Celebrate Martha Fleming, Kenai 2019 BP Educational Ally

Celebrate Martha Fleming, Kenai 2019 BP Educational Ally

BP 2019 Seward

It’s the job of the high school guidance counselor to assess each student’s entire academic life and get to know his or her strengths, struggles, social life, home life, and, perhaps most important, his or her potential. Martha Fleming, from Seward High School, is the 2019 BP Educational Ally for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. She is described by many as “the very being” of their school. She has guided countless students to apply themselves into successful career paths they would not otherwise have pursued.

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At the awards celebration, BP said, “There is no scholarship application that goes unnoticed; no parent meeting that goes unattended by this ally. She simply makes everything happen. As counselor at Seward High School for generations of students, she has been an open door, a consoling shoulder, a safe haven and an advocate for local teens. Regrettably, but deservingly, this Educational Ally will be retiring at the end of this school year. Her nominator wrote, ‘The Grand Canyon would barely start to compare to the void she will leave behind.’ And we will certainly all feel that void.”

Trevan Walker, the Seward High School principal said, “Martha was a full partner in the creation of a program that truly put students’ needs at the center of all that Seward High does academically and managerially. This required a fundamental change in the way we thought about instruction, assessment, and credit acquisition and simply could not have been done without her advocacy and leadership throughout the process. I have often made jokes that Martha is the lowest paid co-principal in the history of public education! Joking aside, however, this really does describe the value of her role in Seward High’s program where we create graduation plans that are individualized to meet the specific needs of each of our students and their families. Martha is a full partner administratively and instructionally.”

Mr. Walker continues, “However, most importantly is that Martha’s greatest quality is her relationship with students. They genuinely believe that she would do anything to help them be successful. They respond by working hard on their part. I am constantly amazed at the quality of graduates that Seward High produces year after year. I genuinely believe that each is specifically suited to pursue their post-graduate goals based on the experiences they generated here. Martha Fleming’s contribution to this success is difficult to fully articulate, but is certainly worthy of celebrating.”

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.”

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For 24 years, the BP Teachers of Excellence program has honored K-12 teachers from public and private school districts statewide. Since the program’s inception in 1995, BP has recognized more than 750 teachers. Winning teachers receive a $500 gift card and a $500 matching grant to their school. Teachers also receive a trip to Prudhoe Bay to learn about BP’s operations and paid admission for the Alaska Resource Education’s teacher course.

BP Teachers of Excellence website

Congratulations, Martha Fleming, BP Educational Ally.

 

Kenai Peninsula Class of 2019 Graduation Lineup

FY19 Class of 2019 Graduation Schedule

“Congratulations to the class of 2019! I am very proud to send another high caliber group of young people into their future. I wish all of our graduates the best and look forward to seeing the positive difference they will make in the world!” – Superintendent Sean Dusek

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Class of 2019 Graduations

Kindly check this link for any changes or updates: http://bit.ly/KPBSDgraduations
School Location Date Time
Cooper Landing School No graduates this year
Connections Homeschool Soldotna High School May 23, 2019 4:00 PM
Homer Flex School Land’s End May 22, 2019 5:00 PM
Homer High School Homer High Gym May 22, 2019 7:00 PM
Hope School Hope School Gym May 22, 2019 6:00 PM
Kachemak Selo School Kachemak Selo School May 20, 2019 1:00 PM
Kenai Alternative School Kenai Alternative School Gym May 22, 2019 5:00 PM
Kenai Central High School Kenai Central High School May 21, 2019 6:30 PM
Nanwalek School Nanwalek School May 21, 2019 1:00 PM
Nikiski High School Nikiski High Gym May 20, 2019 7:00 PM
Nikolaevsk School Nikolaevsk School May 20, 2019  5:00 PM
Ninilchik School Ninilchik School Gym May 21, 2019 6:00 PM
Port Graham School Port Graham School May 21, 2019 4:00 PM
Razdolna School Razdolna School May 28, 2019 1:00 PM
River City Academy Soldotna Sports Center May 21, 2019  6:00 PM
Seward High School Seward High May 20, 2019  7:00 PM
Soldotna High School Soldotna Sports Center May 22, 2019 7:00 PM
Susan B. English school Susan B. English School May 20, 2019 4:00 PM
Tebughna School Tebughna School Gym May 21, 2019 6:00 PM
Voznesenka School Land’s End May 23, 2019 4:30 PM

 

Caring for the Kenai 2019 Competition raises the bar

“What can I do, invent or create to better care for the environment of the Kenai Peninsula or improve the area’s preparedness for a natural disaster?”

