Homer High-Lights

VOLUME 7, ISSUE 7, April 2019

Principal's Message

I like to brag about Homer High School and all the good things that our students are doing. Our students seem to always surprise me in some way. From our data, I know we have one of the best schools in the nation.

Recently, some data on Homer High Has been misused in the press. The first misuse was that 40% of Homer High School students need remedial classes when they first get to college. This data came from a non-scientific study produced by UAA from a test that couldn't predict college success. UAA no longer uses this test and our students are doing great in college. Last semester 34 HHS students took over 40 college classes at KBC and over 95% of them passed. The average pass rate for all of UAA is 70%.

The next set of data that has been misused is NAEP results showing only 34% of KPBSD student are proficient. Only a small percentage of KPBSD students in grades 4 and 8 take this test each year. It is a nationally normed test and it can give some decent data, but was not meant to judge the quality of a school system. The data is mildly useful, but not representative of Homer High or KPBSD students.

Some people are also using the PEAKS test scores that show only 34% of our students are proficient. This is true, but I am really proud of this score because this test is one of the hardest state tests in the country. Research done by NWEA, the makers of the MAP test, shows that only the top 25% of the students in the country would be able to be proficient in the PEAKS math test. Only 3% of students in the country would be able to earn advanced on the same PEAKS math test. This means that Homer High actually has 9% more students proficient than you would expect if this test was given nation-wide! You can view this report at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HTFPA8wcpkE0FYHVHJhTKZ9LQH_hhakYCTThz0XCvrM/edit?usp=sharing.

The Governor Dunleavy has recently endorsed using the MAP test as a standardized test for all schools in Alaska. I appreciate this decision as I believe we should measure our schools based on growth and use a nationally normed tests like the MAP that gives us useful data. HHS has started using this test this year and we have gotten awesome results compared to the rest of the nation. Here are Homer High students' results on the MAP test:

MAP Math

  • 67% earned high (60th percentile and above) scores on the 10th grade math MAP test (National = 40%)
  • 62% earned high (60th percentile and above) scores on the 9th grade math MAP test (National = 40%)

MAP Reading

  • 78% earned high (60th percentile and above) scores on the 10th grade reading MAP test (National = 40%)
  • 63% earned high (60th percentile and above) scores on the 9th grade reading MAP test (National = 40%)

MAP Language Usage

  • 68% earned high (60th percentile and above) scores on the 10th grade language usage MAP test (National = 40%)
  • 63% earned high (60th percentile and above) scores on the 9th grade language usage MAP test (National = 40%)

This means our students are scoring 20%-38% higher than what an average school would score nationwide. I am very proud of both our students and our teachers for their hard work and dedication to teaching and learning.

Here is how HHS compares on some other national tests:

  • 77% of our students get a 3 or better on AP exams (State = 61%, National = 61%)
  • Our students score 100 points higher on average than the nation on SAT scores (HHS = 1172, State =1106 & Nation = 1068)
  • Our students score 2 to 5 points higher than the national average on the ACT test

I have included some graphs of our results below. Please e-mail or give me a call if you have any questions about any of this data.

As always, I would love to hear from you. If you have ideas or suggestions, please drop by. If you can't make it in, you can call me at 907-235-4600 or e-mail me at dwaclawski@kpbsd.k12.ak.us.


Douglas Waclawski


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Senior Service Projects

Homer High School seniors will have put in over 3440 volunteer service hours by the end of this school year. We know students need more than just classroom experiences to be ready for life. That is why HHS requires students to put in 40 hours of community service in order to graduate. Many of these skills and relationships our students develop with our local non-profits will stay with them for a lifetime. This year alone, we have students helping at 34 non-profit organizations in the Homer area. If you are part of a non-profit that might like a high school volunteer, contact Chad Felice, Senior Service Project Coordinator (dude in charge) at 235-4675. We may have some students who can help.

