Susitna Elementary News


January 12, 2017

Volume 4, Issue 5

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 -

Welcome back to school! I hope your holiday celebrations were enjoyed by all, and that you had some relaxed time together! After a number of family emergencies this fall (two sibling-in-law funerals and my mom's three broken legs) and trips home to help, I am sooo glad to be back for the second half of the year. In the midst of my own family health issues and the leave I took in December, I was reminded how lucky I am to have a family I cared about. I took some family things for granted, but no longer. I appreciated once again growing up in Duluth, MN, and was awed by the huge ore boats coming and going into the Port of Duluth off the Great Lakes. I appreciated Scandinavian cookies and singing Christmas songs in Swedish and Norwegian. I was reminded again and again that what makes our world wonderful is the diversity of our cultures and experiences. Susitna is indeed a lucky place to have children from so many different backgrounds! I welcome the opportunity to be back with the laughter, hard work, and open hearts of our students. I know time will pass quickly now - the light is coming back and we are already counting the weeks until spring break. Let's dig in, work hard, get smart, and be kind. Let's not take anything about each other for granted, and let's celebrate our richness! Welcome back!

Diane Hoffbauer

Upcoming Dates of Importance


13th - Quarterly Student Recognition Assemblies in the afternoon MPR

2:00-2:30 pm K/1 & 1, 2, and 2/3

2:45-3:15pm 3, 4, and 4/5

- Basketball Game @ Susitna vs Gov't Hill 3:45pm - 5pm

- Family Movie Night 6:30pm in the Gym BYOC

16th - Martin Luther King Day NO SCHOOL

19th - Choral Jubilee Performance @ West High Auditorium 7pm (meet at 5:30pm)

20th - Optional Community Susitna Winter Soup and Stew (aka sledding night) 6pm

- Basketball Game @ Baxter 3:45-5pm

21st - World Tribal Music Celebration. (See flyer below)

23rd - Spelling Bee 10 am in the MPR 3-5th grade

- 5th grade Battle of the Books District @ West High 3-5pm

24th - Family info night for ALICE 6-7pm in the Library

25th - 3/4th grade Battle of the Books District @ West High 3-5pm

27th - K/1 Optional Program Learning Lunch 11:40-12:30pm in the classroom

- Basketball Game @ Susitna 3:45-5 pm vs Trailside

- Popcorn Friday


1st - Nominations for BP Teacher's of Excellence due

3rd - Basketball Game @ O'Malley

- Kaladi Art Show

7th - School Tours, 9:30 am,

-PTA Meeting

14th - School Tours, 9:30 am

15th - Read with the Aces hockey team

17th - Popcorn Friday

19th - Susitna goes to the Aces game 3-6pm Sunday

21st - School Tours, 9:30 am

22nd - 23rd - Spring Book Fair/ Parent Teacher Conferences

28th - School Tours, 9:30 am and 6 pm

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Northern Journeys

Susitna Elementary School has been selected to participate in a project entitled, Northern Journeys. As part of it, Susitna will have four student teachers working as a cohort with Ms. Bates, Ms. Hughes, Ms. Lothrop, and Ms. Mott this semester. The goal of Northern Journeys is to help new teachers infuse arts and culture into their teaching, and as a part of this project, Susitna will be hosting an arts assembly, arts presenters in the host classrooms, and a two-week artist in residence. We are excited to see what this brings to our school!

Musical Notes

Congratulations to Susitna singers for a great concert! Next performance is the Choral Jubilee on Thursday, January 19, 2017, at West High Gym starting at 7 pm. Participants must be at West for rehearsal at 5:30 pm. Wear black and white performance clothing.

Honor Choir starts this week for our five Susitna representatives: Lia Yang, Michaela John-Baptiste, Brooke Shaffer, Daisy Carlson and Genika-Marie Valdehueza. Rehearsals are at Central from 4:15 pm - 5:45 pm every Thursday. Congratulations ladies - we are so very proud of you!

3rd-5th grade music students are beginning a recorder study. Students should start bringing their recorders to school on music days. Miss Vanderpool will have some for purchase in a couple of weeks - look for order forms!