In the 29th year of the competition, on April 18, 2019, Homer High student Austin Cline took first place honors and a $1,600 cash award in the annual Caring for the Kenai environmental and natural disaster preparedness contest.

1 HHS Austin Cline IMG_3270

Austin’s proposal to recycle plastic waste into 3-D printer filament wowed the crowd and judges at the Kenai Central High School Little Theater. Cline explained:

“It’s a simple process that I already have grants for … it’s to turn plastics into 3-D printing material.”

Taking second place and earning $1,100 was the team of Lindy Guernsey and Akilena Veach from Seward High School. Lindy and Akilena demonstrated a working drone which they had built at school, using 3-D printers. The girls use the drone to survey Seward’s floodplains. The girls’ work has supplied the Seward Flood Board with crucial data to help prevent property damage during flooding events.

Lindy said:

“We worked with our outward bound program and built the drone then we heard about Caring for the Kenai and our science teacher encouraged us to enter.”

Akilena added:

“We learned how to fly the drone on a computer simulator after we built it, we’ve flying for three years we’ve been working with younger students so the program will continue after we graduate.”

2 Seward Lindy and Akilena IMG_3106

In third place and claiming a $900 prize was Connections home school student Anna DeVolld. Anna will be visiting local Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club meetings to share information about the role of pollinators in our ecosystem. As part of her presentation, Anna shared a ‘Pollinator Pack’ she has developed; a cluster of plants which support pollinators like bees and bats. These packs of plants will also be distributed to Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club members, “I’m also giving educational programs about pollinators to increase awareness of how important they are to our community, our salmon runs and food production. I’ll be using my prize money to fund my pollinator packets. I learned a lot of my computer skills because of my CFK idea,” said 13-year-old DeVolld.

3 Anna DeVolld IMG_3094

Taking fourth place honors and $750 was Homer High student Vianne Sarber. Vianne used her incredible skills in art and graphic design to create a children’s storybook titled ‘Sophie Saves the Sea.’ Vianne plans to publish the book through Kindle. “I’m incredible grateful to Mr. Stineff for assigning CFK to me. I allows me to learn and use my skills to make a difference,” said Sarber.

With a catchy (and original) rap, Jacob Topp took 5th place with his rap to remind people about ‘Nice Ice Safety.’ The rap, set to Vanilla Ice’s ‘Ice, Ice Baby,’ is designed to be played over the radio and promote a Facebook page with regular ice safety updates.

The team of Landon Vyhmeister and Josiah Nunn won 6th place and a $550 prize with a video game they developed. The project, titled ‘R.I.S.E. U.P.’, challenges students at different age levels to survive various natural disasters. The boys are working to have their game included in school curriculum.

End of story 2019 CFK Orals 121

Finalists who earned $400 each for making it to the final 12 out of 400 plus entries are:

  • Dylan Duniphin, Kenai Central High School, Nutrient Runoff
  • Melita Efta, Kenai Central High School, Coloring On the Kenai
  • Olivia Ferguson, Rebecca Okonek, & Autumn Calabrese, Ninilchik School, Worms Are Sexy
  • Riley Graves, Kenai Central High School, Magnetic Beach Rake
  • Justin Hansen, Soldotna Prep, The Trails Initiative
  • Shawna Hudson, Kenai Central High School, Solution For Pollution

“Caring for the Kenai is a special opportunity for our students to showcase their ingenuity, problem solving skills and creativity,” said Superintendent of Schools Sean Dusek. “This year’s competition was another wonderful year of our students showcasing these talents in extraordinary ways! I am very proud of the students and their teachers who worked hard to not only develop projects that extended their classroom learning, but who are also are having meaningful, positive impacts in their communities. I am proud to have been associated with such a fantastic program that supports our students in so many ways.”

The CFK essay prompt challenges high school students to respond to the question “What can I do, invent or create to better care for the environment of the Kenai Peninsula or improve the area’s preparedness for a natural disaster?” The contest, administered by the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska, was assigned this year in Kenai Peninsula freshman biology classrooms, with one home school student and at least two high school students entering voluntarily.

In addition to the $8,000 in cash awards for the finalists, this year $20,000 will be awarded to the school’s science departments. Thanks to the CFK signature sponsor Marathon Petroleum Corporation and the community partners Kenai River Raven Lodge, Hilcorp Energy, Peninsula Community Health Services, ConocoPhillips, Sweeney’s Clothing, and Peninsula Radiation Oncology Center.

