What’s Happening 11-12-19




Eligibility Grade Report
Gingerbread House
Challenger STEAM
Connections Kids Climb
Winter Wednesday – SeaLife Center
Kenai Fjords Marine Tour

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


  • 11/15 – High School Eligibility Due
  • 12/13 – Semester Reports Due
  • 05/04 – Kenai Fjords Marine Science Explorer Tour – Please Contact Julie Lindquist for More Details jlindquist@kpbsd.org or (907) 224-9035 (more info below and see attached flyers for details)

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!

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 jumpstart and begin reading the books now. Competitive teams are grades 3rd-12th. Here is the K-12 grade list: https://sites.google.com/view/akaslbattleofthebooks/home

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.

Challenger Learning Center – STEAM Ahead:

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

Kenai Fjords Marine Biology Tour:

The goal of the Marine Science Explorers Program is to provide students with an exceptional learning environment, to help students understand and appreciate the marine ecosystem in the Gulf of Alaska and inspire interest in Marine Science. During the five-hour cruise, we explore beyond the surface of the water. Students are introduced to sampling techniques and lab activities as they investigate seawater and plankton. Students observe marine mammals and seabirds in their natural habitat and consider their adaptations. In this living laboratory, students are encouraged to examine how these pieces fit together into an ecosystem concept.

The five-hour field trip will be divided between cruising Resurrection Bay and participating in four different learning stations. One instructor leads each thirty-minute station.

  • Length of Trip:  5 hours
  • Recommended ages:  Grades 3 through 8
  • Departure Information:  May 4th; 10:00am–3:00pm, Check-in 9:30. Board 9:45.

Please remember to: Bring brown-bag lunch, pencils and dress warmly.

For more information please contact Julie Lindquist jlindquist@kpbsd.org  or (907) 224-9035


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 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.

  • 11/12 – 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)
  • 11/14 – Outdoor Club Activity – All Homeschool Students & Families Invited! (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 1:30-2:30pm (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:

All Homeschool families are invited to join Connections for a hike to the beautiful Russian River Falls this Thursday, November 4th at 10 AM.  If you would like to attend, please plan to meet at the trailhead on Thursday morning at 10 AM.  Please dress for the weather with warm boots, hats, gloves, and appropriate clothing.

You may bring a bicycle if you would rather bike than hike, we will have one group of bikers and one group of hikers. If you choose to bike, please make sure to bring your bicycle, helmet, and any other safety gear.  We will plan to hike/bike the 2 miles to the falls where we will have lunch.  Please bring a sack lunch for this event.

Directions-Take Sterling Highway north towards Cooper Landing.  Turn right at mile 52.6 into the Russian River Campground.  ( NOT the Russian River Ferry parking area) Follow to trailhead parking.  We will meet in the parking area.  Please call or email Reubin Payne: rpayne@kpbsd.org or Mark Wackler: mwackler@kpbsd.org  to RSVP.  See you on Thursday!

SOLDOTNA: Scholastic Book Fair: November 12th – 15th from 9-4pm COME CHECK IT OUT!

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! We will also have lots of activities and giveaways. Some book purchases may be reimbursable under your ILP.  Please check with your advisor before purchasing if you wish to use it as a reimbursement. 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 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 they 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.

Free Wednesdays at the Alaska Sealife Center – Beginning November 7th, 12PM – 5PM

• 11/13 – SEWARD: School Picture Retakes @ Seward Middle School at 9am
• 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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