Education Budget Forums in March

News Release
Community Budget Forums: planning for the 2021-2022 school year

Update 3-15-21:
The session scheduled for Seward has changed to Thursday, March 25, 2021. The initial date announced was March 18, 2021.

Soldotna, March 5, 2021—Public involvement and input for the school district budget counts. District administration will meet with site councils and everyone interested in K-12 education to present the nearly $140 million preliminary budget for the school year beginning in August.

Three Community Budget Forums in March begin at 6:00 PM, via Zoom
An opportunity for input and questions about the 2021-2022 (FY22) budget, plus time to learn and get the facts. Site-councils, parents, staff, students, business partners, community members, and elected officials are encouraged to participate.

Homer & Southern Peninsula school focus: Monday, March 22, 2021, 6:00 PM
https://kpbsd.zoom.us/j/87931342207

Central Kenai Peninsula school focus:
Tuesday, March 23, 2021, 6:00 PM
https://kpbsd.zoom.us/j/87555387317

Seward & Eastern Peninsula school focus: Thursday, March 25, 2021, 6:00 PM
https://kpbsd.zoom.us/j/89364054042
*This was initially scheduled for March 18, 2021, and changed to March 25.

If someone is unable to connect via Zoom, a telephone audio-only option is available by dialing 206.337.9723 and entering the meeting ID

“At the community budget forums, we will review the 2021-2022 (FY22) preliminary budget. Staff, parents, students and community members will have an opportunity to learn about our budget, provide input, and ask questions.”

Liz Hayes, Director of Finance, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

On April 5, 2021, the budget recommendation for the 2021-2022 school year will be presented to the KPBSD Board of Education during the evening meeting, and then transmitted to the Kenai Peninsula Borough on April 6, 2021.

Links
The Zoom links and the number to call in with questions are online at go.kpbsd.org/finance

Visit the KPBSD Finance Department webpage for documents, budget development information, previous year data, and new budget information updates

Posted in Budget by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Battle of the Books

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”

In 2020-2021, Battle of the Books (BOB) provided that place for roughly 250 KPBSD dedicated readers navigating life as students during a pandemic. 

Battle of the Books participants normally meet with their coaches during lunch and after school asking each other questions about the books on the current BOB list. The goal is to learn as much about the books as possible and how to work as a team in preparation for KPBSD district battles which take place each year in February. Most of our KBPSD students were learning remotely during the fall. Coaches had to come up with creative solutions to practice. Many technology tools were used including Zoom, Google Meet, Facetime, Google Classroom, Kahoot, cell phones and more. Coaches and students rose to the challenge and in addition to reading the books, made arrangements to meet virtually as a team. 

District Battles came in February as always and while many students were back to in-person learning, a lot of schools still had remote team members. District battles were held using a combination of video conferencing and audio conferencing. In most cases, battles were held using speaker phones. Many teams had members using Zoom or Facetime to participate. In-person participants wore masks and incorporated social distancing. Everyone was happy to be able to participate in an extracurricular activity!

KPBSD coaches speak:

“Our team was entirely virtual this year! We were never in person, always through Zoom, which makes team building an entirely different challenge. One member has participated in BOB since she was in Kindergarten (and even before that, as she attended her big sister’s BOB practices and often whispered the answers to the coach while the team discussed), and one team member had never participated in BOB before. One was new to a homeschool BOB team. When we met, though, they were all equal and focused on working together here and now. The enthusiasm, smiles, and RESPECT these kids had for each other was humbling. They made me proud!”

“Many of my students don’t have internet. During remote learning I would meet with a couple of kids via Zoom twice a week and would communicate with the others via letter or packets. Somehow, the kids thrived and I ended up with a team that was absolutely perfect. Two of the girls had never read a book cover to cover and somehow the “low pressure” of being remote motivated them and they read just about every book!”

“Our students spent time reading the books in our afterschool book club twice a week. Even my most reluctant readers were engaged with the topics of the book selections, and were motivated to read even more following the BOB competition. The joy that BOB brought to my kiddos was captivating. They truly enjoyed the thrill of competing.” 

“My students were amazing. Their bright eyes and excitement they brought to the table each challenge—even when we didn’t do as well as we had hoped for!

“The highlight for me was that all of the students had fun, read books, discussed books and became friends along the way. I definitely had a range of books read. Some students read all of them, others just a couple. I was so happily surprised that even with that variance the team could draw on individual strengths and work together as a team. We had kids on the team that had their SEL needs addressed simply because of the fact that they were on the team and they took pride in that membership.”

