Susitna Elementary News


October 5, 2016

Volume 4, Issue 2

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) twice 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

It’s almost time for our Fall Parent-Teacher Conferences (Oct. 26 – 27). This year elementary schools are using the same online scheduling application our middle schools use. You will receive a copy of the Parent Aid Sheet later this week and can schedule your conference time(s). To ensure we see ALL of our student’s families at conferences, teachers will begin calling parents who have not scheduled conferences after Monday, Oct. 17th. If you have any questions concerning conferences, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or the front office for help at 742-1400.

A reminder that ASD does not celebrate Halloween or allow costumes at school. This includes masks and hand toys. It is a safety issue and a distraction issue that we would like everyone to continue learning and then enjoy the evening with your family to celebrate the holiday. The days are getting darker and colder so please remember these safety in the dark suggestions.

  • Wear light colored clothes
  • Use reflectors on jackets or costumes for visibility so drivers can see the children
  • Walk on sidewalks and not in the center of the road
  • Walk in groups

We want everyone to have a safe and fun holiday.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, you can call, email, or drop by to talk with me.

Warm regards,

Diane Hofbauer

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Meet our Assistant Principal Mai Saevang

Hello and Nyob Zoo,

My name is Mai Saevang. I lead a busy life as we all do, as a wife and mother to my children. I am thrilled to be the Assistant Principal at Susitna Elementary School this year. I share time between Susitna and Williwaw Elementary School. Let me tell you a bit about myself. I grew up with six brothers and three sisters. I was born in the small country Laos. My family were refugees that moved to Thailand and then on to the United States, because my father was an American Secret Guerrilla soldier in the Vietnam War.

I started second grade in Las Vegas, Nevada, the state where my family first called home. Even though I could not speak English and was only in second grade, I already knew then, that I wanted to be a teacher. I started my career as an English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Assistant (TA) after graduating from high school. For 5 years, I taught all of the ESL students in the district, covering grades K-12. I decided to attend part-time college while working full-time as an ESL TA. Finishing my degree was taking too long, so I quit my job and attended school full-time.

I am proud to be the first generation and the first college graduate in my family. Outside of my school time, I like to spend time with my husband, children and to read. I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in education with an emphasis in mathematics from Concordia University of St Paul, Minnesota and a Master’s Degree in Education Administration/Director of Curriculum and Instruction. I also have a Bilingual Bicultural and an ESL Certifications from Edgewood College.

I have seven years of teaching experience, two years as an assistant principal, and five years as a school principal before coming to Susitna as an assistant principal. I am excited and look forward to work with Susitna’s wonderful families, students and caring staff. It is my commitment to do whatever it takes to prepare all of Susitna’s students for success in college, career and become great leaders of tomorrow.

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Parent Teacher Conferences

Conferences offer parents the opportunity to find out how their child is getting along with classmates, how they're progressing in school and what can be done at home to build upon strengths and overcome challenges.

Parents now have the ability to schedule conference times online. The Conference Scheduler will be available soon. We will send a flyer home when it is ready to start scheduling with your teacher. Scheduling early offers you the opportunity to secure conference times that work best for your family. Please visit the online scheduler at:

If you are unable to use the online Conference Scheduler, please contact your student's teacher via phone or email. Please call the front office at 742-1400, if you need assistance scheduling or getting contact information with teacher.

Upcoming Dates of Importance


5th - Basketball Permission slips due today

10th - Rick Riordan Book Talk 7 P.M. West High Auditorium

11th - 3rd - 4th Graders Basketball practice 3:30 - 4:30 P.M.

13th - 5th Graders Basketball practice 3:30 - 4:30 P.M.

18th - Picture Day

19th - Flu Vaccinations for those students who signed up during registration

21st - In-Service Day - No School for students and end of first quarter

24th - 27th - Book Fair in Library

24th - 27th - Red Ribbon Week

26th and 27th - Parent Teacher Conferences - Early release for students at 12:30

28th - Inservice day/Conferences - No School for students

31st - Subway Lunch Celebration and October Student Birthday Celebration


6th - Day Light Savings turn clocks back 1 hour

Susitna Big 5

Old Man Winter is fast approaching, so please make sure your student(s) are dressing for the cooling temperatures! Students go outside for recess every day, unless it is negative 10 degrees!! Thanks for making sure your student, whether they are in kindergarten or 5th grade is ready to safely enjoy our great outdoors with what we call the Susitna Big 5coat, hat, snow pants, gloves, and boots!

