news release: New KPBSD bus routes, times, and practice run

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KPBSD welcomes Apple Bus Company

The first day of school is Tuesday, August 22, 2017*, and Apple Bus Company is in final preparations for the new school year.

Find new bus route and pickup and drop-off times

Apple Bus Company routes and times are now online and searchable via the Kenai Peninsula Bus infoFinder

Practice Run, Monday, August 21, 2017!

All Apple Bus Company buses will run their scheduled routes, in real time, stopping at all known stops, both in the morning and afternoon on Monday. Please do not think you have missed the first day of school, and your child has missed the bus! This is a full practice run, in real time, to finalize route timing and pickup and drop-off times.

Parent idea: On Monday, in conjunction with the Apple Bus bus practice, do your own practice run to determine how long it takes you to arrive at your bus stop, so on Tuesday, students are ready to step aboard a new year!

KPBSD bus questions?
Please call Apple Bus Company:

  • Central peninsula area (Kasilof, Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, Sterling): 907.262.4900
  • Southern peninsula area (Anchor Point, Ninilchik, Homer area): 907.235.0124
  • Seward area: 907.224.3571


Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Contact: Pegge Erkeneff, Communications Liaison,


*Variances – school begins:

  • August 15, 2017: Kachemak-Selo; Razdolna; Voznesenka schools
  • August 21, 2017: Nanwalek; Nikolaevsk; Port Graham schools
  • August 22, 2017: all other KPBSD schools

Creativity, assessment, and learning in small school classrooms

Creativity, Assessment, and Learning in a Small School Classrooms
August 3 – 4, 2017

Project GRAD Kenai Peninsula (PGKP) organized and partnered with KPBSD to present a two-day professional development training and conference at Land’s End Resort on August 3-4, 2017.

myron dueck

Due to travel costs and logistics, it is difficult for teachers in these rural schools to attend national conferences where progressive ideas and productive networking can advance instructional practice and provide relevant insights and strategies. Because PGKP is committed to providing quality instructional and academic support to the seven K-12 schools it serves, Jane Beck, Executive Director, began exploring the possibility of bringing educational leaders to Homer to speak directly with teachers, principals, and district administrators.

In July 2016, Myron Dueck, author of Grading Smarter Not Harder and Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like a Pirate agreed to visit Alaska to share ideas for accurate assessment, feedback, and creativity in the classroom. Fifty-seven participants gathered for two days of insights and laughter for new ideas to engage students in learning. Teachers left feeling invigorated and inspired to develop rapport with students, tap into their passions, step out of the traditional learning in rows, and create classrooms where students are excited about their education and who receive valuable feedback on what they understand, know, and can do. Funding was provided by a US Dept. of Education Alaska Native Education grant and US Dept. of Education GEAR UP grant as well as a partnership with KPBSD.

Story contributed by Jane Beck

myron and venn dave burgess jane and dave

How to register for KPBSD Pre-Kindergarten Title I classes

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Contact: Pegge Erkeneff, 907.714.8888

News Release

How to register for KPBSD Pre-Kindergarten Title I classes

Soldotna, August 8, 2017Free pre-kindergarten classes at local schools for children who will be four years old by September 1, 2017, are open. To qualify, parents and guardians must contact their local area school, schedule a Pre-K assessment (dates below), and complete an application prior to the school screening appointment date.

Parent or guardian action steps

  1. Contact local attendance area school for times and testing locations. (See list of schools offering Pre-K sessions*)
  2. Complete a Pre-K Application—the school office in your attendance area will provide applications
  3. Return the application to your neighborhood school office during school hours
  4. Schedule your child’s assessment prior to the date for your neighborhood school screening. (Dates listed below)
  5. Children must be age 4 by September 1, 2017
  6. Title I KPBSD programs web link: Title 1 programs at KPBSD

* Screening dates for KPBSD Title I Elementary Schools offering Pre-K classes

Students qualify for Title I services based on academic need

  • Central Peninsula Area, August 22, 2017, in the Borough Assembly Chambers, Soldotna
    • Mountain View Elementary, 283-8600
    • Nikiski North Star Elementary, 776-2600
    • Redoubt Elementary, 260-4300
    • Soldotna Elementary, 260-5100
    • Sterling Elementary, 262-4944
    • Tustumena Elementary, 260-1345
  • Seward Elementary, 224-3356, August 23, 2017, at Seward Elementary
  • Homer, Anchor Point, and Ninilchik: August 24, 2017, at Paul Banks Elementary
    • Chapman Elementary, 235-8671
    • Ninilchik School, 567-3301
    • Paul Banks Elementary, 226-1801
    • Voznesenka School, 235-8549

Title I programs are required to utilize effective, research based instruction, and must also provide evidence that students receiving Title I support are showing academic growth.