“I love the excitement and the love of reading the kids have!”

State of Alaska Battle of the Books and KPBSD Teams!

High School: Kenai Central High School – 3rd Place
Middle School: Seward Middle – State Champions
Grades 5/6: Soldotna Connections – 5th Place
Grades 3/4: Homer Connections – 2nd Place

KPBSD Battle of the Books Results

Grades 3/4

  • Homer Connections – District Champion
  • Cooper Landing School- 2nd Place
  • McNeil Canyon Elementary – 3rd Place (Tie)
  • Seward Elementary – 3rd Place (Tie)
  • Tebughna School – 5th Place

Grades 5/6

  • Soldotna Connections – District Champion
  • West Homer Elementary – 2nd Place
  • Seward Middle – 3rd Place (Tie)
  • Kenai Middle School – 3rd Place (Tie)
  • McNeil Canyon Elementary – 5th Place

Middle School

  • Seward Middle School – District Champion
  • Homer Connections – 2nd Place
  • Soldotna Connections – 3rd Place
  • Chapman School- 4th Place (Tie)
  • Moose Pass School – 4th Place (Tie)

High School

  • Kenai Central High School – District Champion
  • Homer High School – 2nd Place (Tie)
  • Soldotna High School – 2nd Place (Tie)
  • Nikiski High School – 4th Place
  • Cooper Landing School – 5th Place

Each of the district-winning teams went on to represent KPBSD at the state battles and placed as follows in the tournament.

High School Team – Kenai Central High School – 3rd Place
Middle School Team – Seward Middle – State Champions
Grades 5/6 – Soldotna Connections – 5th Place
Grades 3/4 – Homer Connections – 2nd Place

Thank you to all the coaches, dedicated students, librarians, and to Karla Barkman, KPBSD Library and Technology Specialist, for providing this BOB recap!

Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Inservice Day – No School*

End of the Quarter – good work everyone!
No school for students, except a few schools have variance calendars, so these schools are in session on Friday:
*variance: Kachemak-Selo, Nanwalek, Nikolaevsk, Port Graham, Razdolna, and Voznesenka schools are in session 

Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Spring Break is March 8-12, 2021*

Spring Break in KPBSD is March 8-12, 2021*

*variance: Kachemak-Selo, Nanwalek, Nikolaevsk, Razdolna, and Voznesenka schools are in session and have a different spring break

“March is one of my most favorite times of the year here on the Peninsula! Longer days with the sun gaining in warmth make for some special opportunities to get outside and enjoy the snow before it starts melting away. Enjoy your time off and I wish you all a wonderful spring break. It is hard to believe that when we return on March 15, that we will be starting our last quarter of the school year. Take care, be well, and be safe.” -Superintendent O’Brien

KPBSD COVID-19 Safe Travels webpage

Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

March Board of Education Meeting

Board of Education Meeting

March 1, 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

March 1, 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)

3:00 p.m. Board Policy Review

3:15 p.m. Assessment Report

3:45 p.m. 2020-2021 Pandemic Update

4:15 p.m. FY22 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 )

March  2, 2021

Quarterly Work Session

9:00 a.m. FY 22 Budget Discussion

11:00 a.m. Joint Budget Work Session w/ Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly

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

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Posted in Board of Education by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Upstream Goes Remote

Upstream Academy Goes Remote

In a “normal” February, KPBSD Upstream would be in full swing, with the Upstream Medical Tech Academy starting soon, and plans in the works for Upstream Marine and Upstream Drone. Safe school operations during COVID-19 put Upstream in person academies on hold. However, even though students are not staying at the Challenger Center for a full five days to build robots, many have been building, baking, and creating some pretty amazing projects in this year’s Upstream Remote program.

KPBSD Upstream Rachel Pioch explains, “It all started with Cherry Chocolate Cake and students’ interest in learning how to bake. Since Upstream began in the Spring of 2017, students have asked to learn how to cook. I decided to start with a family favorite, my mom’s Cherry Chocolate Cake. From there, activities branched out to painting with Annaleah Karon, KPBSD Effective Instruction Coach, and building hand-crank flashlights from KiwiCo. In the course of four months, students will have been able to bake cakes and rolls, make fudge and taco tatoes, paint pictures and Christmas ornaments, build hand-crank flashlights and pencil sharpeners, make geometric candles, and tie fleece blankets, all on Zoom.

