Alaska Speech-Language-Hearing recognizes three in the KPBSD

Celebrate! On September 25, 2021, during the annual Alaska Speech-Language-Hearing Association (AKSHA) convention, excellence in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District was highlighted, with current and retired staff receiving the Sourdough Award, Red Lantern Award, and the Lifetime Member Award with 20 or more years of outstanding history in clinical practice!

“The KPBSD is so fortunate to consistently have an outstanding speech department for our students. Our quality speech pathologists have energy and compassion, and continue to rise above any challenge that is presented. These awards and recognitions prove just that. I have worked closely and seen firsthand how their knowledge and expertise has been an integral part to help special education teams collaborate and assist students with the wide variety of communication needs in our school district. This statewide recognition is well deserved, and I feel honored to work with these fine individuals.”

–Amy Hagen, KPBSD Director of Student Support Services

Jackie Kempf, Speech Pathologist, received the Sourdough Award for outstanding contributions in SLP or Audiology!

The Sourdough Awardrecognizes an Audiologist and-or Speech Language Pathology (SLP) who demonstrates long-term dedication to issues in the state, advocacy, leadership, or outstanding clinical practice.

Over her career, Jackie Kempf has done an excellent job as a therapist and achieved a strong reputation as a school-based practitioner. A particular strength is working with students with significant communication delays and building language abilities from the preschool setting through 6th grade, specifically with children on the Autism Spectrum and with significant early developmental delays. Jackie has incorporated many integral elements of speech therapy, including PECS, Aug Com systems, visual supports, functional play and school routine mastery, pragmatic skills building, and narrative retell strategies into her therapy as needed in the overall support of global communication. She and her long time SLPA team are often the first speech pathology staff preschoolers encounter in KPBSD, and the early therapy she provides continues to make significant differences in those preschoolers’ abilities to enter primary grades with the building blocks necessary to grow academically and navigate their social worlds with success and understanding.

In addition to her clinical work, Jackie has given of her time to graduate students over the years as they undertake clinical hours, internships, and mentoring for their CCC’s, and her open and kind personality and enthusiasm for her students as people is infectious. She has for many years juggled high caseload numbers and complex cases spread over multiple sites with efficiency and fidelity. Her conviction that every child should have a voice is clear to see through the passion and dedication she has given her work as a school-based speech pathologist over the last two decades at KPBSD.

Robin Evans, retired and now a substitute SLP, received the Red Lantern Award for Outstanding Contributions in Rural Alaska!

The Red Lantern Award recognizes the unique challenges many AKSHA members work under to provide services to those in our rural areas.

Robin served as KPBSD’s Child Find Coordinator, bringing her expertise as a SLP. She traveled around the diverse KPBSD K-12 school district that includes several small schools and communities. She went beyond screening youngsters; many times her SLP expertise led her to complete a speech and language evaluation. This expedited the process of qualifying children for services. Robin’s care and concern for youngsters was evident. In addition, she eased the caseload for the SLP who would be servicing the child at their neighboring school. After Robin retired, she began her new adventures, travel and lifestyle, though she returned to KPBSD to assist in any way possible. She contracts her services, as well as provides substitute services for SLPs and special education teachers. Robin was a positive force who made a difference in the lives of children, families and communities.

Melody Spangler-Hatch, retired SLP, 1980-2012 was honored with the Lifetime Member Award for 20 or more years of outstanding history in clinical practice!

The Lifetime Member Award recognizes an outstanding history of clinical practice in the field of speech language pathology and-or audiology within Alaska and AKSHA. Nominees must have practiced at least 20 years as an Audiologist and/or SLP and been an AKSHA member for 10 or more years.

“For the past three plus years, I have been the SLP serving the Seward area schools with Seward Elementary as my home base,” wrote nominator Cecilia Deatherage. “Being in Seward in Melody’s old position, and her same room (30+ years), I repeatedly hear from many parents about their speech therapy and how she helped them … now it’s their kids. Though I only really know her from KPBSD SLP meetings over the years and at AKSHA conferences, the consistent positive feedback I hear about her led me to this nomination.”

