Homer High-Lights

VOLUME 10, ISSUE 4, November 2021

Back to Basics

There are times when we need to remind ourselves of what is important. We sometimes call this, "going back to basics." When I do this, I go to one of my favorite books, "Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," by Robert Fulghum. This is a fun book that gives a different perspective on how to be a good person and get along in society. It explains how life would be much better if we followed the same rules that children are taught when they enter school. This is a good reminder for everyone, especially with COIVID-19 when we are challenged and might be out of sorts.

Here are a few of the things Mr. Fulghum says we need to remember:

  1. Share everything.
  2. Play fair.
  3. Don’t hit people.
  4. Put things back where you found them.
  5. Clean up your own mess.
  6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  7. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
  8. Wash your hands before you eat.
  9. Flush.
  10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  11. Live a balanced life — learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  12. Take a nap every afternoon.

My favorite quote from this book is, "When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together." We need each other and we need to support each other. We all are different and have different hopes and needs, but it is wonderful when we are there for each other.

Please, let's be kind and support each other in these stressful times. Let's make Homer High, our families and our community a place that comes together in tough times.

Despite all these challenges, I am optimistic about this school year. I want provide the best education possible even with COVID-19. Let me know if you would like to discuss what we are doing about COVID-19 or any other program at HHS. If you have suggestions or critiques, please contact me at 907-235-4600 or email me at dwaclawski@kpbsd.org.


Douglas Waclawski


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HHS Excel at AASG

Homer High School Student Council members have been attending the Alaska Association of Student Government (AASG) meeting on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 26 & 27, part of approximately 370 students from around Alaska who are meeting to discuss issues at the local, state, and national levels.

Neviya Reed (in her position as the Region 3 representative) has run all of the Region 3 meetings and HHS students have presented two resolutions (supporting School Dances at HHS and supporting recycling in the KPBSD) that were both approved by the AASG General Assembly.

They have done a outstanding job of representing Homer in this statewide conference!

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11/1 - Booster Club meeting 6:00pm

11/2 - Site Council meeting 4:10pm @Library

11/3 - School picture retakes

11/4 - Cheer awards ceremony 6:00 @Commons

11/6 - SAT testing 8:00am

11/11 - Veteran's Day-No school

11/12 - Wrestling Round Robin Rumble 5:00pm

11/13 - Wrestling Round Robin Rumble 10:00am

11/15 - Grade Check

11/18 - Hockey End of the Road Shoot Out 5:00pm

11/19 - Hockey End of the Road Shoot Out 5:00pm

11/20 - Hockey End of the Road Shoot Out 10:00am

11/23 - Wrestling vs Soldotna 6:00pm

11/25 - Thanksgiving- No School

11/26 - Thanksgiving Break - No School

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Cross Country Running Excels at State

The Homer High boys and girls cross country team exceeded expectation this years. The girls placed 3rd and the boys placed fourth at the ASAA State meet. The were lead by Erin Field and Seamus McDonough who both placed in the top ten. Both of these teams are young, so they will only get better next year. Good work Mariners!

Become a Substitute Teacher

Want to help youth in the Homer area? Consider becoming a substitute for area schools. Homer area schools are in desperate need of substitute teachers. When a school doesn't have a substitute when needed, students don't get the instruction support needed. These positions pay quite well. A non-certified substitute can make $185 dollars a day.

If you have questions about becoming a substitute teacher with KPBSD call Kristin Metz at 235-4600.

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Free School Lunches & Breakfasts

We have great news! Students who attend school in person will get free breakfasts and lunches for the entire school year. We are able to do this with grants KPBSD received. We are excited that every student who wants breakfast or lunch can get their munchies satisfied.

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U.S. History Scavenger Hunt

The pictures you see here are from the Modern Indigenous Cultures scavenger hunt in Alaska History. This was developed as an alternative to a traditional lecture as a way for students to get away from their desks and out of the classroom to learn. At each stop on the scavenger hunt, students learn about a different topic ranging from subsistence, land claims, civil rights, language, and education. Each stop requires students to take notes on the topic, investigate a document or online visual related to the topic, then study a clue at the bottom of the poster to find their next stop.

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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 an October 19th celebration. First quarter winners were (left to right):

• Mischelle Wells – nominated by Jessi Felice

• Mason Watson – nominated by Kyle Schneider

• Zachary Stevenson – nominated by Walter Love

• Karma Brame – nominated by Paul Story

• Tyson Walker – nominated by Jan Spurkland

• Kamdyn Doughty – nominated by Michelle Borland

• Jonah Martin (not pictured) – nominated by Alison Mall

• Julie Guess (not pictured) – nominated by Alayne Tetor

Buy Your Yearbook Now!

The 2021-2022 yearbook staff are hard at work creating a publication worthy of this year! Purchase a yearbook by October 14, 2021 and save $5.00. Regular pricing starts October 15 at $80.00.

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Want To Know What is Going on At HHS? Use Facebook!

