contact your KPBSD local area liaison directly:

Connect on Facebook: KPBSD Students in Transition


Happy Constitution Day!


2018_09_17 Constitution Day

On September 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the U.S. Constitution document they created.

KPBSD invites teachers, students, and the community to celebrate Constitution Day through activities, learning, and demonstrations of our love for the United States of America and the blessings of freedom our Founding Fathers secured for us.

This Canvas link provides resources teachers can use to engage students in civics and the Constitution:

News Release: Kachemak Selo New K-12 School Bond

2018_08_27_HL_K Selo BondKachemak Selo New K-12 School Bond*
Kenai Peninsula Borough Proposition No. 1
To be voted on by all KPB voters, October 2, 2018

Soldotna, September 10, 2018—The Kachemak Selo New K-12 School Construction project began July 9, 2011, when a petition was submitted to the school board by local residents requesting a public school facility. Kenai Peninsula Borough voters

Kindergarten through twelfth grade classes are currently housed in three leased residential facilities that have deteriorated beyond useful capacity. The estimated cost of this construction project will not exceed $15,460,000. The proposed bonds in the amount of $5,450,000 would fund the 35% local match as well as costs associated with planning, design, site acquisition, preparation and development, construction and equipping the Kachemak Selo K-12 School.

The approximate annual amount of taxes on $100,000 of assessed real or personal property value to retire the debt are $4.95 (based on the Borough’s FY2018 taxable assessed valuation). Review supporting legislation.




News Release: KPBSD: Proposition 1 Kachelmak Selo New School

Free and reduced meal program in KPBSD schools

News Releasecropped-KPBSD_2017-2022_StrategicPlan_Seal-circle-no-edges.png
KPBSD schools offer National School Lunch Program

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) participates in the National School Lunch Program. Applications for free and reduced meals are currently being accepted, and meals will be available to all children at these schools:

Chapman School; Fireweed Academy; Homer High School; Homer Middle School; Kalifornsky Beach Elementary; Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science; Kenai Alternative High School; Kenai Central High School; Kenai Middle School; McNeil Canyon Elementary; Moose Pass School; Mountain View Elementary; Nikiski Middle-High School; Nikiski North Star Elementary; Ninilchik School; Paul Banks Elementary; Redoubt Elementary; River City Academy; Seward Elementary; Seward High School; Seward Middle School; Skyview Middle School; Soldotna Elementary; Soldotna High School; Soldotna Prep School; Soldotna Montessori; Sterling Elementary; Susan B. English School; Tustumena Elementary; and West Homer Elementary.

Meals meet nutritional standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Your KPBSD schools participate in the National School Lunch Program, After School Snack, and School Breakfast Program.

Community Eligible Meals
Students at Homer Flex; Nanwalek; Nikolaevsk; Port Graham; and Tebughna qualify for the Community Eligibility Meal program that allows all students to eat a free meal for both breakfast and lunch. Families with students that attend these schools or attend a school that does not have a National School Lunch or Breakfast Program will not fill out the School Meals Application but will fill out the Income Declaration Form.

Parents and Guardians

If your income is less than or equal to these 2018-2019 guidelines you are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. These guidelines are effective July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.

To receive an application for free or reduced-price school meals, or ask questions, contact KPBSD Student Nutrition Services, 139 Park Avenue, Soldotna AK 99669, or call 907-714-8831. Applications cannot be processed and determined until fully completed. Information provided on applications is subject to verification at any time.

Link: KPBSD Student Nutrition Services webpage:

If you have children who are approved for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly known as Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Native Family Assistance Program (NFAP), they are automatically able to receive free meals by filing an application that includes their assistance number from one of those programs. Students who are migrant, homeless, or runaways are automatically eligible and do not need to fill out an application. Foster children receive free meals regardless of the income of the household with which they reside. Note: Medicaid and Denali Kid Care case numbers do not qualify for eligibility.

Read the rest of the KPBSD schools offer National School Lunch Program news release


Celebrate STEM leader, student Riley von Borstel

KPBSD celebrates #STEM leader Riley von Borstel, Seward High School, Alaska, who participated in the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders in Lowell, MA, June 29 – July 1, 2018.

Winner of a Nobel Prize in Physics, and Science Director of the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists, Dr. John C. Mather nominated Riley von Borstel to represent Seward High School based on her academic achievement, leadership potential and passion for science and technology.

Riley Von Borstel

Dr. John C. Mather, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and Science Director of the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists nominated Riley von Borstel to represent Seward High School based on her academic achievement, leadership potential and passion for science and technology.

“Among the many problems in today’s world one that really catches my attention is climate change,” said von Borstel. “We are beginning to see frequent negative changes in our environment—much quicker than ever before. I am not necessarily interested in environmental studies, but I am interested in the wellbeing of our future as a society. I think that as a society, we need to discover new, greener methods that would be kinder to our planet than what we are currently doing.”

The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students who are passionate about science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). The purpose of this event is to honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be scientists and technologists, to stay true to their dream and, after the event, to provide a path, plan and resources to help them reach their goal.

“I was inspired by my driven peers and the motivational speakers to get a jump start on my future and lay out a plan for my senior year; it was truly inspiring to be around thousands of different students from all across the United States who all had similar morals and priorities,” said von Borstel.

