What’s Happening 11-04-19



Eligibility Grade Report
Gingerbread House
Challenger STEAM
Connections Kids Climb
Winter Wednesday – SeaLife Center

Please note the new format, all Connections students and families are welcome to join and participate in all area activities.

Did you know Connections is active on Social Media? Please take a moment to “Like” our Facebook page, and if you get a chance to share it with your friends that would be great as well! Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/ConnectionsHomeschool/

Homer: 226-1880
Seward: 224-9035
Soldotna: 714-8880


  • 11/05 – ALL CONNECTIONS OFFICES: Live Video Presentation: “Teaching with Testimony – Our Stories Are Stronger Than Hate” (more info below)
  • 11/08 – AVTEC Tour (more info below)
  • 11/15 – High School Eligibility Due
  • 12/13 – Semester Reports Due

Free Wednesdays at SeaLife Center:
November – February! 12pm – 5pm (see attached flyer for more information)

Check out our new link for Connections events! These are community events that Connections students may be interested in!

Central Peninsula: https://padlet.com/rbartolowits1/CentralPenConnections
Homer: https://padlet.com/dbynagle/HomerConnections
Seward: https://padlet.com/lhaskins1/SewardConnections

KPBSD Budget Development Meeting:
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District requests input from staff, parents, and community members at the districtwide KPBSD budget development meeting, scheduled at various locations throughout the district on Tuesday, November 12th at 6:00 PM. Please check here for specific locations: https://www.kpbsd.k12.ak.us/calendars.aspx

As new budget information becomes available, it will be posted here: https://www.kpbsd.k12.ak.us/departments.aspx?id=38. If you have questions, please call Natalie Bates at 714-8888.

Battle of the Books:
Calling all readers to our annual Battle of the Books club! We are looking for readers to join our Battle of the Books team. We will start meeting in November but students can get a jump start and begin reading the books now. Competitive teams are grades 3rd-12th. Here is the K-12 grade list: https://www.battleofthebooks.org/book-list/

Books can be found at the public library, some Connections offices will have copies that can be checked out, or you can purchase the books using allotment funds. Contact your advisor if interested in participating in Battle of the Books:

HOMER OFFICE: 226-1880

      Derek Bynagle middle school coach
      Cathy Wilmeth 3rd/4th grade coach
      Derek Bynagle 5th/6th grade coach
      Joanna Fonkert K-2 coach

The Homer office will have a BOB meet and greet on November 15th from 2-3pm at the Homer Bookstore.


      Wendi Dutcher 3rd/4th grade coach
      Kellie Davidson 5th/6th grade coach

The Soldotna office will have a BOB meet-and-greet on November 15th from 2-3pm.

All Connection Offices: Don’t be a Bystander to Hate:
Join our Connections Staff on this powerful Virtual Field Trip: “Teaching with Testimony – Our Stories Are Stronger Than Hate” on November 5th from 9am-10am. All 3 Connections Homeschool offices (Soldotna, Homer, Seward) will show a live video to give students the tools to counter bullying, prejudice, and the growing hate in our schools by listening to stories and testimonies that build empathy, understanding, and human connections. Students and families are encouraged to stay after the video for discussion and open dialogue. The content of the presentation is intended for students in the 5th-12th-grade range.
Some of the powerful voices of testimony will include:

  • Steven Spielberg: Founder of USC Shoah Foundation and one of the most prominent storytellers of our time
  • Eva Schloss: Holocaust survivor, speaker, and author as well as friend and posthumous stepsister of diarist Anne Frank
  • Samantha Grady: College student, musician, and Marjory Stonewall Douglas High School shooting survivor
  • David Kassan: Acclaimed painter whose artwork captures humanity and portrays the stories of Holocaust survivor
  • Please contact your advisor with any questions you might have about this event!

All Connections High School Students are invited to attend a free guided tour, lunch included, of AVTEC in Seward on Friday, November 8th. AVTEC offers a variety of educational programs such as Construction, Welding, Heavy Equipment Mechanics, Maritime Studies, Electronics, Culinary Arts and many other courses.

Please visit the AVTEC website at https://avtec.edu/ and take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the programs available. Lunch will be provided so please RSVP Reubin Payne at rpayne@kpbsd.k12.ak.us or call the Connections office at 907-714-8880.

