HJSH Newsletter October 2021

Go Hawks

Contact Information

  • Benjamin Howard, Principal: 892-9402
  • Orin Wear, Assistant Principal: 892-9403
  • Bre Reintsma, Assistant Principal: 892-9485
  • Norman Bouchard, Athletic Director: 892-9412
  • Toni Reese, Administrative Assistant: 892-9401
  • Lisa Humphreys, Office Secretary: 892-9400
  • Amanda Nicoll, Athletic/Discipline Secretary: 892-9404
  • Adam LaPointe, Safety Resource Officer:
  • Tanya Boehm, Safety & Security Coordinator: 892-9421
  • Johanna Burger, School Nurse: 892-9406
  • Christina Way, Registrar: 892-9475
  • Kathy Aldeman, Counseling Secretary: 892-9479

Principal Howard's Monthly Message

Greetings Houston Jr./Sr. High Families & Friends,

I hope everyone is having a great school year so far and staying safe. It's hard to believe, but the first quarter of the school year is almost over. I'm always amazed at how fast time goes by as we watch our students grow and progress through school. It reminds me of something I heard years ago, but still rings true today for me, "The days can be long, but the years are short." Please remember to take time to enjoy each other and spend as much time together as you can. It will seem like a blink of an eye when it's graduation time.

I hope everyone can enjoy the Fall colors and crisp days. Fall time in Alaska can be spectacular. It won't be long before the snow starts flying and the sound of snow machines take over where dirt bikes left off. Take care Hawks. Go Hawks!

-Ben Howard

Upcoming Events

Bus Schedule For Students

Parents and Students there will be no bus service to Houston Junior Senior High on Thursday, October 7th (except Spec Ed). Please watch for staff directing traffic as our goal is to safely get everyone to and from our campus in a timely manner.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Transfer busses will be here waiting for your students to take them to American Charter, Mat-Su Career and Technical and Burchell High School.

After School Tutoring

Houston Junior Senior High School is offering an afterschool tutoring/study program for any student enrolled in the 6th – 12th grade at HJHS. This program will meet in Library Monday – Thursday starting at 2:25 P.M. and ending at 4:00 P.M. starting on Monday, October 4th.

The intention for after school tutoring supervision and support, is to provide a quiet place for individual assistance with academic work in his/her core academic classes (Math, Language Arts, Reading, Science or Social Studies) or for students to work independently on school homework. Students should attend tutoring sessions only on the days they have academic work.

There will not be any free time allowed to students to play video games. Students who have no work to complete but need to stay after school can sign up to attend our Youth 360 after school program for the days the student does not have any work to complete.

After School Tutoring is an opportunity for students who are falling behind or just need quiet time to do homework and we are hopeful that your student will take advantage of this program.

Feel free to call me if you have any questions about your students’ participation in this program. I am available in the morning before school hours and after school until 4:00 at 907-892-9400.

Mr. Browning, 907-892-9493

Mr. Hall, 907-892-9438

Houston Junior Senior High School

After School Tutoring Coordinators

HJSHS Blood Drive

National Honor Society will host a blood drive @ HJSH on Wednesday, October 6th. Please call or email Ms. Fortune for questions at heather.fortune@matsuk12.us or


Middle School Student Government Important Dates:

  • 10/5 Packets are due to Mrs. Johnson
  • 10/6 -10/12 Approved campaigns begin
  • 10/11 Middle School Assembly in gym during 4 Cs to hear speeches
  • 10/12 Election during 4 Cs by Google form

HS and MS Counseling Corner

Middle School Weight Training Info

8th grade weight training will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 to 3:30. If you have signed up already please come see Mr. Rush or Ms. Aldeman in the counseling office to pick up a permission slip. We will plan on starting Tuesday the 5th of October. As soon as you have brought back your permission form you can begin weight training.

