When the red salmon run in the Kenai River peaks, the school district begins to gear-up in earnest for the new school year. Dr. Steve Atwater, KPBSD superintendent, explained, “In mid-July the district leadership team reconvenes its weekly meetings to cover pressing issues and to plan for August trainings. At the end of July the district’s site administrators meet for two days to review policies and protocols and to receive training on evaluating instruction. The following week our support staff begins their back to school in-services. Custodians meet one day, school secretaries the next, with regional meetings in Homer and Seward. Our new hires are next with a day-long event to orient them to KPBSD. Finally, our certified staff and some support staff meet to learn of district level changes and a review of student progress from the previous year. By now the red salmon are gone and the silvers are in the river. August is more than half over and school begins for our 8,800 students.”

A diverse school district spanning 25, 600 miles, KPBSD has neighborhood schools, village schools, Russian Old Believer schools, five charter schools, two alternative schools, a home school program, and a performance-based school. With more than 1,200 employees, the school district is active in all of our communities.

The mission of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is to develop productive, responsible citizens who are prepared to be successful in a dynamic world. This requires community and family engagement, so as a new year begins, KPBSD invites parents and community members to volunteer in the schools and become involved in partnerships to support students. Schools need the help of parents and community members to be successful with each student. It is critical for our students to know that their parents, guardians, relatives, and friends are supportive of their schooling process. A student without this support may at times feel at a loss to find the necessary focus to excel at his or her studies said Atwater.

You can learn more about the new school year by checking out helpful links found in the “Community Interest” section on the KPBSD homepage, www.KPBSD.org.

In the central peninsula area, a school reconfiguration for 7-12 grades begins in earnest this year. Beginning in August of 2014, grades 7-8 will be located at the current Skyview High School campus, grade 9 will be located at the current Soldotna Middle School (SMS) campus, and grades 10-12 will be at the current Soldotna High School campus. River City Academy will relocate to the SMS campus. “This is a planning year, and parents and community members are encouraged to apply to serve on a Soldotna Schools Advisory Committee which will make recommendations about school culture and historical issues including school colors, names, mascots, and so forth,” advised Atwater. The application period closes August 28, 2013, and information is on the KPBSD web homepage.