Homer High-Lights

Volume 3, Issue 6, January 2015

Message from the Principal

Welcome to a new year and a new semester. We had a great first semester and our students excelled once again. We had 77 students with a 4.0 GPA and 102 with a 3.5 or better.


We are very proud of our students and we love to recognize their great work whenever we can. This year we will hold our evening Parent-Teacher Conferences in the commons. Of course, this event will be much more that just Parent Teacher Conferences. We will have student work on display, the band and choir will perform, our production art class will screen their best work and our counseling department will present college prep workshops to parents and students.


Remember, my office is always open and I appreciate hearing your opinions or suggestions. My goal is to be responsive to what our parents and community want and need. Please give me a call or come in and chat.


Sincerely,


Douglas Waclawski

Principal

Dates To Remember


Jan 6 - Site Council Meeting - 3:45 pm in Library

Jan 13 - Basketball vs SOHI - Games start at 3:30 pm

Jan 15 - Hockey vs Palmer - 7:30 pm

Jan 16 - Hockey vs Colony - 7:30

Jan 16 - C-Team Basketball vs Kenai - 3:30 pm

Jan 17 - Hockey vs Wasilla - 7:30

Jan 19 - No School (Vacation Day)

Jan 19 - JV Basketball vs Nikiski 3:00 pm

Jan 20 - Hockey vs SOHI - 7:30

Jan 22 - C-Team Basketball vs Ninilchik - 3:30 pm

Jan 24 - JV Basketball vs Nikiski - 3:30 pm

Feb 2 - Site Council Meeting 3:45 pm in Library

Feb 4 - Early Release - Students leave at 1:45

Feb 5 - Parent Teacher Conferences - 8:30-11:00 am & 12:00 - 3:00 pm

Feb 5 - Evening Parent Teacher Conferences - 5:00 - 8:00 pm in Commons

Feb 6 - Parent Teacher Conferences 8:30 - 11:00 am (by appointment only)

Feb 9 - Athletic Grade Check

Winter Parent Teacher Conferences

It is almost time for the Winter Parent-Teacher Conferences. This year we are going to combine conferences, college planning workshops for parents, student art, work and performances in the commons again this year. Last year this was a great success and I have had several parents personally ask that we do it again this year.


Like last year, teachers will be in the commons from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm on February 5th. Choir and band will be performing in small groups and the production art class will be presenting student-created videos for entertainment. Art and student created work will be displayed and snacks will be provided.


Our counseling department will provide workshops for planning for the college application, FAFSA and applying for scholarships. A schedule of all the events will be sent out a week in advance of the date.


We will still have traditional Parent-Teacher Conferences in the morning of February 5th. Parents can come to talk to teachers from 8:30 to 11:00 am and from 12:00 to 3:00 pm. Parents can also call teachers and schedule appointments on Friday, January 6th from 8:30 to 11:00 am.

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Homer High School is 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 and 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.

ALICE Training Comes to HHS

ALICE training will be coming to Homer High School starting this year. ALICE is a new, researched-based program to prepare our schools for armed intruders on school campuses. While we hope we never have to use this information in a real-life situation, we must make sure our students are trained and have the tools they need that could be the difference between life and death.


For more information I have included a KPBSD News Release from August on ALICE training and several newspaper articles that have been published about this initiative in the past year. Of course, if you have questions about this program feel free to call me the school at 235-4600 and ask for the principal. I will be glad to answer any questions you may have.


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Swing Choir Finds Their Groove

The Swing Choir wowed the crowd during the annual Candlelight, Carols and Dessert (CCD) fundraiser. A packed crowd enjoyed over an hour of Christmas Carols and way too many desserts. The choir ended with a boisterous rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" which is a fan favorite.
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WorkKeys Testing Coming Soon

  • When: Wednesday, January 14th from 11:45am-3:15pm (during 4th, 5th and FOL)
  • Where: Computer Labs B102 & B109 (refer to reminder to find assigned lab)
  • Who: Juniors & Seniors who have received a paper reminder and are not taking the SAT or ACT as a graduation requirement
  • What to bring: **Bring a calculator!!!

