Susitna Elementary News


March 2, 2017

Volume 4, Issue 7

Please take a few minutes to read over all the exciting things happening at Susitna Elementary School. The newsletter is sent directly to your email address(es) once a month, so please make sure to keep the front office current on your preferred email contacts. Paper copies are available in the front office, or you can go to our school’s website to read this issue, or any others in the archive library.

Principal's Corner

Dear Susitna Families -

I hope you are enjoying all the additional daylight! The Susitna learning community appreciates Mr. Yanis (our BPO) for the incredible job putting ice melt and gravel on our walkways and playground to keep us all safe and upright! As daylight increases, many students stay up later. This is really good time to keep bedtime routines in place so students are rested and ready to learn at school. I also want to say thank you for helping our 4th grade students do well on the national NAEP testing this week! It is also a good reminder that our state testing for grades 3 - 5 begins later this month - watch for more information regarding that.

Please take a few minutes to read and look at the pictures of all the exciting things our students are enjoying. You’ll also find some activities available for students over the upcoming Spring Break (Mar. 13 – 17). Please stop by our Lost and Found tables, too, as we have many coats, boots, hats, etc. waiting to find their way home. Enjoy the sun - play outside!

Upcoming Dates of Importance


2nd - Honor Choir/Band/Orchestra 7 pm West High Auditorium

3rd - Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash (info Library News) 8:00 - 8:45 a.m.

- February birthday celebration 3pm

4th - Iditarod starts 10 a.m. downtown

- Iditarod Day (see community news)

5th - Ski for Kids 12-4 pm @ Kincaid Park

6th - Iditarod race restarts in Fairbanks

- Susitna I-Did-A-Read starts

6th - 8th - Young Americans Workshop (Info Community News)

7th - Science Fair Projects DUE TODAY!

- PTA Meeting 4:00 p.m. All Welcome!

- JA in a Day - Junior Achievement K-5

8th - Susitna Science Fair 6 - 8 p.m.

9th - Talent Show 2 pm and 6:30 pm

9th - End of 3rd Quarter for students

10th - NO SCHOOL for students

11th - Iditazoo- 12 - 4 pm (see community news)


13th - 17th - Alaska Native Spring Break Camp (see community news)

- Spring Break OnStage (see community news)

22nd - Spring Picture Day for Classes and individuals, 12-1 pictures for siblings

23rd - All ASD Programs Lottery deadline is 5 pm

24th - Earth Hour, 1:30 - 2:30 pm

- Awards Assembly 2-2:30 pm 1st and 2nd graders, 2:45-3:15 pm 3rd through 5th graders

27th - Army band concert 9:15 am

28th - 7th - 3rd Grade PEAKS Testing

31st - Friday, March 31, 2017 Greg and Patsy Romack Donation ceremony in the Susitna Library at 2:00 pm

- March Birthday Celebration


3rd - 14th - 4th Grade PEAK Testing

4th - Municipal Election!

7th - Susitna PTA Spring Fling 5-7 pm

10th - 21st - 5th Grade PEAK Testing

13th - Math Night 6-8pm ASD Education Center

19th - Visit from Begich Counselors 2 pm for 5th graders

Student Council Organizes this years Chains of Caring Project

Susitna participated in Chains of Caring, a city-wide fundraiser for Children's Hospital through the Providence Alaska Foundation. Student Council members sold purple and yellow chain links for twenty-five cents at lunch during the month of February. We raised $70.00 for the hospital that treats local families!

Math Whizz Discounted Subscription

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Hey parents! Do your kids seem to say "I'm bored" during the summer? Do you want them to maintain their current math skills or get ahead in math possibly? Well if you do this is perfect for you. Math Whizz is offering paid parent subscriptions that will allow your child access to all of the Math Whizz with their own license good until October 2nd. The cost is only $13.00 per child. If you would like a subscription for your child please send a check for the total amount to school and we will order your license and send a password home to you. This is an amazing cost and a great opportunity for our students to access math over the summer.

Option A:


Expiration- 5/31/17

Option B:


Expiration- 10/2/17

I - Did - A - Read Program

READ! MUSH! The Great Reading Race has begun! "I-Did-A-Read" is a school-wide reading incentive program that will run through the month of March. Students will read a set number of minutes, then mush their dog to Nome. Everyone who makes it there by March 31, will be invited to a Finishers' Banquet. Ask your teacher for a reading log. Read and keep track of your minutes. Have a parent verify it. Show your teacher. Move your dog along the display.

There are three courses to choose from depending on age/ ability level:

Rookie Course~ 200 minutes (1 minute of reading = 5 miles of mushing)

Medium Course~ 500 minutes (1 minute of reading= 2 miles of mushing)

Expert Course ~ 1000 minutes (1 minute of reading = 1 mile of mushing)

Look for the display in the hallway between the Office and the Library!

