Susitna Elementary News


September 1, 2016

Volume 4, Issue 1

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

Welcome back to school! Since I was a child I have absolutely loved the first days and weeks of school. My parents were both teachers and so was my grandma. I grew up in my parents' classrooms and still remember the smells of fresh chalk in September. I couldn't wait to shop for school supplies! It is a time when students are eager to meet their teachers, and teachers can't wait to help another group of children get kinder and smarter!

We had an incredibly busy opening this year with major renovations happening at our school. Please notice the new ceiling tiles, many new windows, wonderful new lights, new storage counters in the classrooms, and the improved heating and ventilation system. We emptied the building for the renovation and the staff members worked crazy hard to ready their classrooms for the students. Imagine restocking nearly 20,000 books in the library! We believe the changes will make for a brighter and more healthy learning environment, and we hope you can tell the difference.

Our motto this year is, "If you can dream it, you can do it." We believe in students setting goals and digging in to do the hard work to achieve them. Watching the Olympics in August showed us all many examples of athletes who have dreamed big and worked hard. Please join us in encouraging our students to do the same. We are committed to helping ALL students dream it and do it!

We have many things coming up and the newsletter includes many of them. There are also some important things to be aware of as this school year starts.

They include:
1. We go outside, even in the rain. Please send your children with rain gear. We want our students to play, get fresh air, and have time to make new friends. Outside recess is an important time, and we rarely keep students inside.
2. If students ride bikes, they must wear helmets and lock their bikes up during the school day. Students need to wait until they are off the sidewalks to start riding, and please, only one child per bike.
3. Please check with the teachers before sending special snacks into the classroom. Sometimes there are severe allergies, or the teacher may have other plans for celebrating events.
4. Being in school matters for learning and making friends. We notice when your child is absent! If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time for any reason, please let us know on the prearranged absence form, as we want to support our students.
5. As you probably know, all students can receive free breakfast and lunch. We are a very lucky school to be able to offer this to our students and their families. In addition, twice a week our students receive free fruit or vegetables as a snack. We want to promote healthy snacks, and we want our kiddos to try and enjoy new kinds of foods.

Finally, even though we are starting a new school year, we are saying good-bye to two well-loved staff members. Mr. Ivan, our BPO, has retired to devote more time to running his new food truck. Ms. Kemi, our AA, will be moving later this fall with her family to North Carolina. I know they have loved working with your children and let's wish them well in their new endeavors!

Dream BIG...

Diane Hoffbauer

Upcoming Dates of Importance


5th - Labor Day NO School Enjoy the

13th - Open House for Optional Program 5:30PM - 7PM

15th - Open House for Neighborhood 5:30PM-7PM


18th - Picture Day!!!!

Rules of The Road

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Thank you all for working with Susitna Staff as everyone learns the rules of the road. The drop off/pick up lane is just that. You drop off and pick up only. If your child isn't ready or needs a few minutes more, please do not sit in the lane or exit your vehicle. You can always pull into the parking spots and walk in to help your child. Another rule to note is students may not walk across the parking lot traffic without you to your car in the parking lot. They can only walk to the curb and get into cars in the drop off/pick up lane or be escorted by an adult. Kindergarten pickup for neighborhood; please drive slowly through the parent parking and the traffic staff in vests will direct you safely across to the kindergarten pick up. Please help keep everyone safe by following these few rules. This will help everyone get in and out faster, safer, and happier. Please be patient with new-to-Susitna families as they learn the rules of the road.

Safe driving,

Susitna Staff

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Recess Clothing

Please make sure your students dress for the weather. We are enjoying sunshine and warm temperatures now but rain and snow will be right around the corner. If it is a rain day, please send your child in with rain gear. On snow and cold days the big 5 that are required are: hat, gloves, boots, snow pants, and jacket.
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We are looking for extra people to help out as a noon duty. This is a part time job that you can apply for on the asd website. The hours are from 11:05am-1pm. If you like to be outside enjoying the sunshine, working with adults and children this is the job for you. Click on the link below to apply. Apply under the Bartlett area noon duty and look for Susitna.

Breakfast Menu

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Lunch Menu

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Updated Communication between Parents and School

School Messenger
To better serve our school communities, we have modified the School Messenger system to insure proper message delivery. This modification requires a slight change on the user end. Please open the below link to find out how to best utilize the School Messenger system for informational messaging:

Activity Interest Survey

ASD is required to administer surveys to students in grades 5 to 11 to comply with Alaska Regulation 4AAC 06.520 (Recreational and Athletic Activities) in order to assess student interest in extracurricular activities. The survey administration is October 3-14, 2016. Parent notification via newsletter and/or other method must be made prior to September 19th. For survey instructions and notice to parents' verbiage please click on this link.

