Preventing Summer Slide #read

Summer 2018 Reading

Preventing Summer Slide

Summer Slide? No, not the slide at the playground or the water park. Not the Slip ‘N Slide from days gone by either. Summer Slide refers to the time period when kids are not in school and things they have learned slip from their minds. One area commonly affected is reading.

Scholastic suggests the following in the article Three Ways to Prevent Summer Slide.

  1. Six books to summer success. – Research shows that reading as few as six books can help prevent loss of reading skills.
  2. Read something every day.
  3. Keep reading aloud. – Yes, even to teens!

Since our school libraries are not open during the summer, students will need other options when looking for books to read. Many of our communities have awesome public libraries with summer reading programs. If you live in an area with a public library, please visit often during the summer break.

If you do not have access to a public library, several digital options are available for readers:


All KPBSD staff and students (Gr. 6-12) have access to our shared Overdrive collection. This collection includes over 2,000 titles in ebook or audiobook format. Titles can be accessed through a browser on a computer at this website: KPBSD Overdrive Collection.

How to use Overdrive video.

There is also a free Overdrive App available for iOS and Android devices. Make sure to choose the KPBSD Schools (Main Collection) when searching for our Overdrive Library.

KPBSD students login with ID number and regular password. KPBSD staff members login using eNumber (change the E to a 9) and regular password.


This is a free summer audiobook program for teens 13+. Beginning April 26, 2018, SYNC will give away two complete audiobook downloads a week through July 25. That amounts to 26 FREE audiobook downloads! Visit the SYNC website for more information. Anyone interested can sign up through email or text. This is an amazing deal!


PG is an award-winning database for reading and research written especially for elementary students. Information can be found related to animals, science, biographies, and social studies. Images, video, maps, activities, and games are also included. Pebble Go also has a read-aloud feature and a built in glossary. This great resource can be found here:

KPBSD student login for summer is as follows: Username: 9999 / Password: jkl

No matter where you go to find books, the most important part is to keep reading!
Thank you to Karla Barkman, KPBSD Librarian and Technology Coach, for contributing this story. Do you have a story tip or idea?


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Josh Shuler, River City Academy, #ClassOf2018

Josh Shuler
River City Academy, Class of 2018

Joshua Cole Shuler River City Academy Class of 2018

Josh Shuler is an exemplar of personalized learning in KPBSD. He’s been a student at RCA since 7th grade, when he tested into high school level English, and has continued working above grade level ever since. He earned high school credit as a middle schooler, and as a high school student continued this trend in earning college credits through JumpStart at Kenai Peninsula College (KPC). He will graduate with 16 college credits through KPC and boasts a perfect 4.0 GPA (without the benefit of any AP bumps). Josh tailored his graduation plan to meet his own interests including completing Principles of Engineering and Construction at Soldotna High School. A committed athlete, Josh competed for Soldotna High School in Cross Country Running, Nordic Skiing, and Track and Field. Josh qualified for State competitions multiple times over his career and has the potential to compete at the college level.

Josh is more than excellent academics. He possesses a heart and mind for service to others, and the community benefited from his thousands of hours of volunteer work at Solid Rock Bible Camp. You can also find him volunteering through many projects at RCA, including math tutoring, local school carnivals, fund-raisers and dinner theaters.

Josh is RCA’s Masonic Outstanding Student of the Year, UA Scholar, and qualified for Level 1 of the Alaska Performance Scholarship. He received the BP Principal’s Scholarship. Additionally, he received a scholarship to attend California Baptist University next year to major in Civil Engineering.

Connect with River City Academy on Facebook

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Kristin Klaich, Nikolaevsk School, #ClassOf2018

Kristin Elisabeth Klaich, Class of 2018
Nikolaevsk School

Nikolaevsk School_KKlaich Class of 2018

I plan to spend a semester at home and take a full load of online college classes through the University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA). Then, I will travel to Peru for six months to live with a missionary family and help with their three children. In the fall of 2019, I will attend a college full time and graduate in Spring of 2022 with my degree in Early Childhood Education. Recent scholarship awards include: University of Alaska (UA) Scholar $12,000; Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS)—up to $3,566 per year; Safari Club International (SCI) $4,000; Austin E. Lathrop $1,000; Benjamin B. and Virginia M. Talley $1,500.

