Key Communicator Update: 4-9-21

Dear KPBSD Key Communicators,

I hope that you are well, as these weeks go by rapidly, and we gain light (though it is still chilly outdoors!). This news release was distributed last Monday, and the intent to enroll survey is open through next Friday. This week opened with Board of Education work sessions and the monthly Monday evening meeting, the Borough assembly meeting Tuesday evening, and transmitting the KPBSD FY22 budget to the Borough. On Wednesday an update to the SmartStart plan took effect, and students no longer need to wear a mask at recess. Additionally, if 6’ physical distancing can be maintained outdoors, a cloth face covering is not needed for outdoor PE, and classroom activities. School districts throughout the Alaska do continue to require a cloth face covering indoors, and the only exceptions may be very small communities off the road system, without any positive COVID-19 cases. The update took place throughout the KPBSD, except for Seward area schools.

We held three sets of principal interviews this week, to select the next administrator for Kenai Central High School, Paul Banks Elementary, and Homer Middle School. This afternoon an announcement was shared that Mr. Dan Beck (current Kenai Middle School assistant principal) will become the next principal of Kenai Central High School effective July 1, and Mr. Will Chervenak will continue to serve as the assistant principal at KCHS. Principal Tony Graham (Soldotna High School) accepted the position as KPBSD Director of Secondary Education, and so on Monday afternoon, April 12, a community meeting will take place to learn the wants and wishes for the characteristics of the next Soldotna High School principal. In addition, two of our Homer area principals will be serving at district office beginning July 1: Ms. Kari Dendurent (Homer Middle School) will become the new Assistant Superintendent, and Mr. Eric Pederson (Paul Banks Elementary) will be the Director of Elementary Education. Plans are underway for summer enrichment programs, credit recovery programs, and regional K-3 literacy intervention and boost programs. Our Connections Homeschool increased their allotment for the school year starting in August, and is currently enrolling students. If you have questions, kindly reach out to me!

Pegge Erkeneff, KPBSD Director of Communications, Community, and Government Relations

Monday, April 5, 2021 Online News Release

KPBSD is making a list and checking it twice: August enrollment intent survey open Monday, April 5-16, 2021

Soldotna, April 5, 2021—Assistant Superintendent Clayton Holland requests help from KPBSD parents to plan for the school year beginning in August, through a brief intent to enroll survey, open through Friday, April 16, 2021.

Dear KPBSD parents and students,

When school begins in August, KPBSD will offer in-person learning at all 42 schools. Alaska has made great strides with the pandemic, and while we are unable to predict the future, it is our intent that students and staff will not be required to wear masks or other face coverings next school year.

To help our schools plan, please answer the following questions on this
short survey that is open April 5-16, 2021. This will help us prepare for the upcoming school year.

Thank you for your time.

Assistant Superintendent Clayton Holland (incoming Superintendent, July 1, 2021)

Take brief districtwide intent to enroll survey—it is simple.
(Everyone is asked to complete the survey even if they already let their school know their intent to return or enroll)

Posted in Key Communicators by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

SmartStart Plan Update

*****FOR OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES ONLY*****Update  4/7/2021:

Masks will be optional for students for outdoor recess. Masks will also be optional for outdoor classroom activities like PE, walking field trips, etc., if 6ft physical distancing can be maintained.

Staff, volunteers, and visitors are required to wear masks at all times. Handwashing and 6ft physical distancing should continue to be taught and emphasized in all grades.

Note: If a school is experiencing in-school transmission or high levels of COVID-19 community transmission, this option may be temporarily suspended, and masks will be required at all times.

Sports, MOA’s and facility usage agreements require individual mitigation plans approved through the KPBSD Planning and Operations department

(find the update: KPBSD SmartStart plan pages 8-9)

KPBSD COVID web hub: covid19.kpbsd.org

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Ms. Deanne Pearson awarded Golden Apple

Ms. Deanne Pearson, educator
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Golden Apple Award | April 5, 2021

Ms. Deanne Pearson began serving in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District in 1984. She taught in schools, raised her children through our schools, and instructed our graduates at Kenai Peninsula College. What might be most surprising–both if you know Ms. P and if you know math teachers in general–is that her flexibility is what makes her extraordinary.

“It is no secret on our staff that I have pushed Deanne’s flexibility to its limits,” said nominator and River City Academy Principal Dawn Edwards-Smith. “There has been more than one occasion where I forced a drastic pivot in math instruction mid-quarter because we weren’t getting the results we needed. Every time that we made a pivot, our math instruction improved. That level of flexibility and resiliency is rare in a teacher and practically extinct in math teachers.

