Drones and E-Sport Free Camps

6th-7th-8th Graders!

FREE Summer Camp for all KPBSD students, hosted at Skyview Middle School

Drone Camp 5/31-6/4

Computer Science (E-Sport) 6/21-6/24

Signup by the end of the day Friday, May 7, 2021.
Go to one or both!

Click Link: Info & signup details

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Spirit of Youth Wins

Five Kenai Peninsula Borough School District students are recognized during the 23rd Annual Spirit of Youth Awards! Spirit of Youth highlights dedicated young people and unsung heroes from around Alaska. The awards recognize the hard work and efforts of these future leaders. Congratulations!

2021 Discovery Award: Austin Cline Homer High School
Austin became an Eagle Scout by reopening the upper Homestead trail. He also was a two-time finalist in the Caring for the Kenai competition, which asks students to create a proposal to improve the environment on the Kenai Peninsula.

2021 Dreamer Award: Ryann Esteban Port Graham School
Ryann is a member of Student Council, Native Youth Olympics, a Sources of Strength youth leader at school, and a teen member on the Port Graham Native Council. She also independently created artwork for a sweatshirt that amplified the voices of missing and murdered indigenous women.

Spirit of Youth Recognizes three KPBSD Nominees

Bailey Epperheimer , Nikiski Middle-High School
Baily led the Nikiski Children’s Fund, and raised money to help children and families with basic needs such as new clothing items or paying utility bills. She raised money through a variety of ways, such as auctioning off a calf and community baseball games.

Naomi Jones , Tebughna School
Naomi is dedicated to Native Youth Olympics, group arts and crafts and caring for children and elders. She started a student newspaper, conducting interviews for a student and staff profile, and reporting on monthly activities. She utilizes electronic media, engages with youth writing groups by competing in writers’ conferences.

Ashley Dahlman , Connections Homeschool
Ashley has taken on a number of leadership roles within her school and community, including student council. She also competed in last year’s Caring for the Kenai competition, where students from around the Kenai Peninsula create, design and implement an idea to better care for their community. Her project was called “Wonderfully Worn Wardrobe,” and students could donate used or unwanted clothing for students in need.

Links

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Mrs. Wendy Bryden awarded Golden Apple

L-R Board of Education Member Virginia Morgan, and Golden Apple awardee Mrs. Wendy Bryden

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Mrs. Wendy Bryden
Golden Apple Award | May 3, 2021

Seven years ago when her two sons were enrolled at Moose Pass School, Mrs. Wendy Bryden started a LEGO Robotics program. Despite the fact that her sons have grown and moved on to middle school and high school in Seward, she kept the program going. “She shares her passion and enthusiasm for this wonderful program with students in grades K-8, volunteering hours of her time to work during lunch, afterschool, weekends, and even during winter break activities,” said nominator Susanna LaRock.

Mrs. Bryden feels that it is important for students to learn all aspects of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League program (FLL). She teaches students that it is not just about LEGOs or robots or winning competitions. Students learn about the Core Values of the program through Core Value exercises at the start of every meeting and her consistent inclusion of the values in her teachings.

There are six FLL Core Values, and Wendy so successfully imparts them to the students at Moose Pass School, that the FLL team won the Core Values award in Anchorage, Alaska, at their last competition. The Core Values are:

  • Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas
  • Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems
  • Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world
  • Inclusion: We respect one another and embrace our differences
  • Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together
  • Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do

Students at Moose Pass School learn about innovative problem solving through her passion for the whole FIRST LEGO League program. Each year, through the program, she presents students with a real world problem, invests time to listen as they come up with solutions, supports them to find ways to implement their solutions, and determines which work best. She helps the students find ways to share what they are learning with the community.

“In 2020, students worked on a problem of an overabundance of biting insects in their community. Their solution was to raise awareness about the importance of bats in our community and to build bat houses to put around the community to support bat habitat,” said Ms. Larock. “Mrs. Bryden connected students with a retired forestry worker who talked with them about bats. She spent time hiking with the students around the community looking for bats, and she connected the students with a local construction company who sponsored the team and helped them learn how to build bat houses.”

All of the students at Moose Pass School who have participated in Mrs. Bryden’s program understand the terms Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition (a term coined by FLL). Coopertition is the idea that the students teach teammates and learn from teammates. They learn from mentors. They are managing and being managed. She encourages students to learn and compete while treating others with respect and kindness. She makes sure that there is an emphasis on the integrity of the students in all of the activities.

 When a fifth grade student at Moose Pass School was asked if he thought his team could win the competition, his reply was, “It is not just about winning, gracious professionalism and coopertition are very important, and we can get points from helping other teams.” Mrs. Bryden was so proud to hear his comment because she knew that student to be a person with a fiercely competitive nature, and was happy to know that he had really learned about coopertition.

This student had learned one of the things that Mrs. Bryden hopes to impart to all of the students: the best way to be successful is to compete while assisting and enabling others to be successful as well.