My best memory of learning at Nikolaevsk isn’t one specific thing, it’s just how everyone is one big family and how we have and had amazing teachers that really care about us students on an academic and personal level. Also, the opportunity I had to aid for Mrs. Parrett, our elementary teacher, both helping and even teaching a little bit of all the elementary grades. This really changed my prospective on teaching and now I actually want to go into this field!

Facebook: Nikolaevsk School

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District


Rachel Davidson, Connections Homeschool #ClassOf2018

Class of 2018
Rachel Davidson
Connections Homeschool

Connections_Rachel_Davidson Graduation Photo

How many students graduate twice in three weeks? Rachel Davidson walked across the stage at Connections Homeschool graduation and received her high school diploma on May 24, 2018.  Fifteen days earlier, Rachel walked across the stage at Kenai Peninsula College’s graduation and received her Associate of Arts degree. Rachel started homeschooling during her freshman year and used a very focused, highly personalized approach to achieve this feat. Using Jumpstart, and her educational allotment, Rachel was able to get a head start on her goal of an associate and bachelor degrees in nursing with a specialty in obstetrics. Earlier in the year, Rachel became a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and is currently working in the health care industry.

Ms. Davidson is an active member of the community, and volunteers with the Safe Kids Kenai Peninsula Coalition, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program, and the Kenai Watershed Forum. Additionally, Rachel volunteered at the Central Peninsula General Hospital at least once per week. Her three varsity letters for swimming at Soldotna High school demonstrate an accomplished young woman who contributes to her community, and the lives of others—family, friends, and strangers.

Rachel’s academic success coupled with her community focus point to a promising future. Congratulations Rachel Davidson!

Connections Homeschool

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

2018 Kenai BP Teachers of Excellence

Kodiak, Alaska

KPBSD celebrates Robanne Stading, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of the Year, five BP Teachers of Excellence, and the 2018 Kenai Education Ally.

I am very proud of all our finalist for this prestigious award,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “They all embody the qualities we want all of our teachers to exhibit, especially in how they ensure a strong, positive relationship with each and every student. Each finalist is very deserving of this recognition and I look forward to their continued excellence and leadership in our district.”

2018 Kenai BP Teacher of the Year

Kodiak, Alaska

Mrs. Robanne Stading teaches special education in kindergarten through grade twelve at Nikolaevsk School. She believes her school is a community, and she works to instill that sense of belonging, compassion and responsibility in her students through every lesson she teaches. But far more important, she shows them what a good member of the community by example. And every day, she shows them what a great teacher is.

2018 Kenai BP Teachers of Excellence






BP Educational Ally Award, 2018 Kenai Peninsula

The award recognizes the additional unsung heroes in our schools—support staff, administration or volunteers—who are working alongside teachers to inspire students and are making a difference in our schools and community.


“BP is honored to continue supporting this great program and celebrating teachers who represent the best of our state,” said BP Alaska Regional President Janet Weiss. “It’s part of BP’s ongoing commitment to the communities where we live and work and to the future of Alaska.”

Since the program’s inception in 1995, BP has recognized 750 teachers. Winning teachers receive a $500 gift card and a $500 matching grant to their school. Now in its 23rd year, the BP Teachers of Excellence program honors K-12 teachers from all school districts statewide, including public and private schools. In 2018, the program attracted more than 1,000 nominations for both teachers and the newly added BP Educational Allies award, recognizing additional unsung heroes in Alaska’s schools.

