Newsletter - October 2022 Edition

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Message from Joel

I'm sure that all parents, staff, and students will agree it has been amazing to be back in Chugach and be able to experience learning in the way it was pre-pandemic. It is also hard to believe that our first quarter of school is more than halfway over! As we go into October, some of our traditional fall activities will take place. Many parents have been stepping up to help plan, coordinate, and donate time to things like the Fall Carnival (Oct. 14th) and the Chugach Auction (Nov. 4th), but we can always use more help. Please reach out to the Parent Coordinator for your child's Family Group or the committee chair for these events to find out how you can help support them.

Clothing and Weather

If you have lived in Anchorage for any amount of time, you will know that we have just experienced one of the wettest Septembers on record, and October is looking like the rain (and then snow) will continue. Please ensure students come to school appropriately dressed so they can make the most of their day here at Chugach. Believe me, there is nothing more uncomfortable than having damp clothes (or sopping wet ones, at that) when you are trying to focus on learning. Nurse Maya does have some extra sets of clothes for students who find themselves getting wet at recess or outdoor P.E., but she is limited in terms of having proper-sized clothes for all of our students.

As always, I enjoy it when students and parents stop by to say hello, and I am always willing to schedule a time to meet should you need to meet with me regarding a celebration or concern for your student.

I'll see you around the building!


October's Important Dates

  • October 3 - 5/6 BOB meeting (11:40am) & Running Club Celebration (3pm)
  • October 4 - Choir (2:50pm)
  • October 5 - Flag Football Jamboree (3:30@Gladys Wood Elementary)
  • October 10 - 5/6 BOB meeting (11:40am)
  • October 11 - Choir (2:50pm) & 1st-4th Grade Soccer Jamboree (4:15pm@Bowman Elementary)
  • October 12 - 3/4 BOB meeting (2:50pm), Garden Club (3pm) & Community Assembly Meeting (5pm)
  • October 13 - 5th-6th Grade Soccer Jamboree (4:15pm@Bowmen Elementary)
  • October 14 - EARLY RELEASE DAY (11:15am) & FALL CARNIVAL (5:00pm)
  • October 17 - 5/6 BOB meeting (11:40am)
  • October 18 - Choir (2:50pm)
  • October 19 - 3/4 BOB meeting (2:50pm) & Garden Club (3pm)
  • October 21 - IN SERVICE DAY [[NO SCHOOL]]
  • October 24 - 5/6 BOB meeting (11:40am)
  • October 26 - EARLY RELEASE DAY (11:15am) & Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • October 27 - EARLY RELEASE DAY (11:15am), Gear Swap (11:15am) & Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • October 28 - IN SERVICE DAY [[NO SCHOOL]]
  • October 31 - 5/6 BOB meeting (11:40am)

Chugach Cafeteria Resumes Service

The Chugach Optional Elementary Cafeteria is now open. Brian Lewis has joined our staff as Cafe Manager. Hot lunch service resumed on Wednesday, September 28th.

With the arrival of hot lunch service, school lunch will no longer be free at Chugach Optional. School lunches cost $4.50 and includes milk. If only milk is being purchased the cost is $1.

It is recommended that parents pre-pay their students meal account through Parent Connect. Prepaid meal accounts help the lunch lines go faster and gives students more time to eat. For information on how to pre-pay a students meal account click here.

Families can also apply for Free and Reduced-Price meals by completing an application on the ASD website Student Nutrition page.

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher conferences will be held on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 26th and Thursday, October 27th. On both of these days, students will be released at 11:15am (please be sure to have your pick-up plan in place!).

The Online Conference Scheduler will be available for parents to schedule a meeting time starting on Monday, October 10th. More information on how to set up your parent-teacher meeting will be sent out on that day.

Special Thanks!

  • The Chugach Optional Community would like to say a special "Thank You" to Bill O'Connell for replacing the broken door on the tiny library.
  • A HUGE Thank you to Artic Solar for donating time and materials to fix our chicken run roof. It was badly damaged and rain was getting in!

*** Chugach Club News ***

2022 Elementary Cross-Country Running Jamboree

Chugach Optional Garden Club - Fall 2022

Battle of the Books

Battle of the Books (BOB) is a statewide Alaskan reading motivation and comprehension program sponsored by the Alaska Association of School Librarians. This year Chugach Optional will have a 3rd/4th Grade team (coached by Beth McLaughlin, Becky Hill & Erica Rose) and a 5th/6th Grade team (coached by Monica Perez-Verdia & Elain Gentner). Amy, Casey, Heidi and Mikelle will serve as our BOB Teacher Liaisons.

It's not too late to join our Battle Teams! Students need to have a completed Permission Form in order to participate. Please stop by the office if you need a permission form.

Practice times are as follows:

  • 3/4 team - Wednesdays after school from 2:50pm - 3:50pm, starting October 12th in the Seed Lab
  • 5/6 team - Mondays during lunch and recess, starting September 26th in the Art/Health Room

Chugach Family Participation

Hello Families!

Now that we’ve had the chance to settle into the rhythm of the school year, it is a good time to highlight a core Chugach Optional value that will be critical in ensuring our community thrives (particularly after the last two years): Family Participation.