High schools using CFK as part of state standards curriculum were: Cook Inlet Academy, Kenai Central High, Homer High, Nikiski High, Ninilchik School, Razdolna School, Seward High, Soldotna Prep, and several home school students. Students can enter every year of their high school career, whether the contest is assigned in class or not.

Each school receives $750 for their participation and the remainder of the $20,000 will be allocated according to how the school’s students ranked in the CFK competition. Additionally, close to 20 students will receive special recognition awards from local businesses and individuals.

This year’s contest was noted for its unusually high scores and number of students who have already implemented their ideas.

In addition to cash awards the finalists receive the 2019 CFK hooded sweatshirt and beanie. On Saturday, April 27, 2019, finalists, teachers, and guests will attend the CFK V.I.P Awards banquet hosted in their honor by Marathon Petroleum Corporation at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska.

COVER 2019 Caring for the Kenai

All the nearly 400 participants that entered the contest will receive a CFK beanie for their hard work and creativity. This year’s oral presentation judges included Dr. Nels Anderson (Mayor of Soldotna), Cameron Hunt (Marathon Petroleum Corporation), Pegge Erkeneff (Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Communications Liaison), Dan Nelson (Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management), Marnie Olcott (Challenger Learning Center CEO), Dick Erkeneff (Kenai River Raven Lodge), Robin Barry (ENSTAR Southern Division Manager), and Carlee Rizzo. Caring for the Kenai is administered as part of the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska educational programs.

Links

News release: School board approves interim Superintendent of Schools

KPBSD_2017-2022_StrategicPlan_SealBoard of Education approves Mr. John O’Brien to become interim KPBSD Superintendent of Schools

Soldotna, April 18, 2019—At a special board of education meeting, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District school board voted 8-0 to amend and approve John O’Brien’s FY20 contract to officially place Mr. John O’Brien as the KPBSB Interim Superintendent on July 1, 2019 until June 30, 2020.

John O'Brien“I humbly accept this appointment as Interim Superintendent and am 100% committed to work on behalf of the entire Kenai Peninsula community to achieve positive educational outcomes for our students,” said Mr. O’Brien. “The Board of Education asked me to step up to help our school district through this challenging transition period in our state. I am committed to the students, parents, and staff of this District and will work with everyone to provide a high quality educational experience for our students through the continued implementation of our five-year strategic plan. We clearly have many difficult choices ahead of us as a District due to the fiscal uncertainty in our state. I am hopeful that by persistently working together we will emerge from this storm stronger, more resilient, and more cohesive.”

 

An educator since 1993, Mr. O’Brien began his career twenty-six years ago as a special education teacher in Maine. While an educator in Maine, he served schools as an athletic director, assistant principal, principal, and as Maine’s Distinguished Educator for Teacher Quality at the Maine Department of Education. In 2005, he and his family moved to Nikiski, Alaska, where he joined the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District as the educational and instructional leader of Nikiski Middle-High School. In 2011, he left the role of school principal to serve as the director of secondary education for the KPBSD, and in 2015 became the assistant superintendent of instruction. Mr. O’Brien holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education, and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership. In his free time he takes every opportunity he can to chase rainbow trout with a fly rod.

Board President Penny Vadla said, “I have every confidence that Interim Superintendent John O’Brien is committed to move our District forward through these challenging and demanding times. Superintendent O’Brien will work diligently to ensure our five year strategic plan and our vision are kept intact; and with the collaborative efforts of the District Leadership team and the Board of Education, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will continue our commitment to provide a quality educational experience for all KPBSD students.”

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KPBSD Inspiration, Kelly King, Nikiski High School #ClassOf1999

Born and raised in Alaska, Kelly King now serves one of our most vulnerable and invisible populations on the Kenai Peninsula—youth who experience homelessness, and lack a stable place to sleep at night.

Kelly King

When she graduated from Nikiski Middle-High School in 1999, after elementary years at (Nikiski) North Star, she headed north to the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She’s now in her eleventh year working in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District as the KPBSD Students in Transition Program Coordinator and Central Peninsula Homeless Liaison.
Early years with her parents deeply influenced her professional life path. She said, “I watched them actively care for and about people throughout my childhood, and I always knew I wanted to contribute to my neighbors and my community in the same way. I see the value in people looking out for each other. My mom and dad spent a lot of time, energy, and resources building into people’s lives and I was always inspired by the outcome of love they brought to the table.”