Matt Rush, LPC

Middle School Counselor grades 6-8

Houston Jr/Sr. High School



Upcoming Events 6th, 7th and 10th Grades

Drug and alcohol prevention: Red Ribbon Week will be celebrated October 25-27th at HJS. Students and staff may participate in pledging to be drug free, lunch time activities, and spirit dress days. More information to come from student council and the counseling office.

In honor of suicide awareness month: S.T.A.R. (Saving Teens At Risk) is a suicide prevention and awareness program that will be presented to 6th, 7th and 10th grades in the month of October and early November. Please see the counseling office with more information.

Attention Senior parents and students!

We are planning a FAFSA evening in late October or early November. We will have financial aide advisors here to assist with the FAFSA application. Stay tuned for more information! Please contact the counseling office with questions.

Teri Haddeland, High School Counselor, A-K, 892-9408

Mary Beth Gillespie, High School Counselor, L-Z, 892-9407

Important Dates and Deadlines: 10-12th Graders

1. 1. Year-Round: ACT/SAT are offered all year. Please see attachment for information regarding registration and test dates/locations.

2. Year-Round: Senior Checklist Click the link below!


3. PSAT Wait List: We will continue signing up students on “Wait List”. There is no cost this year for the PSAT. Please call your child’s school counselor for more information.

4. Current-11/5/21: Sign-up for ASVAB testing

5. 10/1/21-6/30/21: FASFA is available for seniors seeking post-secondary education (College/University/vocational) to complete. FASFA stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid”. Website: .http://www.studentaid.gov

6. 10/6/21: Representative from Mat-Su College will be in 12th grade 4C classes to discuss FASFA, Scholarships, and Student Loans

7. 10/13/21: PSAT will be from 7:45-11:00am. Location TBA. Study guides will be passed out to students soon! Be on the lookout for more information.

8.. 11/10/21: ASVAB test will be from 7:45-11:00am. The ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) sign-up is in the counseling office for juniors and seniors. It will take place on November 10th at HJS.

What is the SAT and ACT?

The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) and the ACT (American College Test) are entrance exams used by many colleges and universities to make admission decisions. They are multiple-choice, paper-and-paper, and timed tests. The SAT/ACT is used as one of the indicators of a student’s readiness for college. The SAT/ACT scores can also be used for scholarships such as APS (Alaska Performance Scholarship). Students must sign up online (see attachment for cost, deadlines, and testing dates/locations).

Why take the SAT or ACT?

We know that the average person changes careers multiple times over their lifetime. Taking the SAT or ACT in high school allows students to take an academic test while the subjects are fresh in their minds. The score follows them into adulthood and can be useful when changing a career requires them to enroll at a college or university for an associate or bachelor degree.

For the students who have decided they are not going to college, I would challenge them to answer: “Do you positively know what you will be doing in 5 years or 10 years?” Just like the physical growth students experience through puberty, they will equally experience brain maturity (brain development) up to the age of 25. It is far better to keep academic options open now, than to re-teach and prepare oneself for an academic test 5 or 10 years after high school graduation.

What is the PSAT?

Students planning to attend a four-year college will need to take the SAT or ACT during their junior and/or senior year. The PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) is a practice SAT test that can help a student perform better on their SAT and help predict success in high school AP (Advance Placement) courses. Sophomores and juniors are encouraged to take the PSAT to be better prepared for the SAT.

Why take the PSAT?

1. The PSAT is good practice for the SAT. It familiarizes you with the format and test questions.

2. You’ll get a “dress rehearsal” for test day.

3. Your PSAT results can guide your test prep.

4. 11th graders can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship

5. It’s FREE!!

SAT Testing Schedule

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What is the FASFA?

FASFA stands for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid”. It is a form completed by both student and parent to determine the student’s eligibility for student financial aid. Many colleges and vocational institutions require the FASFA to be completed before accepting students into their program. Scholarships and grants may also request the FASFA to be completed. Some pieces of information parents and students will need to complete the FASFA include: Create FSA account (Federal Student Aid), Social Security number, tax records, and list of schools interested in attending.

