Homer High-Lights

Volume 5, Issue 4, November 2016

Message from the Principal

We have had a great first quarter. Our students are doing incredible things, report cards are out and the weather is starting to look like fall in Alaska. I am always amazed by the dedication and hard work of our students in their classes and in extracurricular activities. We have already earned two state championship titles as a school.

While the 2017 school year is going great, we need to start thinking about the 2018 school year. There will be some changes next year that we will have to adjust to.

The first is that we will have a new two tier busing system in the Homer area. This may be an inconvenience for some families, but it could also be positive for HHS as a whole. One scenario for busing is for Homer High and Homer Middle School to start at 9:00 am and the elementary schools to start around 8:00 am. Research has shown that starting later can be helpful for older students' achievement. Of course, there are many details that we need to take care of before this happens. There is more information on busing given below.

The other area of change may come from looming budget cuts from the state. Since the legislature has decided not to do anything about dealing with low oil prices or diversifying state revenue, we may be hit with large cuts. The governor has asked school districts to plan to cut 20%, 10% and 3% from their budgets. Any of these proposed cuts would be devastating to area schools. Whether or not you believe adequate school funding is an issue, I suggest you contact your legislators and let them know your opinion about budget cuts.

We are always looking to improve and I would love to hear your suggestions or insights. You can email me at dwaclawski@kpbsd.org or call me at 235-4600. If this doesn't work for you, feel free to come into school and I would be glad to chat in person. We work hard to develop a positive and safe school environment, but we can't do it alone. If you know of a problem, please let us know.


Douglas Waclawski


Dates To Remember

Nov 1--Site Council Meeting 3:45

Nov 2--KPBSD Community Busing Meeting 6:00

Nov 5--Rotary Health Fair / SAT Test

Nov 8--XC Ski Meeting in Staff Lounge at 6:00

Nov 10--Wrestling vs Barrow 6:00

Nov 11--HHS Blood Drive

Nov 16--Football Banquet

Nov 17--End of the Road Shootout--Hockey 5:00 and 7:30

Nov 18--End of the Road Shootout--Hockey 5:00 and 7:30

Nov 19--End of the Road Shootout--Hockey 10:00 and 12:30

Nov 23--Early Release Day

Nov 24--Thanksgiving No School

Nov 25--Vacation Day No School

Nov 29--Wrestling vs Voznesenka 6:00

Nov 30--First Day of Practice for Basketball and Basketball Cheer

Bus Schedule Proposals for 2017-18

Changes to school start and end times will take effect August 2017.

Parents, KPBSD staff, students, and community members are invited and encouraged to attend a community meeting to learn about the three options for new school start and end times and provide input. The same content will be presented at each meeting:

  • Ninilchik: Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 6:00 PM, Ninilchik School
  • Homer: Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 6:00 PM, Homer High School
  • Anchor Point: Thursday, November 10, 6:00 PM, Chapman School

Following community meetings and feedback from community members, school principals met with district administration and staff to develop three options for new school start and end times in the southern peninsula. The preferred option from all school administrators is “X” (see chart below). However, two additional options were developed. Option “Y” adds ten minutes to start and end times, and option “Z” is most problematic as it swaps the start times and tiers schools without like needs.

Questions or thoughts to share? Please contact Doug Hayman, district facilitator, DHayman@KPBSD.k12.ak.us, 907.260.1345; talk to your school principal; or use this online public comment link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SouthernPeninsulaSchoolTimes

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PowerSchool App

Do you want to be able to track your child's progress at HHS via a PowerSchool App? I think we would all love that and now it is possible. There is a PowerSchool App. Just download the App to your phone and enter this code: FRGJ. Now you can get all the cool information from PowerSchool right on your phone.

Wrestling Is Tearing Up The Competition!

The Homer Mariner Wrestling team won State last year and it looks like that has only made them hungrier. They look motivated and ready to compete for another title this year. They have already earned Kenai and Homer Tournament titles and they don't look like they are going to slow down any time soon.
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2015-16 State Report Cards

Our State Report Cards for HHS have just been released. Our numbers are good, but don't really tell the true story of Homer High. We go into more depth in the High School Indicators of success in a different section of this newsletter. If you have any questions about the information below, e-mail me at dwaclawski@kpbsd.org, call at 235-4600 or come in person and we can discuss it.
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From the Nurse (Sharon Gorman)

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The Happy Advantage

Positive psychology studies what helps us thrive. According to Shawn Achor who researches happiness and productivity, we can change our brain patterns and have the happy advantage by doing 5 things every day.