Health News

Welcome back for the 2016/2017 school year at Susitna Elementary School. During the first quarter of Health classes we will be establishing our rules and daily routines. We will address the topics of Internet Safety, Personal Safety, and Abuse Prevention. I will convey the importance of subjects separately; explaining why they need to be addressed school-wide. This will be addressed among all students during health classes. If there are any questions or concerns relating to these topics please feel free to at

Thank you and let’s have a wonderful school year here at Susitna Elementary School!

Mr. Peterson

Health Specialist

Abbott Loop/Susitna

Musical Notes

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All 4th and 5th graders will be attending the Anchorage Symphony's Young People's Concert "The Write Stuff" on Tuesday November 15th. This trip costs $5 per person and the Symphony pays for the bus! It's a great way to introduce our students to the Performing Arts Center and a live Symphony Orchestra! Watch for field trip permission slips from your child's teacher.


Susitna Music

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Physical Education Activities

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FALL Running Club

Fall cross-country running will begin on Monday, August 31st. We will be training for the North Anchorage Jamboree at Bartlett High School on Tuesday, September 27th.

WHO: Susitna students (grades K-5). Susitna Kindergarteners are welcome to attend if they have a parent attending with them.

DATES AND TIMES: Monday and Wednesday (August 29th – September 21st), 3:30-4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Meet in the gym immediately after school.

Rules: 1. Students must stay with their running coach until they are dismissed. There will be no wandering the halls. 2. Students will respect and be kind to the running coaches and peers.

Consequences for not following the rules will be as follows: 1st time - warning; 2nd time - one-week suspension from the running club; 3rd time - Expulsion from the running club.

IMPORTANT INFO: All practices will be outside regardless of weather! Runners should dress in running shoes, jackets, hats and gloves, as needed.

Students MUST be picked up by 4:30 p.m. If a student is picked up late more than one time they will no longer be able to participate in running club. No walking home permitted without written parental consent. Note: ASD policy does not allow students to walk home and cross Muldoon Road.

Contact Mr. Putman with any questions.


Chris Putman

Susitna PE

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News from the Librarian

Dear Families,

Last March, a few volunteer elves and I began a very long process of boxing over 18,000 books and countless library and teaching materials. It took nearly two months to accomplish the exhausting packing before the construction crew started remodeling parts of the school in May. After the summer remodel several fabulous elves and I unpacked hundreds of boxes of books in early August. There were so many boxes and so many books; it was rather overwhelming. Our goal was to have the library up and running the first day of school. We accomplished the goal and students have been checking out books. I am proud to brag that Susitna has a very high monthly checkout rate within the district. Check out the before and after library pictures from August.

Susitna is a teaching library for all grade levels. ASD Librarians use the Common Core Standards and/or American Association of School Librarians for the 21st-Century Learner. I enjoy teaching your child(ren) library rules, care of borrowed books, library skills, reading skills, useful web sites, internet safety, and the love for books.

Please make sure your child carries his or her borrowed library books to school in a backpack. A backpack makes carrying the books easier for a child and it will help protect the books from unnecessary wear or damage.

Please remind your child to return their library book(s) on or before their scheduled Library Day so they can checkout more books to read. Post library day on your refrigerator and encourage your child to try and remember when to return books.

I look forward to an exciting year with your eager-to-read child!

Monday: Ms. Dottie (2), Ms. Mott (5), Ms. Genie (2/3), Ms. Lucinda (K/1), Ms. Matlock (SBBS-Primary)

Tuesday: Mr. Froehlich (2), Ms. Tsunemori (K/1), Ms. Bailey (1), Ms.Tammy (1)

Wednesday: Ms. Therriault (4), Ms. Anteau (5), Ms. Heather (2/3), Ms. Stout/Stone (K), Ms. Rachel (3)

Thursday: Ms. Wilson (4), Ms. Jennifer (4/5), Ms. Brittany (K/1), Ms. Lothrop (3)

Friday: Ms. Mikawa (SBBS-Intermediate), Mr. Allen (4/5), Ms. Hansen (K)

Please stop by the library. I have a parent bulletin board filled with library information outside the library doors. If you would like to volunteer your time in the library I could always use another elf. Library work is never, ever done! If you would like to donate books, let’s talk! I look forward to meeting with you!

Happy Reading,

Mrs. Benfield, Teacher-Librarian

News From The NURSE

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Keeping our Kiddos Safe

I have been a Substitute Nurse filling in for Nurse Anne Mccarron during the first three weeks of school this year. I have been busily entering all the new and updated student health data and have found that we have many students who have Allergies, Anaphylaxis or Asthma that do not have an Action Plan signed by a doctor or medications here at school. If you have a child with medical issues please contact the Nurse @ 742-1401 or drop by and share any medical information that we may not have and provide any medications (with a current doctors order) your child may need while attending classes or field trips. Your child’s safety is our number one concern!

Sandy Sherwood RN, HTN


All School Lending Library

There is a Lending Library in the purple mailbox outside the Library/Garden doors. It is part of the Little Free Library. https://littlefreelibrary.org It was created and donated to the school as a gift from a family.
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Anchorage School Board

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School Business Partners