Seniors: Apply now for your post high school! It’s Not Too Early!

Did you know that some colleges start filling up dorms and dispersing financial aid as early as October?

Did you know that some institutions have start dates in January and June?

Did you know that WUE (Western Undergraduate Exchange) allotments for Alaskan students begin filling up as early as October?

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Music Department

The music department will present it's first "hopefully live" concert in 2 years on Oct. 21st at 7 PM in the commons. There will be a chili cookoff fundraiser.

Jane Henry-Johnson

Band and Choir Director

Houston Jr./Sr. High School



HJSHS Sports Info

Sports Scheduled Dates and Times are Subject to Change at any time.


10/1- FB at Redington 4:00 & 7:00

10/2- XC at Regionals (Kodiak)

10/5- VB @ Grace 4:00, 5:00, 6:00

MS BB WMS at Houston 3:00p & 4:00p

10/7- MS BB C-Team at Teeland 3:00p

10/8- Football Playoffs TBA

MS BB at Su Valley 3:00p & 4:00p

VB at Grace Invitational TBA

10/9- XC at ASAA Championships (Bartlett)

VB at Grace Invitational TBA

10/11- VB at Su Valley 4:00, 5:00, 6:00

MSBB Grace at Houston 3:00 & 4:00

10/13- Hockey Begins (Menard)

MSBB C-Boys at Teeland 2:45p

10/14- MSBB at ACS 3:00p & 4:00p

MSBB C-Girls at Wasilla 2:45p

10/15- WR at The Altercation (Houston)

MSBB at Palmer 3:00p & 4:00p

10/16- FB at ASAA Championships (AFS)

WR at The Altercation (Houston)

WR at Wasilla JV's

10/18- VB Su Valley at Houston 4:00, 5:00, 6:00

MSBB at Su Valley 3:00p & 4:00p

10/19- VB Redington at Houston 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 (Senior Night)

10/20- MSBB C-Girls at Colony 2:45p

10/21- MSBB at Redington 3:00p & 4:00p

MSBB C-Boys at Teeland 2:45p

MUSIC Fall Concert 7:00p

10/22- VB at Bethel TBA

WR at Valdez TBA

MSBB Teeland at Houston 3:00p & 4:00p

Dodgeball Tourney at HJS Gym (ART)

10/23- VB at Bethel TBA
WR at Valdez TBA

10/25- MSBB Su Valley at Houston 3:00p & 4:00p

10/26- VB at ACS 4:00, 5:00

HK at Palmer 7:00p (MTA Arena)

MSBB C-Boys at Palmer 2:45p

10/27- MSBB C-Girls at Teeland 2:45p

10/28- HK at Colony 7:00p (Menard)

10/29- WR at Nikiski TBA

VB Homer at Houston 4:00, 5:00, 6:00

HK Palmer JV at Houston JV 7:00p (Menard)

10/30- WR at Nikiski TBA
VB Nikiski at Houston 10;00a,11:00a, 12:00p

Have a great day,


Norman G Bouchard

Athletic Director

Houston Jr/Sr High School

907-892-9412 School

School Nurse News

Hello Hawk Families! Immunization notices went out in 10/1. If you received an email/ phone call please get those completed and turned ASAP.

Religious Exemptions: If your student uses the Religious Exemption form for immunizations they must have a new signed and notarized document turned in.

Medications: Please remember students may not bring medications with them to school. If your student has a prescription medication they need to take please contact the Nurse to get this set up. Students with inhalers need to have an asthma action plan on file current for the school year.

