West Homer Elementary

March 2020

A Note from Principal Waltenbaugh

VISION: The learning community of West Homer Elementary inspires and supports all students to be lifelong learners with the courage and confidence to make positive contributions to the world.

MISSION: The mission of West Homer Elementary School is to build strong connections among community, families, staff, and students in a safe, healthy, nurturing environment that challenges each student.

A Message from the Principal:

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Community Members,

March marks 1 year from the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in Alaska. I recall heading into Spring Break last year hearing about a virus that began to move across far parts of the globe… and then we didn’t come back to the building for the rest of the year. This year is a much different story. Our remote students continue to engage in their studies at a distance, and our in-person students are gaining more and more confidence in the routines of a more familiar learning environment.

This is a huge cause for celebration! We continue to do an excellent job as a community with our mitigation, more and more people in the Homer area are getting vaccinated, and our case counts at the time of writing this are 5 in the last 14 days! And… it is important to remember that our country just passed 500,000 deaths due to Covid-19 and there are numerous variants beginning to circulate. Please continue safe practices so we can keep our school open!

Parent Teacher Conferences

We enjoyed seeing all of you (either in person or virtual) last week. What a wonderful time to connect with all of you about your child’s learning goals and progress!

STEM Challenge

There is an engineering challenge for students to a Build the Tallest Paper Tower! to support a 14-16 oz. can of food for 60 seconds.

Any interested students can work on this challenge home with just paper, tape, and a 12-16 oz. can of food. Students can work as individuals or as teams up to 4.

Details are in this video: https://video.link/w/vbKUb

We plan on having a mini-celebration/ showcase within grade levels on Thursday March 4th - just for fun -no prizes. (Grade 5 event will be after Spring Break.)

Have fun!

Battle of the Books

· 5th and 6th grade Battle team received 2nd place in the district competition.

· 3rd and 4th grade Battle team made it to 5th place.

March 2nd Dr. Seuss Birthday – Read Across America Day

All students set a reading goal for the 3rd quarter, and we will celebrate a day of literacy with guest readers, reading activities, and students and staff are encouraged to dress like their favorite Dr. Seuss characters.

Recess Gear

It looks like it is going to continue to be cold for a while, so please make sure your child continues to come to school with proper outdoor gear to make them comfortable at recess. The district cutoff for indoor recess is -10 degrees below zero.

PEAKS Testing window (March 29th – April 16)

The State of Alaska has decided we will be testing students this spring. There is no need to panic or create undue stress on students because of this. By completing these benchmark assessments, it will help us as a school get a picture for where our skills are in Reading, Writing, Math, and Science (5th grade only) so we can plan accordingly for next year.

Eric Waltenbaugh, Principal

Dates to Remember

March 1 - Board of Education Meeting

March 5 - End of 3rd Quarter/In-Service - No School

March 8 - 12 - Spring Break

March 17 - Early Release @ 1:15pm

March 22 - Picture Day!!!

March 23 & 25 - Health Ed for 5th and 6th grades

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Travel Out of State

The State still has a travel health advisory. Testing after travel still remains a very important tool for the monitoring and management of COVID in our community.


If you travel out of State, the State of Alaska Public Health and Kenai Peninsula Borough School District asks that you do the following:

  1. Have a test at the airport as you return (especially important with the variants)
  2. Stay home if you are ill
  3. Repeat the test 5-14 days later
  4. Wear a mask, social distance, use good hand hygiene and consider strict social distancing for 5 days
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Battle of the Books - 5th/6th Grade Team "The Thing About Orcas"

Bryce Hagge, Daniel Christ, Christabelle Minke, and Lily High
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School and District Report Cards

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Battle of the Books - 3rd/4th Grade Team

Sophie Williams, Micah Bunker, Rhys Borland, Leo Willison, and Anna Cornelius

2nd place for the Cricket Wicket STEM Challenge for the Elementary Division goes to Fletcher and Hadley Darr (The Crazy Builders 3000)

We had a total of 22 entries and over 70 students participate. The winners are as follows:

Elementary

1st Place Avacatos from K-Beach with 4,038 points (Noah Anding, Koebryn Lazenby, Noah Crabtree)

2nd Place The Crazy Builders 3000 from West Homer with 2879 points (Fletcher and Hadley Darr)

3rd Place Bonk from Nikiski North Star with 1,966 points (Cody Fine, Sean Chavoya, William Benner)

Build the Tallest Paper Tower!

There is an engineering challenge for students to a Build the Tallest Paper Tower! to support a 14-16 oz. can of food for 60 seconds.

Any interested students can work on this challenge at home with just paper, tape, and a 12-16 oz. can of food. Students can work as individuals or as teams up to 4.

Details are in this video: https://video.link/w/vbKUb

We plan on having a mini-celebration/ showcase within grade levels on Thursday March 4th - just for fun -no prizes. (Grade 5 event will be after Spring Break.)

If students wish to upload a video for the national competition and a chance to win $1000, entries must be uploaded by March 12 to science.buddies.org

Have fun!

Ms. Kristy's Book Corner

Esperanza Rising

Esperanza thought she'd always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico - she'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances - Mama's life, and her own, depend on.

Turtle in Paradise

Life isn't like the movies, and 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935, and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. But when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who does not like kids, Turtle is forced to head off to Key West, Florida, to stay with relatives she's never met.

Pictures from West Homer Students

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