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

Past Golden Apple recipients

Nominate someone to receive KPBSD Golden Apple Award Recognition

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May Board of Education meeting

Board of Education Meeting

May 3, 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 in person 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

May 3, 2021

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

9:30 a.m.

Committee Meetings (Public Listening)

11:00 a.m. Finance Committee

11:30 a.m. Information Committee

  1:00 p.m. Board Policy Review Committee

Work Sessions (Public Listening)

2:00 p.m. Board Policy Review

2:30 p.m. Career and Technical Education (CTE) Update

3:00 p.m. 2020-2021 Pandemic Update

3:30 p.m. KPSAA Handbook Update

4:00 p.m. 6 Year Plan & K-Selo Update

4:30 p.m. Board Discussion

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

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

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

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

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From Bee Bombs to Recycled Denim Insulation, C4K2021

Wednesday evening, April 21, 2021, the tale of the birds and the bees took a unique twist when Emily Moss addressed a potential environmental issue of too many bald eagles at the Soldotna landfill with her original “Bee Bomb” project. “I didn’t think I’d end up taking first place. There was really a lot of competition here tonight with some really great ideas addressing very important issues in making our community and environment a better place,” said Emily. “I got my idea by skiing and running the Tsalteshi Trails and noticing a lot of litter and eagles around the landfill. When birds eat at the landfill, they are actually spreading anti-microbial resistant bacteria. I learned there are pathogens that have mutated and become resistant to antibiotics which are harmful to humans and our environment. In researching my project to address this issue I found that bees are a deterrent to birds, so this summer I plan on setting up beehives or ‘Bee Bombs” at the landfill to further study my project.” For taking first place, Moss will receive a check for $1,600 at the joint Chamber of Commerce meeting next week.

“What can I do, invent, or create to better care for the environment of the Kenai Peninsula or improve the area’s preparedness for a natural disaster?”

The CFK essay prompt challenges high school students to respond to the question “What can I do, invent or create to better care for the environment of the Kenai Peninsula or improve the area’s preparedness for a natural disaster?” The contest is approved to use in high school curriculum for the Kenai Peninsula School District and sponsored by Marathon Petroleum and five community partners.

Taking second place and earning $1,100 was Maggie Grenier from Nikiski Middle-High School for her creation of “Carol the Composting Cow.” “Coming into the competition I just wanted to be here and experience being a finalist and meet the other competitors. This is such a great competition because everyone is so kind and it’s not like trying to beat someone else—we were all supporting each other and wanting everyone to succeed,” said Maggie. Carol the Composting Cow is a character (Maggie’s mom in a cow suit) with a message to appeal to all ages about the benefits of composting and how to do it, “My mom is my right hand and she was there to help me with anything I asked her to do, so when I said I wanted her on stage with me as Carol the Composting Cow she got a costume and was with me all the way.”

In third place and claiming a $900 prize was Nekoda Cooper of Kenai Central High School. It was Nekoda’s second time to be selected as a CFK Finalist. The granddaughter of a homesteader, Nakoda has continued her marketing of imperfect produce creating a local market for fruits and vegetables that otherwise would be wasted. She plans to author an imperfect produce recipe book that will be available this summer at the Wednesday Market in Soldotna.

Taking fourth place honors and $750 was Regan Evans, a home school student with KPBSD Connections Homeschool. Regan was the first student to ever have two different entries make it into the top 12. Her fourth place idea was a “True Blue Solution” that turns recycled denim into insulation that she will be installing into Conestoga Micro-Shelters for people who are homeless. Evan’s other entry achieved runner-up status, and is a program called G.R.A.D. Trees (Growing Roots & Dreams) which is a reforestation program for sixth grade students graduating into Middle School.

Coming in fifth and winning the $650 prize was the team of Abigail Youngberg and Lauren Lamb of Cook Inlet Academy (CIA) which created a Smart Stocker App to keep people prepared for a natural emergency even if all technology fails.

Also, from CIA and taking the sixth place prize of $550 was Tatum Rozak with her idea of “Know to Grow” a composting project to reduce waste and make free nutritious soil.

In addition to the $8,000 in cash awards for the finalists, this year $20,000 will be awarded to the school science departments. Thanks to the CFK signature sponsor Marathon Petroleum Corporation and the community partners of the Kenai River Raven Lodge, Peninsula Community Health Services, Sweeney’s Clothing, Eyewear Express, and KSRM radio group.

High schools using CFK as part of state standards curriculum were: Cook Inlet Academy, Homer High School, Nikiski Middle-High School, and KPBSD Connections Homeschool. Students can enter every year of their high school career, whether the contest is assigned in class or not.