Musical Notes

Susitna Singers choir has started. We meet Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7:45 - 8:45 A.M. If you missed the permission slip and your child in 3 - 5th grade would like to join, please email

In music classes this month K/1 students have been continuing their study of pulse, the 4 voices, and tempo through games and movement. The 2/3 students have been learning about body percussion, simple chord borduns, and layering through the piece "Journey." The 4/5 students have been learning about Ostinati and borduns through "Going on a camping trip." They have also been creating their own repeated patterns using rhythmic building blocks and camping nouns, performing for the class in Rondo form.

Susitna Music

Susitna Learning Trips

4th Grade Overnight Field Trip

A Seward Trip Of A Lifetime!

This past week the neighborhood fourth grade students went to Seward for their first ever overnight field trip. As part of the every fourth grader in a National Park grant we were lucky enough to be one of a very limited group of students to head out on the adventure of a lifetime. We boarded our buses early with all our gear for our overnight adventure. We saw goats on the mountains and beautiful views from the bus on the trip down to Seward. We arrived at the Kenai Fjords National Park to explore Exit Glacier and discuss climate change as well as the water cycle. We really loved the awesome view from the top of Exit Glacier. When we finished up at the park we headed to the Sea Life Center where we got to explore all of the exhibits. The favorites were the touch tank and octopus. We took classes on bioluminescence and macro invertebrates. We finished up our night by sleeping in between all the birds and seals. We would like to thank our chaperones whom without this trip would not have been possible. Also the STEM department for securing the grant to allow us to go.

Ms. Therriault and Ms. Wilson

William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery

Ms. Dottie and Mr. Froehlich second graders started working on the unit Lifecycle of the Salmon. They will observe and study the lifecycle the whole school year. They started with visiting the Sport Fish Hatchery on Post road to see how the state of Alaska manage the salmon industry. They learned how many kinds of salmon and how to use their 5 fingers to remember what the names of the 5 species of salmon are. They finished at Ship Creek to harvest eggs from a silver salmon and use salmon milk to fertilize them. The fertilized eggs went back to the classroom to put into a fish tank to let them grow. The second graders will watch them hatch and grow. In the spring they will take the live salmon that have hatched over the winter and give them back to the biologists for release into our streams. Thank you second graders for taking good care of one of our states main resources..... the salmon.

Healthy Future Pictures for PE

We have a Healthy Futures bulletin board outside the gym and we would love to display pictures of students participating in sports, hiking, riding bikes, or any other form of exercise! We will be rotating the pictures on the board throughout the year. This is a great way to motivate kids to get physically active and be proud to show it to the entire school! If you’re interested, please send one picture that you don’t mind NOT getting back.

Thank you,

Mr. Putman & Ms. Malloy

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Physical Education News

After school basketball will start soon and permission slips have been sent home and are due to Mr. Putman by Wednesday October 5th. This is for grades 3rd through 5th. Practices will start October 11th for 3rd and 4th graders and are scheduled for Tuesdays. 5th graders will practice on Thursdays starting October 13th. All practices will go from 3:30 P.M. and finish at 4:30 P.M. Parents please have someone there to pick your child up no later than 4:30 P.M.

-Kudos to those students that attended the ASD North Running Jamboree. Susitna had over 100 kids participate in running club and over 40 attend the jamboree! We had fantastic helpers this year working with the Susitna runners during practice after school. Without parental help we would have had to limit participation. Thank you to everyone who helped make it safe and fun.


Chris Putman

Susitna PE

News from the Librarian

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Optional News

Harvest Time

Ms. Lucinda and Ms. B are busy with their k/1 class harvesting their front and back gardens. Children planted last spring and now get to harvest. This project shows children patience, caring for something, teamwork, and they practice their writing and predicting skills about what will come from the seeds they planted in the spring. The current 1st graders get to share with the kindergarteners the spring process. Fun and learning working together.

Attendance and Tardies

If your child has missed five or more days of school this quarter, or if s/he has been tardy repeatedly, you will be receiving a letter reminding you of the importance of getting children here on time every day. Absences and tardies can really impact your child’s progress. So, thank you for understanding and helping us with this. Remember, FREE breakfast is served in each classroom beginning at 8:45 daily, so students can come in, eat, and be ready for the 9 a.m. bell!


Our students continue to receive fresh fruits and vegetables each Tuesday and Thursday thanks to a USDA grant. It's part of a nationwide effort to increase student access to fresh fruits and vegetables in our schools. When sending in snacks for your child or the class, we ask that you try to send items that meet our ASD Nutrition Guidelines.

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Anchorage School District News

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Community News

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Anchorage School Board

Kameron Perez-Verdia - President

Tam Agosti-Gisler

Eric Croft

Bettye Davis

Pat Higgins

Kathleen Plunkett

Elisa Snelling

Superintendent - Ed Graff

School Business Partners