This announcement is for students notified January 6th that they are scheduled to take the WorkKeys online test next Wednesday, January 14th. Please report to your assigned computer lab at 11:45 am sharp! This test, which has sections in Math, Reading, and Locating Information, will last approximately 3-4 hours during 4th period, 5th period, and FOL. Your absence from these classes will be excused.


Please note: Your participation in WorkKeys testing is a requirement for high school graduation if you do not plan to take the SAT or ACT. If you have any questions, please see Mr. Story or Ms. Calhoun in the counseling office or Ms. Remsen in B-206.

Counselor Corner

FAFSA Help Is On The Way

For many reasons, the idea of filling out the FAFSA seems to be a frightening prospect to parents. In truth it’s pretty easy and the good news is there is help to be had in the process. In February HHS will be partnering with KBC to hold an instructional session for parents and students. Dean Sundmark from the college is an old hand at this and he has a great presentation that will answer many of the usual questions. He will also be available to answer any individual concerns and guide parents and students through the process. Right now we are planning for February 8 at 2:00 but we will be getting more information out soon. Mark your calendar and make a list of questions!


Summer Opportunities for Students

Many colleges and universities offer summer classes of varying durations for high school students. A family may not feel like Ivy League schools are in the future but a two-week intensive might be a possibility. Most programs have scholarships available and Alaska students are often in demand. Call the counseling office for more information if you are interested. HHS students have had some incredible experiences in the lower 48 taking everything from math to fashion design and leadership to marine sciences.


Parent/Teacher Conferences

The counseling staff will be available to meet with parents during conferences. No appointments are required so stop in with any questions you might have for your student’s counselor.


Junior Testing Season

As part of Alaska’s new high school graduation requirement, 11th grade students and families must select one of three College and Career Readiness Assessments to take in the spring. Every HHS 11th grader will test on one of the following dates, depending on what s/he signed up for. If you don’t remember which test you identified, contact Paul Story at 235-4685 or at pstory@kpbsd.k12.ak.us.



  • Jan. 14 – WorkKeys Career Readiness Assessment – 11:45 am at Homer High
  • Jan. 24 – SAT – 8:00 am at Homer High (bring printed admission ticket)
  • Feb. 7 – ACT – 8:00 am at Homer High (bring printed admission ticket)
  • Feb. 8 - FAFSA information Session
  • March 3 – ACT – 8:30 am at Homer High
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New School Calendar of Events

Over the years we have gotten lots of feedback from parents and the community that our online school calendar needed to be improved. We have investigated and tried several products and have finally found something that works. You can find all school sports, music, Site Council meetings and more at http://homerhighschool.blogs.kpbsd.k12.ak.us/wpmu/calendar/ .

School Goals

Each year Homer High School creates a school improvement plan and develops school goals. We want parents and the public to know what we are working on. To do this I will report on one of our goals and give you more details about what we are doing and why.


The goal I will be discussing this month is 60% of all Homer High School seniors will qualify for the Alaska Performance Scholarship.


Here are just a few of the action items we are implementing to meet this goal.



  • Fall 2014 communication to parents from principal in newsletter about APS
  • Fall 2014 English Department provides 10th graders with AK Performance Scholarship Information
  • Fall 2014 Counselors will mail all 11th and 12th graders who do not currently qualify for APS and explain what they need to do in order to qualify
  • Create Senior and Junior Checklists
  • Progress towards the APS will be mailed out to parents at the end of students’ Junior year.
  • All student schedules will be based on earning the APS
  • Students will not be allowed to take a free period if they don’t qualify for the APS. (Parent meetings will be required to have this waived)
  • Develop test prep FOL's for ACT, SAT, and Workkeys



This is not an exhaustive list, but meant to give you an idea of what we are trying to do to help improve our school.