Special prizes for top finishers in each category!

PTA will sponsor a pizza party for the class with the greatest percentage of participants.

Can you beat the first real Iditarod Musher to Nome?

Our course will follow the restart course from Fairbanks.

Don't forget to head out for the Iditarod ceremonial start this weekend here in Anchorage!

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Traffic Pattern

Friendly reminder as snow and ice build up to please slow down and park in the designated parking spots. We are having problems with parents parking in the bus drop off area. The orange cones show how far you can pull up to the front of the school. Please do not park in the drop off or pick up areas.
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Musical Notes

All things musical .......

Honor Choir/Band/Orchestra Concert Thursday March 2, 7 pm West High school Auditorium. Come support Susitna 5th graders Genika Marie Valdehueza, Lia Yang, Daisy Carlson, Michaela John-Baptiste, and Brooke Shaffer.

Talent Show Performance Thursday, March 9th, 2 pm and 6:30 pm. Participants report at 6:15 pm. Final Dress Rehearsal is Wednesday, March 8, 3:30 pm - 5 pm.

Recorders are still for sale to 2/3 combos - 5th grade. $4 each.


Susitna Music

Young American Dance and Theatre Workshop

This Spring UAA Department of Theatre and Dance is hosting the Young Americans for a three day workshop at UAA in the Fine Arts Building, March 6-8.

The Young Americans has been around since the 60s and this is the first time they are coming to Alaska. We are thrilled to have Anchorage be the Alaska debut for Young Americans.We chose the Young American workshop for several reasons:

This high energy workshop covers vocal techniques, dance, comedy improvisation, stage movement, sound, lighting and other elements of performance.

The workshop invites grades 3-12 and divides them into appropriate age groups.

The students choose their teacher for the workshop.

Young Americans bring @40 teachers to the workshop so the individual attention to participants is strong.

This workshop is a great way to bring a radius of schools together to participate in a workshop event.

Young Americans is known for helping youths discover themselves through the power of music and performance.

The young Americans represent 35 states and travel 20 countries across the world. Our Anchorage students will be able to interact with international performers and cultivate a unique cultural exchange.

The workshop is structured to inspire teamwork, self-confidence, leadership and growth within the performing arts.

I personally love this group because:

I know students who have been bullied, participated in this workshop and the experience and performance built up their self esteem. Plus they had a pen pal for life.

The workshop is not only geared for the bright and shining stars at the schools but also for that student who needs a self confidence boost.

I have been asked by local teachers to find opportunities to have students on our college campus. This workshop allows the students to take enjoy workshops in the Fine Arts Building

There is a fee for the workshop, but Young Americans are backed by the Country Music Awards and able to offer financial assistance for those who need it. Plus, we have secured local sponsors.

This video helps give you an overview of the workshop:


Susitna Music

Physical Education Activities

Junior Native Youth Olympics

Susitna students came together and trained hard for many hours to learn the different native games. Susitna had a great showing this year at the Junior Native Youth Olympics. Many personal best records were set for the Athletes. Great job to all and thanks for being such great representatives for Susitna.

Kristi Therriault and Codie Malloy

Susitna Teachers

Physical Education Opportunities

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ASD Breakfast and Lunch Menus

Health News

This month in health we will be discussing communicable diseases and illnesses that could affect us. We will talk about various symptoms associated with different illnesses and how to avoid some illness by washing our hands and keeping our bodies clean. Plenty of rest, proper nutrition, water consumption, and hand washing throughout the day as just a few examples of how we can stay clean and healthy. Have a Healthy and Safe Spring Break!!!!

Mr. Peterson, Susitna Health Teacher

Fresh off the Canvas......

March is National Youth Art Month!

“Laying the Foundation” is the theme of the 45rd Annual Anchorage School District student art exhibition at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with National Youth Art Month, an acknowledgement of the visual arts programs in American schools.

The community is cordially invited to attend the Artists’ Reception, Friday, April 7, 2017 from 6-8pm; the reception is to honor artists from all exhibit locations. Superintendent Bishop, Mayor Berkowitz and Museum Director, Julie Decker will speak at 6:30.

Admission to the reception is free.

Exhibition Sites & Dates:

Primary Exhibit Location

Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center

March 10 – April 16, 2017

Auxiliary Exhibit Locations

Anchorage City Hall

March 10 – April 14, 2017

Chugiak-Eagle River Municipal Library

March 10 – April 14, 2017

The Mall at Sears

March 10 – April 13, 2017

2017 Youth Art Month Committee Members

Elementary: Ashley Austin, Megan Henry, Scott McDonald

Secondary: Adele George, Kelly Hebert, Chris Selin

For further information, contact Mary Wilts, Curriculum Coordinator, ASD Fine Arts Department, 742-0151.