This and all KPBSD media releases are online at this web page:
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Please contact me with questions or connections to be made for your KPBSD district and school stories.

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Personalized Learning: facilitate plus solid trusting relationships

Mrs. Stephanie Cronin, Seward High School
Educator of all levels of high school mathematics and Principles of Engineering

My role in the classroom is as a facilitator of learning. This role has changed throughout my twenty years as a teacher. From the days of overheads, and sage on the stage in which the teacher passes along information, students sit passively taking notes, then regurgitate for the unit exam, education has come a long way. The shift began with a need for differentiation. Students come to us with vastly different experiences, background knowledge, and abilities.

In order to help every student succeed, we need to determine the starting point for every student, and provide the scaffolding necessary for growth. It is my goal to tailor instruction to meet the individual needs of every student who walks through my door.

The advancement of technology has helped me to meet this challenge. Through technology, students have more choice as to when, where, and even how they learn. They have access to videos that cover the lesson and can watch them as many times as necessary for understanding. There are programs available like ALEKS, and Khan Academy that can determine if a student has any gaps in their learning and provide instruction to fill in the “holes”. Technology also allows for the opportunity for students to advance beyond the expected course outcomes.

2017 Pi pencil holder 3D printer Seward HS

Personalization of learning also happens in my classroom through peer teaching. When students in my class show proficiency on a topic, they are frequently paired with students who are struggling. This allows the proficient student to reach mastery through teaching others, while at the same time bringing the struggling student to a greater level of understanding.

What has not changed in my twenty years in public education is the need for relationships. I believe that building solid, trusting relationships with my students is the key to teaching, inspiring, and learning. My students know that I care about them, and their lives beyond the classroom. I care about their success and their future. I encourage every one of my students to believe in themselves, shoot for the stars, and to have the grit and determination to reach their goals.

KPBSD Personalized Learning blog
KPBSD Personalized Learning FAQs
KPBSD Personalized Learning webpage

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Personalized Learning: increase student autonomy

Mrs. Meredith McCullough, Kenai Central High School
English Teacher

By the time I meet my students in high school, many believe their educational paths are set. This fixed view of learning creates unnecessary challenges and limitations that impact students for their entire lives, and is the reason I reevaluated my beliefs about teaching. The truth is this: my role as an educator is to teach students that they are capable of writing their own destinies and to help them discover tools which will benefit them long after they leave our school district. I turned to personalized learning and standards-based grading in my classroom because those strategies augmented my efficacy and gave my students greater control over their lives and learning, one of the key steps in becoming an adult.

Using standards-based grading in my classroom revealed a new world of student reflection and understanding. Students are capable of recognizing their own learning gaps and can therefore choose assignments which will either deepen their understanding of skills they possess, or allow them to self-remediate and practice those skills which require greater growth. As part of my grading system, students review their data and negotiate their grade in my class. To an outside observer, this looks like utter chaos. However, this process has allowed me to have honest conversations with students about their abilities, their goals, and how to continue to push their learning to the next level. It has resulted in more authentic learning. My students no longer care about what grade they received on an assignment; they are more concerned about what feedback they received. This shift in thinking is revolutionary, especially as students now regularly utilize that feedback in future iterations of their work.

Meredith McCullough PL Advanced French class and carnival masks KCHS

Perhaps the greatest benefit of personalized learning and standards-based grading is increased student autonomy.

My students are eager, capable, and hungry to earn respect by proving themselves to the world.

Channeling this passion and energy is a continual challenge, but drives me to become a more effective educator. I refuse to allow students’ full potential to go untapped. Offering them choice, offering them opportunities to fail forward and to improve on their skills, offering them unconditional support and the unshakeable conviction that they can rise to their highest selves is my gospel. Student autonomy is paramount if a district intends to produce adults who will think critically and empathetically.

