The Scoop

Chugach Optional Elementary Newsletter - May 2023 Edition

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Message from Joel

Chugach Families,

Here we are heading into the final month of the 2022-2023 school year, and I would just like to say it has been a privilege getting to know all the wonderful students and families this year. Along with this being a fantastic year, we are saying goodbye to both Teresa and Yuki as they pursue other priorities in life. Both of them will be dearly missed next year. For upper students, we were lucky to be able to hire Kris Hinrichsen, who comes to us from the Chinook Open Optional Program. Kris is also a parent of one of our current kindergarteners, so he comes to us with an optional background and has experienced our school's values and philosophy as a parent (and now a teacher).

The job posting for our school secretary position is on the ASD website and is open to applicants within and outside of the school district. If you or someone you know would like to apply for the position, please encourage them to do so. I hope to fill this position by the end of the school year, but the process may go into the summer.

Also, if you have been following any of the local news lately, you will have noticed a large increase in the use of Fentanyl both here in Anchorage and in the Valley. Specifically, the Anchorage School District has had ten high school students experience overdoses in the last month. Five of those ten were within the past two weeks. In response, ASD has provided principals and nurses with some information to share with families regarding the dangers of Fentanyl. I have asked Nurse Maya to share some of the information and links to some of the videos in her section of this issue of The Scoop. Please take some time to review the literature and videos and decide if you would like to share this with your child(ren). The target audience for some of the videos is for 6th-12th grades, but there are videos that would be age appropriate for younger students. One of the scariest things about Fentanyl is that young school-age children can mistakingly take pills that contain Fentanyl. These pills look like candy (bright colors, similar look, and size to Skittles), so I feel, as a parent myself, that this would be a topic I would seriously consider sharing with my son if he were still school-age.

As many of you know, if you have been to any of the last few CAM meetings, Chugach Optional, as well as all elementary schools, needs to make sure our overall school has a 25:1 student-to-teacher ratio. This does not mean that all classes will be at a 25:1 ratio. Some will be less than that number, some will be at that number, and some may be slightly over that number. We will not have the large class sizes that you currently see in neighborhood schools, but it does mean that I need to increase our student population. To do that, I will not only need to accept more students in during the lottery process, but I will need to also go through our waitlist and possibly the fall lottery as well. This will also mean that I cannot have class lists developed and ready until July or early August. Please be patient with this, and know that the front office staff and I will work with teachers to make student placement is equitable and try to honor parent suggestions.

Lastly, Chugach Optional will be having our front vestibule and office redesigned over the summer. This is part of the school district's plan to update all elementary school’s secure entrances. We are hoping this will be completed by July 25th, but there is a good chance that the project timeline will be extended. If that is the case, we will use the 12th Avenue entrance until our front vestibule is completed. I will keep you all posted on this issue.


Important Dates in May

May 1 - Track Practice (3:00pm)

May 2 - Sonic Boom Concert (7:30pm @Alaska Airline Center)

May 3 - Bike to School Day!; Band/Orchestra Concert (8:30am in Gym); Track Meet (4:30pm@Chugach)

May 4 - Casey/Kate's Family Group Musical - The Pirates of Penzance - Shows at 10:30am & 6:00pm

May 5 - Middle Group Medieval Fair

May 8 - IGNITE Middles Field Trip (11:30am); Track Practice (3:00pm)

May 9 - Kindy Field Trip (Jihee/8:30am); Community Assembly Meeting (5:30pm)

May 10 - Kindy Field Trip (Else/8:30am); Track Meet (4:30pm@Chugach)

May 11 - Teresa's Family Group Musical - Into the Woods - Shows at 10:30am & 6:00pm

May 12 - EARLY RELEASE DAY (11:15am)

May 15 - Volunteer Breakfast (7:50am);Track Practice (3:00pm)

May 16 - Kindy Bike Day (8:10am)

May 17 - Track Invitational Practice (3:00pm)

May 18 - Last Band/Orchestra class; Susan's Family Group Musical - Willy Wonka - Shows at 10:30am & 6:00pm

May 19 - Primary Field Day (12:45pm); Invitational Track Meet(4:00pm @Mears Middle School)

May 22 - 6th Grade Celebration (1:00pm)

May 23 - Students Last Day of School; Upper Field Day (10:00am); Primary Bubble Arch (2:00pm)

Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast

We couldn't do what we do without the support from you!

Chugach staff wants to celebrate our family volunteers.

Please join us on Monday, May 15 from 7:50-8:45 in the MPR.

While you will be enjoying your celebration, your children will be enjoying time playing outside.

We look forward to celebrating you!


Chugach Staff

Heart of Gold Top School!!!

Congratulations to our school for the high honor of being recognized as a Heart of Gold Top School! We raised the most money in the entire State of Alaska for our Kids Heart Challenge event! We helped make a difference in helping save the lives of people in our community, across our state and throughout the Nation! I love the generosity of our Chugach community!

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Online registration for returning ASD students opened on April 25th and will be open until August 18th. If you know your student will be returning to our school, please register them for the coming school year as soon as possible using your Parent Connect account. There will be a link to register your student under the "ASD Quick Links" tab.
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You will know you have succcessfully registered your student for 2024 when the message in your "ASD Quick Links" tab turns to green.
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If you know for sure you will not be returning, please let the front office know so that more seats can be made available to incoming families through the lottery.

