Around the District

Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Parent-teacher conferences, in-services this week

Students get a four-day weekend, with no classes Thursday or Friday. However, parents and teachers will be going to school. The first quarter is over and parent-teacher conferences around the Kenai Peninsula are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

The conferences are an important time for parents and teachers to discuss students' needs and progress. Check with individual schools for conference scheduling details.

Students tackle mental feats

The Mind-a-Mazes contest took place at Soldotna Middle School Oct. 6.

This academic competition provides creative problem-solving opportunities that foster original and divergent thinking. Through the Mind-A-Mazes program, the gifted and talented program of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District promotes creativity by challenging teams to solve problems with more than one solution.

By working in teams, participants learn teamwork, the appreciation and understanding of others, and that a group can be a more powerful thinking force than an individual. Students develop a sense of self-respect and respect for others through preparatory activities such as brainstorming, leading and a following in group activities and cooperative learning. The purpose of the program is to provide students with a learning experience that promises challenge and fun.

This year's challenge was to create an original board game: a challenging game of strategy, not just a game of luck. The games were judged on originality, game play (is it fun and innovative?), play value (does it have a challenging strategy?), aesthetics (is it nicely made and follows a theme?) and clarity of instructions (is it easy to play?).

The winners in the junior division for original games were:

First -- The Voyagers, Soldotna Elementary, by Theresa Ramponi, J.C. Voth, Logan Hutchings and Zayan Aberkane;

Second place -- Candidate X, Redoubt Elementary, by Sierra Ball, Paul Blacklock, Mavica McLane, Jessica Oglesbee and Jacob Walgenbach; and

Third -- The Klondike, by Keith Clancy, Tom Osterman and Patrick Sheridan from Tustumena Elementary and Richie Schirnberg from Kalifornsky Beach Elementary.

The winners in the intermediate division for original games were:

First -- Octos, by Sam Gammon, Tyler Roesch and Mat Klumb from SMS;

Second -- Squares by Spencer Tachick, Brittany Boulette, Abram Marquez and Amanda Dallman, also from SMS;

Third -- Capture the Flag by Eric VanOss, Sam Neace and Colin McAther from Homer Middle school.

Each year there is also a judges' choice trophy. The winners in the junior division were Sterling Elementary students Becky Warton, Nick Swain and Teagun Coreson. These students created 4D (Fourth Dimension), based on "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells. For the intermediate division the winner this year was Islands by Brittney Sparhawk, Devon Copple, Adam Demello and Katie Foley from Kenai Middle School. It was a conquest game of capturing the opponents' land holdings.

There also was a tournament of games featuring chess, mancala, checkers and backgammon for the junior and intermediate divisions.

In the junior division, ribbons were awarded to Jesse Ellison, Elaina Hitchcock, Tom Osterman, Maya Johnson, Keith Clancy, Sierra Ball, William McDermid, Tristin Rutherford, Dillon Ball, Molly Watkins, Patrick Sheridan, Andrew Miller, Colten Jensen and Logan Hutchings.

In the intermediate division, ribbons were awarded to Devin Boyle, Annie Tremaine, Hannah Watkins, Tim Amen, Brent Mello, Kelsey Shields, Brittany Boulette, Liana Purugganan, Reed Ehrhardt and Becca Geleide.

Competition judges were Gretchen Hundertmark, Alex Hundertmark and Margaret Gilman.

School board meets Monday

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District's Board of Education meets Monday at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be in the Mariner Theatre in Homer High School. All school board meetings are open to the public.

Agendas are available at the meeting or the district Web site at

Christian book fair planned

Cook Inlet Academy will host a Christian book fair Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. and Friday from noon to 7 p.m. at the school on Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna. The fair is open to the public, admission is free, and bake sale goodies and gourmet coffee will be available.

National catalog offerings and local vendors will have items such as books, videos and gifts. Proceeds go to new CIA library shelves and books.

Reapportionment meeting changed

The meeting of the reapportionment committee, which is considering changes for the school board, has been changed. The meeting originally scheduled for Thursday has been canceled. The next meeting will be Dec. 6.

The committee, appointed by the by Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, is looking at options for changing the school board elections from the current system, which elects members boroughwide, to a districted system, which would elect them from geographic subunits within the borough.

All committee meetings are at 2 p.m. downstairs in the Borough Building and open to the public.

Anchorage college, career fair planned

High school students are invited to the 20th Annual Alaska College and Career Fair held in Anchorage Nov. 13 and 14 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day.