“Say ‘yes’ to you.”
It can be daunting to be bold in who you are, what you’re interested in, and what you want to go after—especially as a teenager that just wants to fit in. But the things that might make you feel out of place in high school can be the very things you’re most proud of as an adult or that have the biggest impact on the world around you.”

Teachers who care change the world
“I was an extremely shy child and because of that, going to school was really difficult for me. Academics were comfortable and came naturally, but the social aspect was overwhelming and produced a lot of anxiety. In middle school, I really struggled with feeling like I fit in or had a place to claim—but teachers at Nikiski, some whom I had no classes with, noticed and went out of their way to engage with me.

Phil Morin, Vern Kornstad, and Lori Manion reached out to me from a place that had nothing to do with academics, but everything to do with connection. They spent time getting me involved, fostering my self-confidence, and building a sense of belonging. They shifted my perspective of myself and that changed my entire school experience moving forward. I was blessed to work with these amazing people after coming back to KPBSD and I saw how they had similar, beautiful impacts on so many other students’ lives.

Meaningful work in the world
I believe in the work I am doing, and see the continual need in our community for supports. Homelessness in Alaska, and on the Peninsula specifically, is an issue that is often overlooked and misunderstood. I want to be a part in changing that dialogue. I am proud of the program we have in place and our push to provide quality services, to be innovative with the resources we have, and to ensure students and families experiencing homelessness trust they have an advocate. When I see students who have been a part of the SIT Program living successful, productive, joyful lives, or when I hear from families that something we offered made even a small difference in a moment they really needed that support, it fills me up. I have no doubt I am where I am supposed to be and I am thankful for the opportunity to be here every day.

Unplugged play and fun
We are so lucky to live in Alaska, aren’t we? Every day we wake up in a place that is on so many Bucket Lists—I try to soak it up and soak it in as often as possible! I love to adventure with friends and family, take road trips, snowshoe and cabin camp in the winter, and anything on, in, or near the water. I totally dig live music and am excited by the festivals and events popping up locally over the last few years. I also work really hard to make it to Maui each year—I’m pretty sure palm trees are my “spirit animal.”

Living with service as a high value
Earlier this year I joined the local 100 Women Who Care, and it has been awesome to see what a powerful impact this group of compassionate, community-minded women are making right here at home. I volunteer for the local Relay for Life and am helping organize the Brewery to Bathroom 0.5k fundraiser this year, as well as an upcoming event for KPAL (Kenai Peninsula Animal Lovers) Rescue. There are so many worthy causes and opportunities to get involved in our community; I would really encourage people to find what speaks to them and then find a way to plug in. One of the things that has always made me proud to be from Nikiski and the Peninsula in general is the way people show up for each other—get in on the action!

Links

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Do you have a story tip about a KPBSD graduate to profile in our Wednesday Inspiration? Kindly email Pegge Erkeneff, KPBSD communications liaison, Pegge@KPBSD.org.

KPBSD 2019 Graduate Inspiration Profiles

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

FY19 Graduate Profiles 2019 First Q recap

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District graduates are creative problem-solvers, neighbors, business owners, teachers, parents, volunteers, innovators, doctors, and more. Your school district is a positive investment and validates its vision to, “inspire all learners to pursue their dreams in a rigorous, relevant and responsive environment.”

Every week KPBSD features a graduate, if you need some inspiration, click on one of the  2019 profiles you may have missed! (Click on the hyperlinked name to read the story.)

Scott Davis
Kenai Central High School, Class of 1977

Paul Ostrander
Soldotna High School, Class of 1986

Dean Carignan
Kenai Central High School, Class of 1987

Matthew Pyhala, DC
Homer High School, Class of 1993

Carlyn Nichols
Seward High School, Class of 1997

Kersten Gomez
Soldotna High School, Class of 1998

Katie Koester
Homer High School, Class of 1998

Stephanie Queen
Kenai Central High, Class of 2000

Kristin Bates
Seward High School, Class of 2004

Megan Mazurek
Nikiski Middle-High School, Class of 2005

Jeffrey Dolifka
Skyview High School, Class of 2006

Joel Isaak
Skyview High School, Class of 2007

Claire Neaton
Homer High School, Class of 2008

Emma Laukitis
Homer High School, Class of 2009

Nianiella Dorvall
Nikoleavsk School, Class of 2014

Do you have a story tip about a KPBSD graduate to profile in our Wednesday Inspiration? Kindly email Pegge Erkeneff, KPBSD communications liaison, Pegge@KPBSD.org.