From the Nurse

Fentanyl Awareness

In the ASD Connect April Edition, the district shared that ASD has partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Alaska Response Project to develop an outreach plan for students and families about what they need to know about Fentanyl. All ASD schools, including Chugach, have been provided with Narcan, a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. Our front office team is trained on the signs of opioid overdose and how to administer narcan if such an emergency were ever to occur on our campus.

In March, Chugach students completed their Substance Abuse Prevention unit in health class. Although fentanyl is not specifically included in the Great Body Shop curriculum, students learn about drugs, medicine rules, refusal skills and more (see here for K-6 specifics). Specific fentanyl awareness education is currently happening in middle schools and high schools, with age appropriate curriculum starting at grade 6. On May 5th Katie, our health teacher, Joel and Maya will be sharing the video Natural High - Fentanyl PSA Film (approved for 6th grade) on the dangers of fentanyl followed by a thoughtful conversation with our 6th graders. For grades K-5, our hope is that families have conversations about medication safety, not taking medication without adult permission/supervision and to never pick anything up from the ground (sidewalk, playground, etc..) that looks like a pill or candy.

How to have family conversations around the seriousness of Fentanyl:

The following resources are available to help parents and caregivers have open and honest communication with their children:

Download the DEA flyer

Watch the film Dead Upon Arrival

Garden Club Plant Sale

Garden Club will be having their PLANT SALE May 3rd, 4th and 5th after school at the front of the building. Depending on availability, we may also have a sale on Wednesday, May10th. Plants will be $2-$4 cash only. Proceeds go to the care of the chickens, seeds and potting soil.

@ Our Library

Time to return library books!

May 5th is the last day to check out library books. While this doesn’t feel very ‘love of library’ for me, I do need two weeks to find all of the books that have not been returned…yet. If a student needs to finish a book and is unable to return the book by May 5th, I will absolutely work with each student on a plan.

Thank you for supporting your child in finding and returning library books. On my Clever page, there is a video on how to look in the library catalog for checked out books. There are bonuses for using the online catalog: *being able to see the cover of the book, *saving paper and trees, and *supporting our students being in-charge library users.

If your student is unsure of their ASD username and password, I can help!

ASD Clever Guide

Missing a library book?

If a library book is missing and/or needs to be replaced, please use the following guide to help you: Missing a library book plan If, for whatever reason, you are unable to replace a book, please connect with me and we will make a plan. I feel very strongly about the following quote:

“schools … can make it easy and unrisky for children to take books home … by worrying less about losing books to children and more about losing children to illiteracy.” Richard L. Allington

APL Summer Discovery Program

On May 2nd, a Lousaac librarian will be sharing information about the APL Summer Discovery Program with our students. Studies show how important it is that students read year-round! Since students will not have access to Chugach Library, please make a plan to visit our public libraries this summer. What a great way to support the love of reading!

Please connect if there is any way I can support!

Many thanks!


Bike to School Day

Students and staff will be celebrate Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 3. This includes bikes, scooters, skateboards, unicycles, tricycles, etc..! Since we are not a neighborhood school we can drive somewhere closer to our school and bike from there, like the park strip, Valley of the moon park, or City Market for example. Any student that bikes that day is put in a drawing to win a new bike! There will also be reflectors, stickers and zipper pulls available in the morning for all participants! Remember your helmets and follow the biking rules of the road! The Municipality of Anchorage Safe Routes website has maps that can help families plan for this event.
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Super Sweepers

City-Wide Clean Up Week!

This past week, the Chugach Student Council began distributing orange trash bags. Families interested in cleaning our city after what’s been a very long winter, please look for a table in the hallway each day after school. Bags and disposable gloves will be available until Friday, May 5.

● Each filled orange trash bag earns 1 raffle ticket.

● Families will have until Friday, May 5th to drop off filled trash bags at Chugach. There will be a BIG sign by the green dumpster.

● Families that want to continue beautifying our city throughout next weekend, will just need to dispose of the bags themselves.

● To earn a chance at winning a Fred Meyer gift card, please let Heidi (Student Council Coordinator) know the number bags your child filled, no later than Monday morning May 8th.

● The winner of the drawing will be announced at the end of the school day Monday, May 8, 2023.



This month we would like to say a special THANK YOU to Lauralee for all her hard work on the "Chugach's GOT TALENT" show and to all our brave performers who put on a wonderful show!

In addition, this month we want to send a THANK YOU out to Polly and ALL the Chugach Optional kids for the Community Service they have been doing to help clear the track of snow and ice at Central Middle School! From Kindy to Uppers, everyone pitched in so that the track is available to use sooner than expected. Central Middle School also called to extend their THANK YOU!

FRiendly REminders


  • All students arriving after 8:15 am must sign-in at the office to avoid the truancy robocall
  • If your child is going to be out of school for the day please contact the office before 9:30 am at 907-742-3730
  • More details on Attendance can be found here

Parent/Visitor Sign-in

  • All parents, visitors, and volunteers who are going to be in the school after 8:30 am need to sign in at the office.

Parking Etiquette

  • Please refrain from parking in any of the "RESERVED" parking spots, the fire lane or the loading area. We know parking is tight but for safety and courtesy reasons these areas/spots must be respected. Chugach families are welcome to park at the New Hope Church across the street and in the Municipal EOC parking lot but please do not park in their reserved parking areas and be mindful of your speed at all times.

Outer wear

  • It's spring in Anchorage! Please encourage your student(s) to dress appropriate for the day's weather conditions.


The Chugach Optional Office is open from 7:30am - 4:00pm every school day. We can be reached at 907-742-3730 or by email at