Around the District

Posted: Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The following students were named September Students of the Month at Nikiski North Star Elementary:

Chase Longbotham, Samantha Perry, Skylar Freeman, Angel Kluge, Alison Litke, Benelli Bystedt, Braden Ellis, Ryder Payment, Haley Wik, Dylan Jackson, Jade Elsey, Rebekah Krogseng, Annaleah Ernst and Lincoln Johnson.

Child screenings available

Homer Children’s Services Birth to Three, Homer Public Health and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will offer free screenings for children ages newborn through 5 (not yet in kindergarten).

The screening will be held in Ninilchik at the NTC clinic today. Testing will be done for early development, motor skills, speech, early learning concepts, vision and hearing. Immunizations also will also be available. Children will be seen by appointment only. To make an appointment, call (907) 567-3970.

Free, reduced lunch program available

The following schools and programs are participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Child and Adult Care Food Program. Children from low-income families may qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Parents’ income determines the amount of money the USDA will reimburse. Call the schools for details of monthly income eligibility levels.

· The Community Outreach Program of Central Peninsula Counseling Services. For more information, call 283-7501.

· Rural Alaska Community Action Program Inc.

· Son Shine House Daycare.

Public comment on AYP sought

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has been designated in improvement status by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development for failure to meet all areas of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) during the 2005-06 school year. The district must meet all 32 distinctive achievement targets as set forth in the State of Alaska No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Plan.

KPBSD has met 30 of the 32 targets but failed to reach the necessary achievement levels for the subgroup of Students with Disabilities (SWD) in the content areas of reading and language arts and math.

The school district remains in Level 2 status until these achievement areas have been met. In order to meet the targets, 71.48 percent of SWD must be proficient in reading and language arts and 57.61 percent must be proficient in mathematics. Currently 50 percent of KPBSD students with disabilities are proficient in reading and language arts and 36 percent are proficient in mathematics.

KPBSD will hold several meetings throughout the district to gather input from teachers, parents, students and the community on how best to improve the proficiency levels for this group of students. The following meetings are scheduled:

· Seward Elementary — at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 16 in the library;

· Homer Middle School — at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 17 in the library; and

· Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Chambers — at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18.

Parents, teachers, students, and community members are may attend to share ideas for improving student achievement. For more information, call Norma Holmgaard, KPBSD director of federal programs at 714-8892.

Home-school fellowship planned

The Nikiski Home School Fellowship will meet from from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 19. For more information and location, call 776-5104.

VFW Ladies Auxiliary sponsors art contest

The VFW Ladies Auxiliary of the Jerry V. Horn Memorial Post No. 10046 will sponsor the Young American Creative Patriotic Art Awards. The contest was developed as a way to encourage high school students to use their artistic talents to express their patriotism.

Students in grades nine through 12, including home-school students, are eligible to participate.

Artwork, including digital art entries, must be submitted on paper or canvas. Discs or CDs will not be accepted. Watercolor, pencil, pastel, charcoal, tempera, crayon, acrylic, pen-and-ink or oil may be used. Artwork must be matted but not framed, not smaller than 8-by-10 inches or larger than 18-by-24 inches, not including the mat.

Monetary awards will be given at the school level, with the overall winner from the Kenai Peninsula to receive an additional award. The first-place winner will have his or her entry sent to the state judging level. The first-place state winner then will move on to the national level, where the first-place prize is $10,000, a jacket, plaque, airfare and two nights lodging to attend the 2007 Ladies Auxiliary National Convention.

The entry deadline is Dec. 8. For more information, visit www.ladiesaux, contact the art teacher in any of the area high schools or call Bea Johnson at 262-1262.

Aurora Borealis Charter

As part of the color and light unit, Mrs. Uponen’s second-graders are writing poems about a color they have each chosen. Poems will be framed with a matching color collage composed of fragmentary magazine clippings.

Future Problem Solving for interested fifth- through eighth-graders has started. Teams are studying the first topic “Fundraising and Charitable Giving.” The group meets from 3 to 4 p.m. Mondays.

On Monday the Polar Bears junior high boys and girls basketball teams started practice. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Severson will coach.

Picture retakes are scheduled for Thursday.


The school continues to enroll students for the 2006-07 school year. Call 714-8880 to schedule an appointment or drop by the office for more information.

The Nikiski office will be open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday instead of today. Regular days and hours will resume Oct. 18.