 

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Seward area schools: community meeting and survey

KPBSD_2017-2022_StrategicPlan_SealSeward High School Principal, Trevan Walker, Seward Middle School Principal, Jenny Martin, William H. Seward Elementary School Principal, Alan Haskins, district administration, and the school board request your thoughts and input about potentially consolidating Seward Middle School (6-8) into Seward High School (9-12), and William H. Seward Elementary (6th). No decisions have been made, and your thoughts are valuable.

Exploring the difficult concept of school consolidations or closures is a challenging task. However, with fiscal uncertainty at the state and borough levels, it is an act of due diligence to have the conversations in order to learn community concerns and thoughts, and share with families and staff. In that light, KPBSD is being proactive to explore a number of possibilities to meet potentially significant funding cuts in all areas of our district, including southern, central, and eastern peninsula schools.

  • The high school has the capacity to accommodate the middle school students at this time, and this consolidation simplifies transportation issues.
  • Closing the school would offer an annual savings of approximately $409,000 in operating costs

 

Seward area schools community meeting:
April 11, 2019, 6:30 p.m.

A community meeting for families, students, and staff will be April 11, 2019, at 6:30 PM, in the William H. Seward Elementary School. The meeting will be hosted by the school principals and Dr. Christine Ermold, KPBSD Director of Human Resources and Professional Development.

Seward Survey: Parent, student, and staff survey is open April 9 – 16, 2019 https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/27PHGPS

Seward 2019-04 QR_code_27PHGPS (1)

Timing of any potential school consolidations in the Seward or Homer areas is unknown, and at this time, school closures or consolidations would be dependent upon funding from the state in FY20 and beyond. It is unlikely that school closures would occur in the Seward or Homer area as fast as the 2019-2020 school year, unless the Governor’s proposed budget stands.

Link: School consolidation discussions webpage and report

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Homer High and Homer Middle schools: community meeting and survey

KPBSD_2017-2022_StrategicPlan_SealHomer High School Principal Doug Waclawski, Homer Middle School Principal Kari Dendurent, district administration, and the school board request your thoughts and input about potentially consolidating Homer Middle School and Homer High School. No decisions have been made, and your thoughts are valuable.

Exploring the difficult concept of school consolidations or closures is a challenging task. However, with fiscal uncertainty at the state and borough levels, it is an act of due diligence to have the conversations in order to learn community concerns and thoughts, and share with families and staff. In that light, KPBSD is being proactive to explore a number of possibilities to meet potentially significant funding cuts in all areas of our district, including southern, central, and eastern peninsula schools.

  • The high school has the capacity to accommodate the middle school students at this time, and this consolidation simplifies transportation issues
  • Closing the school would offer annual savings of approximately $459,000 in operating costs, and avoid deferred maintenance costs of approximately $10,000,000

 

Homer High School and Homer Middle School community meeting: April 15, 2019, 6:00 p.m.

A community meeting for families, students, and staff will be April 15, 2019, 6:00 p.m., Homer High School Commons. The meeting will be hosted by the school principals and Mr. John Pothast, KPBSD Director of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Homer Survey: Parent, student, and staff survey is open April 9 – 16, 2019

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2TJG85C

Homer 2019-04 QR_code_2TJG85C

Timing of any potential school consolidations in the Seward or Homer areas is unknown, and at this time, school closures or consolidations would be dependent upon funding from the state in FY20 and beyond. It is unlikely that school closures would occur in the Seward or Homer area as fast as the 2019-2020 school year, unless the Governor’s proposed budget stands.

Link: School consolidation discussions webpage and report

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Superintendent of Schools leadership position

News Release:
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District:
Superintendent of Schools leadership position

Soldotna, April 5, 2019—On April 5, 2019, after five hours of executive session, Board of Education Vice-President Zen Kelly moved to authorize President Vadla to offer the position of interim superintendent of schools and negotiate a contract with assistant superintendent of instruction, Mr. John O’Brien. Clerk Dan Castimore seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

President Vadla said,


“On behalf of the Board, I extend a sincere thank you to the candidates, and to the individuals who provided public input during this process.”

 

Link:
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education webpage

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KPBSD_2017-2022_StrategicPlan_Seal

Soldotna School Consolidation: survey and meeting

KPBSD_2017-2022_StrategicPlan_SealSoldotna High School Principal Graham, Soldotna Prep Principal Schmidt, district administration, and the school board request your thoughts and input about consolidating Soldotna Prep School (9th grade) and Soldotna High School (10th-12th grade) beginning with the school year beginning August 20, 2019.

