Facebook Live Q and A plus Community Budget Forums

News Release
Budget development forums

Soldotna, January 29, 2018—Do you understand how the KPBSD school district budget will affect what KPBSD can offer in schools to educate our youth? If you wonder about what you can do, or what might change in the 2018-2019 school year, you’re invited to join a KPBSD February Facebook Live Q & A, and a budget forum in your community.

Learn: planning for 2018-2019 school year, KPBSD faces a $3.3 million dollar budget deficit.

Get Facts: You’re invited to participate online, or in person, to ask questions about revenue, expenses, funding, and cuts that potentially impact the classroom. Please become involved so as a community we can make informed decisions that will affect our schools. Parents, staff, students, business partners, community members, and elected officials—please participate:

Facebook Live Q & A


Community Budget Forums

  • Homer High School Library: Tuesday, February 20, 5:30 PM
  • Kenai Central High School Library: Thursday, February 22, 5:30 PM
  • Seward High School Library: Tuesday, February 13, 5:30 PM
  • Soldotna High School Library: Wednesday, February 21, 5:30 PM
  • Susan B. English and Tebughna School: Wednesday, February 21, 5:30 PM Videoconference from Soldotna High School forum

“Our annual budget is one of the most important things we do each year,” said Dave Jones, assistant superintendent of instructional support. “We want to give our parents, staff, students, and community members a chance to learn about our budget, participate in the process, and ask questions.”

Be informed so you can advocate for the 2018-2019 school district budget which will define opportunities and offerings in August, 2018. The budget recommendation will be presented to the school board on March 5, 2018.

“Alaska is addressing its ongoing fiscal challenges, and it is important that everyone is involved in the conversation to ensure a long-term fiscal plan is implemented,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “As a part of this conversation, we will continue to prioritize services to provide the most effective and efficient education possible for all of our students. Your voice will help shape those priorities as well as clearly communicate that all students should remain the number one priority in Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula Borough.”

Action ideas

  1. Attend a Facebook Live Q & A; community budget forum; KPBSD school site council meeting, school board meeting; Borough Assembly meeting; Alaska legislative opportunities with elected officials
  2. Communicate with your school, friends, neighbors, legislators, and elected officials
  3. View any of the other short videos that explain aspects of funding and budgets, and review handouts. Links:

Webpage: KPBSD Finance Department

If the future success for our KPBSD K-12 students is dependent on a quality education so graduates will be prepared for college or a career, funding public education is crucial. KPBSD asks everyone to attend a public budget meeting, and become involved in the financial solutions for our school district and state.


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Alert: Two-Hour Delay Start for these KPBSD schools on 1.23.18

KPBSD logo 4c no tag SMALL►ALERT: TWO HOUR DELAY START on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, for KPBSD schools in the southern peninsula and Seward area, following an earthquake in Kodiak, and Tsunami warning. These schools will start two hours later than normal, and buses will run two hours later than normal.

*note: as of 4:15 a.m. the Tsunami alert for the coastal waters of Alaska is cancelled. However, these schools will be on a two-hour delayed start:

Chapman Elementary School
Fireweed Academy
Homer Flex School
Homer High School
Homer Middle School
Kachemak Selo School
McNeil Canyon Elementary School
Nikolaevsk School
Paul Banks Elementary School
Razdolna School
Voznesenka School
West Homer Elementary School

Nanwalek School
Port Graham School
Susan B. English School

Moose Pass Elementary School
Seward Elementary School
Seward High School
Seward Middle School

Be safe everyone, and get some sleep!

For updates on emergency alerts in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, follow the Kenai Peninsula Borough on Facebook and register for rapid-notify through the Borough.


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Representing Alaska in the National Microsoft Championships

Two KPBSD Distance Learning Students have been invited to represent Alaska in the National Microsoft Championships!

Most of us on the Kenai Peninsula will never make it to the Olympics. But for our KPBSD students that are enrolled in a Distance Computer Applications course, there’s another kind of world championship up for grabs.

Caitlin Painter

Caitlin Painter, 11th grader at Ninilchik School, and Ethan Bott, 12th grader at Soldotna High School, who because of their exceptionally high scores in their Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification exams, have both been named Alaska’s Champion and selected to compete in Certiport’s 2018 Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia, June 13-15, 2018.

“The number of students entering this competition in the United States continues to grow rapidly – we had more than 320,000 total entrants last year, and many U.S. Champions have gone on to compete- and place- at the MOS World Championship where they matched up against students from all over the world,” said Aaron Osmond, General Manager, Certiport. “More importantly, the level of expertise is astounding – we are so pleased to see this competition not only promote industry-endorsed certification but also prepare students for long-term college and professional success.”