October Book Clubs are available online and brochures in the office include new clubs: Science-Math-Technology for grades three through six and Just-Right Books for every interest grades three through six. Book orders are due Oct. 20. Call the office for online log-in and password or stop by for the book club flyers. Call Tanya at 714-8880 for more information.

Pizza Hut Book-it coupons are available for students grades kindergarten through eight. See Doug or Gabe in the elementary building to sign up.

Activity — Solid Rock Bible Camp hay tunnel, Oct. 17. There will be two sessions from 1 to 3 p.m. and from 3 to 4:30 p.m. It is $5 per person. Hot drinks and bonfire will be provided. Call 714-8880 to sign up.

Watch out for articles and Web site information for the upcoming Pumpkins Gone Crazy contest.

Check the Web site for news, information, forms and contests at

Cook Inlet Academy

Students of the Week for Sept. 25 were: Megan Bauder, improved attitude; Bryce Moeglein, helpful in the classroom; Reece O’Dell, great creative writing; the fourth grade, awesome preschool friends; Kateland Farrell, outstanding chapel solo; Larry Cutsforth, best first grade runner; Johnny Peterson, good writing; Skylar May, excellent listening and thinking; and Keely Powers, perseverance.

The school would like to thank Mary Ann Daily for speaking at the PTF meeting Sept. 18.

The school would also like to thank those who contributed to the National Honor Society cookie drive. Homemade cookies were collected last week to treat volunteer workers at Hooper Bay. Four cases of cookies were gathered, packaged and sent off.

Dates to remember:

· Friday and Saturday — High school wrestling tournament at Houston High School; and

· Tuesday — Volleyball scrimmage at Ninilchik at 4 p.m.

Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science

Volunteers are welcome in the school. Those wishing to volunteer but were unable to attend volunteer training may call the office to schedule a time to watch the training video. Volunteers are asked to stop by the office to have a picture taken for a permanent name badge.

If you are interested in coaching the Battle of the Books team call Mr. Wykis.

Mrs. Boersma’s and Mrs. Knudsen’s classes will visit the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Friday. Students will return in time for the buses after school.

Donna Peterson will speak at the APC meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Sears Elementary School gym. Peterson will explain the process of Kenai Conversations. Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Tuesday is picture retakes at both of the Kaleidoscope locations.

Mrs. Shelden’s and Mrs. Stroh’s classes at the Kaleidoscope Korner will continue their study of watersheds. Classes will visit the creek Oct. 11 to collect samples and perform water testing.

Kalifornsky Beach Elementary

Students in Ms. Chambers’ class were able to attend the Student in Good Standing movie last Thursday.

At the Friday Morning Meeting, students presented skits on how to avoid being a bully and what to do if you’re being bullied. Last week’s president was Daniel Rosin. This weeks’ president is Steve Reynolds.

Mrs. Murphy’s sixth-graders are volunteering on their recess to work with second-graders on computer skills and written expression. The sixth-graders have published their first book of the year on “Heroes,” which is available in the foyer of the school. Ninety percent of the students wrote about their parents. Thank you to Travis, Allison, Shelbylyn, Jonathan G., Jack and KK. They have served as class president and done an outstanding job. Congratulation to Travis P., a math wizard on the weekly math tile problems. Students will present their Power Point slide show on their novels this week.

Mr. Daniels’ class had a wetlands field trip to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge center. They worked in pairs to create glacier watercolor prints, naming the glacier and typing a story about it. They will be on display in the hall. The class sends thanks to the parents who make the field learning experiences possible. They will adopt a local wetland and keep it healthy and clean.

First-graders are continuing to dive into reading with the theme “All Together Now.” The teachers encourage parents to go over the decoder books sent home as well as the new red words. They also remind parents to send the Back to School Safeway/Carr’s reward certificates in to school. The deadline is in early October. First-graders were able to attend the SIGS movie last Thursday.

Kenai Central High

Today is the second day of the high school qualifying exam. The test is being taken by juniors and seniors who have not passed any or all parts of the test. Today’s test is writing and Thursday’s is math. If you have any questions call the high school at 283-7524 and ask to speak to a counselor.

The site council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the faculty lounge. If you have items you would like on the agenda or have questions about the site council call Alan Fields at 283-7524.

National Honor Society will hold their monthly meeting at noon Thursday Mrs. Herring’s room.

On Tuesday seniors will have a cap and gown class meeting with the Jostens representative during advisory period. Any senior parents with questions should call Kim Foley at 283-7524.

