21 Day Thankful Invite

21 Day Thankful Invite 2020
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska schools & communities

Do you know that if every day, for 21 days, you briefly pause three times to identify someone or something that you are grateful or thankful for, you can rewire your brain for happiness and resiliency?

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District invites students of all ages, families, staff, and the community, to participate in a Districtwide 21 Day Thankful Invite during November and December 2020.

Download your free Thankfulness journal, or pick up your free printed Sources of Strength Thankfulness Journal arriving to a location around the Kenai Peninsula during Thanksgiving week, or when picking up “Get-It-And-Go” meals at schools.

KPBSD 21 Day Thankful Invite

Pegge Erkeneff, KPBSD Director of Communications, Community, and Government Relations offers a brief invitation to you in this video. Practicing gratitude helps us to be more positive, joyful, kind, and resilient. Plus, especially in a pandemic, it can have a significant positive impact on our mood in daily life. Times are challenging right now for many of us, and every positive act can help us navigate easier.

What are you thankful for today? Maybe it is someone, or something. Think about it … what moves your heart, catches your attention?
It can be really simple!

Keep your thought close to your heart, talk with your child, partner, or friend, or text a friend, write it in your thankfulness journal, or on a slip of paper and tuck it in your purse or pocket.

Visit KPBSD.org or @Kenai Peninsula Schools on Instagram to learn what others are thankful for. Help us share gratitude and build resiliency in our communities. We all need it. Together we can be #KPBSDstrong and #KPBSDthankful #Thankful2020 #KPBgrateful
Post what you are thankful or grateful about and add one of these tags, or #ThankfulInvite

Start your 21 days any day—and maybe today is the best day to begin, or start again!

Ideas:

  • Share a round robin during a meal with each person telling one thing they are grateful for that day – and everyone listen carefully to what matters to someone else
  • Choose a friend or partner, and text your word or a sentence about what you are thankful for, every day during the next 21 days
  • Before you go to sleep, let your day pass through your memory, and choose one or more people or things you noticed that evoked gratitude or calm in you
  • Say thank you to someone when you notice their act of kindness or service

Practice pausing for 30-60 seconds in the morning, midday, and evening to take a deep breath, shake like a dog or stomp your feet a bit, then think of something that makes you happy, and brings you strength and a sense of belonging and gratitude.

There is no right or wrong way to do this. Simply orientate yourself to appreciation and be willing to be surprised what you discover!

Survey: Public input in the Superintendent of Schools schools process

News Release
Community Survey: Be involved in the KPBSD Superintendent of Schools Search

The KPBSD Board of Education seeks public input into its process to select the next superintendent of schools. The school board has sole responsibility for the selection of candidates, final interviews, and selection of the superintendent, and McPherson & Jacobson LLC search firm is conducting a stakeholder survey. Results will be shared with the Board of Education so they can consider the views and interests of the public to help guide their decisions.

A Community Input Survey is open through 11:59 PM on December 7, 2020

The brief survey invites public comments through four primary questions. The school board requests everyone who cares about schools, including parents, students, KPBSD staff, site councils, PTAs, volunteers, business and community organizations that partner with schools, community groups, elected officials, and the public to participate.

Online surveyhttps://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KenaiPeninsulaAK

A link to the community survey and important dates is also located on the www.KPBSD.org home page in the “Community Interest” section.

Superintendent of Schools Search

McPherson & Jacobson LLC is facilitating the search, and working with the KPBSD Board of Education
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education seeks a successful candidate who must have the background, skills, and abilities essential for excellence in educational leadership. The position begins July 1, 2021. The online application period is open until December 30, 2020 (11:30 PM, CST). Selection of finalists is the week of January 18, 2020, and candidate interviews will be the week of January 25, 2020.

Application Link: macnjake.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx

Announcement of Vacancy: Download the Superintendent Search brochure

McPherson & Jacobson LLC | Lead Consultant: Dr. Steven Lowder

Application Deadline: December 30, 2020 (11:30 PM CST)

Contact or visit McPherson & Jacobson LLC for detailed information about the superintendent search including the position description, qualities, and timeline

Posted in News Release by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Fulbright DAST Flash: Kenai Peninsula educational leader is going to Uzbekistan!