During the 2018 MOS U.S. National Championship event, student competitors will take a unique exam in their track, further testing their knowledge of the applications. One winner per track will be named the 2018 MOS U.S. National Champion, and each will win an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the 2018 MOS World Championship in Orlando, Florida, July 29 – Aug. 1, 2018.

Ethan Bott

Darren Jones, KPBSD Distance Computer Teacher said, “We are fortunate to be able to offer every high school student and teacher in the district the opportunity to take our online Computer Applications courses that provide them opportunities to earn several Microsoft Certifications. So far from the 1st semester of the 2017-2018 school year, 67 KPBSD students and one teacher (Kristin McGlothen a SoPrep Science Teacher) received at least one Microsoft Certification.”

Certifications awarded

Certifications were from the following schools across the district: 29-Soldotna High School; 15-Kenai Central High School; 11-Soldotna Prep School; 7-Connections HomeSchool; 3-Nikiski Middle-High School; 2-Nikolaevsk School; and 1-Ninilchik School. Of the 68 certifications earned, 44-Certified in Microsoft Word; 15-Certified in Microsoft PowerPoint; 5-Certified in Microsoft Excel; and 4-Certified in Microsoft Outlook.

Through the KPBSD’s articulated agreement with the Kenai Peninsula College, students can earn up to 12 college credits by taking and successfully completing our online Computer Applications 1-4 courses and earning Microsoft Certifications.

kpbsd wall of fame

Link: KPBSD Distance Education webpage

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KPBSD teacher feature: connect with students one-on-one

KPBSD_2017-2022_StrategicPlan_Seal“What does Personalized Learning (PL) look like in the classroom?” is quizzed back and forth in education circles, and students and parents even wonder and ask questions!

Every teacher, group of students, and scenario is unique, and personalized learning is adaptive. To offer a look into the practices of PL, meet Mrs. Amy Angleton, a KPBSD English and Language Arts teacher at Skyview Middle School in Soldotna, Alaska.

Every day of the week offers something unique for the students, and Amy takes the weekly schedule for her classes and creates a consistent rotation schedule for the students. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, they move through stations in their classroom that include independent work with technology integration for delivering some content, collaboration with other students, and application of the writing process with one-to-one conferencing with her.

To dive further into what happens with the one-to-one conferencing, Amanda Adams, KPBSD personalized learning specialist, asked Amy about what happens when she has the opportunity to meet with each student individually to guide, support, teach, and reflect with them about their needs, and successes one to three times individually, in addition to general class time interaction. This type of student reflection and goal setting is directly connected to the Core Four of Personalized Learning in KPBSD.

“The benefits for Mrs. Angleton and her students is crystal clear,” said Adams. “She knows her students on a personal level that has never been achieved before this point in her career. This is all about them and their individual needs! Grading becomes teaching and offers so much more opportunity for investment from the students. It is important to note that the logistics of shifts like this take dedication to really figure out a system, but no one says it better than Amy herself, ‘I can honestly say that I have never felt more effective as a teacher than I do with one-on-one conferencing.’”


One-on-one conferencing with students
Conversation with Mrs. Amy Angleton, Skyview Middle School teacher

“Language Arts is one of those weird subjects that isn’t linear. Once students learn to read and write at a foundational level, they step off of a line and jump into this pool of language arts skills that they grasp onto or not. This creates a problem for Language Arts teachers that may have students who are strong at grammar skills but cannot think deeply in the same room with students who have great ideas but cannot form a coherent thought on paper. With such diversity in student writing abilities, one-on-one teaching is really the only way to teach students what they need to improve their writing. One-on-one conferences is when the teacher schedules meetings with each student throughout the week to read their work with them and discuss the student’s strengths and weaknesses in the skill being demonstrated.”

How do you do it?

Let’s be honest. Creating one-on-one conferencing time with students each week is not easy, but the benefits definitely make the pre-work worth every minute of time.

I create time with students by having three stations. The students rotate to the stations on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week. One station is on the computer. This is where students watch lecture videos, take notes, do research, and other independent work. The second station is a collaborative station where students work on a skill with a partner that revolves around a classroom reading. This station usually requires a little direction from me but then continues independently of the teacher the rest of the period. The last station is the writing station. Here students work through the writing process. They write, they edit with peers, their revise, they edit again. I conference with students at this station. Sometimes I let them come to me when they are ready, and other times I invade their space and sit with them (some students I have to go to as they would never willingly seek me out—but they are getting better). When I conference with them I use a checklist that includes all different skills needed in their writing. I think out loud and tell them what skills they have and what skills they need to work towards mastering. If they are not satisfied with how well they did, they continue working on their writing, and then have another conference with me before the end of the day to see how they have improved. On Friday’s and Monday’s if they wish another on-one-on conference with me they can seek me out on those days.