Below are the other 2 school goals:



  1. Increase freshmen who pass all of their classes by 12%.
  2. Increase FOL participation by 10%.

KPBSD School Delays and Closure Policy

Winter hasn't made it to Homer yet, but I am sure it will at some point. When it does, we need to be ready for inclement weather, school closures and delays. In the case of a school closure or delay at HHS you can get this information the quickest from our Facebook page or the District Facebook page. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/homerhs. You can also get this information from our local radio stations or the district webpage. We will not be able to post this information on our school sign or the High School webpage.


KPBSD School Delays and Closures

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is committed to school safety, and educating every student.


When the decision is made to close or delay the start of school for two-hours, an involved process takes place before the decision is communicated. Additionally, if a school make-up day is necessary, several factors contribute to determine the date for one or more make-up days of school.


Timing of the decision is crucial so we can notify transportation before busses begin their routes, employees head to work, and students and families prepare for a school day, potentially waiting at bus stops.


The decision to close school for the day or institute a two-hour delay start is the responsibility of the Superintendent of Schools.


If school remains open, and you as a parent do not believe it is safe for your child to travel to school, use your best judgment to determine what is safest for your child. Please notify the school if your child will not attend.


Here is the process that is used to Determine if KPBSD will close or delay the opening of school by two hours:


Standard decision process


1. Assistant Superintendent gathers information, beginning as soon as accurate information is available. Consultation and assessment includes:



  • District transportation personnel
  • First Student Transportation
  • Alaska State Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Alaska State Troopers (AST)
  • Central Emergency Services (CES)
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management (OEM)
  • Homer Electric Association (HEA) and utility providers
  • Weather services
  • Onsite school district employees



2. The Assistant Superintendent contacts the Superintendent of Schools to update about specific conditions and to offer a recommendation for a two-hour delay start or school closure.

3. The Superintendent of Schools makes a final decision.

4. School principals are contacted with the decision and supporting information*

5. KPBSD district office will communicate and post school delay or closure and subsequent updates to:



  • KPBSD website home page: www.kpbsd.k12.ak.us
  • Local media including: radio stations, television stations, newspapers
  • Facebook: Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
  • Twitter: @KPBSD



*KPBSD may be briefed with information that helps to determine that a two-hour delay start will result in school being in session for the day. At other times, the two-hour delay allows time to assess the evolving conditions, before making the decision to close school for the day. If the roads are impassable due to inclement weather, a two hour delay will give road crews additional time for sanding and plowing. Updates are posted as soon as decisions are made.


How-to calculate a two-hour delay start time


  • Add two hours to normal school start time.
  • Add two hours to normal bus pick-up time. Thus, students are picked up two hours later than the normal scheduled bus pick-up time.
  • KPBSD employees arrive two hours later than normal work-day morning schedule.
  • Schools will dismiss at the normal time unless announced otherwise.



Make-up Instruction Days

If school is closed for the day, a make-up day must be scheduled. KPBSD does not build additional days into the annual calendar for potential inclement weather or school closures that may or may not occur.


  • A make-up day is generally scheduled on a vacation day, or after the official school calendar ends in May. One day is built into the calendar and is often used as the first option for a make-up day.
  • Factors to consider when a make-up day is scheduled for one or more schools in KPBSD:
  • Coordinated bus transportation
  • Student nutrition services—breakfast and lunch programs
  • Staffing



A few facts


  • State law mandates a school term of 180 days with up to ten of these days used for teacher in-service.
  • Per state law, all students must attend school for the minimum of 170 student contact days.
  • KPBSD teaching contract is 188 days (also includes orientation days and 7 mandated holidays.)
  • Teacher in-service days are part of Professional Development and required by contract. Flexible work days are most often utilized at the front end of the school year (August) in preparation for the school year.

KPBSD Budget Meeting

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is

holding a Public Budget Meeting on Tuesday,

February 24, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. in the Homer High

School library. Everyone interested is encouraged

to attend. If there are questions, please contact

Lassie Nelson at 714-8838.