Amanda Adams of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District in Soldotna, Alaska, has been selected for the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Short Term (Fulbright DAST) Program to Uzbekistan, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Adams is one of 12 U.S. citizens who will travel to six countries around the world in 2021 on the Fulbright DAST Program.

“Our greatest challenge is ourselves,” says Amanda Adams, KPBSD Lead Innovation Designer. “We create boundaries and limits for ourselves continually and detrimentally. Much of my time is spent convincing people of what they are capable of. I do not see barriers where others see them, and my thinking is typically not limited to the options we have before us. As someone who ultimately sees herself as a servant, sharing my skills with others is a requirement. The opportunity to help teachers in Uzbekistan see possibilities and hone skills is something I can and should do. When reading the project description, I had all the pieces that could support this work. A Peace Corps volunteer at heart forever, I did not hesitate to take a risk to see if I could be competitive for the honor. If you do not take a risk, you will never know. 

I continue to be passionate about the change that we are making: empowering learners must serve as the crux of our mission. What interests me the most at this current juncture is the empowering of educators to drive their own learning. And, that everyone in the organization from the superintendent to the learner is growing and deepening their work, with systemic support for learner-driven education.”

“This Fulbright fellowship is a well-deserved distinction for a truly inspiring instructional teacher leader. It is refreshing when the very best in a profession get the recognition that they deserve and can benefit others through an incredible experience such as this. Amanda Adams will share her talents and gifts with others through this fellowship and will continue to grow as a professional educator. We are so proud of Amanda and supportive of her continued professional growth.”

Superintendent John O’Brien

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership potential. Learn more about the Fulbright Program, a the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S government, and created to increase mutual understanding and build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Short-Term Program sends expert U.S. K–12 educators to participating countries to support projects in schools, teacher training colleges, government ministries, or educational nongovernmental organizations, as identified by U.S. Embassies and Fulbright Commissions.

Thoughts from Amanda Adams, KPBSD Lead Innovation Designer

Q: Fulbrighters address critical global challenges; what is a global challenge that you want to solve, or contribute to with solutions?
“Education for the global citizen is a real challenge for educators. Across the globe, ministries and departments of education are limited in their funding and their resources so much so that the result is limited training for educators or training for educators that is not keeping up with innovation in both technology and globalization. By participating in the broader global conversation about innovation in education and educating global citizens, I have the opportunity to make a difference on a larger scale while offering all that I gain in this realm back to my home school district. Our children do not see the world as a place with a limited sphere of influence, it is one world for them. I don’t believe that we should draw artificial boundaries for them.”

Q: With no limits, what professional learning experience would you like to pursue?
“My dream professional learning experience would be to build cohorts of teachers that are driven by community and customize their training to empower them and cultivate leadership skills! Helping them to build a sustainable, responsive and growing practice with innovative designing of learning that break down geographic and cultural barriers. Combine such a vision with my love of travel, culture, and global perspective and that takes me to seeking opportunities like the Fulbright DAST Project in Uzbekistan where I will adapt my vision to fit within the professional culture and readiness for innovation. I will layer my design of my six-week project in training teachers in Uzbekistan with prioritizing what the outcomes are that they are trying to achieve. Ultimately, I am a passionate servant.”

Q: How do you see education evolving, and what change or awareness most interests you?
“Actually, we are on the cusp of fundamental shifts as we speak. Not for reasons that we would have chosen but nevertheless, education has leaped forward from the innovation precipice that we have been teetering on for so very long. Many years ago, Superintendent John O’Brien interviewed me at a districtwide inservice regarding my vision for education. I believe what I said then has happened. We are creating student-driven and personalized education with deep integration of technology to enhance the opportunities and resources available for learning while strengthening the foundation of our profession—relationships and people.

I predicted in that interview that we would offer combinations of online, blended, and face-to-face learning customized through student agency.

-Amanda adams

I continue to be passionate about the change that we are making: empowering learners must serve as the crux of our mission. What interests me the most at this current juncture is the empowering of educators to drive their own learning. In addition, that everyone in the organization from the superintendent to the learner is growing and deepening their work, through systemic support for learner-driven education.”

