What’s Happening 1-6-2020



Eligibility Grade Report
Winter Wednesday – SeaLife Center
Kenai Fjords Marine Tour
Geography Bee Toolkit
Kindergarten Round-Up
Spelling Bee Study Words
MAP Testing Steps


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


  • 12/13 – Semester Reports Were Due
  • 01/22 – Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Q & A Session (more info below)
  • 01/31 – Geography Bee (more info below)
  • 01/31 – High School Eligibility Due
  • 02/12 – UAA/Anchorage Daily News Creative Writing Contest Deadline (more info below)
  • 02/28 – Connections Spelling bee 1-4pm at the Soldotna Office (more info below)
  • 03/05 – High School Eligibility Due
  • 03/15 – Junior Duck Stamp Contest Deadline (more info below)
  • 04/09 – High School Eligibility 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)

MAP (Measures of Academic Progress):

If you missed the MAP testing sessions in December, we are offering a few more sessions in January:

  • Jan 8 @ 9am
  • Jan 9 @ 9am
  • Jan 9 @ 1pm
  • Jan 13 @ 1pm

This is an optional assessment for grades 3-10.

Results will help you the parent as your child’s teacher to know if there are any gaps in their learning.

Please contact your advisor for questions or to sign up for a session.

Please see the attachment for details.  It is helpful to log on prior to testing for computer set up.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Q & A Session:

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Connections Homeschool are partnering together to provide an opportunity to visit about DVR services, answer questions, and fill out applications. Representatives of DVR will be present in the Soldotna Connections office on Wednesday, January 22nd from 10-12pm. We will live broadcast to the Homer and Seward offices so everyone has the opportunity to see and visit with the counselors. Students 16 and older with a disability and their families are encouraged to attend.

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)
  • DEADLINE TO SIGN UP: January 24th – please email Wendi Dutcher: wdutcher@kpbsd.org

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!

37th Annual UAA/Anchorage Daily News Creative Writing Contest:

We are happy to announce that the 37th Annual UAA/Anchorage Daily News Creative Writing contest is now open for submissions. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, February 12th at 5 p.m. Submissions are judged by panels of editors, writers, teachers, and librarians. First-place winning entries are published online and will have a congratulatory ad in the printed version of Anchorage Daily News.

For more information on rules, entry form, cash prizes go to this website:


If you have questions or problems, please feel free to email creativewritingcontest@adn.com

Connections Spelling Bee:

We are pleased to announce that Connections Homeschool is enrolled in the National Spelling Bee this year, continuing with a great tradition. All Connections students in grades 3-8 are encouraged to participate in order to build confidence, increase vocabulary and improve spelling skills.

Our local Spelling Bee date is Friday, February 28th from 1-4pm. The 2020 Alaska State Spelling Bee is Tuesday, March 24th at the Anchorage Center for Performing Arts (PAC) – Discovery Theater.

Attached is the study list. Start with One Bee and have your student work through Three Bee. All words for the Connections spelling bee will use the words from this list.

Here is a link to the parent portal for the official Spelling Bee website: https://spellingbee.com/parents

For word lists and information, contact Carole Nolden at 714-8880 or cnolden@kpbsd.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

Junior Duck Stamp Contest:

Christmas break is right around the corner and a perfect time for students to work on their Alaska Jr. Duck Stamp entries for the 2020 contest!

Alaska Jr. Duck Stamp is part of a nationwide art and design contest featuring wetlands and waterfowl as the subject.  Students pick a species of North American waterfowl to study and depict their research through art.  The Best of Show for Alaska is sent on to the national contest to compete against students from all other states and U.S territories.  There is also a Conservation Message contest as well.  There are many prizes and recognition awarded at the local level and a chance to represent Alaska in the national contest. Entries are due at the address below by March 15, 2020! For more information and a full list of rules and regulations visit the Jr. Duck website: https://www.fws.gov/birds/education/junior-duck-stamp-conservation-program/junior-duck-stamp-contest-information.php


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


Beginning January 10th we will meet each Friday from 2:30-3:30 until our official battle dates.