During the three-day Congress, Riley von Borstel joined students from across the country and heard Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science recipients talk about leading scientific research; was given advice from deans of the world’s top tech universities; be inspired by fellow teen science prodigies; and learn about cutting-edge advances and the future of science and technology.

“This is a crucial time in America when we need more nimble-minded and creative scientists and technologists who are even better prepared for a future that is changing exponentially,” said Richard Rossi, Executive Director, National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists. “Focused, bright, and determined students like Riley von Borstel are our future and she deserves all the mentoring and guidance we can give her.”

The Academy often offers free services and programs to students who have the desire to learn more about their future in science and technology. Some of the services and programs the Academy offers include online social networks through which future scientists and technologists can communicate; opportunities for students to be guided and mentored by tech and science leaders; and communications for parents and students on college acceptance and finances, skills acquisition, internships, career guidance, and much more.

The academy was founded on the belief that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education plays a critical role in enabling the United States to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace of the 21st century and that we must identify prospective talent at the earliest possible age and help these students acquire the necessary experience and skills to take them to the doorstep of vital careers. Based in Washington D.C. and with an office in Boston, MA, the Academy was chartered as a nonpartisan, taxpaying institution to help address this crisis by working to identify, encourage and mentor students who wish to devote their lives to advances in society as scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians.


How federal funds benefit KPBSD in FY19

In 1965, federal funds were KPBSD_2017-2022_StrategicPlan_Seal circle no edgesestablished through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to ensure that all children have a fair and equal opportunity to education.

KPBSD has developed programs to support struggling learners all around the district, and various forms are included in school registration packets each year to help identify qualifying students and families. Your voluntary participation to complete these forms–even if you don’t think you qualify-could assist the entire school district. In the 2018-2019 school year, $5.6 million* in federal funds will provide supports for some of the most vulnerable youth in our communities. 

*The annual  federal tax dollars that KPBSD receives are based on identifying and documenting qualified students and families. Additional federal funds are allocated to Pupil Services (special education) and through the Carl Perkins grant, which supports career and technical education.

  • Title 1 purpose is to provide fair and equitable educational opportunities to students identified as economically disadvantaged. KPBSD’s targeted assistance provides support to identified pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first, and second graders in those schools with more than 35% of enrolled students identified as economically disadvantaged. The ten Title I prekindergarten programs currently serve 217 students. Title I has also provided reading support to 350 kindergarten, first and second grade students in nineteen Title I schools.
  • Title 1C Migrant supports the needs of migratory students across the district. In order to be identified as migratory, students must have traveled away from home a minimum of seven nights and eight days due to economic necessity. KPBSD has 400 migrant students enrolled in the district.
  • McKinney Vento provides clothing, school supplies and transitional services for homeless youth so that they experience consistent, uninterrupted learning opportunities.
  • Title ID Delinquent/Neglected and Youth in Detention provide staffing, professional development, and academic activities to Marathon School, Kenai’s youth detention facility.
  • Title IIA Professional Development funds support the improvement of teacher and principal quality including training on curriculum resources, teacher collaboration opportunities, administrative effective instruction training, new teacher induction, and other professional development events.
  • Title IIIA English Learners provides teacher and tutor training in differentiation strategies to support identified EL students. KPBSD has 332 EL students representing 23 languages.
  • Title IVA Student Support and Academic Enrichment supports activities directed at well-rounded educational opportunities, safe and healthy students, and the effective use of technology.
  • Title VI Indian Education supports tutoring to Native youth in KPBSD middle and high schools. Last year, 68% of students receiving tutoring services through Title VI demonstrated academic improvement.
  • E-Rate funds are used to support telecommunication infrastructure within and between schools. These funds are based on a tiered system of the district’s economically disadvantaged eligibility rate.

To learn more about KPBSD federal programs,
go to

Download the FY19 Federal Allocations PDF to see amounts and number of students in various categories.

Golden Apple Award Recognition

Golden Apple nomination

Who do you believe goes above and beyond in our schools to meet our KPBSD mission? Kindly nominate a staff member, volunteer, student, business or community partnership to be recognized for outstanding service and contributions to educating our students.

How-To make your nomination:
Read the Golden Apple recognition rubric below.
Complete the nomination; make sure to include details and specific stories that demonstrate above and beyond service or contributions.

The recognition committee reviews nominations on a monthly basis; you will be contacted when your nomination is received, and when the process is complete. Thank you for your #golden story about someone who goes above and beyond in or for our schools.

Kindly return your nomination to the Communication department office by email, mail, or fax. Contacts are located at the bottom of the nomination form.

Recognition takes place during the monthly Board of Education meeting.

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Volunteer in a KPBSD school


Thank you FY18 volunteers

3,787 people volunteered in a Kenai Peninsula Borough School District school in the 2016-2017 school year!

Will you volunteer in the new year beginning August, 2018? Kindly complete your new or returning online volunteer application, it only takes a few minutes. 

KPBSD safeguards students while they are in our care. Therefore, every school volunteer must complete the online volunteer application on an annual basis. Thank you for helping students, staff, and schools be vibrant centers for learning.

link: Online volunteer application for KPBSD schools

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2017 – 2018 Kenai School District Annual Report

Coming in August…

The KPBSD Annual Report, a condensed recap of the 2017 -2018 school year!



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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

Golden Apple FY18 Tracy Silta 2