Our school won the lottery to borrow 10 African Drums from the ASD this quarter. All grade levels will be studying drumming and incorporating drumming into other music skills.

Talent show is coming up quickly! Permission slips to try-out will be coming home in the next two weeks. We look forward to seeing all your creative and unique talents!


Susitna Music

Healthy News

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Junior Native Youth Olympics

Permission slips are going home this first week back at school. PE teachers will send them home after their class.

1st and 2nd graders meet on Mondays from 3:30 pm - 4:15 pm starting January 23rd, and the competition will be on a Sunday.

3rd - 5th graders meet on Wednesdays from 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm. Their competition will be on a Friday for 5th graders and Saturday for 3th-4th graders. Practices will start January 18.

Any questions please contact Kristi Therriault.

Kristi Therriault

JNYO Coach

News from the Librarian

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Congratulations to 3/4th grade Battle of the Books participants. Weston Todd, Isabel Robinson, Dylan Beals, Alec Jackson, Josie Barton, Cyrus Warren, Liam Cleary and Saniah Reynolds. They will have their district battle at West High in the afternoon of January 25, 2016.

Ms. Heather

2/3 Optional Teacher

Congratulations to the following fifth grade students who will be attending ASD's district Battle of the Books! They are Nick Brandal, Rachael Blankenship, Felicity Marvin, Michaela John-Baptiste, Quentin Kirkpatrick, Evan Vernon, Genika-Marie Valdehueza and Lia Yang.

Let's wish them well as they compete against other Battle of the Books teams on Monday, January 23rd.

Madeline Mott

5th Grade Teacher

Susitna Elementary


Go Susitna!!!

Nurse Station



This newsletter went out earlier in the year, however, it was suggested at a staff meeting that the letter be sent out again. Lice are still an issue at Susitna and are likely to continue to be for the remainder of the year. Please reiterate to your children not to share hats or combs, etc. In the attachment are two handouts that are part of the ASD forms library. If you have any questions about the lice policy or a questions about treatment, please contact me, the school nurse at 742-1401. Also, if your child is found to have lice or nits (the eggs), I have a supply of treatment shampoo at school and can give it out until it is gone.

ASD updated the guidelines relating to head lice (pediculosisi) in 2014. These guidelines are based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Centers for Disease Prevention (CDC) the Harvard School of Public Health and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN).

The AAP and the NASN both recommend that schools discontinue "no-nit" policies, which require that kids be free of nits before they can return to school. Furthermore, the CDC says that "students diagnosed with live head lice do not need to be sent home early from school; they can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun."

In other words, there is no reason to become alarmed if lice and/or nits are spotted on a child’s head. Precautions need to be taken to ensure that the child does not share personal items or come into head-to-head contact with classmates. However, lice do not jump from one person to another and do not pose a health risk, especially after treatment has begun to eradicate the problem.

What’s Behind these Recommendations?

♣ There has been no evidence that keeping children with nits or lice out of school has lowered the rates of lice infestations.

♣ Children who miss school can fall behind on coursework.

♣ Misdiagnosis is common. In many cases children who were thought to have lice after being examined by, parents, school nurses and others -- and thus sent home from school—were found to actually have dandruff or harmless particles in the hair.

According to the School Nurse Health Manual:

♣ The presence of nits does not indicate active infestation and no evidence is found that the presence of nits correlates with any disease process

♣ Lice are not highly transferable in the school setting

♣ No outbreaks of lice have resulted from allowing children with nits to remain in class.

I know that finding nits in your child’ hair can be very disconcerting, however, having nits or the live lice does not indicate uncleanliness. Nits are just a simple childhood annoyance that almost all children (especially girls) have during childhood at time or another. Also, it is not part of ASD protocol (or that of most school districts) to notify parents if one child has lice. (We do not want to take the chance of singling one child out who might be fairly readily identified). If lice are a big problem, affecting multiple children in the classroom, then notification of parents is a feasible course of action.

Please contact the nurse with any questions, concerns or the need for treatment resources. I will be glad to help you in any way I can.