Activity cards are on sale for $20. Admission to all athletic events (excluding region or state tournaments) at KCHS, Skyview, Soldotna, Seward, Homer, and Nikiski is free with the card. See Mrs. Gabriel in the office to purchase one.

You can access schedules for all activities at the school at

Dates to remember:

· Friday — Varsity volleyball at Grace, C and junior volleyball at Soldotna at 3 and 4 p.m. and swimming vs Wasilla at 2:30 p.m.; and

· Saturday — Varsity volleyball at Grace and swimming at Skyview.

Kenai Middle

Eighth-grade students interested in going to Washington D.C. over spring break with Mr. Summer should call the office at 283-4896.

Congratulations to the following students for being selected as a Character Counts Student last week: Joshua Barton and Hector Rivera. These students received a pizza for lunch last week.

Student Council is selling school T-shirts and sweatshirts. T-Shirts are $13, crewneck sweatshirts are $20 and hooded sweatshirts are $25.

Basketball intramurals begins this week. Students are asked to fill out the sports form and turn it into Mr. Roser.

Dates to remember:

· Oct. 12 — Picture retakes;

· Oct. 19 — Site council meets;

· Oct. 20 — Inservice, End of first quarter;

· Oct. 24 — Band concert at Kenai Central High School, concert and advanced band;

· Oct. 26 — Conferences;

· Oct. 26 — Conferences;

· Oct. 30 — Basketball, competitive play begins;

· Nov. 3 — Basketball at 3 p.m.;

· Nov. 7 — Basketball at Soldotna Middle School at 3 p.m.;

· Nov. 8 — Principal’s Day;

· Nov. 14 — Basketball at 3 p.m.;

· Nov. 21 — Basketball at 3 p.m.;

· Nov. 23 — Holiday, no school; and

· Nov. 24 — Holiday, no school.

Kenaitze Cuya Qyut’anen Head Start

The children have been learning to say weather words and practicing songs in Dena’ina. They are becoming familiar with el kun, which means rain.

Kenaitze Head Start will host its first Head Start reunion open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 16 in the Family House. All former Head Start students, families and staff may attend.

Deb Nyquist will teach parents one through four for three-weeks from 10:30 a.m. to noon Friday in the Family House. Childcare will be available. A parenting class for fathers also will begin this month.

Mountain View Elementary

Today is picture retakes.

Student of the month luncheon will be held Oct. 11. Congratulations to the Student of the month kids.

Mr. Daniel’s fifth-grade class said they have enjoyed the experiments and demonstrations with Marc Johnson. The class has had the opportunity to hone their observation and reasoning skills while being entertained and challenged with questions about carbon dioxide, the pH of household products, and the mysteries of the cycles found in nature.

Parents are invited to check out the hand molded and painted masks displayed in the glass case near the school library. Mrs. Keating’s and Mrs. Stephen’s classes designed and painted the masks with Debbie Harris, the school district’s art specialist. The classes used the enrichment rooms for appropriate space to shape them on each others faces. After letting them dry, they painted them individually, choosing colors and patterns of their own. They also studied masks from cultures around the world, discussing the reasons people make masks and how they use color and patterns in decorating their masks.

Mrs. Keating’s fifth-grade writers have been using the enrichment rooms with the extra computers to type their “Special Place” stories. They are writing, typing, editing, revising, combining sentences, and proofreading. The class also studied apples on Apple Day Friday. They measured, weighed, drew, wrote about, printed and made applesauce. Thanks to Mrs. Olson for helping make it a fun day.

The students in Mr. Knudsen’s and Mr. and Mrs. Wensley’s classes will begin their study of rocks and minerals. In addition to their book learning, parents may hear them singing another science song. This time their knowledge of the categories of rocks will be sung to the tune of “Clementine.” The students also are beginning the nine-digit challenge. They will use their creative problem solving skills to make as many addition problems as they can with the digits one through nine. Previous class records are more than 100 different problems and this year the class hopes to set new records.

Nikiski Middle-High

Today and Thursday the HSGQE retakes for juniors and seniors continue. Parents are asked to make sure students are at school and well rested. The school will provide breakfast for students testing.

National Honor Society selection process is currently in progress (for more information visit the school’s Web site).

Middle school basketball intramurals began Monday and will run for the next four weeks, leading up to the middle school competitive basketball season.

Date to remember:

· Friday — Volleyball vs Homer, junior varsity at 4 p.m. and varsity at 5 p.m.