In these uncertain times it is important to know what is going at at your child's school. Homer High School uses Facebook to communicate with parent and the community about events, emergencies, school closures, sporting events, Covid-19 details and more. Go to https://www.facebook.com/HomerHS/ and be sure to follow us.

Don't be left out about news and information you need. Like us on Facebook today.

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HHS Boot Award!

Congratulations to our Mariner Boot recipients, Michelle Borland and Sharon Gorman. Ms. Borland has worked tirelessly to to provide safe student activities and to put on our Homecoming Bonfire and Festival. Sharon Gorman is our school nurse who has amazing dedication in making sure we follow all COVID-19 protocols, testing, and working with parents. Thank you both for your dedication to Homer High and congratulations!

The legend of the Mariner Boot…..

It began in September of the year 2021,

To be given to a special someone.

Who in the eyes of another has gone above and beyond,

For our school, our students, our teachers or of who we are fond.

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HCOA & HHS Team Up To Replace Our Kiln

We finally got a new kiln for the school!!

Our old one was about 40 years old and in desperate need of replacement. Unfortunately, the dream kiln was going to cost us $45,000. Over the years, Ms. Tetor has wracked her brain trying to figure out how to fund a new kiln: grants, fundraisers, private donations or some other means. It just wasn't coming together.

Until we scored THE DREAM KILN, just slightly used within the community, for only $5,000! Thank you Homer Council on the Arts for the collaboration to help us get it!

Thank your borough maintenance for moving our old BEAST (kiln) out of here, and moving the new one in. It was pretty epic!

We can't wait to fire up the new kiln. Stay tuned for some beautiful pots made by our terrific students.

Counselor Corner - Paul Story & Lisa Fellows

Anchorage College and Career Fair – Nov. 14-15, 2021

For the 2nd straight year, this large-scale event will be virtual, and therefore available state-wide. Based on my experience last year, I would highly recommend this opportunity for meaningful engagement with multiple post-secondary options. I found the best benefits of this format vs. in-person to be the huge savings of travel time and getting the recruiters’ best pitch in a short amount of time.

There will be representatives from colleges/universities, community and technical colleges/trade schools, and the military. There will also be panel discussions on topics ranging from financial aid, to preparing for college, the “undecided journey”, and more. Check out this link or this flyer for more information and for how to sign up.

OneStop for scholarships and contests

Remember that the first pots of financial aid money are the FAFSA and “institutional aid” (See October’s HHS newsletter for more info.), but don’t forget about the KPBSD OneStop Scholarship Database. It is the place to go for regional- and state-wide scholarships, essay contests with cash prizes, and more. Check back often as more and more opportunities will be listed in the coming weeks and months!

Seniors and their families

Please look out for an Oct. 28 email from Desiree Smude about important graduation items. If you already replied to her original Oct. 1 email, thank you! If not, please get back to her. And senior parents/guardians, please consider helping make the graduation festivities special. See that email for more details.

Career Aptitude Test coming to HHS Nov. 19

The ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) is designed for 10th -12th graders to help identify the kinds of jobs in which they show promise. While primarily used by and for the military, students without interest in the armed services sometimes take the test because it’s one of the few career assessments that tests aptitude, rather than just interest. Some of the subtests focus on non-academic areas like electronics, automotive, “shop info”, and mechanical comprehension.

The test will be administered in the HHS library Fri., Nov. 19 at 9am. Students who test will be responsible for making up work they missed in their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd period classes. To sign up, simply email pstory@kpbsd.k12.ak.us .

Paul Story, grades 10-12 – pstory@kpbsd.k12.ak.us or 235-4685


Lisa Fellows, grade 9 – lfellows@kpbsd.k12.ak.us or 235-5716 (am), 235-4691 (pm)

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HHS Halloween

Every year HHS celebrate Halloween. This is a great way to have a little fun and create some school spirit.

College & Career Planning

College and Career Plannnig

We’re going into 11th and 12th grade classrooms this week to work on post-secondary planning. We’ll show students some tools to search colleges, the military, and trade schools. Students need family support to realize any of those options. So at home, please keep up that dialogue about life after high school and contact the counseling office for help.

Financial Aid

Figuring out how to pay for college or trade school is a big challenge that requires both students and their families to be “all in”. Here is how I’d recommend you prioritize:


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid becomes available October 1st for the 2022-2023 school year. It is the key for seniors to access need-based grants, work study, loans, and the Alaska Performance Scholarship.

2. Institutional Aid

The vast majority of scholarship money comes directly from the school to which a student ultimately attends.

Some schools integrate their scholarship application within their admission application. Others have a separate scholarship application. If you’re not sure or if you just want to verify you’re being considered for all eligible institutional scholarships, visit the school’s web site or contact their financial aid office.

3. KPBSD OneStop scholarship database

This site lists scholarships that have been vetted by KPBSD counselors in an attempt to highlight those regularly won by our district’s students, including state and local awards.