Julie DeBoard, Special Educator and former speech student at Seward Elementary, shared, “Melody Spangler was my speech teacher in my second-grade year. In one year, she helped me master my R & S sounds. I still remember using the clicker to identify where in the word I heard my R sounds. Later on, I had the opportunity to work with Melody Spangler Hatch. I learned so much from this wonderful colleague. She taught me about paperwork, conducting myself in IEP meetings, interacting with the staff, and her love of her students was contagious. She was not only a colleague, but is also a very dear friend to this day! I saw her touch the lives of not only me, but also hundreds of students during her time at Seward Elementary School Her smile was infectious and it makes me so happy to see her plaque on the wall by her old room.”

Kathi Davis, head secretary and parent of a speech student at Seward Elementary, wrote, “Melody Spangler Hatch–what a remarkable woman, a wonderful friend, and a person that is a joy to have in your life! Melody has always done so much for the community of Seward and has an amazing giving heart. Seward was blessed the day she arrived so many years ago, met the love of her life, and made this her home. She was a speech therapist at Seward Elementary for 32 years and taught hundreds of students how to speak correctly during her tenure here. I was one of the lucky parents having a child be a successful recipient of her love, dedication and talent. My son no longer sounds like he is from Brooklyn!”

Discover: Who are Speech-Language Pathologists & what do they do?

AKSHA association

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No school for students

Friday, October 15, 2021, is an inservice day,
no school for students*

*calendar variance: Kachemak-Selo, Nikolaevsk, Port Graham, Razdolna, and Voznesenka schools are in session

KPBSD Calendar and Variance Calendars

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Welding program bonds school and local business

Celebrations happen every day in KPBSD schools, and a new $10,000 grant will support the Soldotna High School Welding program!

Students experience multiple pathways to life after high school, and some students receive certifications and trade expertise, then go straight into a career after graduation, others pursue additional education at a college, university, trade school, or join the military, and others take a gap year or time to determine what their next best move is. Everyone can learn skills in high school through career and technical education (CTE) courses, and Airgas USA, a leading single-source supplier of gases, welding equipment, supplies, and safety products, awarded the Soldotna High School welding program a $10,000 grant.

Dan Grove, the account manager of the Kenai Airgas branch, nominated and submitted a grant proposal, recognizing Soldotna High School in revitalizing the high school welding program with the industry expert Clyde Swaby. Airgas identified Soldotna High based on the education alignment with local industry needs through oil refineries, offshore platforms, fishing, and construction industries.

Soldotna High School was one out of 23 schools across the nation to be awarded this grant!

-Dan Grove, account manager, Kenai Airgas


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Community FY23 Budget Development Meeting

Find all finance documents at

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District requests input from staff, parents, students, and community members at a Districtwide FY23 Budget Development meeting. All meetings begin at 6:00 PM.

Central Peninsula Community
Thursday, October 7, 2021, 6:00 p.m., Soldotna High Library*

Homer Community
Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 6:00 p.m., Homer High Library

Seward Community
Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 6:00 p.m., Seward High Library

*October 7, 2021, 6:00 PM, is the only budget development meeting that will be also livestreamed and include a live Q&A via zoom.

Additional details and new finance information when it becomes available is posted on the Finance page of the KPBSD website at
If you have questions about these meetings, please call Natalie Bates at 907-714-8888.

October 7, 2021, KPBSD Budget Development Meeting Zoom Option:

Or One tap mobile :

    US: +17209289299, 88694754284#  or +19712471195, 88694754284#

Or Telephone:

    Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

        US: +1 720 928 9299  or +1 971 247 1195  or +1 206 337 9723  or +1 213 338 8477  or +1 253 215 8782  or +1 602 753 0140

Webinar ID: 886 9475 4284

    International numbers available:

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KPBSD PEAKS assessment

September 30, 2021

Dear Parent or Guardian,

Students in grades 3-9 participated in the 2021 Performance Evaluation for Alaska’s Schools (PEAKS) summative assessment for English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, and Science. The Alaska Department of Education and Early Education (DEED) stated that, “Low participation rates due to COVID-19 warrant caution comparing results to prior years.” The 2021 results are only one part of the overall picture informing us about how well our students and schools are doing to meet all the grade level expectations identified by Alaska State Standards. Your child’s results are now available through the KPBSD PowerSchool Parent Portal.