WHEN: Friday, November 8th @ 10:00am
WHERE: AVTEC – 519 4th Ave, in the auditorium on the 2nd floor
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at this exciting event!

Challenger Learning Center – STEAM Ahead:
The Challenger Learning Center has revamped its STEAM Ahead program. Please see the attached flyer for more information.

Homer Office – SPARC activities every Wednesday from 1:30 – 2:30

• 11/14 – HOMER: STEAM Challenge Paper Roller Coasters (more info below)

STEAM Challenge Paper Roller Coasters!
Have you ever ridden a roller coaster? Have you ever wanted to design your own? In this project, you will make your own roller coaster out of paper and tape, and learn about roller coaster physics along the way! Families are invited to take part in a paper Roller Coaster Challenge. Students will learn about the roller coaster building process from building a foundation to building velocity. This session will allow students to make their own roller coaster to test on race day. Please sign up with Joanna Fonkert or Jake Parrett before November 12th.
Who: All 4-8th graders
What: Come join us in creating paper roller coasters. This class is not intended to be a one-day class, although there is some flexibility with our working session, participants should complete their coaster for our challenge on December 5th.
Where: November 14, 21, December 5th we will meet at the back office for working sessions for our coasters. December 12th we will host our competition at Islands and Oceans. If you cannot attend all sessions but would still like to participate, please contact Joanna Fonkert @ jfonkert@kpbsd.org or Jake Parrett jparrett@kpbsd.org. They can also answer any questions you have.
When: Thursdays 1-3 PM at the Homer office (Nov. 14, 21 and Dec. 5); Race Day December 12th
* Note: Race day Dec 12th: Competition will be at Islands and Ocean 1-3 PM

HOMER: Climbing at the Bay Club:
Who: Students in grades Kindergarten-12th grade
What: Learn to climb by certified belayers at The Bay Club Climbing wall. Climbing is a fun and exciting team building sport that presents both mental and physical challenges. It offers many opportunities for positive growth—whether you want to overcome a fear of heights, foster a sense of exploration, or gain strength to reach new heights, you will find rock climbing a rewarding and joyful pursuit!
Where: Bay Club on Kachemak Drive
When: Mondays from 2:30-5:30 starting November 4-December 16th (6 sessions)
November 4
November 11 NO CLIMBING (Day off Veteran’s holiday)
November 18
November 25
December 2
December 9
December 16
Why: A great way to get PE credits, stay fit, opportunities for positive growth, and learn climbing techniques
Cost: $13/session can be reimbursed after a session with student allotment. All costs include climbing shoes, harness, and chalk.

All participants will need to fill out a waiver EVERY session. Contact Joanna Fonkert with any questions jfonkert@kpbsd.k12.ak.us

Soldotna Office – Our organized gym time meets at the Kenai Recreation Center every Tuesday from 12-2pm. All ages are welcome, this activity is free and please remember to wear non-skid sole shoes. If you have any questions you can call our office at 714-8880.

Pictures are in! If you had pictures taken in Soldotna please stop by our office to pick them up.

• 11/05 – SOLDOTNA: Open Gym @ Kenai Rec Center 12-2pm
• 11/07 – Kenai Watershed Forum Elementary Program (more info below)
• 11/07 – Connections Outdoor Club starts today! (more info below)
• 11/12 – 11/15 – SOLDOTNA: Scholastic Book Fair 9-4 COME CHECK IT OUT!
• 11/12 – SOLDOTNA: Open Gym @ Kenai Rec Center 12-2pm
• 11/13 – Kenai National Wildlife Refuge – OWL PELLETS! (more info below)
• 11/15 – SOLDOTNA: Battle of the Books Meet and Greet 2-3pm for grades 3/4 and 5/6
• 11/15 – Central Peninsula School Picture Retakes @ Borough Building 3-5
• 11/19 – SOLDOTNA: Open Gym @ Kenai Rec Center 12-2pm
• 11/21 – Kenai Watershed Forum Middle/High School Program (more info below)
• 11/22 – Turkey Time! Lots of turkey-themed activities (more info below)
• 11/26 – SOLDOTNA: Open Gym @ Kenai Rec Center 12-2pm
• 12/05 – Kenai National Wildlife Refuge – PAPER-MAKING! (more info below)

NEW: Soldotna Office – Free Tutoring:
We are very excited to have Rebecca Weaver, Assistant Professor from the Kenai Peninsula College, at the Soldotna office every Thursday, starting September 24th, from 12:00pm to 2:00pm to tutor students and parents in math, physics, chemistry and science for free! If you are a parent or a student that needs help in any of these areas, please call us at 714-8880 to make an appointment.