Q: Is there a specific someone or something that influenced your career path?
“I have had several wonderful mentors over the years, but continually supportive administrators that allowed me to drive my own learning and growth have been a large part. I would say that in the last seven or so years of my work, Kim Leslie, has played a vital role. She is my professional comrade, and I give her credit for being the sounding board and partner in this most crucial part of my career. I am intrinsically motivated and ambitious, but she continually provides honest, creative, and solution-oriented perspective. I am greatly inspired by leaders in our profession that share their work continually through blogs and twitter. I read a LOT and am constantly staying up on the latest research and perspectives the thought leaders share.”

Q: What does receiving the Fulbright DAST Program Award evoke in you?
“I am ecstatic about a new and meaningful challenge. Receiving this award has many layers of meaning to me! I am constantly pushing myself to grow and challenge my abilities. This is incredibly important to me as it takes the skills I have been honing in andragogy and innovative professional development and crosses it with my Russian language abilities, culture layers of education systems in other places, adaptations to design for cultural awareness. I served in the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan, a neighboring country of Uzbekistan. I am thrilled to explore the differences in culture while reviving my understanding of former soviet education systems analyzing them for where change and growth is possible. Working with the Ministry of Education in Uzbekistan offers me the opportunity to influence large scale change. And that is incredibly exciting!”

Teaching in Uzbekistan, 1997
Returning to Uzbekistan, 2004

Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
“My younger self was passionate about her craft and the students I served, but I would tell a younger me not to wait to get involved in larger scale change. I would tell her to get out into the broader movement earlier. You can serve 150 students in your classes in a high school or you can serve 8,000 students at the district level, but if you refuse to limit yourself and collaborate with teachers across the globe, you contribute to the world. I would tell her that she can learn from so very many people and they want to learn from her too. We are not limited to the educators who are next to us in the hallway. Our foundational relationships lie with them, but expanding to include the wider cause monumentally expands our growth. Do not settle. Ever.”

Q: Do you have a favorite aspect to your work each day?
“The very best part of my work and the part that I truly thrive on is collaboration toward solving problems of practice.

There is tremendous creativity and design that we are capable of when all parties focus on growth.

-Amanda adams

Every day I work with teachers and my district level partners to make learning better for kids. I love building relationships founded on professional trust and offering the very best part of ourselves to each other and our students.”

Q: Is there a challenge or inspirational part of your work combined with this opportunity that deeply matters to you?
“Our greatest challenge is ourselves. We create boundaries and limits for ourselves continually and detrimentally. Much of my time is spent convincing people of what they are capable of.

I do not see barriers where others see them, and my thinking is typically not limited to the options we have before us.

As someone who ultimately sees herself as a servant, sharing my skills with others is a requirement. The opportunity to help teachers in Uzbekistan see possibilities and hone skills is something I can and should do. When reading the project description, I had all the pieces that could support this work. A Peace Corps volunteer at heart forever, I suppose, I did not hesitate to take a risk to see if I could be competitive for the honor. If you do not take a risk, you will never know.”

Q: Do you have a favorite motivating phrase or movie?
“No more silo. Educators that I have worked with on many, many projects know this phrase from me. Historically as a profession, we tend to be very lonely and working independently in our silos. We may not even see other teachers in the building for weeks. We used to go into our rooms and close the doors and do what we do. It was lonely and extremely exhaustive contributing to things like poor retention, stagnant practice, and diminished results. For years, I have been using the phrase #nomoresilo emphasizing that it doesn’t have to be that way. We do not have to do it all ourselves, but rather that we are so very much better together.”

#nomoresilo

-Amanda Adams

Q: Is there something you would you like people to know about you or your work?
“I have been an educator for over 20 years, and I am still learning. I am the culmination of all my experiences to this point. Village teaching, ELL, Peace Corps, At-Risk Kids, Instructional and Technology Coaching, Personalized Learning, online teaching, leading cohorts of teachers, leadership roles in the state, state boards, ECET2, all of it. All of it contributes to the educator that I am now, and I am not done.”