The fact that all of this could be done via Zoom surprised students and staff alike. Who knew you could paint and bake over Zoom? Nevertheless, like the rest of the world, students and staff are finding that they are learning new skills and growing in their creative and problem solving abilities. In addition, parents have commented on how the remote activities have helped their students socialize with others and have something for their students to look forward to do!

So how does it work? Every month, Upstream staff send out a list of activities for which students can choose to signup for and participate. Once signups are completed, kits are packaged and delivered to students at their school, Connections office, or in some cases, at their home.

Who has been involved? Any student who has participated in Upstream Academy can participate. This means the Zoom sessions may have students from Port Graham, Nanwalek, Homer, Nikiski, Soldotna, Sterling, Tyonek, and everywhere in between. Students enjoy seeing each other and at times, offer tips to each other. When making the geometric candles in January, many students got creative with essential oils they had on hand at home, and offered different combinations for each other to try out.

In addition, while participation has dropped off a bit since students have returned to school full-time, which staff expected, there is a cohort of students wanting to bake, build, and create every time Upstream Remote meets. In fact, students and parents have requested that even when things are back to normal and Upstream Academies are being held again, that Upstream Remote would still continue in some form. Activities will continue this school year, while there is student interest.

If you’d like to learn along with Upstream students, feel free to check out the students’ most favorite recipe: Taco Tatoes. Recipe and video are linked below.”

Taco Tatoes Recipe

Taco Tatoes Recipe Video

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Posted in KPBSD District Stories by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Alert: Soldotna area road closure and delays

ALERT: Soldotna Area

Update 4:10 PM:
Sterling Highway is now open. Buses are beginning afternoon bus route runs, and schools will have estimated times for students who are still onsite and need transportation.

Afternoon travel and bus transportation in Soldotna area will experience a delay today, Wednesday, February 24, 2021, due to an accident and road closure at Mile 93 on Sterling Highway that may last until 5:30 PM or later.

Schools affected by bus transportation:
River City Academy, Skyview Middle School, Soldotna Elementary, Soldotna High School, Soldotna Montessori, and Sterling Elementary

  • Schools will remain open late today, children who need to stay will be safe
  • Parents may pick up children at schools
  • Buses will run when the highway reopens
  • Contact your school for specific details or with questions–note that additional area schools may be impacted even though they don’t have bus routes that travel through this section of the highway.

Bus Routes impacted:

  • Routes: 108,109,110,111,112
  • Special Needs Routes: 154,157,159
  • Routes: 136, 134
  • Special Needs Routes: 158

Kindly be patient, and keep everyone involved in your thoughts.

Posted in News Release by Pegge Erkeneff. No Comments

Seward Middle: State Champions of the Books Battle

Seward Middle School are the State of Alaska Battle of the Books champions, and won the 2021 competition today!

Congratulations to Coach Shelley Walker and her amazing team—three of the four team members have been competing in state competitions together since 4th grade!

Together we celebrate all the teams, and especially the Silver Salmon champion team of Emily Anger, Lucy Bamford, Makena DesErmia, and Maddy Haas

Battle of the Books list

  • Blended by Sharon M. Draper
  • Class Action by Steven B. Frank
  • Guest: A Changeling Tale by Mary Downing Hahn
  • Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
  • It Wasn’t Me by Dana Alison Levy
  • Leaving Protection by Will Hobbs
  • New Kid by Jerry Craft
  • Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • Vine Basket by Josanne La Valley

2020-2021 Battle of the Books List!

AK Battle of the Books website

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Posted in Awards by Pegge Erkeneff. 1 Comment

Third in State Battle of the Books!

Congratulations Kenai!

Congratulations to the Kenai team for an amazing job and teamwork in challenging battles!
Abigail Moffett, Elizabeth Moffett, Jayna Boonstra, Emily Moss, Adeline Smith

2020-2021 Battle of the Books List!

AK Battle of the Books website

Congratulations Kenai Central High School Team!

Cooper Landing student is ASTE Education Student of the Year

KPBSD student Linnaea Gossard is the 2021 Alaska Society for Technology in Education Student of the Year!

