VOLUME 12, ISSUE 2, September 2023
I want to thank all the parents that filled out our survey last year. We want to improve and your feedback is essential to our success. We use your suggestions and feedback when we plan for the new year when developing school development goals. Here are some highlights from your input from last year and how we are using it.
Overall parents think we are doing a good job. 84% of parents think their child is getting a quality education, 82% think their child is being challenged academically and 87% are happy with communication from the school. We are also happy that 84% of parents think HHS is welcoming to them and their families. These are solid numbers, but there is room for improvement.
Parents made it clear that communication with teachers needed to be improved. Only 64% of parents felt their communication with teachers was adequate. When we looked into this we found that it is difficult and time consuming for teachers to make phone calls. Teachers would leave messages and it would be hard to actually connect with parents. E-mails were also not effective.
It became clear that we needed to find a tool that was easy to use, was quick, and actually worked. Because of this feedback, HHS purchased the school version of Remind. Remind is a communication app that allows teachers to text, e-mail or call parents from their computer or phone. We have found that parents are more likely to read and respond to texts than e-mails or phone calls. We feel Remind will be another tool to help keep families informed on what is going on at HHS and how their child is performing in class.
There were many examples of what HHS does well. Some of the positive items that HHS does well included:
- Celebrates students' successes
- Offers many opportunities for kids to learn and participate in their community
- Provides a strong education with thoughtful educators
- Sends robo calls for poor grades
- Has a strong sense of community
- Offers FOLs to help the kids keep up
- Gives lots of FOL options
When we asked what HHS could do better, several parents mentioned or suggested that we improve our college preparation, life skills, and career exploration, especially at the senior level. A couple other parents wanted us to improve our interventions and supports for struggling students and a couple parents wanted us to improve our FOL.
To help with all of those items, HHS is starting an FOL Advisory. While there are many things we are going to do during FOL Advisory, the broad purpose for FOL Advisory is to ensure that at least one adult in the school is getting to know each student well, making sure their learning needs are being met, and encouraging them to make good academic choices and plan for their future. Each student will be paired to a teacher to make sure they stay on track and are successful.
Besides checking grades, teachers will also have students who are interested apply for colleges, review scholarships, explore careers, as well as provide time for students to get work done and much more during this time. We are also tweaking our FOL signup to improve attendance.
This is just a small sample of what we are doing with your feedback. We are constantly changing and trying to improve and want we to know what you think. If you have a question, a suggestion or hear a rumor you wonder about, give us a call. We are always happy to talk to you about what is happening at HHS.
Call our office at 235-4600 and talk to our secretary Kristin Metz with questions or to schedule a meeting with the principal.
Looking forward to a great year!
Welcome Back - First Day of School Pictures
Homer High School Is Using Remind
We are excited to share that Homer High School is rolling out Remind in the next couple of weeks. If you are not already familiar with Remind, it's a classroom communication tool that makes it easy to stay involved with your child's learning. Remind is free to use, and you'll be able to get and send messages on any device—even a simple text message from your phone!
As part of this rollout, official accounts will be created for all the educators, parents, and students at HHS. In the next couple of weeks, you will receive an email or text message from Remind. All you need to do is follow the steps in the message to finish setting up your account. Here is a video demo to see how Remind works. Also, we've already set the preferred language for you and your child so you can receive messages in your home language. As long as the teacher is receiving replies, you can also send messages back in your preferred language, and they’ll automatically be translated into the teacher’s preferred language. Learn more about how to send a translated message here.
Remind will also be the office communication application for communication with all sports and activities. We hope this will streamline and make things easy for coaches to communicate with parents and vice versa.
We encourage you to check out this parent guide to get tips on how to use Remind. We're excited to use Remind to make connecting with your family more engaging!
Dates To Remember
- Sept.1: Volleyball vs Soldotna 4:00,5:00,6:30pm
- Sept. 1: Homer Invite XCR @ Ohlson Mountain Trails 4:00pm
- Sept. 4: No school - Labor Day Holiday
- Sept. 8: Early release day @2:20pm
- Sept. 8: Homecoming Football vs Palmer 5:00pm
- Sept. 8: Homecoming bonfire after the game
- Sept. 9: ACT exam
- Sept .9: Homecoming Dance 8:00-11:00pm
- Sept. 9 :JV Football vs Palmer 10:00am
- Sept. 9: Homer Swim invite 10:00am
- Sept. 9: Volleyball vs Kenai 12:00,1:00,2:30
- Sept. 15: Football vs Houston 5:00pm Senior Night
- Sept. 16: JV Football vs Houston 10:00am
- Sept 19: School Picture Day
September is Suicide Prevention Month
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens. Many times it is preventable. Frequent open communication that gives your student room to explore their thoughts and feelings with you is one of the best ways to prevent suicide. Read on for more action steps you can take to save lives.