Nurse Anne

Susitna Elementary School Nurse

Direct line – (907) 742-1401

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Health Class


During the month of January, in health classes the students will be focusing on healthy habits in relation to proper care of their lungs, heart, teeth and the importance of recognizing when our bodies have health problems. It’s important for students to treat others with respect and empathy when there could be a possibility that other students in their classes or around the school could be dealing with health related problems.

Art around Town

Optional Coffee and Art

Optional 10th Annual Art Show will be at Kaladi Brothers on Friday, February 3, from 4:15 pm to 7:30 pm. This years theme is Alaska and all proceeds of art work sales will go to the Children's Hospital. Come spend the evening enjoying a hot beverage and creative student work. Check out one example below.

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Student Council and PTA News

Hello, all!

Here is an announcement from PTA regarding yearbooks. Due to Anchorage School District Policy any child without a current signed media release document will not be submitted into the 2016-17 yearbook. The media release document is available in the office between the hours of 8am - 4pm.

Family Movie Night THIS FRIDAY January 13, 2017. Angry Birds PG is the title of the movie.

Gym opens at 6pm and the movie starts at 6:30pm. Pizza slices, popcorn and water for sale, $1.00 each. BYOC - Bring your own chair

Student Council and PTA have teamed up to do monthly popcorn and special spirit days.

Monthly Popcorn/Special Spirit Day (PJ Day) will be Friday, January 27

Looking ahead:

Another joint endeavor by Student Council and PTA is our Spring Fling Carnival on Friday night, April 7. Classes are invited to run a booth. More info to follow!

It is not too late to join PTA! Click the link to go to the website to sign in.

Thanks You!

Susitna PTA

Student Council

Ms. Jennifer

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District News

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Susitna will again be participating in Project Ki'L, an ASD educational grant which will empower Alaska Native students in grades K-5 for success. It has a strong emphasis on cultural responsiveness, social-emotional learning (SED), and effective teaching strategies. Our activities will have an academic focus (especially math), while preserving and furthering Native cultural elements. Staff members will receive professional development by experts in Native culture and languages, and SEL, gender-based strategies. While the project has a boy focus, girls can also attend. Please watch for more information coming soon!

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BP Teachers of Excellence Nomination


The Alaska BP Teachers of Excellence program recognizes teachers from throughout Alaska for their dedication to teaching and for inspiring students. Since the program launched in 1995, hundreds of remarkable teachers have been recognized by their peers, students, parents and community members as BP Teachers of Excellence.


November 2: Nominations accepted
February 1: Nomination period closes
March 30: Winner notification


Nominations can be received for teachers in every community in Alaska. Teachers will be recognized in 5 regions: Anchorage, Fairbanks, Mat-Su Valley, Kenai Peninsula and outlying areas.


We are currently accepting nominations for the 2017 BP Teachers of Excellence. Click here.


Anyone can nominate a teacher - students, parents, community members, administrators and fellow teachers.


Each BP Teacher of Excellence receives a $500 gift card and an award certificate. An additional $500 is awarded to the winner’s school or PTA group.


Winners will be notified by March 30, 2016. If you nominated a winning teacher, you will be sent an invitation to attend the award ceremony. The list of winners will be announced on the website in May.

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Visit and Tour an ASD School

Feb.7th - 9:30 am

Feb. 14th - 9:30 am

Feb. 21st - 9:30 am

Feb. 28th - 9:30 am and 6:00 pm

Community News


World Intertribal Music Celebration

Saturday, January 21, 2017


FREE admission sponsored by Target and Art Works - National Endowment for the Arts.

They've got groups joining us from Denmark and Juneau, Intertribal drumming and dancing, and more! Guided tours, demonstrating Native artists selling their beautiful work, short Alaska Native films, and a drumming and dancing workshop in the Mabel Pike Education classroom. Be sure to share with friends! Attached is the flyer in PDF form for print and JPEG for social media sharing.

Link to Facebook event:

Link to Twitter:

Please direct questions and concerns to Michelle Trefon at the Alaska Native Heritage Center:

Language Project Intern and Cultural & Education Admin. Assistant

D: 907.330.8042 | C: 907.538.9799 | M: 907.330.8000

Alaska Native Heritage Center

8800 Heritage Center Drive

Anchorage, AK 99504

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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 Paramo

School Business Partners