Meet Linnaea Gossard, a senior at Copper Landing School in Cooper Landing, Alaska. Linnaea works hard to fashion her own educational experience and thrives in the virtual world using her 21st century skills and knowledge. Starting in 7th grade, Linnaeahas taken 24 live synchronous classes with 16 different teachers from eight different schools—all from her one room K-12 schoolhouse in Cooper Landing. She is a certified Video Tele Communications (VTC) facilitator and coordinator, the cocreator of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District VTC Coordinating Program (creating opportunities for remote students to take live synchronous courses that are not available at their home sites) and currently serves as the VTC Coordinating Program Intern for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

Ms. Gossard discovered she would be awarded the 2021 Alaska Society for Technology in Education Student of the Year, in a perfect setting due to COVID-19 … a zoom room. Like a surprise party, all the guests were in the waiting room, while Linnaea had prepped earlier that week and thought she was meeting with a teacher from out of state to talk about VTC. Her surprise was evident “when he was running late” and arrived, but instead it was many of her previous teachers, family members, her school, and KPBSD district leadership coming into the zoom room with cameras on, and saying, “hello!”. Amanda Adams, the ASTE president and a KPBSD educator helped her understand the surprise when she shared, “The Alaska Society for Technology in Education is so very proud to award Linnaea Gossard the Student of the Year Award for 2021. She represents the epitome of the creativity, perseverance, and magnitude of what is possible when a student drives their own education. She has embraced and integrated technology into her educational experience by molding it to meet her needs. She has improved the lives of so many by sharing her talents and investing in educating others on what is possible. … Bravo Linnaea!”

Ms. Linnaea Gossard learning she is the 2021 Alaska Society for Technology in Education Student of the Year!

Some of Ms. Gossard’s accomplishments are:

  • First high school graduate from Cooper Landing School, made possible by her commitment to live synchronous VTC courses and the work ethic to do it successfully, plus the  many teachers and schools that opened their doors to her

  • Starting in 7th grade, Linnaea has taken 24 live synchronous classes with 16 different teachers from eight different schools, all from her one room K-12 school house in Cooper Landing, Alaska

  • She is a certified Video Tele Communications (VTC) facilitator and coordinator

  • Co-creator of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District VTC Coordinating Program (creating opportunities for remote students to take live synchronous courses that are not available at their home sites and providing video opportunities for K-12 students across the district)

  • Currently serves as the VTC Coordinating Program Intern for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

  • Educational groups and VTC businesses have reached out to Linnaea for her insights into improving VTC pedagogy

  • Linnaea has facilitated, coordinated, and presented at numerous Distance Learning conferences and workshops

Linnaea also heard from teachers, the superintendent of schools, and well-wishers. Read on to hear what they had to say:

“Linnaea Gossard is an amazing young woman who possesses poise, talents, and professionalism beyond her 17 years of age,” said Superintendent John O’Brien. “I still vividly remember when as a sophomore or junior, Linnaea presented to our 60+ district and building administrators about video conference class delivery. She was remarkable back then and has grown and learned so much since. Her portfolio of work and experiences in the area of video conference technology and VTC would be impressive for an early career professional, let alone a high school senior. Congratulations to Linnaea on being named the recipient of the Alaska Society for Technology in Education’s 2021 Student of the Year Award. This is so well deserved and is a testament to your hard work and dedication to VTC.”

Her nominator Rob Sparks said, “I have known Linnaea for four years, and had her in a class every semester of her high school career. Linnaea has helped me become a better teacher by virtue of her patience and vast array of communication skills. In over 30 years of teaching, Linnaea is without a doubt one of the most skillful, honest, engaged, caring students I have had the pleasure to work with. One of the most remarkable aspects to Linnaea’s educational experience is how she has impacted students and teachers across the district. I can say, from firsthand experience, that she has empowered numerous students and teachers to participate in and offer live synchronous opportunities.” Sparks shared he asked several of her teachers to contribute to the nomination, and had a phenomenal response. Read what some of them said!

Teacher Testimonials

Phil Leck, Science, Soldotna High School
In the fall of 2019, Mr. Rob Sparks approached me and asked if I would take a remote student from Cooper Landing. At first, I was hesitant not ever having an online video conferencing student before. Mr. Sparks told me a little about Linnaea, and I figured this would be a great opportunity for both of us. Linnaea would be able to take a class not offered at her school, and I could learn from Linnaea about polycom and remote students. I cannot say enough good things about my time with Linnaea. She was such a treat to have in my class. I really looked forward to the days that she was coming to town, and she would be present in class. Although, every day she would be the first one in class and ready to learn.

She would walk me through all of my technical difficulties, and never made a single excuse about how it was too hard or a burden on her having to learn a different way than her classmates.