Two years ago, RCA made the decision to become a Summit Learning Partner. Ms. P was all on board, despite that it meant she would once again reinvent what happens in the classroom. Summit’s approach to math was in line with the theory that Ms. P wanted in her classroom, but they also offered the support and research that is impossible to replicate in a small school. What can be overlooked is that math can be the most challenging subject to teach in a competency-based model. Knowing this, Ms. P dedicated herself to learn the ‘new’ approach to math and bring it to her classroom and students. For our staff, this meant additional meetings, training and groundwork for the math teacher. When we attend Summit Trainings, math teachers attend their own sessions to allow time for the re-learning that needs to happen. I often make the joke, ‘Math is different’ whenever discussing curriculum. The reality is that math is different, and Ms. P embraced that.”

At a community art event last year, including several teachers, former KPBSD students, and community members, one participant continued to quietly look over to us throughout the first hour of the event. Eventually she made her way over to our table and asked my colleague, ‘Are you Ms. P?’ The woman, in her mid to late 30s was visibly excited at the thought. Yes, this was Ms. P… ‘You were my favorite math teacher!’ The woman had been in Deanne Pearson’s (then Pokryfki) math class about 20 years before and went on to tell the group that she had hated math until Ms. P, and had gone on to become a financial director for a prominent Kenai Peninsula corporation. I laughed and asked Deanne if that made her feel old. At which point another woman in the group, clearly older than myself or the former student leaned over to our table to say, ‘If you really want to feel old, I was in her class too!’

In addition to advocating for standards based math and working on the districtwide Curriculum Committee for math curriculum revisions, Deanne was the RCA advisor for Sources of Strength where she invested countless hours working on school-wide projects and campaigns to improve student social emotional learning. 

Students describe Ms. P, and over and over again her caring personality and the countless hours she dedicates going above and beyond for her students came shining through. Students said:

  • “Ms. P is a great friend and person to talk to. She is a great teacher and makes schoolwork that is hard, easier to learn. I look up to her.”
  • “Ms. P helped me overcome my fear of math.”
  • “She can relate to problems and can give you advice on what to do and always makes us feel better with a hug.”
  • “Ms. P. is protective of EVERYONE. She helps kids when they are feeling sad or upset. She stays after school to help students and gives students snacks when they don’t have food.”
  • “Ms. P teaches 7-12th grade math and makes it easy to understand. I can’t think of many other teachers who work as hard as she does.”

Deanne is an extraordinary teacher not only because of the years in the classroom, not only because of the relationships that she builds with students, not only because she can teach any math needed, but because she has never given up on becoming a better teacher. Even in our last pivot to remote learning (Remote RCA), which I promised Deanne would be the last pivot she would make, she remained committed to being the best she could for students. Despite being pushed to her own limits, she continues to grow, improve and become the best teacher she can for her students. That is what makes her extraordinary.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education is proud to recognize Ms. Deanne Pearson for her dedication to the students of the school district, past, present, and future.

Past Golden Apple recipients

Nominate someone to receive KPBSD Golden Apple Award Recognition

KPBSD August Enrollment Survey

News Release
KPBSD is making a list and checking it twice:
August enrollment intent survey now open

Soldotna, April 5, 2020—Assistant Superintendent Clayton Holland requests help from KPBSD parents to plan for the school year beginning in August, through a brief intent to enroll survey, open through Friday, April 16, 2021.

Dear KPBSD parents and students,

When school begins in August, KPBSD will offer in-person learning at all 42 schools. Alaska has made great strides with the pandemic, and while we are unable to predict the future, it is our intent that students and staff will not be required to wear masks or other face coverings next school year.

To help our schools plan, please answer the following questions on this
short survey that is open April 5-16, 2021. This will help us prepare for the upcoming school year.

Thank you for your time,

Assistant Superintendent Clayton Holland (incoming Superintendent, July 1, 2021)

Take brief districtwide intent to enroll survey—
it is simple.
(Everyone is asked to complete the survey even if they already let their school know their intent to return or enroll).
DETAILS:

Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

April School Board Meeting

Board of Education Meeting

April 5, 2021

The following school board meetings and work sessions will be held in the

Renée C. Henderson, Auditorium, Kenai Central High School, 9583 Kenai Spur Highway, Kenai, AK unless otherwise noted.

PLEASE NOTE: The meetings are open to the public. The public is invited to attend and to listen and participate as noted below. As per the Board Meeting at Kenai Central High School Mitigation Plan, District Administration may determine if it is prudent to allow public in person participation based on risk level or if the meeting will only be virtual and streamed live.

(877) 853-5257

Conference ID: 708 024 188

When prompted for an Attendee ID, press #.

Zoom ID: 708 024 188

April 5, 2021

Special Meeting-Bargaining (Public Listening and Participation will be as noted on the Agenda in BoardDocs)

10:00 a.m.