 Learn more
Click the individual awardee name to read a specific story:

BP Teachers of Excellence website


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Celebrate Jen Booz, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of Excellence

Jen Booz

“There are so many amazing teachers out there doing incredible things every day that to be singled out for recognition feels unbelievable. I love being a teacher. Teaching science to middle school students is the best job I can imagine but I could not do it alone. Kari Dendurent, my principal, is always willing to support whichever crazy idea I have. My co-teachers inspire me every day and the kids keep showing up excited to learn science. I hope to continue to grow my craft and never stop learning.” – Jen Booz

 Ms. Jen Booz teaches science and robotics to eighth graders at Homer Middle School. She has been a teacher for 11 years, all in Alaska.

Principal Kari Dendurant says that that Ms. Booz is known for her positive rapport with students, and all the students at Homer Middle School. But it’s not just her principal who believes this. A student writes, “She is helpful and the best science teacher. Ms. Booz makes everyone happy. She’s a really awesome, cool and healthy person to be around.”

Ms. Booz coaches cross-country running and works with all types of athletes to encourage a healthy lifestyle. She knows that being a member of a team helps her student-athletes integrate well into the other areas of their schooling. So she brings this sense of team into her classroom.

“I consciously create an environment of blended and project-based learning in my class,” she tells us, “to allow students the freedom to make choices in their learning.”

Ms. Booz creates a module-style structure, in which students are provided with content through a variety of sources, then progress at their own pace, moving ahead as they complete each component. So each student is responsible for his or her own learning, but also works with peers in small groups.

Their teacher monitors progress through CANVAS, the District Learning Management System. By blending the learning process, Ms. Booz is freed up to work one-on-one with these small groups or individuals. She says, “As a science teacher, I want students to experience ‘real science’ whenever possible. The project-based learning model I have adopted utilize community interaction, relevant topics and authentic products.”

One example of her approach was a project in which students made a presentation to a professional in the community over Skype. They received feedback directly from the professional, which was a very powerful moment for both them and their teacher.

Another example had meaning closer to home. Ms. Booz says, “In Homer, many of our families fish commercially, so when we coupled science skills and chemistry, we investigated the best methods to clean oil spills. Many of our students’ parents have been trained in oil-spill clean-up, so this project had real-life application.”

“I believe Jen Booz makes a difference in public education because she brings the love of learning and science to every 8th grade student at Homer Middle School,” said Kari Dendurant, principal. “As a result of students having Ms. Booz as their teacher they are encouraged and inspired to be innovative to make our world a better place. Students do not ever hear no from Ms. Booz, rather they hear why?, how? and what do you think? And most importantly, I believe in you. She is a true inspiration!”

Ms. Booz earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, and a master’s degree in education from Eastern Oregon University. She began her work in science during college when she was awarded a field internship. After leaving Delaware, she traveled around the country doing field research in ornithology, and also worked as a field biologist for state, federal and academic institutions.

These positions gave her real-life experience as a scientist, lessons she tries to give her students through the blended learning she implements in class.

Ms. Booz also devotes herself to Homer’s students outside of class, serving on several school and district committees and the Innovation Committee, Personalized Learning Council and National Junior Honor Society.

“I am very proud of all our finalists for this prestigious award,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “They all embody the qualities we want all of our teachers to exhibit, especially in how they ensure a strong, positive relationship with each and every student. Each finalist is very deserving of this recognition and I look forward to their continued excellence and leadership in our district.”

Congratulations, Jen Booz, 2018 BP Teacher of Excellence.

Kenai 2018 BP Teachers of Excellence

Celebrate Wil Chervenak, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of Excellence

“There are very few elements in life that are fixed–money, health, relationships, employment, fame, talent, and material possessions can all fluctuate drastically. Education however, is one of life’s most precious resources as it not only serves as a vehicle for upward mobility but as a fixed component in the physiological fabric of an individual. One’s education cannot be bought, sold, stolen, given up, or imitated–education is authentic, education is forever. I feel truly blessed each and every day that I get the opportunity to be a part of my students’ development of their own education for I know that I am helping them acquire one of life’s rarest commodities.” –Will Chervenak

Mr. Wil Chervenak teaches English language arts and physical education to ninth graders at Soldotna Prep School. He has been a teacher for five years, all in Alaska.