Our learning environment is dependent on involved families. An excerpt from our Community Handbook underscores how we accomplish this:

“Families are the thread that ties our educational community together. Families who choose to place their children at Chugach Optional make a commitment to support the school by volunteering their time to keep the program strong. We expect families to participate a minimum of 36 hours per year, with an additional time commitment of 10 hours per year for each additional enrolled child in the family. We recognize that families have various schedules impacting how and when they help. There are many ways for family members to participate in the school both during and outside of school hours.”

We encourage our family members to seek out ways to get involved and discover volunteer opportunities that match their skills, interests, and schedule. Right now, there are many ways to contribute, including supporting our teachers by working in the classroom and parent workroom or completing at-home projects. Planning for all of our school-wide events and activities is also underway – the Fall Carnival is right around the corner and the Auction, a key fundraiser, is coming up!

If you have questions, please reach out to teachers and staff or ask the Parent Coordinators in your family group – these individuals are ready to help you find ways to be a part of our community.

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Fall Carnival - OCTOBER 14th!

Autumn is here with it's bounty and beautiful colors; here at Chugach, this also means FALL CARNIVAL!!

Friday, October 14th from 5:00pm - 7:00pm is the date to mark in your calendars; traditionally, Fall Carnival has been an opportunity to gather, celebrate together this new season and fundraise for our school.

This year, each class will be setting up a fun booth at the gym (think Face Painting, Fortune Teller, Hula Hoop Pumpkin, Bean Bag Toss etc.) while our Music Room will be turned into a Disco Cake Walk and the Art Room into, the most awaited of all, The Haunted House!

Wristbands will be up for sale the week of the event; single v/s family wristbands, as well as a special kind for those enjoying soups, salads and pizza at our "Chugach's Dinner".

Don't forget to sign up! There are many volunteer options listed by your child's Family Group cubby area.

For donations, support or to join our Fall Carnival Committee, please email Paulina Larenas, Fall Carnival Coordinator at

@ Our Library

Wow! Lots of library books are being checked out. Yay!

As a reminder, library books are checked out for 2 weeks at a time. If students want their books longer than 2 weeks, they can be renewed.

How can you support your child in remembering which books are checked out and when are they due?

Check out the library catalog on ‘Clever’. Clever is a single portal for students to have access to ASD approved programs with a single ASD sign-in. Here is a ASD 'Clever' Guide.

Under Amy@Chugach Library page, you will find our library catalog along with other resources. There are also videos showing you how to log in using ASD credentials as well as how to find what books your students have checked out and how to put a hold on a library book. I appreciate being able to see the covers of the books to help my family find books at home. Middle and Upper students have experience accessing Clever and the library catalog. Primary and Kindy will need adult support. If you need any support, I am here to help!

Any questions or thoughts, please feel free to connect with me in the library or email me:

Many thanks!


Message from the CEC President

As we are all settling into the new school year, it is wonderful to see the generosity of the Chugach community. Keep up the great work towards our goal for Big Simple! It’s also heart warming to witness the selfless volunteerism toward upcoming events like the Fall Carnival and School Auction. Many hands make light work so be sure to contact your family group PC and find out how to help where you can.

Moving into the year, the CEC board is looking for suggestions on what you would like to see at the Community Assembly Meetings (Next is Oct 12th). We may not be able to accommodate every request, but no idea is off the table. Feel free to email us at and look for a suggestion box on the CEC board.

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2022-2023 BIG Simple Update

We are pushing ever closer to our goal! We are currently at $17,836. We hope to reach our goal of $26,000 in donations in the next two weeks. This makes it much easier on our teachers as their planning and preparation is already underway for the whole year. Look for two more updates as we work together to fund this year’s Big Simple. Thank you to our wonderful Chugach Community!


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Mark your calendars for Friday, November 4th! This adults only event is a chance to celebrate our community and fund our assembly's budget. It will be a great night of food and fun - and supporting our amazing school at the same time. Stay tuned - ticket sales coming soon. Interested in how you can help or donate? Text Jackie Savina at (907) 360-4535

Help Wanted

Chugach Optional is upgrading our sound system to meet our schools' current need for musicals, productions and events. We are looking for community members who have experience in grant writing and business partnerships to help fund this project. Please, contact Lauralee for further information.

Friendly Reminders

  • If your child is going to be out of school for the day please contact the office before 9:30 am at 907-742-3730
  • All students arriving after 8:15 am must sign-in at the office
  • More details on Attendance can be found here

Parent/Visitor Sign-in

  • All parents, visitors, and volunteers who are going to be in the school after 8:30 am need to sign in at the office.


  • Parents of 6th Grade students interested in taking Pre-algebra through ASD Virtual this year should talk to their teachers soon about enrollment. The office will be forwarding names of enrolling students to ASD Virtual on Friday, October 7th.

  • We are still in need of several Noon Duty attendants at the school. Please go to the ASD website to apply if interested in these positions.
  • We are in need of a Substitute that would be able to be at Chugach Optional consistently on Wednesdays & Thursdays, and on Friday mornings. This substitute would be working with Beverly, our wonderful resource teacher, to support student needs throughout the school. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity and how to apply as a substitute teacher for ASD, please call the office (907-742-3730).

After-school Program Working Group

  • If there are parents interested in joining a working group, looking at how we might re-start our after-school program through Campfire, they should get in touch with Julia O'Malley (

About Us - Chugach Optional Elementary

Chugach Office has an email address that will reach both Yuki and Carrie at the same time. This is super helpful when one of us is away from the office for the day! The new email address is: