What’s Happening 11-19-19




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


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


  • 11/22 –Site Council @ Soldotna Office 11:30-1:00 please rsvp: cnolden@kpbsd.org
  • 12/13 – Semester Reports Due
  • 01/31 – Geography Bee (more info below)
  • 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)

Connections Geography Bee:

Connections students grade 4-8! Come test your world knowledge by participating in the Geo Bee:
WHEN: Friday, January 31, 2020 @ 1:00pm
WHERE: Soldotna Connections Office (143 East Park Avenue, Soldotna)

Attached you will find a study guide to help you prepare. Each year thousands of schools in the United States participate in the National Geographic GeoBee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society. The contest motivates students to learn about the world and how it works. Students in grades four through eight are eligible for this entertaining and challenging competition.

There are three levels of competition: school, state, and national. To compete for advancement from the school to the state level, the winning student at each school must take the online qualifying test. The state GeoBee champion advances to the national championship in Spring 2020.

Contact your advisor or Wendi Dutcher (wdutcher@kpbsd.org) if you have any questions regarding this or would like to participate!


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

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://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 5th/6th & middle school coach
    Cathy Wilmeth 3rd/4th grade coach
    Joanna Fonkert K-2 coach
  • SOLDOTNA OFFICE: 714-8880
    Wendi Dutcher 3rd/4th grade coach
    Kellie Davidson 5th/6th grade coach

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

  • 11/21 – 12/12 – HOMER: STEAM Challenge Paper Roller Coasters (more info below)

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. (*Note: If you missed the first session, it’s not too late to participate)

  • 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.

  • 11/21 – Outdoor Club: Fire Building! (more info below)
  • 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 @ Nikiski Pool from 12-1:30pm – free for Connections students!
  • 12/05 – Kenai National Wildlife Refuge – PAPERMAKING! (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 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. 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:

Join the Connections Outdoor Club for a fun and practical lesson in building campfires. This activity will include a quick lesson on types of fire starters and fire-starting techniques, and then students will make fire starters of their own. We’ll end with a campfire in which students can roast marshmallows and make s’mores. All ages are welcome to attend. We will provide all the fire building materials as well as the s’mores.

Please bring warm clothing as this activity will take place outside.  Meet at Orca Lodge at 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 21st which can be found at 44240 Oehler Road in Soldotna. Please RSVP with Mark Wackler at mwackler@kpbsd.k12.ak.us.  Directions: Take Funny River Road and travel ¾ of a mile, turn left on Oehler Road, follow to the end where you’ll see the Orca Lodge sign and parking lot. Questions – call our office at 714-8880.

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)

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. Please rsvp: kdavidson@kpbsd.org , we look forward to seeing everyone!

Open Gym @ Nikiski Pool 11/26:

On November 26th the Connections Open Gym will be at the Nikiski Pool from 12-1:30pm. Connections will pay for students to swim, and parents will be free as well if they are monitoring. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit and a towel.

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:

  • 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

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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