At the beginning of each quarter I have students write a pre-assessment paragraph in the structure that will be the focus for that quarter. The following week during my conference with each of them I score that paragraph with them. Then they record their score on the board. Each time I grade their writing they get a new score they can record on the board.

Writing BoardAmyAngletonSkyview

*Student data tracker. The skill in the top left corner and the emojis represents 1-4 on the rubric.

Why is one-on-one conferencing beneficial?

“One-on-one conferencing is beneficial for teachers. Of course it is beneficial for students, but let’s be selfish for a minute. Teachers work endlessly until they eventually say good enough at the moment and go home to try to relax with their families and get some rest. But when they are home, most teachers are still stressing about school and students and what they could have done better. One-on-one conferencing has made my life (not just my teaching life) easier. Each quarter I focus on one particular writing structure with students. That structure is the big skill that I assess. Instead of students doing a test they turn into the basket, then me taking those tests home to grade (and while grading thinking about talking to a student that isn’t there about what they should or could have done differently or better—I don’t think I’m the only teacher who talks to herself when she grades—I now grade these assessments with the student sitting next to me during class time. Suddenly, I have taken the stress of finding time to grade assignments out of my teaching practice, and I have turned grading into teaching. Students receive instant feedback on their individual skills, turn around and improve. I am no longer trying to teach every little skill that is needed in order to write an effective paragraph or essay. Now I am teaching writing holistically. I do not plan my quarters around what skills are needed to build up to an essay anymore (often missing some and mastering none). Instead, I plan writing prompts, and when I sit down with students to read their paragraph, I tutor them on the skills they need to improve their writing. Now I do not go home to grade papers, and I do not go home worrying about what I could have done differently.

I know at the end of every week that I met every student where they are in their ability and taught them something new. I can honestly say that I have never felt more effective as a teacher than I do with one-on-one conferencing.

What differences have you seen?

Sub notesAmyAngletonSkyview

“I received this note from a substitute that has subbed for my classes throughout the year. On the day she wrote this note the students were writing their pre-assessment paragraph for the third quarter. As she described, my students are now “eager writers.” Eager writers! I never thought a junior higher would be described that way before now. Yes, there is the occasional student that enjoys writing but usually teachers can count those students on one hand now the opposite is true for my students. I can count on one hand the number of writers that resist writing. As I explained, students record their progress on the board throughout the quarter. I have students excited to move their initials up the board. I even have some students in competition with each other to see who can get their initials under the cool face (the one with glasses) the fastest.

Not only are students suddenly excited about writing and excited about showing me their improvements, I also know my students better than I ever have before. The first quarter they wrote about things important to them, and as I read these paragraphs, I talked to them about these things. I talked to students about the loved ones that they have lost, and about the sports they are passionate about, and which book series is better: Harry Potter or Percy Jackson (it’s Harry Potter hands down by the way). In years past I have tried to love every student and failed miserably. This year, I can honestly say, I love every one of my students. As a result, I feel more trust from my students, and they are more willing to do what I ask of them. And, they challenge themselves because they trust me!

Thank you to Amy Angleton and Amanda Adams for this story.


Connect on social media with personalized learning – look for  #PLinKPBSD #PL #AKlearns

Do YOU have a KPBSD story to share about a teacher, student, class, staff member, or school? Please make time and do it!
Suggest or contribute a story online link: http://bit.ly/SuggestKPBSDstory

KPBSD will inspire all learners to pursue their dreams in a rigorous, relevant and responsive environment.

Everyone can learn, starting with newborns!

News ReleaseKPBSD logo 4c no tag SMALL

Developmental Screenings for newborns to age five in Seward and Soldotna areas

Empowering all learners, starting with newborns!

Soldotna, January 12, 2018—Free opportunity for a screening to learn a child’s early development, motor skills, speech, early learning concepts, vision, and hearing for children ranging from newborn to age five (not yet in kindergarten) are offered this month. Children will be seen by appointment only, and appointments are free.