4. Scholarship Search Portals

Web sites like Going Merry, Fastweb, Scholarships.com, and the Sallie Mae Scholarship Search lists thousands of awards. The challenge is sifting through the many promotional scholarships, which are essentially marketing tools, to find the awards that are legitimate and worthwhile. Use your judgment and contact the counseling office if you have questions.

Alaska Performance Scholarship – The APS is worth up to $4,755 per year at virtually any college or trade school in the state. To qualify, students must take additional academic coursework and meet minimum GPA and test score thresholds. Click the APS Scholarship icon in PowerSchool to see whether or not you’re on track.

Western Undergraduate Exchange – Through WUE, students from the Western U.S. pay 150% of in-state tuition at participating public institutions. This can represent significant savings compared to paying out-of-state tuition. Different schools/majors have different eligibility criteria and application processes. Cross reference the WUE web site and the individual school’s.

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KPBSD COVID-19 Mitigation Plan

  1. Masks The district highly recommends all students and staff to wear a face covering while indoors. The district will follow local and state health authority mandates regarding face coverings. All visitors and volunteers must wear a face covering when indoors during the academic school day. When the exposure risk increases, and other engineering controls are inadequate, masks are available and provided to minimize transmission exposure. Signs identifying CDC recommendations for vaccinated /non-vaccinated individuals are posted.
  2. Symptom Free Protocol The purpose of this protocol is to provide a learning environment that promotes the safety, health and welfare of our communities. This applies to students, staff, parents and guardians, volunteers, and any school visitors. A person should stay home if exhibiting any of the following: any signs or symptoms of illness, taking the first 24 hours of antibiotic treatment, and/or have an undiagnosed, new and/or, untreated rash or skin condition. People entering KPBSD schools are asked to screen themselves and their children before entering any facility. Link to KPBSD Symptom Free Protocol
  3. Physical distancing (e.g., including use of cohorts/pods) Physical distancing of 6 feet will be encouraged while working and learning with others in the building. KPBSD has maximized the available space to allow for maximum distancing to minimize potential exposure.
  4. Handwashing and respiratory etiquette Proper handwashing and respiratory etiquette signs have been posted, taught and modeled for our students and staff.
  5. Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation KPBSD facilities have had bipolar ionization systems installed, and the custodial staff have been equipped with HOCL and electrostatic sprayers to improve the efficiency of building sanitization.
  6. Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments The KPBSD Health Services Coordinator will continue to monitor daily COVID percentages, attend local and state health updates and provide professional development and training to site based and itinerant nurses as necessary. Link to Close Contact Guidelines
  7. Diagnostic and screening testing KPBSD has provided testing capability and training for every school in the district. Antigen screening is available to students and co-curricular participants. All positive results are immediately verified by a molecular test. The district has either the Cue or Abbott ID Now devices available at each site.
  8. Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible The KPBSD has partnered with local health entities to provide vaccine clinics in KPBSD site facilities and has 9/17/21 KD provided information to staff, students, and parents about the clinics and locally available vaccines. AK Department of Health and Social Services Vaccination Page
  9. Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies A variety of options are available to accommodate children with disabilities. The accommodations can be but not limited to providing additional engineering controls including additional social distancing space, barriers and personal protective equipment.
  10. Sports and Activities Daily symptom check for athletes and coaches, weekly antigen testing (no symptoms/no exposure), antigen testing will depend on travel destination, COVID Return to Play, Before or After Activity Best Practices, volunteer screening. For the health and safety of student athletes and coaches a 12-foot buffering zone from spectators will be in place. Best practice is to place athletic teams on one side of the gym and spectators on the opposite side as gym space allows.
  11. Transportation Per the US DOT mandate for public transportation, face coverings are required for all bus passengers travelling to and from school and for all co-curricular activities.

KPBSD COVID Universal Masking in a school (4/5 of these metrics will trigger a conversation with the site admin)

  • School Community Positivity 3%
  • Student Absenteeism 25%
  • Local and Regional Hospital/ICU Capacity
  • Community Red Risk Level (# cases per 100K)
  • High Staff Absenteeism Rate and Impact

Other factors to consider:
  • Bus Routes • Spreader Events
  • Site ability to physical distance

Continuation or removal of a two-week mask requirement:
  • District looks at data on day 6-7-8-9 of original 2-week mask requirement
  • School Community Positivity 1% or less
  • Student Absenteeism 25% (i.e. # of students close contact)
  • Local and Regional Hospital/ICU Capacity
  • Community Spread Red Risk Level (# cases per 100k)
  • High Staff Absenteeism Rate and Impact

Process to determine if required masking should continue:

  • Administration continues to monitor data if numbers are high or approaching high
  • District Office Admin starts conversation
  • Decision is made to continue or remove 2-week mandate
  • Review school data on Day 6-9 of 2 week mask mandate
  • District Office admin and principal monitor, discuss data (looking at trends)
  • Day 9 tentative decision is made with a final check-in with school admin on Day 10 to verify no new information is present
  • Communication process is initiated with school stakeholders