Committee Meetings (Public Listening)

11:00 a.m. Finance Committee

  1:00 p.m. Board Policy Review Committee

  2:00 p.m. Information Committee

Work Sessions (Public Listening)

2:30 p.m. Board Policy Review

2:45 p.m. 2020-2021 Pandemic Update

3:15 p.m. FY 22 Budget

4:45 p.m. Board Discussion

6:00 p.m. Business Meeting: (Public Listening and Participation will be as noted on the Agenda in BoardDocs )

If you would like to pre-register to testify telephonically (optional) or if you have any technical difficulties or questions, contact Lisa Gabriel at lgabriel@kpbsd.k12.ak.us, 907-714-8836, Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

To view the agenda and packet items, log on to: http://www.boarddocs.com/ak/kpbsd/Board.nsf/public

To view the live broadcast log on to http://www.kpbsd.k12.ak.us or Live Broadcast

Posted in Board of Education by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Teach in ALASKA?

Discover the Kenai Peninsula: 42 KPBSD K-12 schools, in 17 diverse communities

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
SPECIAL EDUCATION is hiring

KPBSD seeks collaborative, dedicated, committed educators and specialists who believe all students can be successful.

Sampling of open positions on 3-29-21

Special Education Incentives

  • Moving expense reimbursement up to $2,500 for certified positions
  • $225 discretionary money annually
  • Additional incentives for remote school locations
  • Summer teaching opportunities
  • Low cost and free continuing education opportunities
  • Support for state and national conferences
  • Comprehensive new staff training support for you
  • Job alike collaboration
  • Special education instructional coaching
  • Ongoing professional development and training
  • Four scheduled paid ($150 day) Saturday IEP paperwork days
  • Ed-tech support and new technology

WHY CHOOSE KPBSD?

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Special education staff work in a highly collaborative environment and are committed to create a rigorous and rewarding atmosphere that leads to measurable student growth for all students
  • A multi-tiered system of support is in place at all schools
  • Differentiated instruction is the norm. Students are screened three times a year using curriculum-based measures and diagnostic tools to determine the need for additional intervention support or enrichment
  • Our district culture maintains the education of all students is a responsibility taken on by the entire school staff

SALARY, BENEFITS, AND SCHOOL INFORMATION

(salary schedules are updated annually)

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
148 N. Binkley Street, Soldotna, Alaska 99669
907-714-8888 | fax: 907-262-9645
e: teach@kpbsd.org
www.KPBSD.org @KPBSD on social

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Vacation Day on Friday

Friday, April 2, 2021 is a vacation day for most KPBSD schools
variance: Kachemak-Selo, Nikolaevsk, Razdolna, and Voznesenka schools
have a different schedule and are in session on Friday.

Link: KPBSD School Calendars

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Vaccine: a sign of hope for schools

Three vaccine clinics in the KPBSD, 320+ shots, first dose 2-26-21, and second dose 3-19-21

“Many staff have asked, ‘When will we be able to be vaccinated?’ It was complete sweetness when I could answer, ‘now.’ It gives light at the end of the tunnel that has taken a year to get through. Covid-19 is so much more than physical illness; it is mental and emotional as well. As a school nurse, the mental and emotional aspect that I have seen and experienced has come from not only students, but their parents and guardians, and from our staff. Working the clinic on Friday was amazing! Each person who came in showed excitement, relief, joy and of course, a few with anxiety, as they took what they feel is the first step to normalcy. A KPBSD teacher and his wife told me, ‘We truly felt that the experience was well-run, instilled confidence, and dripped of professionalism both from the staff and toward the patients.’”

–Dixie St John, RN, Kenai Middle School Nurse

Pegge Erkeneff, KPBSD Director of Communications, Community, and Government Relations reflects:

“This afternoon, Friday, February 26, 2021, across the Kenai Peninsula, about 320 school staff received their first vaccine, which will be followed up in three weeks by dose two, on March 19, 2021. Two weeks after that, they will be considered fully vaccinated. Three clinics were happening simultaneously in Seward, Soldotna, Homer. After school hours. At the central peninsula clinic, at old Soldotna Prep school, some thoughts from me:

♥️ Friday afternoon, sleet turns to snow, school nurses, city of Soldotna staff, office of emergency management friends, the local pharmacist, volunteers, all coordinated, and now welcome people who’ve been showing up for a year to keep teaching our next generation, and schools operating. People who choose to receive their first vaccine dose arrive

♥️ to the right of me the parking lot is full on busy with arrivals and departures

♥️ inside: kindness, trepidation, relief, reflection

♥️ one year ago I could never have imagined this scenario. For me, for many years, this parking lot has been a place of school visits, and stories. Or daily fire briefings at incident command in summer months

♥️ I received Pfizer vaccine dose one ten days ago, so today I showed up to be a witness and storyteller, and celebrate a community of effort

♥️ I stood here, slung my big camera over my right shoulder (first time in nearly 10 months), unzipped my pocket to iPhone catch this snowy sign 

… 

and walked into a place of hope.”