Before moving to Soldotna, he taught in the small, rural community of Ambler, located above the Arctic Circle. Teaching in a small Alaska community that experiences long, dark, very cold winters is unlike teaching anywhere else in America and imparts valuable lessons for a teacher. In addition to the opportunity teach classes like Iñupiaq studies is the lesson that building strong personal relationships is vital.

He states: “My teaching style can be described as accessible and personal. I try my hardest to meet the students where they are and build on skills that they bring to the table.” Mr. Chervenak believes that, in order to motivate students, they have to know their teacher has their best interests at heart. So, by taking the time to learn something special about each student, he achieves a middle ground, which acts as the vehicle to gain trust.

“This lets them know that we are in this together,” he says. “I love what I do, and that passion permeates everything I do in the classroom.”

One of his students says: “He makes this school more fun and enjoyable. He is very philosophical and makes sure we think about stuff. He doesn’t share any views with us, like religion or politics, so he can keep it fair.”

Mr. Chervenak is a member of the school’s Instructional Leadership team and helps steer the instructional direction of the school.

He also has coached a wide variety of sports, including cross-country, wrestling, baseball and Native Youth Olympics. But he also leads the far more cerebral Poetry Out Loud Club, Native Youth Leadership and After School Tutoring. He earned both his bachelor’s degree and his master’s in education in secondary teaching, at Eastern Washington University. He also just graduated with his Master’s in Education in educational leadership in April with a 4.0 GPA.

Mr. Chervenak brings a lot to Soldotna Prep. A student writes, “He actively tries to help, and makes sure his students are on task yet having fun with their work.” Beyond helping to lead the instructional direction of the school, he states that he is proudest of the positive, healthy relationships he’s maintained with his students and their families, as well as being a fundamental component in over 300 students gaining college entry. That’s certainly something to be proud of.

“As the principal at Soldotna Prep School, I have worked with Mr. Chervenak for four years,” said Curt Schmidt. “He is very dependable, trustworthy, and sincere in every effort he undertakes. He always maintains a professional attitude, works well with a variety of students and colleagues, and is very flexible in taking on teaching assignments and other duties as requested. Mr. Chervenak is highly organized, communicates clearly, and most importantly, keeps what is best for students in mind at all times.

Mr. Chervenak has gained extensive knowledge in collaborative practices, built a large toolbox of best teaching practices, and has substantially increased his leadership abilities, with the goal of continual improvement always being foremost in his mind. He also helps administration with substitute duties while they are out of the building with high levels of success.  He thinks well on his feet and can make adjustments easily. I am confident that Mr. Chervenak is deserving of this award.”

“I am very proud of all our finalists for this prestigious award,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “They all embody the qualities we want all of our teachers to exhibit, especially in how they ensure a strong, positive relationship with each and every student. Each finalist is very deserving of this recognition and I look forward to their continued excellence and leadership in our district.”

Congratulations, Will Chervenak, BP Teacher of Excellence.

Kenai 2018 BP Teachers of Excellence

Celebrate Carlyn Nichols, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of Excellence

Kodiak, Alaska

“It’s an exciting time to be an educator. Through personalized learning and maker education I get to be a facilitator of experiences and mentor in learning rather than a conduit of information and “giver of tests”. I love watching students take ownership of their learning and pursue their curiosities.  I really believe one of the greatest gifts we can bestow upon students is the ability to problem solve, innovate and collaborate. And we must find meaningful and engaging ways to develop those skills. I feel successful if my students can make connections to the science in their everyday lives through these authentic activities.” –Carlyn Nichols

Ms. Carlyn Nichols teaches science at Seward Middle School. She has been a teacher for 13 years, all in Alaska.

One of the students at Seward Middle School wrote, “When you walk into Ms. Nichols’ classroom, you feel safe and ready to learn. She loves having deep conversations with her class. If a student asks an interesting question, her face lights up with excitement, and you know she’s about to give you the best answer possible.”