  • 5/6 Battle of the Books- February 11 at 9:00 am
  • 3/4 Battle of the Books- February 13th at 9:00 am
  • Wendi Dutcher 3rd/4th grade coach
  • Kellie Davidson 5th/6th grade coach

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 Tuesday (NEW DAY ADDED) and Wednesday from 1:30 – 2:30

  • 12/13 – Semester Reports Were Due


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.

  • 12/13 – Semester Reports Were Due
  • 01/07 – Open Gym @ Kenai Rec Center 12-2pm NO ADVISORS AVAILABLE but the gym will still be open
  • 01/09 – Kenai Watershed Elementary event 1-3pm
  • 01/14 – Open Gym @ Kenai Rec Center 12-2pm
  • 01/15 – Outdoor Club – Icefishing (more info
  • 01/23 – Kenai Watershed Middle/High School Event 1-3pm
  • 01/24 – Navigating Homeschool Paperwork (more info below)
  • 01/24 – Book Bingo @ The Soldotna Office 2:30-3:30 (more info below)
  • 02/06 – Kenai Watershed Elementary event 1-3pm
  • 02/11 – Battle of the Books 5/6 grade meeting at 9:00am
  • 02/13 – Battle of the Books 3/4 grade meeting at 9:00am
  • 02/20 – Kenai Watershed Middle/High School Event 1-3pm
  • 02/25 – Kindergarten Round-Up! (more info below)
  • 03/24 – Kindergarten Round-Up! (more info below)
  • 04/07 – Kindergarten Round-Up! (more info below)
  • 04/21 – Kindergarten Round-Up! (more info below)

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 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:

Ice Fishing:

  • What: Ice Fishing
  • When: Wednesday, January 15 from 11am-1pm
  • Where: Scout Lake
  • Who: All homeschool families are invited!
  • Why: The outdoor club would like to provide fun, educational outdoor activities for homeschool families to enjoy together.
  • Bring: Warm winter clothes, snacks & drinks, fishing licenses for anglers 18 and older.

Directions to Scout Lake – Travel approximately 7.8 miles north of Soldotna on the Sterling Highway. There is a pull-off along the right side of the highway where we will meet at 11am, then make the short walk down to the lake. Directions with a map/photo will also be posted on the Connections Homeschool Facebook page.

*We will have augers to drill the holes as well as ice rods, tackle, bait, etc. for anyone that needs to borrow.

*Please RSVP by emailing Mark Wackler at mwackler@kpbsd.k12.ak.us

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. Below is a schedule for the events planned for the 2019-2020 school year.

  • 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)

Navigating Homeschool Paperwork:

What: Connections advisors and staff will walk you through some of our common forms and procedures, hopefully saving you lots of time and energy in the long run! Our goal is that you’ll walk out of this get-together with a solid understanding of reimbursements, semester reports, the vendor direct payment process, eligibility, and any other forms or procedures you have questions about. We’ll provide snacks and book fair coupons to all attendees. We hope to see you there!

  • Who: All Homeschool Families are welcome
  • When: Friday, January 24 from 1:30-2:30
  • Where: Soldotna Office
  • Why: To help homeschool families become more familiar and comfortable with the various forms, documents, and procedures that come along with being part of a homeschool program.

Book Bingo:

We have lots of new books from our fall book fair we’d love to give to our homeschool families! Come to the Soldotna office and play Book Bingo with the Connections staff!

  • When: Friday, January 24 @ the Soldotna Office from 2:30-3:30
  • Where: Soldotna Office

Battle of the Books:

Battle of the Books participants will be meeting on December 6 from 2:30-3:30.  Beginning January 10th we will meet each Friday from 2:30-3:30 until our official battle dates.

  • 5/6 Battle of the Books- February 11 at 9:00 am
  • 3/4 Battle of the Books- February 13th at 9:00 am

Kindergarten Round-Up!

Do you have a child entering kindergarten? Stop by to any or all of our round-up dates. We’ll have multiple activities to explore and we would love to share some information with you!


Free Wednesdays at the Alaska Sealife Center (until February 27) 12pm – 5pm

  • 12/18 – 1st Semester Grade Reports Were Due – If you have not already turned in your grades now is the time

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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