Flexible Opportunities to Learn--Rebranding FOL
We are changing some things about FOL this year. The first is we are changing the acronym to match how this works. We are now calling it Flexible Opportunities to Learn.
The purpose of FOL (Flexible Opportunities to Learn) is to provide students with a range of flexible learning options that cater to their individual needs. FOL aims to support struggling students by offering tutoring, interventions, and additional assistance. It also serves as a platform for all students to complete homework at school, engage in enrichment activities, and explore and challenge themselves academically. Furthermore, FOL assists student athletes in managing their academic responsibilities by allowing them to complete homework at school, make up missed assignments, tests, and exams, and reduce the amount of time missed from school due to athletic commitments.
Moreover, FOL serves as a designated time for school-wide activities such as presentations, pep rallies, and various events. Other activities that may disrupt regular classroom instruction are scheduled during FOL, including clubs, Battle of the Books, Student Council meetings, class meetings, and more. Throughout the year, students are encouraged to take advantage of extended learning opportunities provided during FOL, such as First Aid Training, Marine Trades exploration, career exploration, presentations by community members on interesting topics, candidate forums, and more. Additionally, students are given the freedom to design their own learning experiences during FOL by coordinating with their counselor to schedule activities such as outside music lessons, job training, or other relevant pursuits.
Do you know what to do in case of an emergency? What happens on snow days? What should parents do if there is a shelter in place, earthquake or violent act at school? Below are links to district web pages and district information sheets for your information about the District Emergency Action Plan.
Here are a couple quick answers to the questions asked above:
What if there is a huge snowstorm?
- Check the KPBSD Facebook page to see if school is closed. If you think it is dangerous to travel, you don't have to send your student to school. It is your call, but please call the school office so they know what's happening with your student.
What is ALICE?
- ALICE is a system to help keep as many students safe as possible during if an active shooter incident happens at our school. This program trains students and staff to know whether to evacuate, stay in place or counter. See the form below that explains what ALICE stands for.
What if there is an earthquake or active shooter at my school?
- Please don't rush to the school; this creates more challenges for the emergency responders and police and could make the situation more dangerous. It is better not to call your child; it distracts them from following safety instructions and could put them at risk in some situations. The police and school will not let students or staff out until everything is all clear. Check the school's Facebook page for information. Please trust us to take care of your children.
HHS Staff & Teachers Are Committed To Your Child's Success!
HHS School Counselors
Sue Rennolds – Class of 2026 firstname.lastname@example.org ~ (907) 235-4691
Paul Story – Classes of ’24, ’25, ’27 email@example.com ~ (907) 235-4685
College and Post-secondary Applications
Most admissions applications are available to seniors now. “Early Action”/”Early Decision” deadlines are usually in October or November, which yield admissions decisions in December. Regular admission deadlines are typically early January and don’t yield decisions until late March/early April. Many schools also accept applications and admit students on a rolling basis throughout most of the school year.
The most efficient way to apply to multiple schools is through the Common App (www.commonapp.org ). Many schools, but not all, subscribe to this service.
Do your research! There are several sites in which you can search for post-secondary options based on program of study, location, selectivity, size, etc. Some of these sites have valuable reviews, statistics and estimated costs:
AVTEC – Alaska Vocational Technical Center – https://avtec.edu/
- Highly reputable training in trades and careers in less than a year
- Nearby in Seward, AK
- Programs fill up fast. Apply early.
Western Undergraduate Exchange – www.wiche.edu/wue
KPBSD College and Career Fair – Wed., Oct. 11, 2023
- Post-secondary representatives from colleges, trade schools, apprenticeship programs and the U.S. military
- Interested 11th and 12th graders (and 10th grade Honors/AP students) will take bus to Kenai and return to HHS before dismissal.
- More details and permission forms coming in next newsletter.
SAT - PSAT - ACT
SAT – register at www.sat.org/register
ACT – register at www.act.org
PSAT (for 10th/11th graders planning to apply to 4-year college). Great, cheap practice and Junior entry into the National Merit competition.) – registration for October testing through HHS to be announced soon.
PSAT – Saturday, October 21st at HHS
PSAT – In addition to being excellent practice before the “real” SAT for 10th and 11th graders who are planning to apply to college, the PSAT is the only opportunity for juniors to qualify for the prestigious and lucrative National Merit Scholarship.
* Sat., Oct. 21 at 8am (Primary test date)
* Thu., Oct. 19 at 9am (Alternate date for HHS students on VB or WR teams with 10/21 competitions)
- Payable by cash or check to HHS bookkeeper Julie Gauthier
- Fee waivers may be available to 11th graders who have applied and been approved for free/reduced lunch http://mealapp.kpbsd.org
* Students may sign up now via this link.