Ms. Nichols is, in her own words, a goofy, enthusiastic teacher who loves to geek out on science. She showers her students with humor and energy, while also pushing them. She is tasked with getting middle schoolers ready for the more-advanced academics of high school. So, her emphasis is less on memorizing information and more on self-guided problem solving.

“I expect and teach self-reliance, initiative and grit,” she tells us. “It’s my belief that the greatest gift I can give my students is the ability to think for themselves.”

She regularly takes her classes beyond books and tests. Her students learn to experiment, think critically, ask hard questions and use evidence. Her approach to science is through inquiry and exploration. She states: “I believe students must experience and wrestle with scientific concepts and skills if they are to truly engage and internalize them.”

Ms. Nichols is a strong believer in using technology and challenge-based learning. She uses ed tech daily for a variety of purposes. Her students can often be found viewing her lectures and running simulations on their Chromebooks, recording an experiment on their phones, or producing their own digital projects with iPads.

Visit her classroom and you might find students building a zipline, extracting DNA or working with their teacher to figure out which tools they need to use.

A few years ago, Ms. Nichols began integrating more engineering into her curriculum, and now she’s infusing class with Maker components. She secured grants, used her personal professional development funds and lobbied community organizations to raise the money to stock, organize and implement the school’s new Maker Space.

“That Maker lab is my happy place,” she says, “exploring and creating with students of all abilities. Nearly every day, I ask students to create something to demonstrate their learning. We build atoms, move vehicles, make yogurt and produce movies.”

Her classroom is dynamic and diverse, and Ms. Nichols is proud that her class has the reputation of “not sitting much.”

One parent wrote: “My son had never shown a keen interest in science until he entered her classroom. Now, he can’t wait to get to her class so he can be immersed in her lessons and strike off on new adventures of discovery. When you ask your child how their day went and he replies ‘It was awesome since I had Mrs. Nichols today,’ you know that teacher is something special.”

“I believe Carlyn Nichols makes a positive impact at Seward Middle School because of the way she recognizes students as individuals,” said Jenny Martin, principal. “She wants to know their interests, their troubles, and what makes them excited. Carlyn looks to broaden the minds and lives of kids through hands-on lessons in the classroom and Elective classes she teaches. She exposes them to their surroundings through field trips in the Bay and draws their interests to careers in technology and engineering. She helps them contribute to and serve their community and is the teacher they love and remember for years.”

A graduate of the University of Denver, she received her master’s from the University of Alaska Southeast. Perhaps more important, she was born and raised–and graduated high school–in the same community where she now teaches. Seward is certainly lucky to have her at home.

“I am very proud of all our finalists for this prestigious award,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “They all embody the qualities we want all of our teachers to exhibit, especially in how they ensure a strong, positive relationship with each and every student. Each finalist is very deserving of this recognition and I look forward to their continued excellence and leadership in our district.”

Congratulations, Carlyn Nichols, BP Teacher of Excellence.

Kenai 2018 BP Teachers of Excellence

Celebrate Aaron Gordon, 2018 Kenai BP Education Ally

2018 Kenai Education Ally

Nate Crabtree, K-Beach Elementary was in on a secret, and made up a story to bring Mr. Aaron Gordon to the BP Teachers of Excellence celebration. During the evening awards, Mr. Gordon discovered he was the 2018 Kenai Education Ally when Superintendent Dusek began reading about him!

“Our Educational Ally works with young students in an intensive-needs, structured classroom.

The teachers who work with this ally say the individual is enormously patient and flexible when dealing with difficult personalities or situations involving conflict, refusals or multiple health impairments.

This ally is tolerant of the children’s differences and cool-headed in tough situations. What’s more, this person is also really fun to be around. A film major at University of Alaska Fairbanks, this ally runs an after-school film club that has become hugely popular and accommodates students affected by autism, enabling them to engage in positive social interaction with their peers.