Connect with Amanda Adams on Twitter @amsuad or at her professional teaching website: www.teachingjedi.com

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Posted in Awards by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

KPBSD Board of Education opens the search for Superintendent of Schools

News Release

Soldotna, November 16, 2020—The Board of Education of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) seeks an excellent educational leader to become the next Superintendent of Schools. Applications will be accepted through December 30, 2020. The Board of Education accepted Superintendent John O’Brien’s retirement in July, and approved their Superintendent Search Oversight Committeeat the May 6, 2020, board meeting. The detailed position description, brochure, and application details are online at https://bit.ly/2IHuW8e, and the position will begin July 1, 2021.

Application and Timetable

McPherson & Jacobson LLC is facilitating the search. The KPBSD Board of Education established a timetable for the superintendent search:

Application closing date:                  December 30, 2020
Selection of Finalists:                        Week of January 18, 2021
Onsite Finalist Interviews with Board:  Week of January 25, 2021
Selection of new Superintendent:       February 1, 2021
Start date:                                      July 1, 2021

A survey requesting community, staff, student, and family input will open in mid-November.

Qualifications

The successful candidate must have the background, skills, and abilities essential for excellence in educational leadership. They will be:

  • An experienced leader with a strong sense of compassion, open mindedness, and someone who embraces cultural diversity. They will maximize the skills and abilities of staff members, with outstanding soft skills to lead staff in continual improvement and meaningful change
  • An individual who will work closely with the KPBSD Board of Education, and build trust relationships among and between staff and community, so the entire school district feels heard and included
  • A fiscally sound instructional leader who has a strong background in curriculum and instruction, who understands personalized learning (PL), and is skilled in social emotional learning (SEL)
  • An optimistic, inclusive, collaborative leader who is goal oriented and trusts staff to work together to accomplish the school district goals using different methodologies and pathways
  • A spirited and adventurous individual who will enjoy and embrace the majestic beauty, cultural, and recreational opportunities which the Kenai Peninsula has to offer
  • A leader with superior communication skills and who will be a positive vocal advocate for the KPBSD, students and staff, on local, state, and national levels

To apply

Application Link: macnjake.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx

Announcement of Vacancy: Download the Superintendent Search brochure

McPherson & Jacobson LLC | Lead Consultant: Dr. Steven Lowder

Application Deadline: December 30, 2020 (11:30 PM CST)

Contact or visit McPherson & Jacobson LLC for detailed information about the superintendent search including the position description, qualities, and time line

www.KPBSD.org offers additional information about the district, schools, and communities

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is one of the top performing K-12 school districts in the State of Alaska, and encompasses 37 communities within 25,600 square miles, educating nearly 8,500 students. Four of the district’s schools are accessible only by water or air, and the 42 diverse schools include neighborhood schools, K-12 schools, alternative schools, charter schools, a performance-based school, and Connections Homeschool.

Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

High COVID-19 cases cause 34 schools to shift to 100% remote learning for all students through Thanksgiving break

News Release

Friday, November 13, 2020, marked another significant leap of positive COVID-19 cases on the Kenai Peninsula, so beginning Monday, November 16, 2020, learning at 34 of the 42 KPBSD schools will be 100% Remote for all students. This means that Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Intensive Needs students will not attend school onsite, and education delivery for students enrolled at schools operating in High COVID-19 Risk areas will be delivered remotely via digital platforms or with paper packets.

In an effort to do our part during this acceleration phase of COVID-19 on the Kenai Peninsula, KPBSD must act prudently and proactively. Governor Dunleavy made a plea to Alaskans on Thursday: “I’m going to ask Alaskans to sacrifice a little more by changing their daily routines. If you own a business that can operate remotely, send your employees home. I’m urging municipalities to take similar action and protect your workforce and communities.”

The KPBSD continues to build the plan to bring more students back onsite during high COVID-19 risk, and it is true that school buildings may be one of the safest places to be. However, the extreme phase of exponential spread that is happening now must first be slowed, and begin to trend down before onsite learning can resume. You can track the data yourself on the KPBSD COVID-19 data dashboard—today the state reported an all-time high of 90 positive cases on the Kenai Peninsula. Please do your part—we are all still learning new habits. You know how hard this is, and we are all concerned for everyone’s safety and well-being. It will take effort from each of us in our daily habits and choices to shift this dangerous trajectory.