COVID-19 Update: Please remember students may no longer remain in school with runny noses, congestion, sore throats, coughs, colds, headaches, or any symptoms on the COVID-19 list. Please do not medicate your student with cold medicine and send them to school. It is important take a moment to review the Return to School Protocol when your student is ill at home or if they are sent home from school due to COVID-19 symptoms. Also please look at the Guidelines for Keeping Students Safe and Schools Open. Students who are out of school sick will need to complete 1 of the 3 options to return to school: 1. stay home for 10 days and 24 hours no fever, symptoms better, 2. Return to school with a negative COVID-19 test result and 24 hours no fever, symptoms better, 3. A note from your doctor saying the symptoms are not related to COVID-19 and 24 hours no fever, symptoms better. If your student or household member tests positive please let us know. COVID-19 immunizations are available in the community for those 12 and up. Please continue to keep sick students home and follow the return to school protocols on the district website. Thank you for helping us keep our school and classes open. Students who have a person in their household test positive for COVID-19 need to stay home and follow the close contact quarantine guidelines.

7th grade health screenings will be starting soon. Students will visit the nurses office to have the following checked: height, weight, blood pressure, scoliosis screening, hearing test, and vision screened. If you would like opt your student out please email Nurse Burger.

Please contact Nurse Burger if you have any questions or need to report a positive COVID-19 test for your student. Email: johanna.burger@matsuk12.us Phone: 907-892-9406

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Library Corner

Book Checkout, Chromebooks and Chargers Info

Please click on the link provided to learn more about these options. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RvidofD0Qzc4Uy7sVorsNw8tIze9lu_95bT_pB_bQK8/edit?usp=sharing

Janelle Maki – Houston Jr./Sr. High School Teacher Librarian

Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District

Ph: 907-892-9413| Fax: 907-892-9460

Free Student Resources

E-Books, Tutoring, Online Resources, Library Catalog, Battle of the Books

Other HJSH News

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Youth 360

Youth 360’s stipend program now covers school sports and activities! Our goal is to get more students involved in school and community activities. Youth 360 pays for approved activities, which also include a wide range of community activities. Art, sports, martial arts, dance, rock climbing, and more is included!

If students need a ride home after their activity, we offer a bus route departing HJSH at 5:30. Students can also join our free youth club, located on the Houston Jr./Sr. campus, while waiting for their ride.

Sign up for stipends at www.youth-360.org, call 373-3613 or stop by our afterschool program, located in portable #11 behind the school building. Our youth club is free and accepting new students anytime!

  1. Thrive Mat-Su Halloween Scavenger Hunt: October 1st at Wonderland Park. Text “scavenger hunt” to 745-5826 to sign up.
  2. Haunted House at Black Birch Books: October 22nd and 23rd from 10 am-4 pm at Black Birch
  3. Books in Wasilla. Free, all ages event with Halloween fun!
  4. Big Lake Trunk or Treat event on 10/31, 5 pm-7 pm at Big Lake Lions Recreation Center
  5. Yoga Om’s GLOW Girls (Girls Leading Others Wisely) course is offered on Saturdays, starting on October 9th. It’s open to girls ages 9-14 and is designed to build confidence, positive self-image and more through group conversations and physical activity. See the link for more information: https://yogaomalaska.com/glow/

    Upcoming Y360 and partner events:

Tyler Healy

Youth 360 Director

777 N. Crusey Street, Ste. A101

Wasilla, AK 99654

Office: (907)373-3613

Cell: (907)715-0121

Vision: Youth and families thriving in a caring and connected community.

Ways to Keep Informed and Contact Houston Jr/Sr High

Houston Junior Senior High School is committed to frequent and open communication with families and community members about student performance, school expectations, current events, and activities. Some of the ways you can expect us to reach out are:
  • Facebook
  • HJSH Website
  • Connect-Ed Messages
  • monthly ewsletters
  • Parentvue
  • phone calls and emails
  • instagram

Free & Reduced Lunch

All Houston Jr./Sr. High students will receive free breakfast and lunch as part of our Title I eligibility during the 2020-2021 school year.

Nutrition Services will be providing a Breakfast and a Lunch meal each week for Friday's meals. We will be standing outside at the front of the building on Thursday's with these meals ready for you to grab after school before you head to the bus.

Title I, Part A (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended (ESEA) provides financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards. Oct 5, 2015.

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