This is a great program that helps strengthen the Homer Community, but don’t take our word for it. You can read an article in the Homer News from one of our seniors, Rylyn Todd, about her senior service experience. (You will need a subscription to read this article.) https://www.homernews.com/…/its-more-than-just-a-senior-se…/

In the above picture Stella is helping in Mrs. Todd's Kindergarten class. In the side picture Luca has helped coach Popeye wresting and Katie has helped with the Salvation Army.

HHS Wins Silver Medal for 8th Year in a Row

Homer High School has earned the Silver Award from the US News and World Report for 2018 for the 8th year in a row as one of the top schools in the nation! This prestigious award ranks us as one of the top 5% of schools in the country. We are proud of our students and how hard they work every day. Thank you Homer for supporting Homer High School!

Go to the link below to see the results yourself.


Why Buy A Yearbook by Sienna Carey

As a high school student, I frequently hear my parents talking about people they knew in high school, and having trouble recalling any specific details. They might remember a name but nothing else, or a girl who scored the winning goal in the state championships but nothing else. The human memory only stores information that is relevant to life now and all the rest eventually gets pushed out. Even though most people wouldn’t agree with the statement that high school is the best four years of their life, I think everyone has people and events they want to be able to remember.

The job of the yearbook staff is to create a book of memories for every student and staff member. Not only will the yearbook offer a unique look “Beneath the Surface” of life as a Mariner when distribution days comes around; in twenty years when you can’t remember the name of the guy who sat next to you in math, you will be able to pull your yearbook off the shelf and transport back to 2019 when you were a student at Homer High.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to purchase this record of our year. Yearbooks are on sale right now for $80. The price will increase to $85 on May 10th, so don’t delay. Yearbook order forms are available in the office and on the door to the yearbook room B203. If you have any questions contact the adviser, Ms. Bishop, or any member of the yearbook staff: Katie, Hannah, Brooke, Rylyn, Kelli, Kaitlyn, Katia, Annalynn, Sienna, Brianna, and Vianne.

Dates To Remember

Apr 1 - Big Booster Club Meeting 6:00

Apr 2 - Site Council Meeting 4:00

Apr 3 - Early Release Day--school out at 2:15

Apr 4 - Girls Varsity Soccer vs West Anch 4:00 / Boys at 6:00

Apr 5 - Girls Varsity Soccer vs South Anch 6:00

Apr 6 - Prom 8:00-12:00

Apr 9 - Girls Soccer vs SoHi--JV at 4:00, Varsity at 6:00

Apr 11 - Varsity Soccer vs N.Pole High--Boys at 4:00, Girls at 6:00

Apr 12 - Varsity Soccer vs Joe Redington--Boys at 5:00, Girls at 7:00

Apr 13 - Varsity Soccer vs Seward--Girls at noon, Boys at 2:00

Apr 15 - Grade Check

Apr 15 - HHS Spring Concert 7:00

Apr 16 - Boys Soccer vs Kenai--JV at 4:00, Varsity at 6:00

Apr 19 - Vacation Day--no school

Apr 23 - Soccer vs Nikiski--Girls Varsity at 2:00, Boys Varsity at 4:00, Girls JV at 6:00

Apr 23 - Softball vs Kenai--JV at 4:00, Varsity at 6:00

Apr 24 - Baseball vs Kenai--JV at 3:30, Varsity at 6:30

Apr 25 - Track with Kodiak 3:30

Apr 25 - Softball vs Palmer--JV at 4:00, Varsity at 6:00

Apr 25 - Girls Varsity Soccer vs Voznesenka 6:00

Apr 26 - Soccer vs Grace--Girls JV 1:00, Boys JV 3:00, Girls V 5:00, Boys V 7:00

Apr 26 - Softball vs Kodiak--JV at 4:00, Varsity at 6:00

Apr 27 - Softball vs Kodiak--JV at noon, Varsity at 2:00

Apr 30 - Softball vs SoHi--JV at 4:00, Varsity at 6:00

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Counselor's Corner

Get a JumpStart on college

KPBSD juniors and seniors can take local college classes at a deep discount and receive dual high school and college credit. Our local Kachemak Bay Campus is hosting a JumpStart open house Wed., Apr. 10th from 4:30-6:00pm in their Pioneer Hall building. Interested students and families are invited to hear about Fall offerings, to meet professors, and to learn more about the program.