National Youth Art Month

I would like to recognize the following students for their outstanding artwork on display for Youth Art Month: Danarra Marvin, Guy Barton, and Ember Austin-Walther. The Anchorage School District Fine Arts Department celebrates National Youth Art Month with an annual student art show. Art teachers across Anchorage School District select exemplary works to be displayed in exhibition locations, including the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, where Danarra Marvin’s and Guy Barton's work will be displayed from March 10-April 16, and The Mall at Sears, where Ember Austin-Walther’s work will be displayed from March 10-April 13.

Mrs. Hernandez,

Susitna Art teacher,

News from the Librarian

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United Way Grant

Greg and Patsy Romack Education Fund

Parents and Community, you are invited to a special ceremony to honor the Greg and Patsy Romack Education Fund.

When: Friday, March 31, 2017 Where: In the Susitna Library Time: 2:00 pm

The Greg and Patsy Romack Education Fund contributed a generous financial donation to the Susitna library for A Reading Oasis Program with guidance from the United Way.

Come and see how our library looks with this donation and celebrate this families generosity with our Susitna School Community.

If you have questions, call Ann Benfield at 742-1400 or email:

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Book Fair Thank You

Thank you very much for visitng the Spring Book Fair in the Susitna library. Our book fair was a success once again due to the work of our volunteers and all the families who

made purchases from the vast selection of books sent to our school by Scholastic. All profits go directly to our school library to purchase new books for our students.

Give a cheer to our student volunteers: Caylin Jones, Christiana Gum, Caden Tierny, and Quin Forbes. Please give a shout-out to our adult volunteers: Paula James-Jack, Jessica

Blackson, Donna Cahalane and Rory Benfield.

Ann Benfield,

Teacher-Librarian for Susitna Elementary

PEAKS Testing

PEAKS (Performance Evaluation for Alaska’s Schools) is the new state summative assessment for students in grades 3-5. Participation in the spring state assessment is a requirement of both the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Alaska state regulation to inform stakeholders about student performance. PEAKS is one part of a balanced, comprehensive assessment system, which also includes district and formative assessments. Results are expected back late spring.


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Important Optional Lottery News

I wanted to make sure that the Susitna Optional families are all aware of what will happen next school year. If a fifth grade student lives OUTSIDE of the Begich zone the school district automatically will add them to the roster for the school in which their address of record is zoned. Regardless of all other factors. Period.

NOW - should the parents or guardians wish for their student to attend another school, we have this nifty system called the LOTTERY.

It is the policy of Begich Middle school to automatically approve all the Susitna Optional student's lottery applications if they apply for the first round. THIS IS IMPORTANT!

Please help these parents know that it is very important to know this policy. They had to enter the lottery into Sustina Optional and now their student will have to go to their zoned school or enter the lottery into the school of their choice. Lottery approvals are good for the length of the program.

Please feel free to contact Sylvia at Begich, or Nicole and Amy at Susitna to get help with knowing your student's future track and determining whether or not you need to fill out a lottery application. To submit an application must be done online at the ASD website by March 24, 2016 at 5 pm. The drawing will start March 25.

Thank you for your help.

Sylvia Field Biondich, CEOE
Middle School Registrar
Nicholas J Begich Middle School

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Check out our Susitna Optional Program:

The program is known for family involvement, high learning expectations, developmental teaching for kindergarten and first grade, individualized instruction to continue your child's development, and integration of science, social emotional learning, art and social studies.

Box Top Heroes

Thank you to all of our Susitna families for continuing to bring in box tops. Please keep sending in those box tops. The library just received a check of $1000 from Box Tops. That means 10,000 box tops were sent in. The next box top check will go to music to replace used and well loved instruments and equipment.

News from the Community

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Spring Break Onstage

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Camp Internet Spring Break (Click here for more info)

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IditaZoo™ Event 2017

Meet mushers and their sled dogs by joining the Alaska Zoo to celebrate dog mushing, the Alaska state sport! You will learn all about the history of the Iditarod® including interesting facts about Iditarod® checkpoints. Be here Saturday, March 11th, at the Alaska Zoo from Noon to 4pm for IditaZoo™! You can "race" through zoo grounds while playing the checkpoint game, learn some cool facts about dog mushing, view Iditarod® race standings, and get hands-on with equipment used for winter outdoor dog sports. Kids will enjoy a craft station and a special sled dog Storytime program at 2pm. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate the Alaska state sport and see some of the animals Iditarod® mushers may see along the trail! Contact Stephanie Hartman, Education Director at (907) 341-6463 or for more information.


Marva Community Resources

Anchorage School District

Desk: (907) 742-4147


“The Best Never Rest”

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Anchorage School Board

Tam Agosti-Gisler - President

Elisa Snelling

Starr Marsett

Kathleen Plunkett

Bettye Davis

Pat Higgins

Kameron Perez-Verdia

Superintendent - Dr. Deena Bishop

School Business Partners