After eight years of teaching, I can state without reservation that our students do, and will continue to, rise to any challenge held for them. Trust and respect for our students and their personal learning journey is the future of education and one I am proud to be part of thanks to the support of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

KPBSD Personalized Learning blog
KPBSD Personalized Learning FAQs
KPBSD Personalized Learning webpage

Meredith McCullough 2017 Kenai BP Teacher of Excellence (1)

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Personalized Learning: Think Kaladi Brothers, soup and salad bar, treadmill

Ms. Sienna Griggs, Mountain View Elementary, 4th grade teacher explains,

I define personalized learning as the ability of a student to have self-directed choice in what and how he or she is going to learn; a sense of ownership over their education. While I am still learning about personalizing, I experimented with several elements of personalization in my classroom this past year.


Flexible Seating

Think Kaladi Brothers

I might always choose to sit in the comfy couch chairs because that’s where I usually prefer to drink my tea. However, a friend may enjoy sitting in the chairs next to the wall, as she likes an outlet for working on her computer while she sips her coffee. When my students were responsible for choosing their seating, it fostered a deeper sense of community in our classroom through sharing, taking care of supplies, and compromising. It also developed students’ skills in taking an active role in their learning on where they work best in the room, and when they need to make an informed change.

Station Rotations

Think soup and salad bar

The salad side is for choosing which toppings you want to go over your lettuce. The soup side is for ladling out the best soup choice according to what you prefer most. Both sides are for lunch, both sides are complimentary to one another, both feed you, and most likely you’ll visit both sides. We had four stations where students rotated through structured learning activities in small groups for both math and reading. Students were responsible for choosing which books they read, which activity would be best to support their level of understanding, and completing collaboration activities were provided to enhance learning and understanding. Their station information was up on a PowerPoint that ran on its own timing between slides, informing the students when it was time to switch stations. With different activities at each station, learning occurred alongside with exploration.

Adaptable Curriculum Pacing

Think treadmill

If a gym member steps on a treadmill in the middle of training for a marathon, their pace is most likely going to be quicker and they will probably run for many miles. Another gym member heads toward the treadmill for the first time in a few years. Both members’ experiences will be vastly different, but with the treadmill having adjustable speeds and incline both of these individuals have the ability to work hard and leave the gym feeling successful with their efforts.

QR Code Sienna Griggs Mt View 4th

Personalized Learning
Most of us, if not all, already differentiate beautifully in our classrooms. Differentiation, a teacher modifying material that is being taught and how students will learn it based on the unique needs of his or her class, has been extremely successful in meeting the needs of small groups of students. Before I learned about personalized learning, our classroom differentiated groups were centered around myself as the teacher; even though there was choice involved, I was still the only one responsible for what we were learning, and when, and how. In reaction to hearing about personalization, I wondered how this would work in the classroom and how I could personalize my students’ learning with myself in more of a guide position to support my students. With much help from others, I was able to use an online platform to build part of my math materials for this year. The learning curve was steep, and sometimes frustrating, but my students were helpful by providing feedback and catching mistakes I made.

I had a specific group of students working in a personalized learning method. Eighty percent of the students who were using the online platform met or exceeded yearly growth for math. Student reflections and feedback included statements such as, “I like working online because it lets me go at my own pace,” and “The program helps me be less distracted by other people and I can focus on my own work,” also “I don’t have to be worried about where other people are at.” I observed different students working at various parts of the math unit and utilizing tools and manipulatives that made sense to them as they worked through the lessons. My students also questioned the lessons, helped each other, and challenged one another’s thinking. Watching personalized learning unfold was really neat to experience.

Through personalized learning, I was able to integrate other programs and platforms to further exploration, learning, and real world connections. It wasn’t all smooth and perfect, but that’s where my learning as an educator comes in. This is only the beginning of my attempt to personalize my classroom, and I am already seeing the benefits through the students’ experiences and collaboration, assessment results, and direction that personalizing learning is taking both my students and myself.

KPBSD Personalized Learning blog
KPBSD Personalized Learning FAQs
KPBSD Personalized Learning webpage

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David Kalugin | Voznesenka School #Classof2017

David Kalugin
Voznesenka School
Class of 2017

Voznesenka School David Kalugin Class of 2017

“Voznesenka School is proud to recognize David Kalugin as an accomplished member of our 2017 graduating class who created a reputation of being witty and laid back,” said Principal Wojciak.

Starting his school career at McNeil Canyon School, which he attended from kindergarten through sixth grade, David completed seventh through twelfth grade years at Voznesenka. As a student, David had a plethora of experiences. He was on the football team for two years, attended three construction classes in Homer, and was involved with Project Grad. Most memorable for David were his years in football and the end of the year activities such as beach day. His efforts steered him towards earning both the Project Grad and Alaska Performance Scholarships.