 Bubble girls in KPBSD

Opportunity! Child Find Developmental Screenings


Seward and Moose Pass
Friday, January 19, 2018

Seward Community Library
239 6th Ave. Seward, Alaska
10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
*By appointment only – call PJ at 907-422-1053 to schedule an appointment or for more information. SeaView Community Services Infant Learning Program and the KPBSD Child Find Program

Central Peninsula
Friday, January 26, 2018

Red Diamond Center, Suite 32 B, Soldotna, Alaska
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
*By appointment only – call 907-714-6647 to schedule an appointment or for more information.
Frontier Community Services Infant Learning Program and the KPBSD Child Find Program

Southern Peninsula area

Date not yet determined – it will be in February 2018


Facebook Live Q and A with Superintendent Dusek

20180123 KPBSD Sean Dusek Facebook Live Q and A event

You’re invited to a
Facebook LIVE Q & A
with KPBSD Superintendent Sean Dusek

Tuesday, January 23, 2018
7:00 – 7:30 p.m.

How-to watch:

It’s simple. Go to the KPBSD Facebook page on 1/23/18, at 7:00 PM, via your device or computer, and connect! You’ll see that KPBSD is live – click to view.

How-to ask questions or share thoughts:

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

How Facebook LIVE Q&A works:

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

How RESPONSIVE fits into the KPBSD educational strategy

Four key areas define the KPBSD five year strategic plan. In this two minute video, Superintendent Sean Dusek explains how Responsive is a core element:

Learn more about the KPBSD 2017 – 2022 Strategic Plan


Video text
Hello! This is Sean Dusek and today we are going to examine what Responsiveness means in KPBSD.

As you know, we are working hard to refine our instructional approach for each student in our schools. With that being said, our foundational philosophy is still centered on the concept of a strong, positive relationship between every teacher and each of their students. In order to strengthen this foundation, our teachers believe that every student can learn and hold high expectations for that learning. A growth mindset for all teachers and students is critical.

The Alaska State Standards define what each student should know. Our teachers understand what engages each student through the foundation of a strong, positive relationship. This allows teachers to build assessments tailored to each student to determine if they are proficient in a given standard. The assessment is very likely much more than a test and is relevant to the individual child.

If a student cannot demonstrate proficiency on a given standard, we respond in a variety of ways with that individual. The learning environment is of the highest quality with specific interventions and a wide-variety of instructional practices that fit what an individual child needs, when they need it. If a student easily demonstrates proficiency, we respond with other opportunities for growth that expands the depth of knowledge for the child.

Overall, KPBSD responsiveness is about the instructional environment and expanding the quality of it for each individual. This will take outstanding and focused professional learning opportunities for teachers and leaders as the instructional toolbox is deepened to optimize student learning.

Thank you!

Responsive: Be immersed in a high quality instructional environment:

  • Prioritize strong, positive relationships with all students to support their social and emotional needs
  • Teachers will utilize a repertoire of high-yield instructional strategies that  are research-based, high quality instructional strategies, within the instructional environment
  • Develop a culture of continuous innovation within all schools across the district
  • Professional learning is embedded and ongoing, resulting in continuous growth and innovation
  • Develop a highly reliable and efficient organization through online and concurrent collaboration tools



Seventh graders personalize reading at Nikiski Middle High

“I’m very big on giving students as much choice as possible in their middle school years,” said Laura Niemczyk, Nikiski Middle-High School teacher. “I am also very big on turning kids into lifelong readers. With those two objectives in mind, I issued the 25 book challenge to my seventh graders this year. This is not a new idea—it comes from a modified version of Donalyn Miller “Book Whisperer” 40 book challenge. I was tired of fighting struggling readers on reading logs, fluent readers who hated reading after having done years of reading logs, and students who would tell me that they didn’t have time to read. Notice it’s a challenge, not an assignment. There was no mention of grades attached to it and when I introduced the challenge to students, not one asked me, “how much is this worth?” They had many questions: about the types of books they could read, about audio books, about books they wanted to reread, about reading on their devices. So now we read for chunks of each day’s class period. And it’s great.


I don’t consider it innovative when my classroom is full of students actively reading, and not looking up if someone enters the room. What’s better than I did before is that instead of having to assess students on written reading logs, I now meet students where they are at and provide them with multiple ways to show me what they know. We have class book talks, the students recommend books, write reviews, and engage in discussions on theme and characterization. Some of this I planned—once a week there are open ended prompts that are differentiated for student reading level and even book type. And they do them, without complaint, because they chose their book and choose how to respond. Some students write out their answers, others type, others draw, and some record an audio file.

Aspects of how this added innovation into our classroom came from the students. They are required to keep track of the books they have read. Once again I gave them options for this: a Pinterest board (it’s how I chose to do my reading challenge), Twitter, a written reading record form, chart in the classroom, discussion list on Canvas or through Goodreads.com. One student asked if she could record her answers in a blog; I said “yes!” That led to others asking if they could use LibraryThing.com and Shelfari.com to create their virtual book worlds. As always I said yes, and then asked them to show me what these things were.