However, the extreme phase of exponential spread that is happening now must first be slowed, and begin to trend down before onsite learning can resume.

What to know

  • Schools will continue to be in contact with their families. If you or a friend are struggling or need assistance, do not wait. Call your school secretary, a teacher, the principal, school nurse, or counselor, if you have questions about materials, packets, mental well-being, or other questions
  • Get-It and Go Meals are free for all students during 100% Remote Learning, and can be picked up daily at school between 12:00–1:00. Make sure to place your order by noon on Friday for the following week daily pickup: Signup online for FREE lunch and breakfast meals
  • Need some supports for mental wellness? This is a recycle of a free resource for you: Sources of Strength Family Toolkit

Links

Do you know? “Most Alaskans get COVID-19 from a friend, family member or coworker. Alaskans should avoid indoor gatherings with non-household members, avoid crowds, wear masks when around non-household members and stay six feet from anyone not in their household.” –DHSS, November 13, 2020

100% Remote Learning through Thanksgiving break for all students
Central Peninsula Schools
Central Kenai Peninsula includes Kasilof to Sterling, extending through Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, and DHSS “other north” communities. Cooper Landing is not included in the 17 Central Peninsula schools:

  • Aurora Borealis Charter School
  • Kaleidoscope Charter School
  • K-Beach Elementary School
  • Kenai Alternative School
  • Kenai Central High School
  • Kenai Middle School
  • Mountain View Elementary School
  • Nikiski Middle-High School
  • Nikiski North Star Elementary School
  • Redoubt Elementary School
  • River City Academy
  • Skyview Middle School
  • Soldotna Elementary School
  • Soldotna High School
  • Soldotna Montessori Charter School
  • Sterling Elementary School
  • Other North: Tustumena Elementary School



Eastern Kenai Peninsula Schools

  • Moose Pass School
  • Seward High School
  • Seward Middle School
  • William H. Seward Elementary


Southern Kenai Peninsula Schools

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



Small schools are open to onsite learning in low risk

Six small KPBSD schools in Cooper Landing, Hope, Nanwalek, Port Graham, Seldovia, and Tebughna will also continue to operate in low COVID-19 risk, and offer both 100% Remote and onsite-at-school learning options. A shift to 100% Remote Learning could happen at any time if there is positive COVID-19 in these communities.

Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Talking Points for Parents about COVID-19 Alerts

Ideas to help our kids understand and cope with recent media messages


  • Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavey sent out an Emergency Alert on November 12, 2020, that students may have received on their cell phones or that they heard other people receive
  • In his YouTube Video, Governor Dunleavy asked Alaskans to change their behavior, and said, “The next three weeks are critical. … I’m speaking to you today, because Alaska is facing an escalating crisis that I need your help to solve. … Like the rest of the nation, Alaska’s COVID-19 status is now in the red.” (Source, Alaska.gov website)

Parent Talking Points:

Help kids identify their questions

  • What is an emergency alert?
    • We have a national Emergency Alert System that allows alerts to be sent through TV stations, radio and cell phones to alert the public of an emergency. We use them for many different reasons including weather advisories, Tsunami warnings, and missing people are among them (Source)
    • Our Governor used this system this week to let the Alaskan people know that the rate of the spread of COVID is rapidly increasing and give instructions on how we can help slow the spread
  • Why is the virus spreading so fast?
    • It is a very, very contagious disease.
    • People are still building the habits of mask wearing and limiting their activities and contacts.

Help kids identify what they know

  • They have their family to watch out for them
  • School will continue even if remote
  • School Staff care about them and want to connect with them
  • Scientists are continuing to research the disease and are working on a vaccine (or medicine) to protect us
  • They have control over their behavior
  • They can connect using phones and technology with their friends

Help kids connect with what they are in control of

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing a mask
  • Keeping 6 feet away from others
  • Limiting the number of people they come in contact with

Help kids recognize the supports they have

  • Family and friends
  • Teachers and school staff
  • Their knowledge of how to help protect themselves

Helpful Links

Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Remote Learning extends for 34 KPBSD schools

News Release

Soldotna, November 12, 2020—KPBSD schools in the central, eastern, and southern Kenai Peninsula will continue with Remote Learning for an additional two weeks, through Thanksgiving Break. KPBSD small schools operating in low COVID-19 risk will remain open with the onsite-at-school learning option. KPBSD Connections Homeschool is open. Schools are closed Thursday and Friday, November 26-27, 2020.