Considering our current state of online learning, we need more Linnaea’s in the world. Hard workers that don’t make excuses. No matter the challenge or obstacle, Linnaea always found a way to make it work. The last thing I want to touch on before wrapping up is Linnaea’s honesty. I am so impressed with her character and honesty. She had every tool at her fingertip to “cheat” if you will. Never once did she not put forth her best effort and do her own work. On quizzes and tests, even though I wasn’t with her, I never once had any doubt about the integrity of her work. Linnaea taught me so much and opened my eyes to the successes we can have with students off campus, and the impacts those students can have on me as well. I want to thank Linnaea for helping me out so much, and being such a fine young woman. She is the most deserving student I could think of for this award and others. She is going to be a very successful woman, and I am excited to see where her future takes her.

Ken Felchle, World Geography and History, Kenai Middle School
I am one of many teachers that have had the privilege of teaching Linnaea Gossard throughout her educational experience. Like myself, Linnaea grew up in a small community that presents many challenges but also offers opportunities if one looks for them. Linnaea was a student that would not and has not turned away any educational opportunity that came her way. Linnaea was part of my class through distance education. She integrated herself and her technical skills successfully within my class and soon became one of my top students. Linnaea was a positive influence on her peers and demonstrated to them the possibilities everyone has regardless of the situation they find themselves in. Linnaea Gossard is one of the brightest students that I ever taught. She also helped me to feel more comfortable in my abilities as a teacher, when it comes to distance education. Linnaea has mastered many technologies due to her circumstances and is very deserving of the ASTE award.

Byron Weeks Science Soldotna High School
Two years ago, I was faced with one of the most intimidating situations that I had to ever confront in my teaching career: having to deal with a remote student in my class interacting on a television screen. Linnaea Gossard was the student that presented me with this opportunity. Linnaea was on my Physical Science attendance sheet for the start of the school year. The work started. I had to find a television and camera system that would connect in my room. Once the apparatus was in the room and functional, I still had to learn how to use it. I really had no idea how to do any of this and was worried about how it would all work. On the first day, I was relieved to see that the television turned on and Linnaea was on the screen focused and ready to learn. As I was taking attendance, I was a bit annoyed as my computer was making a strange sound. I clicked on the invite button that Linnaea had sent me to join Skype and after a few clicks was able to present my computer monitor to Linnaea so she could see the notes that were displayed on the smartboard. At this point, she had everything that she needed to be successful in the classroom.

After the whirlwind of the first day with students, I had time to reflect on the day. Having Linnaea in class was the most worrisome task that I thought I would face all day and it turned out to be easy.This had nothing to do with my skills and ability to adjust, but Linnaea had learned the skills necessary to make life much easier on a teacher. It turned out to be a great year with Linnaea in class. She is a motivated, self-sufficient, focused student who seems to be very appreciative of her education. Linnaea performed at a very high level throughout the class even though she was not physically present.

Stephanie Cronin, Math, Seward High School
Linnaea lives in a very small, rural, Alaskan town. She attends my in person classes remotely, via zoom. In fact, this is how she attends most, or all of her courses. She is intrinsically motivated to learn, and has sought out diverse and challenging classes offered across our district. She is very adept at online learning, and is a very “present” member of the classroom even though she is remote. She contributes a great deal to class discussions. Currently, she is the only senior at her school, which tells a great deal about her character and her ability to self-motive.

She is recognized throughout our school district as a talented, charismatic, leader. When we went remote last spring due to Covid-19, I asked her to participate on a districtwide webinar to offer suggestions to teachers on how to be effective remotely. She readily agreed to participate and did a stellar job on the panel, providing advice on how to make online learning more engaging and accessible for all students.

Linnaea has contributed so much to her community and to our school district. She is a very mature, confident, young woman and a strong leader. She is involved in so many activities and is a very impressive, dedicated, thoughtful, and well-rounded individual. I highly recommend her for this incredible honor.

Nicole Hewitt, Language Arts, Soldotna High School
Linnaea is a great person. She was my first distance student in the days of pre-COVID life. It is amazing to note how much I remember from having her in class, despite the fact that she was almost always visible only through google meetings. She is patient with others when it comes to technology, and has been the first to try out new methods and improve upon the old. When she saw that something didn’t work, she not only communicated, but searched for a solution. I may have taught her about American Literature, but the learning was mutual; she taught me so much about teaching with distance technology. She taught me what an impact a virtual student can have on a class from afar. She was always a member of Language Arts 11, and one of my most memorable students I have had in a class. 

Kendra Remsen, Social Studies, Homer High School
I had the pleasure of working with Linnaea in the 2018-2019 school year when she joined my Homer High School-based World History class virtually from Cooper Landing. I’d already spent several years introducing students to videoconferencing technology and the possibilities of virtual learning and communication. However, Linnaea was the first student who came into my course already having that background knowledge and experience. She showed me new resources, platforms, and techniques for virtual communication that I have utilized in my classes ever since. Having that student perspective was so meaningful and valuable beyond measure. Her professionalism and expertise sometimes even made me forget that I was working with a 15-year old!