Each school receives $750 for their participation and the remainder of the $20,000 is allocated according to how the school’s students ranked in the CFK competition. Other finalists that earned $400 each for making it to the final 12 out all the entries submitted were: 

  • Giaseena Nicks, Nikiski Middle-High School, “Invasive Plant Cards”
  • Olivia Etzwiler, Homer High School, “Hazards You May Be Creating”
  • Hannnah Stonorov, Homer High, “Access to Oil Absorbents”
  • Jessica Perry, Nikiski Middle-High School, “B.E.E.  Bold” (Bringing Environmental Education to Youth)
  • Seamus McDonough, Homer High School, Moose Kill mapping

“CFK is an opportunity for Peninsula students to have a real-world experience. The creativity and resiliency of our community and our youth during these trying brings hope for the future,” said Merrill Sikorski CFK creator. On Wednesday, April 28, the finalists and participating teachers will receive their awards at a joint chamber open to the public during the Soldotna/Kenai Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Soldotna Sports Center. 

This year’s panel of judges included KPB Assembly president Brent Hibbert; Cameron Hunt (Marathon Petroleum Corporation); Clayton Holland, incoming KPBSD Superintendent; Dick Erkeneff (Kenai River Raven Lodge); Branden Bornemann (Director Kenai Watershed Forum); and Anna DeVolld (2020 CFK 1st Place Winner).

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Excellent choice: James Madison fellowship goes to Seward teacher

Seward Middle School Teacher, Becki Dixon, Wins America’s Most Prestigious History Award!

Story contributed by The Seward Middle School Tail Flipper journalism students, Maria Bunch [8th Grade], and Lola Swanson [7th Grade]

Rebecca (Becki) Dixon of Seward Middle School has lived in Seward for 12 years and taught at the middle school for three years. This year, she was chosen for the James Madison Memorial Fellowship on April 19, 2021.

Only one history teacher from each state is eligible to win this award!

According to the James Madison website, the goal of this award is to prepare secondary history, government, and civics instructors to become excellent teachers of the U.S. constitution. This award gives teachers $24,000 that can be used to earn a master’s degree in history.

Having received this award, she is ready to continue pursuing her passion for teaching history. Mrs. Dixon says she’s going to pursue her dream and get a master’s in history at Norwich University in Vermont. She started her teaching career at the age of 32 at SNHU, also known as Southern New Hampshire University, with a bachelor’s degree and continued with a Master’s at UAS also known as The University of Alaska Southeast in education. The James Madison Fellowship is a very special award and is only given to one teacher from each state. Mrs. Dixon won it for the state of Alaska.

Students adore Ms. Dixon and her teaching methods, so we decided to ask some kids and staff what they think about her:

“I like how she can sometimes be sassy but she can also be nice.”

“She switches it up all the time.”

“One day we will do work and the next we will do an art project.”

–SMS student voice

Mrs. Dixon is an excellent teacher, and she definitely deserves this because she puts so much time, effort, and emotion into teaching. Congratulations Mrs. Dixon!

In her words…*
Becki Dixon, She/her/hers

Seward Middle School 6th Grade Teacher

What comes next?!
“Now that I have received the fellowship, I will be applying to Norwich University for their Master of History program. The fellowship has awarded me $24,000 to help cover that cost over a period of five years while I complete my masters. I will also attend a summit in Washington DC to explore the U.S. Constitution, and how I can apply the study of it to the classroom. This will be a month long summit during the summer.”

“Never stop pursuing your passion. Know that it won’t always be easy or attained right away, but keep pushing forward and you’ll get there.”

Influences and inspirations
“My grandmother, who was also a teacher, really inspired me to teach. Originally, I had plans of a law career, but after taking prelaw classes, I realized it wasn’t for me. I had already spoken to my grandmother about my love of coaching (basketball is another huge passion of mine). She told me most coaches are teachers so I decided to take that route. So glad I did!”

Guiding perspective
“I’ve always felt that social studies is primarily seen and taught from one perspective. As a minority and a woman, I would like to see differing perspectives brought to the light as a way to see history from all sides. I am hoping that by getting my Masters in History, I will be able to bring those perspectives that are not necessarily seen or heard.”

A favorite aspect of work, lightbulbs!
“I love working with students one-on-one. I love being able to just sit down with them and break an idea or concept down with them. Then to see when the lightbulb goes off is just incredible. Hands down my favorite part of my job!”

#ThankYou
“I am thankful for Myla Liljemark, social studies teacher at Seward Middle School. She has really pushed me to think outside of the box when teaching social studies to students. She has also really encouraged me to use my own experiences as a way to guide my lessons. I see her passion for teaching and wish for my students to see that kind of passion from me.”

*Becki Dixon offered these thoughts via email to KPBSD.

Links

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Key Communicator Update: 4-9-21

Dear KPBSD Key Communicators,

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

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

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

Monday, April 5, 2021 Online News Release

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

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

Dear KPBSD parents and students,

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

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

Thank you for your time.

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

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

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SmartStart Plan Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

KPBSD COVID web hub: covid19.kpbsd.org

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Ms. Deanne Pearson awarded Golden Apple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Past Golden Apple recipients

Nominate someone to receive KPBSD Golden Apple Award Recognition

KPBSD August Enrollment Survey

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

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

Dear KPBSD parents and students,

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

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

Thank you for your time,

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

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

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