Student groups (pre-k, kindergarten, Special Education Intensive Needs students) who attend KPBSD schools during High Risk operations will attend school onsite on Friday, November 13, 2020. If there will be a future change that would begin Monday, November 16, 2020, it will be announced by Friday afternoon.

District leadership is requesting clarity from the State of Alaska to determine clarification and intent for school operations after Governor Michael J. Dunleavy’s statewide message the morning of November 12, 2020.

KPBSD school safety and mitigation plans are in place, which require 6’ physical distancing, and wearing of masks. Superintendent O’Brien said, “Thank you for your patience as we work through school operation details related to the Governor’s urgent message this morning. I join the Governor’s appeal when he said, ‘For the next three weeks, I am asking you as the governor of Alaska, that we do everything possible to reduce these cases and bend this trend downward.’ I thank you for your continued and renewed efforts to keep our students, families, staff, and communities healthy and safe.”

What to know

  • Schools will continue to be in contact with their families. If you or a friend are struggling or need assistance, do not wait. Call your school secretary, a teacher, the principal, school nurse, or counselor, if you have questions about materials, packets, mental well-being, or other questions
  • Get-It and Go Meals are free for all students during 100% Remote Learning, and can be picked up daily at school between 12:00–1:00. Make sure to place your order by noon on Friday for the following week daily pickup: Signup online for FREE lunch and breakfast meals
  • Need some inspiration? This is a recycle of a free resource for you: Sources of Strength Family Toolkit

Central Peninsula Schools operating in High Risk (Red) Status through at least Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Central Kenai Peninsula includes Kasilof to Sterling, extending through Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, and DHSS “other north” communities. Cooper Landing is not included in the 17 Central Peninsula schools:

  • Aurora Borealis Charter School
  • Kaleidoscope Charter School
  • K-Beach Elementary School
  • Kenai Alternative School
  • Kenai Central High School
  • Kenai Middle School
  • Mountain View Elementary School
  • Nikiski Middle-High School
  • Nikiski North Star Elementary School
  • Redoubt Elementary School
  • River City Academy
  • Skyview Middle School
  • Soldotna Elementary School
  • Soldotna High School
  • Soldotna Montessori Charter School
  • Sterling Elementary School
  • Other North: Tustumena Elementary School

Eastern Kenai Peninsula Schools operating in High Risk (Red) Status through at least Wednesday, November 25, 2020

  • Moose Pass School
  • Seward High School
  • Seward Middle School
  • William H. Seward Elementary

Southern Kenai Peninsula Schools operating in High Risk (Red) Status through at least Wednesday, November 25, 2020

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

Small schools

Six small KPBSD schools in Cooper Landing, Hope, Nanwalek, Port Graham, Seldovia, and Tebughna will also continue to operate in low COVID-19 risk, and offer both 100% Remote and onsite-at-school learning options. A shift to 100% Remote Learning could happen at any time if there is positive COVID-19 in these communities.

KPBSD operates schools with plans defined in the KPBSD SmartStart 2020 Plan, that was built with approval from the Board of Education, and review and feedback from DEED and DHSS. Decision Basis about operations in risk levels
To determine if schools should operate in 100% Remote Learning, or offer options for 100% Remote Learning and onsite at-school learning, district leadership and the KPBSD Medical Advisory Team:

  • Analyze the 14-Day positive COVID-19 case counts
  • Analyze the 7-Day positivity trend
  • Consult with public health contact tracing knowledge, and local medical providers
  • Review the KPBSD COVID-19 Positive Case in a School Decision Matrix
  • Based on this analysis and scientific data, the medical advisory team (which now includes a mental health professional) closely watch positive cases, types of community spread, and offer informed insights about safely operating schools during a pandemic.