More than 150 universities and colleges from more than 35 states and Canada will be available for consultation. The fair will be at the Egan Civic and Convention Center in downtown Anchorage. This is a free event, but registration is required.

For more information, contact your high school counselor or call Doug or Wendi at the Connections program at 262-6315.

KMS announces Students of the Month

Kenai Middle School has announced its Students of the Month for October.

They are: Angelica Avila, Luke Baumer, Keeley Boyle, Beth Deardoff, Rory Emerton, Megan Gabriel, Landon Mishler, Naythen Hanson, Alyssa Myers, Glendy Rodriguez, Kyla Steward, Hannah Watkins and Ashley Woolley. These students were treated to lunch at Burger King to celebrate the honor.

Nikiski names Students of the Month

Nikiski Middle-Senior School has announced its Students of the Month for September.

They are: Breanna Butler, government; Audrey Harris, study skills; Paul Morin, geometry; Suzanne Strickland, language arts; Nathan Smith, language arts; Liz Golia, U.S. history; Jo Vollersten, math; Nathan Curren, art; Travis Little, metals; Steven Davis, choir; Hannah Thompson, physical education; Josh Powell, world history; Mariah Gibson, social studies; Emily Kennedy, math and language arts; and John Tyrone, math.

Upgrades transform peninsula schools

The school year is off to a busy start for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District's technology team.

Last summer, it placed 750 computers in eight schools, including Seward Middle-Senior High, Seward Elementary, Moose Pass, Kenai Middle, Soldotna Middle, Homer Middle, McNeil Canyon Elementary and Chapman Elementary in Anchor Point. The technology roll-out, now in the second year of a four-year implementation schedule, has brought state-of-the-art technology to more than half the district's students.

Teachers received two days of training on the new hardware and software and were ready for the start of school. After months of preparation, the transition to the new technology went smoothly.

Network bandwidth was increased as necessary to accommodate the increased capacity of the school computers.

The plan, originally developed by the joint borough and school district committee, provides teacher computers, printers, software and one computer for every five students. Funding for the project has come from the borough assembly, the school district and the federal E-Rate program.

College expands program

Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka is expanding its human services department. The school has offered an associate degree in the field, which includes public assistance, supported living services, vocational rehabilitation, infant learning, respite care, counseling services for substance abuse or domestic violence and others.

The school plans to begin offering a bachelor's degree and certificate program as well by the fall of 2002.

The head of the new program is Dorothy Shepherd, Ph.D., who formerly worked for the University of Alaska in Cordova and has worked in a variety of nonprofit human services in urban and rural Alaska.

The college is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and emphasizes education for Native and rural Alaskans.

Fund for Afghan youngsters launched

In an address to the nation on the Afghan war, President George W. Bush called on America's children to send $1 each to help Afghan children struggling to cope with the devastation of war. Bush asked children to send dollars to the White House, addressed to "America's Fund for Afghan Children."

"This is an opportunity to help others while teaching our own children a valuable lesson about service and character," said Bush. "I hope school classes or Boy and Girl Scout troops, other youth organizations will participate in any way to raise the money to send to the children."

According to White Houses sources, one in four Afghan children will not make it to their fifth birthday, one in three Afghan children is an orphan and almost half of Afghan children suffer malnutrition.

Bush announced that more than 90,000 American children already have responded to his call.

For more information, visit the White House at

Schools collect box tops

Many area elementary schools are collecting Box Tops for Education. Check your family's products to see if they carry these and other labels the schools can use to raise money or purchase supplies.

Last year, Sears Elementary School collected 2,100 box tops. The goal this year is to get 5,500. If the school meets its goal, it will placed on the Box Tops Honor Roll and awarded 500 bonus box tops.

The Betty Crocker catalog has joined box tops and there will be double box tops on orders made through Dec. 12.

The box tops deadline is March 30. They may be brought in with students or dropped off in the collection boxes in the school offices and other points around the community.

If you have any questions or ideas, call your school.

Ad opponents offer school contest

The group Commercial Alert is sponsoring a contest called Ad Slam aimed at reducing commercial advertising in schools. It critiques the trend of corporate marketers entering schools and pitching advertising to students.

The prize is $5,000 for the school that makes the best and most creative effort to expel advertising and commercialism from school premises during the 2001-02 school year, according to a press release from the group.

Details are available through the group's Web site at or by calling (503) 235-8012.

Deadline nears for ACT test

College-bound high school students who want to take the ACT Assessment must register by Friday or by late registration Nov. 15 for the Dec. 8 test. The test fee is $24.

To learn more about the ACT, including registration forms and test locations, contact your high school counselor or go to

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