Central Kenai Peninsula vaccination clinic, old Soldotna Prep School, February 26, 2021

KPBSD Nursing Supervisor, Iris Nurse, RN, BSN, explains:

“Because natural immunity cannot be proven past 90 days except in cases of severe disease, herd immunity will only be achievable when enough people get vaccinated. As with pandemics in the past like small pox and polio, vaccination is a key tool in stopping this Covid19 pandemic. The challenge now is getting people vaccinated quickly, before the virus can produce any more new variants that might be resistant.

Thirty-five of our employees signed up for the vaccination clinic in Seward on Friday. Everyone over age 50 was able to get into a previous clinic.

In Homer, we had about 87 people register for the February 26, 2021, clinic. Several of our school nurses will be staffing that clinic. I sincerely thank South Peninsula Hospital for their excellent effort to vaccinate people, and offer clinics.

Homer High School students and alumni support Homer’s Unified Command at the COVID19 mass vaccination event Friday, February 26, 2021, at Homer High School

In the central peninsula, ten nurses and three other staff will help at the Soldotna Prep clinic. And nurse friends are joining in like Nurse Tami from Public Health, and Nurse Tracy who retired from Soldotna High School, and Nurse Jane from the Allergy clinic. We will have nine vaccinating stations, and City of Soldotna volunteers are assisting in the observation room (everyone needs to stay for a minimum of 15 minutes after their vaccination) helping people to schedule their follow-up appointment in three weeks. On Thursday, we had 197 people signed up for our central peninsula vaccine clinic. Some staff who had signed up were able to receive the vaccination early after 42 doses needed to put in arms by 10:20 in the morning earlier this week. In addition, I have heard nearly 100 staff have had earlier opportunities to be vaccinated.

With the new variants popping in, it will probably take a higher number of people to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity. And, the longer the virus can spread freely, the more opportunity for mutations that turn into new variants. Vaccination, masks, physical distancing, hygiene, contact tracing. That is what is going to end the pandemic. I feel like our school district is significantly contributing to the effort so from the bottom of my little nursing heart, I thank everyone so much for their willingness and support.”

February 26, 2021 vaccine clinic

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is committed to make it as easy as possible for everyone who wants to receive the vaccine to get it. The KPBSD does not require the vaccine, and is not tracking who has received it, or who has not, unless someone replied to an email last fall indicating that they wanted to receive the vaccine when it became available. The clinics are designed to be offered during times that work well with the schedules for staff and students.

Link to State of Alaska Vaccine information webpage

State website: The COVID-19 vaccine is now available for anyone living or working in Alaska who is age 16 or older. Appointments are limited, but more appointments open regularly. New appointments are often added on Thursdays. Phone assistance is available.

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Early Release on St. Patrick’s Day

  • March 17, 2021: early release changes to 60 minutes from normal end of school day time, instead of 90 minutes, in order to meet the state requirement for a minimum student instructional day. Check with your school for the exact release time. Bus routes will be adjusted accordingly. PreK Note: on early release days, all afternoon PreK sessions are cancelled. Morning PreK sessions do occur. Thank you for your understanding.
  • April 21, 2021

Normal (not in a pandemic) School Year Early Release Details

Six times throughout the school year, KPBSD school days will end ninety minutes early for students, in order for teachers and instructional support staff to collaborate.

Students will meet the minimum day requirement, leaving teachers with approximately ninety minutes of additional time to work on improvement strategies. The length of the school day on the following six days will be reduced by ninety minutes, for a total of nine hours during the school year. On these early release dates, school will end ninety minutes (1.5 hours) earlier. Bus transportation will be adjusted by ninety minutes.

We recognize families may need to make arrangements on the early release dates, and thank everyone for the willingness to help our KPBSD schools improve through these six early-release dates.

Please contact your school principal with questions.

Additional information:

  • Schools will have further details based on school schedules
  • Transportation: our transportation contract is by the day and allows us to modify the time and number of routes. Thus, the change for the one day per month will not cause an increase in transportation costs, and time is simply adjusted by the 1.5 hours
  • The school calendar clearly notes the minimum days so you can plan accordingly
  • PreK Note: on early release days, all afternoon PreK sessions are cancelled. Morning PreK sessions do occur. Thank you for your understanding.
  • The school district will review the efficiency and effectiveness of the early release opportunities mid-year and at the end of year

Links:

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Spring Break Travel

Spring break is here! If your family or student travels outside the state, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District recommends travelers get a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of returning to Alaska, and practice social distancing until you receive the results. Free testing is also available at the airport upon arrival. Have fun – and stay safe!

Learn more about the State of Alaska’s guidance for travelers at www.AlaskaSafeTravels.com or at the KPBSD COVID-19 hub.

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