The PSAT 10 will be administered at 9am April 9th in the HHS library. This is a good opportunity for sophomores who are planning to attend a 4-year college and who did not take the PSAT last October. To sign up, bring $20 to the counseling office. We have 30 tests and will close registration when we have 30 committed students.

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HHS AP Scores Soar

Congratulations to Homer High School students and teachers for the incredible gains in Advanced Placement scores over the last 5 years. HHS is now out performing national and worldwide averages by over 15 points. HHS is able to get these results even though over 40% of our juniors and seniors take at least one AP Class compared to larger Anchorage schools where only the top 10 to 20% of students take AP classes. This is a great example of our school improvement process at work.

Reminder for Seniors

Important dates for seniors:

Last academic day for seniors is Friday, May 17th. Any senior taking an online class must be complete the class before May 17th. Online teachers have been in contact with students about specific deadlines and other reminders. Parents, you may want to check with your senior if they are enrolled in an online class just to see how they are doing at this point.

Senior Service Projects should be wrapping up at this point. All seniors must complete 40 hours of community service. Check with Chad Felice if you have specific questions about this requirement.

Scholarships are updated daily in the counseling office and online at the district website/1stop portal. Many deadlines are fast approaching. The scholarship Awards Night is May 14th at 6:30 pm. Look for a letter, or telephone call if you are a recipient.

Mandatory graduation practice is May 22nd at 10:00 am.

Other happenings in Counseling Office:

AP Testing Dates:

AP US Gov—May 5th (8 am)

AP Chem—May 9th (8 am)

AP Psych—May 9th (noon)

AP Calc—May 14th(8 am)

AP Lang/Comp—May 15th (8am)

AP Compar. Gov—May 16th (8am)

Girls and Boys State: Applications are available for any junior interested in the great opportunity sponsored by American Legion. It’s a great way to learn about government, the political process, and build your high school resume!

Are HHS Students College Ready?

Are Homer High School students ready for college When they graduate?

Actually, many of our students are academically ready for college while they are still in high school. In fact, last semester 34 Homer High students took over 43 UAA college classes with a 95% pass rate while the UAA average pass rate is 70%. This semester 40 Homer High students are currently taking college classes at KBC.

You can review the UAA data at: http://www.thenorthernlight.org/estimated-5-million-spent-…/

It is good to know that the education our students are engaged in at HHS prepares them for college and career readiness even before they graduate from high school.

The student pictured is working in our SSL room and is currently taking US History and Accounting I at KBC.

HHS Communicates Using Facebook

Want to know what is going on at HHS?

Sometimes things change at the last moment and we can't call everyone. If you want the most up-to-date event schedules, start times, scores and last minute changes, like us on Facebook. Go to https://www.facebook.com/HomerHS/ and be sure to follow us. This is the most efficient way for HHS to post last minute details, school closures and more. We also post lots of the cool things our students and staff are doing.

See you on Facebook!

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Spirit of Youth Award

2019 Spirit of Youth Award Runners-Up

Congratulations to HHS Student Sophie Moran, Daisy Kettle and Ruby Allen for earning Runners-Up in the 2019 Spirit of Youth award in the Humanitarian Category. You can find the official write up at https://www.spiritofyouth.org/announcing-the-2019-spirit-of-youth-runners-up/ .

The write up explains: “As part of Ambassador Girl Scout 1935, Daisy Kettle, Ruby Allen, and Sophie Morin (Homer) worked with the Homer Food Pantry to stock dozens of backpacks with essential food items. In the 15-months since the program’s introduction to Homer High School, over 120 food bags have been stocked and distributed.”

These bags are available in the HHS commons for any student who needs food or is hungry. The program is anonymous and is another example of HHS high school students making a positive difference in their community.