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Reconfiguration committee crafts recommendation

Posted: October 22, 2013 - 9:36pm  |  Updated: October 22, 2013 - 9:43pm

The Soldotna Schools Reconfiguration Advisory Committee held its final meeting Monday night. The group’s next task is to present its recommendations to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education during a work session on Nov. 4.

During the four meetings held, the group was able to make decisions and vote on many of the cultural and historic issues surrounding the reconfiguration.

Doug Hayman, transition coordinator, helped the group with sharing community emails he received, as well as showing the group a movie he made with interviews from a recent high school student council event. Many teen voices explained their wish for unity of the two schools with one student body and a place where everyone feels welcome.

The group came to a consensus on the recommendation of Skyview Middle School as the name for the seventh- and-eighth-grade school to be housed at the current Skyview High School, as well as Soldotna Preparatory for the ninth-grade house to be located at the current Soldotna Middle School.

The colors were discussed and the committee will recommend a combined color pallet of a blue, purple, silver and black.

The committee agreed to recommend to keep the Panthers for the mascot of the middle school and the Stars as the mascot for the 10th- through 12th-grade school to be housed at the current Soldotna High School location.

The group decided Monday to recommend to the board that the student council have rein over the cultural and historical items, with advisement from school administrators.

“As far as the cultural and historical issues go, we should, with guidance from staff, open this up as real issues for our students to show their leadership,” Hayman said.

“I have great admiration for (the kids),” he said. “I trust that they will make it special, and make it meaningful for them and the staff that is in place, (they) are outstanding and they will make sure it gets done.”

It was also suggested that a three-tier display case be constructed for all school trophies and art classes incorporated to create murals to celebrate the schools’ merging.

The committee will present their recommendations at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at a KPBSD work session. Public comment will be heard at the 7 p.m. KPBSD Board meeting.

The board will make a decision on the recommendations at its Dec. 2 meeting.


Sara J. Hardan can be reached at

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BrianW 10/23/13 - 08:24 am

As a kid, I changed schools 4 times. Not once did my parents whine that I would not feel welcome. I remember feeling like I didn't belong. But that was short lived. I soon acclimated and assimilated with the other students and I became a part of the new school. Was it my fault I had to change schools? No; of course not. I had to change schools for reasons beyond my control.

The whole notion of "feeling welcome" is ridiculous. The vast majority of these kids went to grade school together. They live in close proximity to each other. Most of them are good friends already. In fact, the kids are being painted as victims of circumstance, but they aren't the ones making a big deal of this.

I don't really care either; except for the principle of the whole idea of changing school colors to make a very small minority "feel welcome" and the financial commitment that would accompany this transition.

All of the transitioning students are welcome to become SoHi Stars. Their parents are encouraged to become volunteers and stay involved. I say let the current student body vote on a color change. If they feel like they should change the colors so new students "feel welcome" then change them. If the majority of the kids vote to keep the current colors, keep them.

As I have said numerous times about this: when someone joins something, the something doesn't change to suit the someone. Even if the circumstances are beyond the someone's control. That's life. But to change the 30 year traditional colors of SoHi to make kids feel welcome (whom will attend not more than the next 3 years) is fundamentally wrong.

Another point- when did high school become 10th-12th grade? How integrated can freshmen be when they attend school at a different location. Will they participate in homecoming week activities the same as they always have? How many kids will be attending SoHi all inclusive? Maybe an additional 75 kids? Just my rant here, but it doesn't seem logical to change traditions like these to make kids "feel welcome".

If anything it will contribute to a division between them. I sincerely hope this doesn't happen. But what about the kids losing their school identity to accommodate this? How will they "feel"?

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