Nathan Erfurth, Social Studies, Soldotna High School
Linnaea is an absolutely phenomenal student. Right from the beginning, she met and exceeded expectations. Despite our uncertain circumstances and a fluctuating on-site schedule, Linnaea participates virtually from another town and is always on time. I have never met her in person, but she definitely is a real part of my class. She is adaptable to group activities where she is the only online student, and she sets the standard of quality for presentations and media produced for the rest of the class to see. Her email communications and her technical skills are always professional and up to the task, and she is an excellent problem solver. Beyond all of this, the most important thing is that Linnaea doesn’t just absorb information. She has an enthusiasm for learning. Her parents tell me that she has taken our government class discussions and activities and turned them into good conversations with her family. Her mother informs me that she was not as aware of current events or the workings of our government at Linnaea’s age. She is a true testament to the fact that intrinsic interest, problem solving, and willpower can turn difficult distance learning into a powerful experience.

Linnaea’s influence and reputation goes beyond the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and the state of Alaska!

Educational Groups and VTC businesses have reached out to Linnaea for her insights into improving VTC pedagogy. Linnaea has facilitated, coordinated, and presented at numerous Distance Learning conferences and workshops, participated in creating How-To videos for new VTC users, created best practices documents for new users and been available to anyone wanting her input. Examples of groups and organizations she has influenced: USDLA, Nebraska NSTE, Illinois Synapsis, Wisconsin CESA 10, KPBSD Administrators and School Counselors Workshop, KPBSD August In Service Workshops, Inspired Classroom Montana, Montana Youth in Transition Conference, and more.

Kathleen Dent Co-founder and Co-director, Inspired Classrooms, Missoula, Montana
Linnaea Gossard has been a key member of Inspired Classroom’s video conferencing team during the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. She has served as a student intern and advisor. In that capacity Linnaea has helped coordinate video conferencing events, written and recorded informational videos about effective remote learning from a student point of view, and assisted in moderating professional virtual conferences with participants and presenters from across the nation.

Her developing skill set includes organizing materials and information, communicating with others, trouble-shooting technology issues, and working collaboratively as a valued team member. She follows through in a timely manner with her commitments and has excellent writing skills. Linnaea has been a pleasure to work with and it has been rewarding to see her professional and personal growth over the past two years.

Greg Zorbas (2014 ASTE teacher of the Year), Projects Manager Inspired Classroom, Bend, Oregon
I have had the opportunity to have Linnaea Gossard involved in my classes on many levels. She has been a model for success when it comes to using video conferencing and teaching others how to be successful. Linnaea has not only completed all her core classes remotely but is in the process of completing the entire video conferencing program with teacher Rob Sparks. She is currently finishing the intern component of the course series. I most recently have had the opportunity to work with Linnaea in her capacity as an Intern. I am recently retired from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and currently doing some consulting with the education company Inspired Classroom. Linnaea has participated in many projects with us as an intern. The most recent project was helping Inspired Classroom facilitate a remote special education conference. She helped me moderate two sessions and was very instrumental in facilitating the presentations. 

Sam Angel, Creative Director, Inspired Classroom, Missoula, Montana
Linnaea is an absolute delight to work with! Her patience and diligence was a valuable asset to the virtual projects we worked on over the years. She is kind-hearted and committed to all that she does. Her adaptability to transition to a more virtual form of communication through Zoom was a tremendous strength when being filmed for a segment on “How to be a Good Virtual Student.” She communicates clearly and precisely with confidence. Linnaea is the clear choice for the ASTE Student of the Year and I would love to work with her again.

Wrapping up, her nominator, and KPBSD educator Rob Sparks said, “Linnaea Gossard is a “ROCK STAR” in the Video Conferencing world! As one of two high school students at Cooper Landing School, she has taken most of her classes using Video Tele Communications (VTC) to engage synchronously in classes at eight different district schools. Linnaea has worked hard to fashion her own educational experience and thrives in the virtual world using her 21st century skills and knowledge. She has made friends and influenced numerous students, teachers and administrators across the globe, throughout our nation and most certainly here in the KPBSD! Her impact will continue long after she graduates. I give thanks for Linnaea—she helped me become a better teacher, learner, and person. I think she’s awesome and wish her congratulations!”