Fluent in sign language, this person can often be seen carrying on conversations with hearing-impaired students, helping to broaden their vocabulary and simply adding a bit of laughter to their day with corny jokes or lengthy discussions of Pokemon.

For many years, our Educational Ally has been a counselor at the Royal Family Summer Camp, an intensive and successful opportunity for local foster children. Many of these children have very tough backgrounds, and when they return to school, they invariably seek out this person as a safe and positive staff member, and have better transitions back into the school routine.

This ally is so approachable and fun that staff and students alike are glad he’s at the school. This person was nominated for this award by the teachers he works with, perhaps the best evidence we have that he is truly an Educational Ally.”

“I believe Aaron Gordon makes a difference in public education because he brings in the experience and skillset of an award winning filmmaker to the classroom setting,” said Nate Crabtree, principal. “This is evident in the high quality videos he helps created to promote positive school culture, the after school film club that he started to introduce elementary students to film and using his expertise to enhance the educational experience for a homebound student.”

“I am very proud of Aaron Gordon,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “He ensures a strong, positive relationship with each and every student. Mr. Gordon is very deserving of this recognition and I look forward to his continued excellence and leadership in our district.”

Congratulations to Kalifornsky Beach Elementary’s Aaron Gordon, BP Educational Ally

Celebrate Staci Wells, 2018 Kenai BP Teacher of Excellence

Staci Wells

“As educators, we meet truly outstanding professional who makes a difference in the lives of children. Staci Wells is just that person! She is willing to go above and beyond and plays a critical role in sparking a passion for learning while consistently challenging and engaging all of her students.” –Bill Withrow, Redoubt Elementary principal

Ms. Staci Wells teaches second grade at Redoubt Elementary School in Soldotna. She has been a teacher for 11 years, all in Alaska. “Teaching isn’t just my job,” Ms. Wells says, “it’s who I am.” Ms. Wells approaches teaching with a very personal tactic, what she calls “guided instruction in a central style.” She engages her young students in classroom instruction, of course, but as she says, “In order to see their lightbulbs go off, you need to get face-to-face.”

She believes the impact of teaching and learning is more powerful in a small-group setting, which allows her to catch students in a moment of difficulty and quickly redirect them to success. Similarly, she can immediately see who has already mastered a skill and help him or her to move on to the next step.

The parents of her students agree with her approach. One parent wrote, Ms. Wells teaches these kids some amazing things, and they get it! My child knows things I would not expect from a second-grader.”

Ms. Wells earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Western Oregon State College and an education degree from Kenai Peninsula College.

She devotes much of her energy to searching out activities that are more fun and engaging for her students. “If I don’t think a lesson is exciting and worthwhile,” she says, “how can my students?”

Ms. Wells has recently helped her school implement STEM learning and, Staci Wellssimultaneously, personalized learning, also known as “student choice.” Offering both programs together results in a room full of eight-year-olds with unbridled enthusiasm.

Ms. Wells says, “I believe I inspire students by stepping out of my comfort zone and offering them opportunities that allow them to think outside the box. I want them to realize their full potential.”

Under Ms. Wells’ passionate teaching, students gradually learn to set goals and review their progress. A teacher never knows what to expect when he or she is handed a class list at the beginning of the year. But, as she tells us, that list quickly becomes a family. She states: “Knowing that I am trusted with a parent’s greatest treasure is a high calling of honor.”

Every morning, Staci spends time in her classroom getting ready for the coming day, and former students stop by to say hello. They come by to determine if the room decorations have changed, or to quiz her about a specific memory or event. But mostly, they stop in to get a hug.

Ms. Wells admits, “There is nothing that makes me prouder than the relationships I’ve made with my students. When they stop in to say hello, I know I was successful in making an impact on them.”

“I am very proud of all our finalists for this prestigious award,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “They all embody the qualities we want all of our teachers to exhibit, especially in how they ensure a strong, positive relationship with each and every student. Each finalist is very deserving of this recognition and I look forward to their continued excellence and leadership in our district.”

Congratulations, Staci Wells, BP Teacher of Excellence.