Given the low overall participation rate and the high variability in participation among student groups, DEED cautions against comparing 2021 PEAKS data to previous years at the statewide level. Parents and educators can use individual student data from PEAKS, along with other local assessments, to inform decisions about instructional needs during the 2021-2022 school year. DEED has published a Parent Guide to Student Reports and FAQs online under the “results” tab.     

Typically, summative assessments guide intervention and targeted support activities for schools as directed by the Every Student Succeeds Act. However, the U.S. Department of Education waived accountability requirements for the 2021-2022 school year. DEED will continue to support ongoing school improvement efforts in local school districts, including stewardship of federal COVID relief funds.

Parents and Guardians have the authority to object to and withdraw their child from standards based assessments, or tests required by the State. The KPBSD Curriculum and Assessment Opt-Out Form must be completed annually and submitted to the school. The form can be found at this link:

You can find parent resources on the Alaska Department of Education PEAKS webpage: to assist with understanding these state required evaluations.

Student reports are available through the KPBSD PowerSchool Parent Portal. If you need help accessing these results, please contact your child’s school.


Kari Dendurent
Assistant Superintendent
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

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Soldotna Montessori Charter School awarded 2021 National Blue Ribbon School

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized for academic excellence as a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School. Our staff and families are dedicated to educating the whole child, and receiving this recognition is a tribute to each one’s effort. It is rewarding to see our students’ commitment to each other result in success, both in their academic endeavors and as difference-makers in the community.”

–John DeVolld, Soldotna Montessori Charter School principal

“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” said U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a video announcement. “In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”

The only school in Alaska to receive this distinguished honor in 2021, Soldotna Montessori School in Soldotna, Alaska, joins eleven other schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) to achieve the National Blue Ribbon excellence designation. Nationwide, 325 schools are honored with 2021 National Blue Ribbon School recognition.

“We are very proud of Soldotna Montessori School and what they are doing for students in our district,” said Clayton Holland, superintendent. “The staff, students and parents should be commended for all of their hard work to make this school such a wonderful place for kids. This is a very well deserved award that exemplifies what is happening around the KPBSD. Congratulations to Soldotna Montessori School and keep up the great effort!”

“Soldotna Montessori Charter School, you have honored Alaska with your dedication to high standards in educating our kids,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Congratulations on being nationally recognized as an Exemplary High Performing School, an honor that I have no doubt comes, in part, from engaging students in creative field experiences outside the walls of the classroom.”


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New Collective Bargaining Agreements

Collective Bargaining Agreement

“I am very happy that KPBSD agreements with KPEA and KPESA were ratified and unanimously approved by the Board of Education. This is the first time that the District and the Associations have gone through the Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) process. It was a long, and not always an easy path, but everyone involved was open to ideas, assumed positive intent, and committed to working together. The process resulted in Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) that are fair, contain long needed language changes, and respect all staff members. I have a heartfelt thank you to everyone who was involved in this process.”

Superintendent Clayton Holland

New Negotiated Agreements for the
2021-2022, 2022-2023, and 2023-2024 School Years

On Monday, September 13, 2021, the KPBSD Board of Education approved the FY22-24 Kenai Peninsula Education Association (KPEA) and Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association (KPESA) Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA).

On Thursday, September 2, 2021, KPEA and KPESA ratified and certified the Tentative Agreement (TA) reached with KPBSD for the FY22-24 school years.

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Free Developmental, Vision, and Hearing Screenings for preschoolers

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) provides free screening for children 3 through 5 years old (not yet in kindergarten)

Areas screened include: speech and language, learning and understanding, coordination and movement, social-emotional skills, self-help skills (feeding, dressing, and toileting), vision or hearing.

Children already identified with disabilities should also be screened if not receiving special education services through the district.

Screenings in your area

Central Kenai Peninsula
Soldotna Area

Watch for upcoming dates

Eastern Kenai Peninsula
Seward Area

Friday, October 15, 2021: Seward, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in conjunction with Sprout and Bloom. Call Casie Warner at 907-491-0544 to schedule an appointment

Southern Kenai Peninsula
Homer Area

Wednesday, October 13, 2021: Razdolna School
Wednesday, September 29, 2021: Chapman School
Wednesday, September 29, 2021: Ninilchik School
Tuesday, September 28, 2021, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.: Susan B. English School
Friday, September 17, 2021, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Paul Banks Elementary
The screenings will be held in-person, by appointment only. Call Kelli at 907.260.5148 to make your appointment

To make an appointment or for more information call the KPBSD Child Find office at 907.260.5148 or email

Additional locations on the Kenai Peninsula will be added this spring.

