Chugiak Chatter

August 22, 2021

Welcome, Kindergartners!

Hello Chugiak Families,

We enjoyed a great first week back to school! It was a delight to see the students, noticing how much they've grown and matured over the summer break. Teachers and students learned new classroom and school routines, enjoyed being back to specials such as music, art, library, and PE, and launched our new math curriculum, Ready Classroom Mathematics last week. We will send more parent info about Ready Classroom Mathematics soon!

We are thrilled to welcome so many students back for in-person learning this year! A few grade levels saw larger-than-anticipated enrollment, and we are happy to share that we were allocated another classroom teacher for our Natiya program, as a result. Please join us in offering a warm welcome to Mrs. Katherine Ford who will be joining our primary teaching team this week. The reconfiguration of our Natiya classes means that a number of students will transition to new homerooms Tuesday morning, ready to get going with learning in their new environments!

We offer a huge round of thanks to the many PTO volunteers who made last Monday's back to school event possible. We appreciate each hot dog grilled and friendly smile shared! Thank you for helping welcome our community back to school!

We will again be all smiles on Tuesday morning as we welcome this year's class of kindergarten students to Chugiak! We loved seeing them for last week's Kindergarten Academy events hosted by our amazing kindergarten team and can't wait to see them in class this week. Thank you for all of your efforts, parents, to get the year off to a positive start for kids and teachers!


Heather Mildon, Principal

The Writing Revolution and Assessing America's Writing

Your Chugiak teaching staff is engaging in a multi-year professional development endeavor to study and apply research on effective writing instruction and advancing student thinking through writing using techniques from The Writing Revolution. Early results have been encouraging as students learn through explicit writing instruction to craft strong sentences that demonstrate their understanding of topics under study. Then, students are taught how to combine their sentences into strong paragraphs, and later, multi-paragraph essays. You might wish to explore The Writing Revolution site here.

The next step in this work is to launch a benchmark writing assessment to identify where students in first - fifth grades start and how their writing progresses through the year. We will assess student writing at Chugiak three times this year, in September, January, and May, looking for growth over time and the results will be shared with our parents. We are excited to be participating in the Assessing America's Writing project through No More Marking! You can find info here. Parent permission is needed for us to upload student writing into the system for scoring purposes. The company uses robust data control systems to protect our school information. More info can be found here.

For your child to participate in the writing assessment parent permission is required. You can print the permission form and return it to your child's teacher -- electronic forms to teachers' email accounts are encouraged! Thank you for returning your permission form before August 31 so we can plan for the September writing assessment!

Daytime Visitor Entry to Chugiak

Our signs arrived! Notice the two spiffy Chugiak Ram Visitor Entry signs located near the first crosswalk and the bus loop. These signs direct visitors to the loading dock door, our temporary front entrance while we await completion of construction Phase One. To enter during the school day, park and walk in front of the construction fencing around our new secure entry. Continue forward past the recycle bin then turn left at the end of the walk. Upon entering, turn left again to head to the front office. If you get lost, give us a call at 742-3400 and we are happy to assist.

Our third sign greets visitors near the entrance to the bus loop, reminding all that the loop hosts bus traffic only from 8:30 - 9:15 a.m. and again in the afternoon from about 3:00 - 3:45 p.m. Parents picking up students are welcome to park in the bus loop, which is near our temporary entrance, between about 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. for quick visits of about 15 mins or less. Thank you!

Early Pickup

Will you be picking your child up for an appointment during the school day? We are happy to share that visitors may enter Chugiak Elementary this year. Masks are required for all students and adults inside the school, even for brief periods.

Parents/Guardians may notify the office via phone of their arrival time and we will call your son/daughter to the office to meet you, where you will sign them out. Our number is 742-3400.

Students returning to school after appointments may sign themselves in at the office; there is no need for adults to enter to sign students in.

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Recess Fun!

Kids had a great time on the playground last week! Soccer, swings, Mouse on the Ground, the big toy, and cricket hunting were top on students' “to do” lists. Classes go outside for thirty-five minutes daily this year, so be sure your child is dressed for the weather! Puddle boots, umbrellas, and rain coats come in handy, so be sure to send them to school with your child.

Please mark all coats and umbrellas with Sharpie permanent marker on tags so we can return your child’s forgotten items to them. Thanks!

Label, Label, Label!

Grab your Sharpie pen today and label your child's gear and belongings so that we might return them to him/her if they are misplaced. Thank you!

Water Bottles Wanted!

Did you know that water fountain use at school is discouraged by health officials? As such, all students should bring a refillable water bottle to school, labeled with their name in permanent marker. Thank you!

