New tools for helping children with FASD

The public is invited to hear Deb Evensen, national consultant and teacher on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, discuss new ways to help children with FASD succeed from preschool through adult life. 

The lecture includes stories of help and hope for a brighter future for families and adults, as well as an overview of local activities. The presentation is free and open to everyone. It will be held at Kachemak Bay Campus, Pioneer Building, room 202 at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 30. 

Lobbying for funding focus of board talks

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Board of Education members on Tuesday considered options to lobby for education funding.

Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, asked the school board to identify targeted or specialized programs that address gaps in education statewide. Legislators may be more swayed if they see results coming from what they are spending money on, he said.


Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Today: The Great Alaska ShakeOut “Drop, Cover and Hold On” earthquake drill, 10:16 a.m. Oct. 20: School board, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Chambers, Soldotna, 7 p.m. Oct. 21: Fifth annual Kenai Peninsula College Fair, Soldotna Sports Center, 10 a.m.-2:45 p.m. Chapman School Oct. 17: End of quarter, no school, inservice. Oct. 20: Picture retakes. Oct. 21: Site council, 3:30 p.m. Oct. 21: Basketball at Ninilchik. Oct. 23: Basketball at Chapman. Fireweed Academy (all grades) Today: Great Alaska Shakedown Earthquake drill. Oct.

Mariners on the move

Seven Homer High School students have been selected as “Mariners On the Move,” a program in with each HHS faculty member nominates one outstanding student per year based on scholarship and citizenship. Nominees and their families were honored at an Oct. 10 celebration catered by the schools culinary arts class, taught by Lauren Childers. First quarter winners are, from left:

Sean Blaine nominated by Mr. Creel;

Christina Mitchell nominated by Mr. Welch;

Student harvesters honored at festival

Staff report

The green thumb and creativity of Fireweed Academy students was recognized at the charter school’s Harvest Festival, Sept. 25, 2014:

Best in show: 1. Leif Restad’s “Mouse Hunt,” 2. Beatrix Strobel’s “Gary the Gryphon,” 3. Maggie Mae Gaylord’s “Flower Fantasy”

Most colorful: 1. Maggie Mae Gaylord’s “Flower Fantasy,” 2. The Person’s “Apple Fly”

Students explore value of ‘justice circle’

In Fireweed Academy the sixth-graders are currently reading a book called “Touching Sprit Bear.” It involves a boy who rips a hole in the community and is helped by circle justice, but apparently Cole, the main character in the book, doesn’t want to change. He gets hurt really bad and that is when he decides that his attitude must change with help from Garvey, a parole officer, and Edwin, a Tlingit Indian.

School Events

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Oct. 16: The Great Alaska ShakeOut “Drop, Cover and Hold On” earthquake drill, 10:16 a.m.

Chapman School

Today: Districtwide budget development meeting, Homer Middle School library, 6 p.m.


Fireweed Academy (all grades)

Homer Flex High School: Changing lives

With almost 39 years in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Karen Wessel is in her 18th year at Homer Flex High School.

“Every morning I come in with the hope that I can help make a difference in a young person’s life,” said Wessel, the school’s principal. 

Hope has guided this alternative school for grades 9-12 since it opened its doors in 1989, even though the school has changed since its early days.

School Events

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
Chapman School
Today: National Custodian Day.
Fireweed Academy (grades K-2)
Oct. 10: Egg take at the Anchor River.
Fireweed Academy (grades 2-6)
Oct. 3: Mock justice trial with Ginny Espenshade.
Oct. 6: After-school math every Monday.
Homer High School
Oct. 3: Pep assembly.
Oct. 3: Volleyball vs Cordova, 4, 5, and 7 p.m.
Oct. 3: Homecoming parade, bonfire, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 3-4: Dive-swim at Kenai, 9 a.m. and noon.
Oct. 4: XC state championships, Bartlett High School, 8 a.m.

Namesake celebrated

At Paul Banks Elementary School’s first “Paul Banks Day,” Sept. 16, the K-2 students, faculty, staff and visitors celebrated the school’s namesake, the late Paul Banks. Having worked on the construction of East Homer Elementary School in 1964, Banks also was the school’s first custodian.

Fireweed Academy: offering alternative education

The only charter school in the southern Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Fireweed Academy opened its doors as “Homer Charter School” in 1997. Two years later, using a consensus decision-making model, the teachers, parents, staff, the school’s Academic Policy Committee and community members renamed it “Fireweed Academy.”
One of KPBSD’s 43 public schools, what sets Fireweed apart is a charter that presents an alternative curriculum based on theme immersion, a specific theme chosen each quarter to be incorporated throughout the school.

School Events

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Oct. 20: School board, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Chambers, Soldotna, 7 p.m.

Oct. 29: Early release day.


Chapman School

Through Sept. 26: Oceanography field trip, grades 5-8.

Sept. 29: Basketball begins.

Oct. 2: National Custodian Day.


DDF returns from first meet

The Homer High School DDF — Drama, Debate and Forensics — team began its season with a meet at Bartlett High School in Anchorage last weekend and came home with some impressive results:

Duet acting: 1. Evan Boyer and August Kilcher; 2. Robert Hockema and Eryn Gillam; 3. Loren Jones and Zane Boyer; 4. Drewy Wimmerstedt and Iustine Kuznetsov; 5. Johanna Allen and Maya Jones.

Connections: It’s about working together

Identifying what stands out about Connections, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s homeschool program for grades K-12, was easy for Lee Young, principal of the program for the past 10 years.

“The relationships with parents,” said Young. “I’ve been in public education for a lot of years and a homeschool education provides for a setting to become education partners with families. Also it’s about seeing the success of dedicated homeschool families and the overall achievement that’s attained.”

School Events

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District


Chapman School

Today: Soccer at Skyview, 4 p.m.

Sept. 22: Soccer at Kenai, 3:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.

Sept. 24-26: Oceanography field trip, grades 5-8.

Sept. 29: Bus evacuation drills.

Oct. 2: National Custodian Day. 


Flex open house features student-grown vegetables

Most school open-house events are an opportunity for families to visit inside a school building and meet teachers. Flex School took it another step this year with a farm-to-table spin.

“It was amazing. We’ve never seen anything like it,” said Principal Karen Wessel of the attention the event attracted. 

In addition to having grown the showcased vegetables in the school garden, Flex students spent the day preparing food for their guests. Broccoli casserole, borsch, appetizers, pies.

Chapman School: One of ‘best kept secrets’

In his fourth year as principal of Chapman School, Conrad Woodhead wasn’t talking about the school’s address when he called it “one of the best kept secrets.” From its Anchor Point location beside the Sterling Highway, it would be hard to miss the K-8 school.

Woodhead was referring to the school’s high performance, one measure of which is the ASPI, the Alaska School Performance Index. Results for the 2013-2014 school year released earlier this month rate Chapman a five-star school with the 18th highest score of 501 schools rated across the state.


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