Helpful Links

KPBSD Smart Start 2020 Plan webpage

KPBSD COVID-19 Hub or covid19.kpbsd.org

KPBSD COVID-19 risk level dashboard

Helpful new flyer: What to Do if You’ve Been Exposed to COVID-19: put your quarantine plan into action

Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

The Power of Possibility

Celebrate KPBSD School Psychologists every day, and especially during National School Psychology Week

Do you wonder what a school psychologist does? Watch for daily posts on @KPBSD social media to meet some of the phenomenal and dedicated school psychologists serving in KPBSD schools, and visit the KPBSD School Psychologists webpage.

“In this time of need during a global pandemic the state of mental health in our communities and schools is real. I am so thankful for the critical role our school psychologists play to help our students, families, and staff during these difficult times.”

Superintendent John O’Brien

The Power of Possibility

“During the week of November 9-13, 2020, schools throughout the United States celebrate National School Psychology Week (NSPW) to highlight the important work school psychologists and other educators do to help all students thrive. This year’s theme is “The Power of Possibility.” The word “possibility” implies hope, growth, resilience and renewal. Possibility suggests that even something as small as a seed can grow into something magnificent. The word “power” implies that things can and will happen. When we focus on what is possible, we have hope that students will grow, thrive and bloom.” –National Association of School Psychologists

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KPBSD Parent and Guardian Survey

Start the survey now

Dear KPBSD Parents and Guardians,

Your input is requested in this brief survey to assist refining the KPBSD Smart Start Plan so the option to attend onsite-at school during High COVID-19 Risk levels is available to more students. The survey closes Tuesday, November 10, at 8:00 AM.

On Monday, November 2, 2020, at the Board of Education work sessions and meetings, the school board gave KPBSD administration the direction to work on plans to safely bring students back into our schools during High Risk (Red) COVID-19 operation levels.

The KPBSD Team fully understands the hardship moving to remote learning caused for students, families, and staff. Students need to be in school, and we know our staff want to work with their students in person. Plans are being made to address mental health concerns for both students and staff during this transition period through early December. Updates to the Smart Start Plan need be proposed, vetted, and approved by the Board of Education.

The purpose of this survey is to determine the best option to safely bring students to onsite at-school learning when we operate in Red-High Risk due to COVID-19 community spread. Two options:

1)      Bring all students (less those who choose 100% Remote Learning) back into the school every day with heightened mitigation measures in place.

2)      A/B schedule: An A/B schedule will allow all schools the maximum distancing possible between students and between students and staff, by having half of the enrolled students in a building at a time, and designated into an A group and a B group of students. An A/B schedule can be designed several different ways including the following examples:

·         Monday A; Tuesday B; Wednesday A; Thursday B; Friday remote, at risk students, cleaning, etc.
·         Monday and Tuesday A; Wednesday and Thursday B; Friday remote, at risk students, cleaning, etc.
·         Week A attends M-T-W-Th for a week; Week B attends M-T-W-Th the following week

This survey will take approximately 5 minutes.  Please take this survey once for all of your students attending a KPBSD school.

Clayton Holland
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction

KPBSD Smart Start Plan

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Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Remote Learning extends for 34 KPBSD schools through Friday, November 13, 2020

100% Remote Learning is extended for 34 KPBSD schools through at least Friday, November 13, 2020

Soldotna, November 4, 2020—KPBSD operates schools with plans defined in the KPBSD SmartStart 2020 Plan, that was built with approval from the Board of Education, and review and feedback from DEED and DHSS. On Monday, the Board of Education gave district administration a green light to continue working on plans to safely bring students back into schools during High COVID-19 Risk operational levels.

Assistant Superintendent Holland has worked with principals and staff to move in this direction for several weeks when we realized community spread could continue to keep some areas in high risk. A staff survey is being conducted, and parents and older students can expect a survey within the next week so school district leadership can hear from everyone. The hope and plan is to safely bring an onsite at-school learning option to many more students at some point in December if areas are continuing to operate in High Risk.