Developmental Checks

By Age 3

  • Count to 3
  • Speak to most adults and be understood
  • Build a tower of at least 8 blocks
  • Walk up and down stairs
  • Run without falling very often
  • Follow simple directions
  • Repeat simple sounds or rhymes
  • Match colors and shapes
  • Put on some clothes without help
  • Point to 6 parts of the body (hair, nose, eyes, feet, hands, mouth)
  • Name several objects (chair, box, ball, etc…)
  • Imitate drawing a circle (even if it is not quite round)

By Age 4

  • Count to 5
  • Speaks in sentences of about 5 words
  • Asks “how” and “why” questions
  • Cuts with scissors
  • Stands on one foot without falling
  • Catch and throw a ball
  • Holds crayons with fingers, not fist
  • Answers simple question like: “What do you do when you are hungry?”
  • Recognize and name 3-4 colors
  • Enjoys playing with other children
  • Dresses self completely (with help on pullover shirts and sweaters)

By Age 5

  • Count 5 objects
  • Explain what objects are used for
  • Understand the concept of “yesterday”, “today”, and “tomorrow”
  • Climb a ladder to a slide
  • Cuts with scissors on a straight line
  • Copy a picture of a circle and a square
  • Understand words like “on”, “under”, and “behind”
  • Match colors and shapes
  • Go to the bathroom without help
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Sources of Strength Family Toolkit

Sources of Strength

Dear KPBSD Families, Students, and Staff,

Take a deep breath.

It is very important to keep doing this. Several times a day, a pause to inhale and exhale for even a minute. Leaning into autumn and winter, eighteen months into the COVID-19 pandemic, resiliency is becoming more of a challenge for many people. Parents, caregivers, children, teachers and support staff, employers, everyone in health care–we need kindness and grace in our lives more than ever.

This family toolkit was originally offered to families in June 2020, and we are repurposing it again now, since the information and activates are meaningful and trustworthy.
KPBSD offers you these tools to help you navigate the transitions you are facing. Sources of Strength is a public health program that 14 of our KPBSD schools currently offer for their students. Sources of Strength focuses on promoting mental health and building protective factors that increase connection, coping, resiliency and wellness.

We all have strength!

Our Sources of Strength programs help teams of students and school staff identify what strengths they have in their lives to help them move through the ups and downs of life. The Sources of Strength Wheel is composed of eight categories that we can draw strength from: Family Support, Positive Friends, Mentors, Healthy Activities, Generosity, Spirituality, Physical Health and Mental Health. These strengths are powerful strengths that help us build resilience and health relationships.

We all have mental health.
How we cope, calm and connect when we experience feelings and emotions are what creates our mental health. We can use our strengths to support our mental health. It is possible for us to not just survive, but thrive in our new reality. These resources provide you check-ins, activities for exploring emotions, conversation starters, and practices for you and for the student in your household to calm, to cope and to connect.

These activities and resources are from elementary schools, middle schools, and high school programs. Feel free to modify them however works best for you. Start your day with a check-in. Take the emotional temperature in your home and find out how everyone is doing. End your day with thankfulness, naming things that you are grateful for. Share these resources with your friends and neighbors, and together let’s practice #WhatHelpsUs. Share posts on social media and hashtag #WhatHelpsUs and #KPBSDstrong

open: KPBSD Sources of Strength Family Toolkit


Your KPBSD Sources of Strength Champions

Connect – let’s be social!

Talk to KPBSD: 2021 Career & Education Fair

KPBSD is joining the 2021 Career & Education Fair in Kenai, Alaska. Come and talk to our Human Resource specialists about an opportunity for you!

Mark the date!

Tuesday, September 21, 2021
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Kenai Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center parking lot
11471 Kenai Spur Hwy, Kenai, Alaska 99611

“Get the chance to explore Alaska’s high-growth job market! Meet multiple employers, training and education providers from a variety of industries as well as discover apprenticeship & training opportunities.”

Kenai Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

Questions? connect with KPBSD Employment on Facebook, call 907-714-8888, go to to see open positions. Plus, substitutes are needed too–you choose your schedule.

Questions: Visit or call (907) 283-1991

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