For a full schedule of events visit

Nikiski North Star Elementary

The cosmic reading program would like to congratulate Annaleah Ernst and Lochlan Quiner. They were the winners in the summer reading contest. Annaleah read over 15,000 minutes, which is more than 2 hours everyday. Lochlan read 450 books.

Students of the Month for the month of September are listed at the beginning of the schools briefs on page B-1. These students displayed these six Pillars of Character throughout the month, trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

Teachers are working to incorporate NASA into their lesson plans. This was recently seen in Mrs. Durrant’s science classes. The sixth-grade class met with an astronaut through the Distance Learning Network. Earlier in September, students in Mrs. Durrant’s class built Mars land rovers. The top scientists were able to meet with astronaut Rich Hieb.

Ninilchik School

Kathryn Fjelstad is originally from South Dakota and teaches English and songwriting at Ninilchik. In South Dakota she earned her masters degree in linguistics and composition and taught freshman composition at South Dakota State University. She also taught English at Soldotna Middle School. When she isn’t teaching, she’s a singer and songwriter working on her second CD. Her son, Sam is in Mrs. Hayes’s third- and fourth-grade class.

Counselor Paul Story moved to Homer in June, 2005, from Oakland, Calif., where he was a high school counselor for four years. He and his wife have a daughter, 3, and son, 1. He is counselor at Ninilchik on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

Jane Beck is a professional development coach for Project GRAD. Her teaching experience includes 15 years teaching Spanish at the college in Homer and private language classes, basic composition and grammar classes in the Development Education Department of UAA and the Kachemak Bay Branch. She’s married with two kids and relaxes by making jewelry, listening to music and reading.

UAF basketball coach Frank Ostanik spent three days at the school conducting basketball camps for grades six through 12.

READS Primary

First-graders and kindergarten students should have received October Book It goals last week. Call the office if there are questions.

Students of the Week are: first-grader Savannah Jones; kindergartner Gabriel Smith; morning prekindergartner Nate Beiser; and afternoon prekindergartner Kayla Smith. These students have shown themselves to be considerate of others and good listeners. Congratulations.

Show and tell is Thursday. The topic is fire safety.

The prekindergarten students have learned to write their first names using upper and lower case letters. The kindergarten students are practicing phonics and have begun reading simple stories.

The first-grade class has completed the first primer reader and will complete their first workbook this week.

Sears Elementary

The Kenai Conversations are happening. Since Kenai has fewer students who are spread out among more educational options, an issue of classroom space has occurred. At the November school board meeting, board members will discuss recommendations and options for Kenai area schools. Donna Peterson has requested all recommendations be submitted in writing by Nov. 3.

In celebration of fall, Mrs. Moon’s and Mrs. Hanson’s second-grade students investigated apples. The students read about the legendary Johnny Appleseed, learned facts about the growth of apples, graphed the states where apples are grown, tasted and graphed their favorite types, and used a variety of art techniques to create still life paintings. On Friday, students made their own applesauce.

Ms. Ralston’s first-graders read the book “Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere!” Students identified places that they have seen bubbles and created designs blowing bubbles into a colored bubble solution.

Mrs. Miller’s second-graders read books about desert habitats. They created a kite using long vowel words ending in silent “e.”

Mrs. Atkinson’s kindergarten class learned about autumn, creating pictures of fall trees using horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines.

Picture retakes will be Tuesday.

Thank you to parents who attended volunteer training. If you are interested in volunteering but did not attend the training call the office to set up a time to watch the volunteer video.

Soldotna Elementary

Check out the dioramas constructed by Ms. Bobek’s fifth-grade students which focus on Native American life. They are displayed in the 300 wing foyer and support the part of the fifth-grade social studies curriculum social studies which features a study of the “People of the Americas.”

Thanks to parents and students who attended the first pizza and book bingo night. The library was full and students left with many books to read during those upcoming darker winter nights. Kudos to Katherine and Brandon Cox for chairing the book bingo night, Debbie Carroll and Selena Jordan.

More exciting books can be found at the upcoming great Scholastic Book Fair during the week of Oct. 23. Sponsored by the PTA, the fair will feature books for all ages and interests. The fair will be open during parent teacher conferences that week.

Parent teacher conferences are Oct. 26 during the day and evening and Oct. 27 during the day. Information will go home with each child so parents can list their conference preference and conference appointments can be made. The staff looks forward to meeting with parents to collaborate on student learning progress.