  1. 3 Gratitudes—think of 3 things you are grateful for and write them down.
  2. Recall a happy moment in the last 24 hours—however small, think about it for 3 minutes or write it down
  3. Exercise—20-30 minutes
  4. Do a random act of kindness—it might be an email to someone you work with, making tea for a family member
  5. Conscious breathing for 10 minutes—let you brain concentrate on one thing and let your body deeply relax


Sharon Gorman, MS, RN

HHS Nurse

The Halloween Contest was a Scary Good Time!

AP Psychology

AP Psychology is a new class being offered at Homer High School. It will be taught by Amy Johnson, who is certified in Psychology through the State of Alaska. AP Psychology is a one semester class that mimics a college Introduction to Psychology class. Topics include Personality, Memory, Emotion, The Brain, Abnormal Psychology, Biological Bases of Behavior, and much more. Any student in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade may take it. Students do not need to have taken a General Psychology class, though if they have, AP Psychology will build much more on top of the knowledge from that class.

If you have any questions about AP Psychology, please contact Mrs. Johnson at AJohnson@kpbsd.org or 235-4667. If your student is interested, have them sign up outside the band room on the interest sheet or talk to Mrs. Johnson – she is available during 3rd period, lunch, and after school in the band room.

Do you see a vase or two faces with the attached picture? Why does your brain see both? It’s all part of Sensation and Perception!

High School Indicators

Our students excel in so many areas that it is hard to report or assess everything that they do and have accomplished. We know that using just state assessments is a very poor way to assess a school. We like to take a more holistic approach to measuring our success so we use nationally acceptable benchmarks to see how we stack up to the rest of the country.

You can see how we did in 2016 below.

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US News & World Report has Listed Homer High as a Silver Award Winning School!

The list of top schools in the country, as reported by US News & World Report, is out and Homer High is among the top in the country again! HHS was awarded the Silver Medal for being in the top 5% of schools in the country. This award is based on AP, AMP, SAT and several other indicators. Go to http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools for more details.

Homer should be proud of our students, our teachers and our school. We continue to excel on state and local assessments, but most importantly, we help your child grow up and become wonderful citizens.

Counselor Corner

College and Career

A number of students have begun asking about scholarships. At this time, the priority is on choosing the colleges or technical programs where the student hopes to attend. Tied to the application process is the request for financial aid. The institutions of higher learning can potentially be the source of significant financial assistance far beyond most individual scholarships. At the same time, scholarship programs often want to know where a student is applying before considering their request.

Students applying out of state, especially to public colleges and programs, need to be aware that there is limited financial aid designated to non-residents and that early application to such schools needs to be done as early as possible. Some students will be applying for early action or decision—usually by early November.

These students should be reminding teachers and counselors about deadlines for letters of recommendation and setting up accounts with parchment.com so that they can have transcripts and tests scores sent to their college choices. Any student planning to attend AVTEC next year should be applying now since classes, especially the more popular ones like welding and culinary fill up quickly. AVTEC also requires students to take the TABE test administered at Kachemak Bay Campus. The bottom line is to apply now and request to be considered for financial aid before tackling most individual scholarships.

Please feel free to call or visit the counseling office. Counselors can meet with parents after hours if they know ahead of time, so call and make an appointment with your student’s counselor if you have questions or need guidance during this very complicated and time-consuming process.

Lin Hampson, Counselor for grades 10-12

Paul Story, Counselor for grade 9

Future Dates to Remember

Nov. 1—Visit from UAS (Juneau)

Nov. 5—SAT

Dec. 3—SAT (Register by Nov. 3 at sat.org/register)

Dec. 5 –College visit Linfield College

Dec. 6 --ASVAB testing

Dec. 10—ACT (Register on-line by Nov. 4 at www.actstudent.org)

We Want You to Follow HHS on Facebook!

We want to be able to give you instant up-to-date information about what is going on at school. This can include emergencies, sports scores, as well as dates and times of events. To stay tuned to what is going on at Homer High, "like" us on Facebook. The address is www.facebook.com/homerhs. Join close to 600 other people who have liked HHS on Facebook and the over 2000 people who view our Facebook posts.

Visit the Homer High School Website

Are you wondering when sports teams have home games? Do you have a senior who needs paperwork for their senior service project ? Do you want to see agendas and minutes from our site council meetings? Check out our school website to find answers to these and other questions.

The address is http://homerhighschool.blogs.kpbsd.k12.ak.us/wpmu/.

You can access PowerSchool from our website and weekly activities as well. There are lots of great links and valuable information about Homer High School. If you have suggestions for things you would like to see on our website, please talk to Mr. Waclawski.