Current reality
Enrollment is declining at Soldotna Prep and Soldotna High School, so both schools will lose teaching staff in the 2019-2020 school year. In addition to declining enrollment, the current state budget deficit in Alaska will require the KPBSD to adjust high school staffing formulas—raise the Pupil-to-Teacher Ratio (PTR)—which will increase class sizes and reduce teaching staff at both schools.

Academic offerings
To retain essential elective offerings for 9th-12th grade students in Soldotna, and ease the teaching position reductions, Principal Schmidt and Principal Graham believe that now is time to move Soldotna ninth grade students into Soldotna High School. This move would create an economy of scale that will lessen the amount of staff reductions and allow for more core and elective offerings for Soldotna 9th – 12th grade students.

Savings to budget
Moving Soldotna Prep 9th grade students into Soldotna High School, relocating River City Academy (RCA), and closing the building that houses Soldotna Prep and RCA will result in an approximate $630,000 overall annual savings to the district budget expenditures. This savings would come from reduced building operations and personnel costs to operate the current building housing two schools.

Soldotna High School and Soldotna Prep School consolidation meeting
April 11, 2019, meeting, 6:00 PM,
Soldotna High School Auditorium

A community meeting for Soldotna High School, Soldotna Prep School, incoming 9th grade students for the school year beginning in August, and community members, families, and staff will be April 11, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. in the Soldotna High School auditorium. The meeting will be hosted by the school principals and John O’Brien, KPBSD assistant superintendent of instruction.

Survey: Parent, student, and staff survey is open from April 4 – 12, 2019

Kindly participate in the survey to share your thoughts, and participate in the potential fast-track action that will benefit the educational opportunity for our Soldotna area teens.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZVY7YLR

2019_04_Soldotna High School consolidation survey QR_code_ZVY7YLR

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District principal thoughts

Tony Graham, Soldotna High School principal:

“We want to provide the best experiences and most opportunities for the students. With the likelihood of an increase to high school pupil-to-teacher ratio and loss of staffing, it will hinder our ability to provide a 10th -12th grade quality education. However, because of economy of scale and staffing formulas, a consolidation with Soldotna Prep 9th grade house would allow us to maintain offerings for 9th -12th grade students that will give them the ability to have a full and rich high school experience preparing them for their future.”

Curt Schmidt, Soldotna Prep School principal:

“Research tells us that ninth grade is the most critical point to intervene and prevent students from losing motivation, failing, and-or dropping out of school. At Soldotna Prep (and through partnership with Soldotna High School) we have done an excellent job to create a school that consistently leads to increasing graduation rates for ninth graders. However, faced with the near certainty of reduced staffing (due to declining enrollment and a loss of state and local funding) our community may be facing a scenario where our school district can no longer support Soldotna Prep in a standalone environment. Under these unfortunate circumstances, we have reached a tipping point that requires us to examine consolidation with Soldotna High School if we are to continue to offer education programming that includes a broad variety of electives, effective intervention programs, and utilizes proven strategies that we know motivate and encourage 9th grade student success.”

Sarge Truesdell, Skyview Middle School principal:

“At Skyview Middle School we created a high school academic schedule with a middle school climate. We use this two-year transition from elementary to high school as a learning experience in preparation for the demands and the rigor of the high school. Over the past five years, the ninth grade Soldotna Prep School has helped our students by intervening during this critical first year of high school. The data has shown that Soldotna Prep School has helped raise graduation rates and success for ninth grade students in the Soldotna area. With the uncertainty of the state budget and declining enrollment, the school district may no longer be able to provide this standalone ninth grade school. If consolidating the Prep School into Soldotna High School is necessary to broaden the elective, intervention, and advanced options for our ninth graders, then I am confident Mr. Schmidt, Mr. Graham, and their teachers will use the strategies and successful ninth grade model to make sure our students are successful in a 9th – 12th grade high school.”

Dawn Edwards-Smith, River City Academy (RCA) principal:

“I’ve discussed with our students and parents the possible closure of the Soldotna Prep building, and the potential need for RCA to move. The district is working to find us a location, should we need it. In the eleven years I have been at RCA, we have moved a number of times. In each of those new spaces, we have built positive partnerships and used the opportunity to evolve. At RCA, we value improving our work through revision or iteration cycles. Changing location or changing space is just one more way to iterate how we do business. With each move, we have maintained our central mission, core values, positive school climate and family atmosphere.”

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