Connections Outdoor Club:
Connections Outdoor Club is starting in November! We will meet the first and third Thursdays of each month at 11am. This is for all ages and skill levels. Here is a google survey link: (https://forms.gle/NgZDfo7p1mTG5z1NA ) for folks to make a few selections of activities and interest levels. Our first meeting will be on November 7 here at the Soldotna Connections office. At the first meeting, we will have a chance to introduce what the Outdoor Club is, allow families to give feedback and ideas, and we’ll also have a short outdoor club themed activity. We hope you’ll join us!

SOLDOTNA: Scholastic Book Fair:
November 12th – 15th from 9-4pm
The book fair that lasts a week, the memories that last a lifetime! Come join us at the Soldotna office: November 12-15 from 9am – 4pm for an Arctic Adventure Book Fair! From newly released books and bestsellers to award-winning titles and perennial favorites, there will be a variety of books to choose from. We will also have lots of activities and giveaways. Families who make a purchase will be entered into a drawing for a Thanksgiving dinner! Check out the interactive book flyer here:

It’s Turkey Time at Connections:
Trot on over to the Soldotna Connections office for some Gobbling Good fun on Friday, November 22nd from 1:30-2:30. Students will participate in turkey-themed crafts, stories, snacks and more. We look forward to seeing everyone!

Kenai Watershed Forum:
The Connections Homeschool program has partnered with the Kenai Watershed Forum to provide some exciting opportunities for our students this year. Your student can participate in lessons revolving around the healthy aquatic habitats on the peninsula. Students will have hands-on experiences with dissecting fish, collecting water samples, and much more. Please make plans to attend our Meet & Greet event on October 1st from 3:00-4:00 at the Watershed Forum office to learn more about the programs. Below is a schedule for the events planned for the 2019-2020 school year.

November 7th Elementary event (1-3pm)
November 21st Middle/high school event (1-3pm)
January 9th Elementary event (1-3pm)
January 23rd Middle/high school event (1-3pm)
February 6th Elementary event (1-3pm)
February 20th Middle/high school event (1-3pm)

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Activities:
Connections has partnered with the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to bring several FREE exciting activities to our homeschool families. Space is limited so please sign up asap with Kellie Davidson: kdavidson@kpbsd.org or call 714-8880 to reserve your spot:
• 11/13 – Owl Pellet Dissection from 1pm-3pm
Students are invited to participate in several exciting activities to learn about owls. The wildlife ranger will lead discussions about where owls live and how the survive in their habitat. Each student will dissect an owl pellet so that they may better understand what animals owls prey upon. Please sign your student up with their advisor as space is limited to 25 students.
• 12/05 – Paper Making – 2 sessions: 1:00-2:00 and 2:30-3:30
Families are invited to take part in a paper-making lesson. Students will learn about the papermaking process from the forest to the factory. This session will allow students to make their own piece of paper. Please sign your student up with their advisor as space is limited to 25 students per session.

• 11/05 – Virtual Field Trip “Don’t Be A Bystander to Hate” – When: 9am – 10am – 5th – 12th Grade Where: Seward Connections Office
• 11/07 – Free Wednesdays at the Alaska Sealife Center – Beginning November 7th 12PM – 5PM
• 11/08 – AVTEC Tour – When: 10AM Where: AVTEC – 519 4th Ave, in the auditorium on the 2nd floor
• 11/13 – SEWARD: School Picture Retakes @ Seward Middle School – Time TBD
• 11/18 – STEM Activity – Egg Drop Challenge When: 12:15 – 2:15 PM Where: Seward Connections Office Call Julie (224-9035) or Laura (224-9037) for more information

About Richard Bartolowits

Principal of Connections Homeschool Program Rich Bartolowits was born and raised on the Kenai Peninsula. He has been a KPBSD educator for more than 20 years. Rich enjoys fishing and has recently taken up kayak fishing for halibut and salmon. Rich joined the Connections' team for the 2015-2016 school year and continues to be impressed with the many great things homeschool families do as they take ownership of their children's learning.
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