In the last quarter, I learned A LOT about where kids like to go to share and talk about books, helped struggling readers learn that audio books are still reading (they can only “read” ten audio books for the challenge), and had some of the most authentic and informative reading conference-mini lessons of my teaching career—some of these have even occurred online in these new virtual book worlds the kids have created (and helped me to navigate). The students feel like they have a say in their education, we are doing things that make sense to them, and I am creating connections with my students.”

–Laura Niemczyk, Nikiski Middle-High School

#relevance #responsive #read #AKlearns

Personalized Learning in KPBSD



Celebrate Audra Faris, NNS music teacher

School Band and Orchestra SBO 20th Annual “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” in 2017!


 Audra Faris, Nikiski North Star Elementary music teacher, represents Alaska!audra school pic

“I feel quite honored and totally undeserving of this award. Somewhere, some kind soul nominated me for this modern band award. I am thankful that someone noticed I was doing modern band. It is not nearly as popular as concert band is in elementary schools. In fact, I think I am the only modern band teacher for elementary level in our district. But the kiddos love it! Our “rock band” is very successful. Kids get to play the tunes they know and enjoy, and it is very fun for me as well. Rockin’ out is a new concept for this classically trained singer and music teacher! I have to say jamming on the drum kit is my favorite!”

Kids playing guitar 2

School Band and Orchestra Magazine asked Ms. Faris a few questions, and shares her responses online

What is your proudest moment as an educator?

“I have had several. Whenever a student is smiling and enjoying themselves while performing, I am thrilled. There are thousands of those little moments that happen, not only during a performance, but while they are here in the classroom. But most of all, when a student continues music beyond my classroom, it lets me know that I have planted a seed in their hearts and sparked an interest that may not have been there before.”

How do you hope to make a difference in students’ lives?

“I want students to enjoy music. I want them to experience something really cool here in my classroom that makes them stop and say, “Wow, that was fun,” or “Wow, that makes me want to know more!” Music should be more than just a break from the regular classroom, it should be an enlightening adventure to exposing a part of who they already are. It should be a compliment to the wonderful person they are inside!”

What’s the most important lesson that you try to teach your students?

“Truly, it is that music is in everything. It is hard to imagine our daily lives without music: a radio in the morning on our way to work, the school song on the intercom, the students sharing their favorite artists and songs. But music goes beyond that. It is in the fluency of which we read and talk. It is the counting rules and fractions in math, it is our history that brought about many changes in our culture and diversity. Music is in everything. I talk often with my students about how what we are learning fits in to what they are already experiencing. It is not a hard bridge to cross. Rhythm, improvisation, theory, melody, playing an instrument and all that music encompasses can be sewn into a lesson pertaining to our daily routines and lives.”

Mrs. Gilman, Nikiski North Star Elementary principal said, “We are so excited and proud for her! Since she has been at NNS she has started a modern (rock) band and continued to develop the concert band. In addition, she has now started an after school choir. In terms of engagement, 68% of our fourth and fifth graders started band last fall and played at the spring concert in May. That is a tremendous level of participation for something they have to miss part of recess to pursue!”


kids playing guitar 6

kids playing guitar 4


Christmas Cheer in the Ninilchik Senior Center

“Singing in a small choir group this year was the best decision I have made! It was my way of relaxing after a long day of school. I became closer with some of the girls I barely knew. When we had a chance to sing carols at the senior center, I refused to pass this up! Even though I am glad we no longer have the pressure of performing in front of our school for a grade, I miss singing in front of a crowd. We practice two days a week during our advisory singing our hearts out. The senior center performance is the best memory I have of choir since I joined last year. I feel like I am giving back to the community that does so much for us. Even though we had a small crowd, I enjoyed every second if it. It was a great experience and I hope to do it in the future!” –Tala Marystar Hadro, Ninilchik School student

Ninilchik choir students singing

“My Foods 1 class made cookies for our senior center, and Eric Simondsen’s choir class delivered them to the senior center, and sang songs on December 19, 2017. The girls performed admirably. Mr. Simondsen conducted a great medley of Christmas time favorites, including a number from ‘The Grinch’, requested by the choir.  Snow was falling and the seniors very much enjoyed the young voices and cookies provided. We hope to make it an annual event.” – Joel Hilbrink, Ninilchik School teacher

Thank you to Joel Hilbrink, story contributor