National School Lunch Program

  • Breakfast is served 8:30 - 8:50 a.m. in Chugiak’s cafeteria.

  • Your child should report directly to the cafeteria door nearest our bus lane (also our Campfire door) if they are eating breakfast. From the drop lane, students walk in front of the construction fencing, past the new entryway and they will find the cafe entrance.

  • Bus riders will immediately disembark from their bus and enter for breakfast. On days we hold PE class in the MPR, breakfast students who arrive by bus will “grab and go,” carrying their meal to eat in class if there is an insufficient amount of time available to eat in the cafeteria. Please let us know if you have questions.

  • Students eat Lunch between 11:20 a.m. and 12:35 p.m., starting with K/1st and ending with 4th/5th. Students have twenty minutes in the cafeteria or in their classroom daily followed by thirty-five minutes outside.

  • Menus may be found online here.

  • Students buying milk may pay online through Q or must bring exact change. Milk is fifty cents per serving.

Morning Drop Off/Afternoon Pick Up

Chugiak’s drop off/pick up procedures are largely consistent with prior years. We have two traffic lanes as you enter our school grounds. The two merge into three lanes along our drop off/pick up curb, then back to two at the corner of the building where the playground begins. All lanes are one-way and the speed limit is 5 MPH. Please follow signage indicating where drop off begins and ends.

  • Morning Curbside: Active unloading only. Do not park curbside and wait for students to exit or use curb time to load bags and put on gear. Please pull forward to the forwardmost open spot. Yes, drivers may pull in front of your vehicle from the middle lane when space is available. Kids should have their bags and be ready to exit from the passenger side of the vehicle only. Students are not to exit from the drivers’ side into the middle drive lane. It is unsafe. Do not leave vehicles unattended curbside.

  • Afternoon Curbside: Active loading only. Do not park at curbside and leave your vehicle. Please pull forward to the forwardmost open spot as other cars exit. We strive to have students enter cars from the corner of the building forward, though boarding may begin at the start of our curb. Please follow staff guidance at all times; they may ask the name or grade of your student and radio to notify of your arrival. Drivers may pull in front of your vehicle from the middle lane when space is available. Students enter from the passenger side at the curb only; not on the driver side adjacent to the middle drive lane. It is unsafe.

  • Middle lane: Moving traffic lane; 5 MPH; No students exit or enter vehicles from this lane. Use the middle lane to pass cars unloading curbside and drive to open curb spots further down or to exit to the two exit turn lanes at the end of our lot.

  • Left lane: Moving traffic lane; 5 MPH; No students exit or enter vehicles from this lane. Use the left lane to turn left into our parking area and park or to proceed toward the two exit turn lanes as you leave Chugiak’s lot. Our school busses use the left lane to exit at the end of school; it should see a steady traffic flow.

Chugiak families living on bus routes are strongly encouraged to send their children to and from school on the bus during first quarter to alleviate congestion in our parking lot. Thank you for planning ahead with your morning routines so that students are able to exit vehicles promptly.

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Blue and Gold Fridays!

Show your school spirit every Friday by wearing Blue and Gold, our Chugiak school colors! Rammy will be looking for classes with a great turnout of school spirit each week!


Sept. 1 is our first Wacky Wednesday of the year! We are kicking it off with Yayoi Kusama Polka Dot Day - that favorite of our dear art teacher, Ms. Turner! Wear your polka dots on Wed., 9/1!

COVID-19 Updates

  • Thank you for keeping your child(ren) home if they show any symptoms of COVID-19 so as to not create a situation where classmates are designated as close contacts. See the flyer below titled "schoolstart" for more info. Thank you!
  • The closest ASD testing site for ASD students, staff, and household members is at Chester Valley in East Anchorage. Below is a pdf with instructions on how to make an appointment should your child need a COVID test.
  • Please send students to school with their face coverings, including a spare in their backpack. Thanks!

Lunch Dates!

In support of our goal of limiting student exposure, our cafeteria is not open to adult visitors at this time. This includes the Chugiak Cafe. We look forward to reopening the Cafe in the future and encourage families who would like to enjoy lunch with their children to pick them up for their combined lunch/recess period of 55 minutes then drop them back at school for their afternoon class. Please confirm your child’s lunch/recess period with their teacher.

Save the Date - XC Running Jamboree!

Our PE teacher team of Mr. Schweisthal and Mr. James have been taking PE classes outside where students experienced our XC running trail in the back field/wooded area. This is great practice for those who might wish to participate in the Eagle River area XC jamboree, scheduled for September 22 from 5 - 7 pm. Students run in heats and we will be there to cheer on any and all Chugiak runners!