School was an important part of his life, but so was his family, and commercial fishing. For the last two summers David was a captain on his family’s fishing vessel, and prior to that he spent several years as a deckhand. However, David does not have an interest in making fishing his livelihood, rather, his dream is to become an industrial electrician. He is currently working towards an apprenticeship in this field. He’s liked electronics since he was a little boy, and has earned respect by repairing inoperative cell phones.

As a school and community we wish David all the best in accomplishing his dreams and goals. His ever present smile will be missed, yet remembered as we resume school in the fall.

Voznesenka School website

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

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Gavin Elvsaas | Susan B. English School #Classof2017

Gavin Elvsaas
Susan B. English School
Class of 2017

Susan B English Gavin Elvsaas

Gavin Elvsaas grew up in Seldovia and is part of the graduating class of 2017 at Susan B. English School, the same school from which her mother, aunts and uncles, cousins, and other relatives graduated. She is a self-possessed, kind-hearted, and passionate girl who has made her family and community proud.

During her sophomore year, she made some choices that left her unable to earn the credits she needed for that year. Instead of being discouraged, she came back to school the next year with a plan and the determination to work hard and catch up so that she could graduate with her class. Her grades her last two years have been excellent and prove that she allows her past mistakes to inform her future choices so she can be successful. Gavin is responsible and curious by nature, and enjoys reading the news and following politics. Because she seeks to live by her convictions and do what she thinks is best not just for herself, but the world around her, Gavin has chosen to eat a vegan diet for the past few years, not an easy choice for a teenager growing up in a semi-remote town with limited grocery options. She is brave, sensitive, thoughtful, and strong, and she understands who she is and constantly looks out for others.

As a K-12 school, Susan B. English provides opportunities for students to become leaders and role models for much younger students, and Gavin is both. She worked as a classroom aide in the K-6 class this year, helping kids with their reading and math. She has earned her Emergency Trauma Technician certificate and aced her anatomy class, and she plans to pursue a career in the medical field.

Susan B. English School website

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Jackson Blackwell | Soldotna High School #Classof2017

Jackson Blackwell
Soldotna High School
Class of 2017

Soldotna High School Jackson Blackwell

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and Soldotna High School have provided me and many other students with countless opportunities. Over my thirteen years in the district I have been challenged to excel and make a difference within the school and greater community. I credit my many teachers and the KPBSD staff for allowing many students, like myself, to find opportunities and challenges that engage and make us all better global citizens.

Over my years at Soldotna High School I was heavily involved both in-and-out of school. I served in Student Council as Class President and the National Honor Society as President. I was involved in band, as well as having participated in a few years of sports. I was involved with Kenai Peninsula Youth Court and Teens Against Tobacco Use. Because of the opportunities I have received, I have excelled and will be able to attend college. I will be starting my studies at Boise State University this fall where I will be enrolled in the Honors College and plan to receive a double major in Political Science and Economics. Following undergraduate studies, I hope to attend Law School and focus in Constitutional and Resource Law. Following Law School, I hope to move back to Alaska to practice Resource Law and ultimately be involved in State politics.

Thank you to KPBSD for providing a world-class education and allowing students to reach their fullest potential.

Soldotna High School website

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Soldotna High School Jackson Blackwell with Gov Walker and Sen Miccichi

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Logan Smith | Seward High School #Classof2017

Logan Smith
Seward High School
Class of 2017

Seward High Logan Smith

Logan Smith is a tinkerer. This curiosity led him to all things tinkering that Seward High had to offer—shop, metals, woodworking, and so forth. Logan also has a natural aptitude for mathematics. This made him a logical candidate for Seward High’s engineering course called Project Lead the Way. “It was here that his talents combined to truly find his niche—and make Seward High better in the process,” said Principal Trevan Walker. “We’ve been slowly putting together our own Maker Space, but the process has been slow as these efforts have been largely extra-curricular. It was Logan who self-taught himself how to leverage the equipment he had, and advocate for additional equipment that we didn’t, to turn our Maker Space into something that is used every day and by a variety of students and teachers.”

Logan carries a 3.24 grade point average even as he has taken Seward High’s most rigorous course load. His work ethic, commitment to studies, and contribution to Seward High was also recognized by the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF), who accepted him into their early admission engineering program where he will begin his post-secondary education in the fall. I’m am confident that UAF will be as proud to claim him, as one of their best and brightest, as we are.

Seward High School website

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

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