“Working out the logistics and mitigation plans will take some time but this is our highest priority and we are working expediently. New plans will go to DHSS and DEED for feedback, and the school board for approval and adoption. We fully understand the hardship that moving to remote learning has caused on students, families, and staff. The emotional and mental health toll is real and has been significant. We know many of our students need to be learning onsite at school. We are redoubling our efforts to address mental health concerns for both students and our dedicated staff, especially during this transition period until Smart Start plan changes can be vetted and approved by the Board of Education.”

-Superintendent John O’Brien

When the KPBSD Medical Advisory Team and school district leadership met, on Wednesday, the continued high trend of positive COVID-19 case counts, the 7-Day trends, and contact tracing information from public health, drove the decision that a week extension of 100% Remote Learning is merited for staff and student safety, and to be in alignment with the current Smart Start plan.

  • One week extension: Schools in the Eastern Kenai Peninsula and Southern Kenai Peninsula will continue with 100% Remote Learning through at least Friday, November 13, 2020
  • Initial two week extension still in place: Central Kenai Peninsula schools will continue with 100% Remote Learning through at least Friday, November 13, 2020
  • KPBSD small schools continue in low risk, with onsite-at-school learning option
  • KPBSD Connections Homeschool is open

What to know

  • Schools will continue to be in contact with their families. If you or a friend are struggling or need assistance, do not wait. Call your school secretary, a teacher, the principal, school nurse, or counselor, if you have questions about materials, packets, mental well-being, or other questions
  • Get-It and Go Meals are free for all students during 100% Remote Learning, and can be picked up daily at school between 12:00–1:00. Make sure to place your order by noon on Friday for the following week daily pickup: Signup online for FREE lunch and breakfast meals
  • Need some inspiration? This is a recycle of a free resource for you: Sources of Strength Family Toolkit
  • Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Special Education Intensive Needs students may still attend school onsite-at-school during 100% Remote Learning, based on the 2020 SmartStart Plan. Schools are in contact with these families directly

Central Peninsula Schools operating in High Risk (Red) Status through at least Friday, November 13, 2020

Central Kenai Peninsula includes Kasilof to Sterling, extending through Kenai, Nikiski, Soldotna, and DHSS “other north” communities. Cooper Landing is not included in the 17 Central Peninsula schools:

  • Aurora Borealis Charter School
  • Kaleidoscope Charter School
  • K-Beach Elementary School
  • Kenai Alternative School
  • Kenai Central High School
  • Kenai Middle School
  • Mountain View Elementary School
  • Nikiski Middle-High School
  • Nikiski North Star Elementary School
  • Redoubt Elementary School
  • River City Academy
  • Skyview Middle School
  • Soldotna Elementary School
  • Soldotna High School
  • Soldotna Montessori Charter School
  • Sterling Elementary School
  • Other North: Tustumena Elementary School

Eastern Kenai Peninsula Schools operating in High Risk (Red) Status through Friday, November 13, 2020

  • Moose Pass School
  • Seward High School
  • Seward Middle School
  • William H. Seward Elementary

Southern Kenai Peninsula Schools operating in High Risk (Red) Status through Friday, November 13, 2020

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

Small schools

Susan B. English in Seldovia will resume onsite at-school learning on Monday, November 9, 2020.
Five other small KPBSD schools in, Cooper Landing, Hope, Nanwalek, Port Graham, and Tebughna will also continue to operate in low COVID-19 risk, and offer both 100% Remote and onsite-at-school learning options.

*Decision Basis about operations in risk levels

To determine if schools should operate in 100% Remote Learning, or offer options for 100% Remote Learning and onsite at-school learning, district leadership and the KPBSD Medical Advisory Team:

  • Analyze the 14-Day positive COVID-19 case counts
  • Analyze the 7-Day positivity trend
  • Consult with public health contact tracing knowledge, and local medical providers
  • Review the KPBSD COVID-19 Positive Case in a School Decision Matrix
  • Based on this analysis and scientific data, the medical advisory team (which now includes a mental health professional) closely watch positive cases, types of community spread, and offer informed insights about safely operating schools during a pandemic.

Helpful Links

KPBSD Smart Start 2020 Plan webpage

KPBSD COVID-19 Hub or covid19.kpbsd.org

KPBSD COVID-19 risk level dashboard

Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments