Homer High-Lights

VOLUME 7, ISSUE 6, March 2019

Principal's Message

It is budget time again. It seems like we have been talking about difficult budget issues for years now and it doesn't seem to get better. In fact, this year it got worse for KPBSD. The governor has proposed a 25% cut for schools. This would be a cut of $21 million dollars for the KPBSD. This would mean a reduction of at least 8 teachers at Homer High School and many teachers at each elementary and middle school in town.

My job is to not get into politics or debate the value of budget cuts. My job is to give you the facts and then let you decide what to do. The fact is, if these proposed budget cuts go through, HHS can't provide the community or our students the quality of education that you are used to receiving.

With at least 8 fewer teachers we will have to cut or severely limit programs including art and music. We will still have art and music, but fewer sections. This also means having classes of over 30 students and limited electives.

With the size of budget cuts proposed it will also mean fewer custodians, aides, secretaries, stipends for clubs, sports travel and more. In fact, everything will have to be looked at and that includes cuts to sports programs and even pools.

I don't want people to panic, but you do need to be aware of what is going on in the state budgeting process. I have attached a flyer that the district has sent out to the public with e-mail addresses of your local representatives. We won't know what this actually looks like until the budget is finalized. When we get a sense of what is going to happen at the state level, the Site Council will be reviewing how HHS will handle these budget cuts. This is a process where the Homer public will be able to comment on what you want our school to look like after these cuts.

I want to apologize to the public for continually having to deal with adversity when it comes to our budget. It is unfortunate that our parents and community have to deal with the added stress, but we don't get to determine how the State funds us.

Site council meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month in the Library at 4:00 pm. The next meeting is on 3-5-19. See you there.

As always, I would love to hear from you. If you have ideas or suggestions, please drop by. If you can't make it in, you can call me at 907-235-4600 or e-mail me at dwaclawski@kpbsd.k12.ak.us.


Douglas Waclawski


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Summer Opportunities

Summer opportunities for higher education

Many universities and educational organizations offer summer experiences for students interested in certain careers and/or in getting a preview of a college experience. These programs vary widely in their cost (from free to expensive) and in their selectivity (from highly competitive to “come one come all”), but they all require a little research and some advanced planning. Below is a small sample of what is out there:

  • ANSEP – The Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program promotes college readiness, particularly in STEM fields. Native and non-Native students may apply. Application deadline is Dec. 7th for current 12th graders and is March 1st for current 8th through 11th graders. http://www.ansep.net/high-school/high-school . This program is free!
  • RAHI – The Rural Alaskan Honors Institute invites motivated rural (Homer counts as rural) and Native Alaskan 11th and 12th graders to apply for a 6-week program on the campus of UAF. Students live in dorms and earn 8-10 FREE college credits. Application deadline March 1st. https://www.uaf.edu/rahi/
  • College Quest WWU – One week residential programs on the campus of Western Washington University in Bellingham. Application period begins February 1st. https://ee.wwu.edu/collegequest
  • Stanford High School Summer College – 8-9 week residential program. Early Decision application deadline January 16th, rolling admission January 17th – May 15th. https://summer.stanford.edu/program/high-school-high-school-summer-college
  • Cornell Summer College – 3-6 week residential programs. https://www.sce.cornell.edu/sc/index.php
  • NYLF - National Youth Leadership Forums are 1-2 week residential experiences held on college campuses across the country and give participants in-depth looks into specific careers of interest. https://www.envisionexperience.com/


Our accreditation visit was a success again this year. Thanks to all the parents and students who agreed to be interviewed by the accreditation team. We couldn't have done it without you. I also want to thank our staff for all their hard work and dedication. We have a great school and it is nice when people from outside our community can see this first hand.

The whole point of the accreditation process is continual improvement; the process tells us how are we doing and where we can improve. Here are some of the takeaways from their visit:

  • We have a great environment at HHS
  • Students are known by staff
  • We have a positive culture
  • We have a lot of data, but we need to take this to the next level
  • We should review our mission and purpose in a meaningful way each year
  • There are awesome things that are happening in the classroom

Our ELEOT scores were much higher than the average nation-wide. ELEOT is an observation tool to see what students are actually doing in the classroom. This data supports our high test scores and our positive culture.

Here are our actual ELEOT scores compared to the average scores. Our scores are in bold and they use a 4 point rubric.

Equitable Learning Environment 3.08 – 2.66

High Expectations Environment 3.30 – 2.81

Supportive Learning Environment 3.71 – 3.05

Active Learning Environment 3.17 – 2.95

Progress Monitoring and Feedback Environment 3.26 - 2.76

Well-Managed Learning Environment 3.64 – 3.11

Digital Learning Environment 2.74 – 1.88

Dates To Remember

Mar 5 - Site Council Meeting in HHS Library 4:00

Mar 5 - Music in the Schools Concert - 7:00

Mar 8 - First day of Spring Break for Students / End of Quarter / Teacher Inservice

Mar 9 - SAT Test 8:00 am

Mar 18 - School resumes after Spring Break

Mar 20 - Grade Check

Mar 22 and 23 - HHS Choir Spring Production Performance 7:00

Counselor Corner

News From the Counseling Office


HHS will be offering the PSAT 10 for sophomores who want to get some extra practice for next year’s “real” PSAT (which is the entre point for the National Merit Scholarship competition). The test will be given on Tuesday, April 9 in the library. Students receive very important feedback and data when the tests are returned. This information is available to all testers, not merely those with high scores. The cost is $20 (students who need help with the fee can check with the counseling office). Remember that HHS has had at least one National Merit Finalist for the past decade.

Last ACT and SAT of 2019 school year fast approaching

The registration deadline for the April 13 ACT is Friday, March 8th. Visit actstudent.org to register.

The registration deadline for the May 4th SAT is April 5th. Visit sat.org/register to register.

Spring Break

March is a great time to visit campuses in the Lower 48. If you find yourself visiting relatives or vacationing near a campus, arrange for a tour. Whether it is a school your student is interested in attending or not, it’s good to start getting a feel for a variety of schools, large and small. It’s also great for younger brothers and sisters to go along. The data tells us that older siblings have the greatest impact on college choices (more than counselors and parents).

AP Classes and Testing

HHS is pleased and proud to offer a selection of AP courses. Not only do students receive excellent instruction and learn important study tips but also many students will be awarded college credit for these classes taken in high school (as well as high school credit and a grade boost for each class taken). AP students are expected to take the final test in each AP class they take and the final grade boost is contingent on taking that test.


All graduating seniors should be aware that many local scholarships are available now. The KPBSD website features many on their 1Stop portal, while others are available in the counseling office. Students should plan to take the opportunity to peruse the files to find opportunities that may fit their needs and abilities. These scholarships represent money that has been earmarked for deserving seniors. Remember—like so many things in life, you can’t win if you don’t enter!

Cleaning out your garage/crawlspace/closet? If you find that you have used caps and gowns that are no longer needed, please consider dropping them off to the high school so deserving graduates can use them.

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Mariners On the Move

Each Homer High faculty member selects one outstanding student per year based on scholarship and character. Honorees, their families and the nominating teachers attended a February 12th celebration in the HHS Library. Third quarter winners were (pictured left to right):

· Rylee Doughty – nominated by Mr. Felice

· Alia Bales – nominated by Mr. Waclawski

· Ali McCarron – nominated by Mr. Spurkland

· Ksenia Kuzmin – nominated by Mrs. Nelson

· Alicia Bianchi – nominated by Mrs. Hudson

· Kara Super – nominated by Mr. Simondsen

· Emma Sulczynski – nominated by Mrs. Taylor

· Bergen Knutson - nominated by Ms. McCutcheon

Personalized Learning

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HHS Personalized Learning Initiative

Our personalized learning initiative is progressing nicely. We had our first Learning Walk in January. A learning walk is when a group of HHS teachers and Ed-Elements people observe classes and see how we are personalizing learning for our students. The data from our first learning walk was very impressive. Of course, we are still working on this and improving. We have another learning walk in April and we expect continuous improvement.

You can see some of the feedback we received from Ed-elements on our Personalized Learning Initiative below.

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HHS Communicates Using Facebook

Want to know what is going on at HHS?

Sometimes things change at the last moment and we can't call everyone. If you want the most up-to-date event schedules, start times, scores and last minute changes, like us on Facebook. Go to https://www.facebook.com/HomerHS/ and be sure to follow us. This is the most efficient way for HHS to post last minute details, school closures and more. We also post lots of the cool things our students and staff are doing.

See you on Facebook!

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School Year 2019-20 Class Registration

Mrs. Hampson and Mr. Story have been visiting classes the last two weeks to review students’ graduation requirements and to help them register for their preferred courses next year. If the governor’s February 13th budget proposal is adopted, HHS won’t be able to offer many of the courses for which students have registered, and class sizes may be prohibitively large to run labs in the science classrooms or in the shops. We are forging ahead hoping we can maintain the breadth and depth of class offerings by our outstanding faculty that have, along with our tremendous student body, made Homer High one of the very best high schools in our state. If the described changes don’t sound like the outcome you desire for your student, please let your state legislators know your opinion.

Our course offerings and linked descriptions are available on the Homer High web site: (See picture 1 above)

If you would like to see what courses your student has requested for next year, log into PowerSchool and follow this link: (See picture 2 below)

Following this link will show you your students’ requested semester courses in no particular order, as that process comes later. Please initiate any desired changes to your student’s counselor (current 10th and 11th graders to Mr. Story; 9th graders to Mrs. Hampson) no later than March 22nd.