The site council meets Tuesdays.

The PTA meets Thursday at 3:45 p.m.

Soldotna High

On Oct. 12 the band will present its fall concert at 7 p.m.

The yearbook staff is offering student artists a chance to win a free yearbook. The artist who best represents the theme “Stars are forever” has a chance to win a free yearbook. Color artwork in a portrait layout is preferred. Other submissions may be used throughout the book. Artwork may be submitted to Ms. Cox or Ms. Bartman by Oct. 30.

Students who plan on submitting their own sibling pictures for the yearbook should submit them to Ms. Bartman in room 76 by Friday.

The Soldotna All-Stars will host a basketball camp Thursday through Saturday. The camp features Frank Ostanik, men’s head basketball coach at UAF. Registration forms are available at

The site council meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the teacher workroom.

The PTSA will meet at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 12 in the teacher workroom.

Soldotna Middle

The school newsletter can be accessed at https://

First-period homerooms have elected a student council representative. They have started meeting biweekly with their adviser, Dave Carey.

Forty-one students were awarded September Student or Citizen of the Month and 71 were given September “Student of Character” certificates. These hard-working students had a bingo party last Friday.

Basketball started Monday. Parents are reminded to make sure you have the proper paperwork complete and in to the office.

The boys are practicing from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and the girls are practicing 4 to 5:30 p.m. There is a study hall in the library for the girls from the time school gets out until the start of practice.

Dates to remember:

· Thursday through Saturday — All Star Basketball Camp for middle school students, boys and girls in the school’s gym, from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. The cost is $30.

· Oct. 12 — Picture retakes from 7:45 a.m. to noon.

· Oct. 19 — Last day of the quarter for students to get their first-quarter school work in.

· Oct. 20 — Teacher inservice, no school.

Soldotna Montessori Charter

Parents or volunteers interested in helping to coach robotics are invited to attend the Lego League coaches training Saturday. The training will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Anchorage. Call the office if you are interested.

The students raised $2,293 in their annual Park Clean Up. The money will go toward future field studies and the students said they are proud of the service they provided in helping to clean up Soldotna’s parks.

A few parent volunteers are needed to help with the Battle of the Books practice sessions. The initial meeting for grades three and four will be from 8:30 to 9 a.m. Monday. Meetings will then be in Mrs. Atchley’s room every Monday morning, beginning Nov. 13. The kindergarten through grade two group begins Monday during lunch in Mrs. Larned’s room.

The academic policy committee will meet Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the school. An agenda will be posted in the hallway. Parents are welcome to attend.

Mrs. Romatz’s students have been at work on their peace studies. They are writing a report about member countries of the United Nations. They will continue their research at the public library every other Thursday morning. Parents are welcome to join their walk over at 10:40 each week. Chaperones are needed for their Challenger Center of Alaska trip Oct. 23-25 and 30-31, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

Tustumena Elementary

Mr. Michael’s class will travel to the Anchor River Oct. 11 in order to acquire their fertilized salmon eggs for the class incubation study. This year-long project is provided by Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game and is always eagerly awaited by his students each year.

Mrs. Blossom’s kindergarten class experienced a successful outing to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Sept. 22. Although the forecast called for rain, the class managed to stay dry for their tour of the refuge. The school thanks those parents who volunteered to drive students.

The school reminds parents that this week marks the time of year children are expected to come to school dressed appropriately for colder weather. For health and safety purposes, parent support on this matter is necessary as unforeseen emergencies may cause students and staff alike to be outside for extended periods.

Wings Christian

This week’s cleanest desk award went to 10th-grader Mickelle Waters. Waters received a trophy to display on her desk.

The volleyball team had its first game on Friday. Team members are Amy Wood, Rebekah Wood, Jared Wood, Mickelle Waters, Naomi Pettey, Alex Pettey, Alisha Thompson, Melissa Newton and Caden MacLellan.

The kindergartners have begun a program called Reading Readiness Program. They learned the sound of the letter “F” and will learn how to form the letter on paper. They already have learned the shapes of circles, squares, and triangles, and are now learning the shape of a rectangle.

Kindergartners Kobe Miller and Joanna Grant have learned how to count to the number five.

To have information published in Schools, send a description of the event or accomplishment to School News at P.O. Box 3009, Kenai, AK 99611. Information will be accepted by e-mail at or by fax at 283-3299.

The deadline for submission is noon on Friday for publication in the following Wednesday’s paper. For information, call 283-7551.

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