Many give much at Fireweed

  • Thursday, December 17, 2015 9:56am
  • News

It is the giving and giving thanks season and that comes in many forms. Money is huge, of course, but time is equally and sometimes even more powerful. Here at Fireweed Academy, a free public charter school with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, I have seen the hundreds and hundreds of hours that are freely given to help kids learn.

Who helps Fireweed Academy be remarkable? This list is long, as it includes not just paid teachers and support staff but also so many community members who donate their time. We have an eight-member Academic Policy Committee, parents and community members whose function is to support and assess the school’s progress, as well as make decisions and policies regarding the school’s operation. Current members are Kary Brinson, Amber Niebuhr, Crisis Mathews, Kate Henry, Brandy McGee, Hannah Gustafson, Jon Kulhanek and Hannah Snow and our honorary member and one of our founding members Garry Betley. When you see these folks out and about town, thank them for their hard efforts. They are supporting Homer’s kids and Homer’s future.

 One of Fireweed Academy’s goals is to make learning fun and authentic. We achieve that in a variety of ways, one of which is by collaborating  with professionals in our community and inviting guest speakers into our schools to interact with our students and talk about their work.  In relation to this quarter’s habitat theme, we had visits from Carmen Field from Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center, Matt Steffy from Homer Soil and Water Conservation District, 

Lori Jenkins, a local gardener, and Joel Cooper, the stewardship director with Kachemak Heritage Land Trust. Subjects ranged from salmon habitat an life cycles, invasive species, local habitat resources for wild and domestically grown foods to protected habitats of our local land trust. And Melissa Gagnon and Mark Tanksi  talk to the students about their lives in India. We thank each speaker form coming to share their expertise and experiences with our students. 

And then there are the everyday helpers in and out of the classrooms —  a huge list. Like parent Dylan Braund who created the new path to the yurts (yes, we teach in yurts), Sue Biggs who brings music into our schools, Tania Trejo who sewed book bags with the kids and Crisi Mathews who offers after-school craft classes at Big Fireweed. 

Within this limited space, I would like to thank all the community members and parents who come together to continue Fireweed Academy’s legacy of supporting and empowering children as they grow, learn and become young adults.

Janet Bowen

Fireweed Academy

…Where students learn to view themselves as 

readers, writers, and problem solvers.

More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Anchor Point house fire leaves one dead, one in serious condition

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Wrangell Institute was one of many residential schools in Alaska dedicated to involuntarily teaching the Indigenous people of the state European ways of living, forcibly breaking them from their own Alaska Native cultures. (Courtesy photo / National Park Service)
Churches respond to revelations about residential schools

That acknowledgement is taking a number of forms, varying by institution.

The entrance to the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in the Tongass National Forest was covered in snow on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, a day after federal authorities announced the next step in restoring the 2001 Roadless Rule on the forest. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Feds put freeze on Roadless Rule rollback

On the Roadless Rule again.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Historic sockeye run predicted for Bristol Bay

ADF&G says 2022 run could break this year’s record

A reader board sign on the Sterling Highway announces COVID-19 testing and vaccines at the South
No current COVID-19 patients at South Peninsula Hospital

Test rates, ER visits and admissions are dropping for Homer

Family practice physician Christina Tuomi, D.O., (right) gets Homer’s first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine from Emergency Department nurse Steve Hughes (left) on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020 at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska. Tuomi has been the hospital’s medical lead throughout the pandemic. (Photo courtesy Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
Feds issue vaccine mandate to health care workers; Dunleavy joins lawsuit against the rule

Rule by CMS applies to hospitals, rural health clinics, community mental health centers.

Tim Navarre, president of the Kenai Peninsula Foundation, stands in a bedroom at a cold weather shelter set to open next month on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Shelter prepares to open doors

Efforts to establish a cold weather shelter on the peninsula have been in the works for years.

FILE - The Olympic rings stand atop a sign at the entrance to the Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, Calif., on July 8, 2020. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, declared "squaw" to be a derogatory term and said she is taking steps to remove the term from federal government use and to replace other derogatory place names. The popular California ski resort changed its name to Palisades Tahoe earlier this year. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)
Interior secretary seeks to rid U.S. of derogatory place names

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday formally declared… Continue reading

Alaska man pleads not guilty to threatening 2 US senators

If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.

Most Read