What’s Happening 1-20-2020

Connections – What’s Happening


Eligibility Grade Report
Winter Wednesday – SeaLife Center
Kenai Fjords Marine Tour
Geography Bee Toolkit
Kindergarten Round-Up
Spelling Bee Study Words
Girls on the Run
Forensics Category Rules

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


  • 01/22 – Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Q & A Session (more info below)
  • 01/24 – Site Council Meeting from 11:30-1pm Please RSVP cnolden@kpbsd.org
  • 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)
  • 02/19 – Connections Forensics (more info below)
  • 02/24 – Challenger Center Field Trip @ 1pm (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)

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


This year we would like to offer you the opportunity to participate in the KPBSD Forensics competition.  Students in 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grades can select a piece of literature to perform for the judges and audience. Categories include literature from humorous prose, poetry, storytelling and much more.  Attached you will find a list of criteria for each category so that you can choose a piece to perform.

Participants will individually present their selection to the audience and a panel of three judges.  Students are judged on a 5-point rubric.  The judges will be evaluating the piece selected, delivery of the piece (eye contact, pose, familiarity with selection, pace), vocal expression, and dramatic interpretation (body movement, facial expressions, emotional impact). The Connections competition will be on Wednesday, February 19th at 1:30 pm.  Winners in the 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade categories can advance to the district-wide competition on Saturday, February 29th at Tustumena Elementary.

If you wish to participate please let Kellie Davidson know your name, category, and piece selected by February 7th: kdavidson@kpbsd.org . We will have a quick introductory meeting for families who have questions about the competition on January 24 immediately after our Book Bingo event.

Challenger Center Field Trip – February 24th at 1:00:

We are excited to offer students in the 5th and 6th grade an opportunity to participate in a Lunar Quest at the Challenger Learning Center in Kenai.  This is a grant-funded trip sponsored by Marathon so there is no charge to our families.  Students will spend 2 ½ hours learning through hands-on experiences.  The Lunar Quest mission focuses on working together as a team to collect data, conduct research, and successfully complete the mission. During the mission, students will be assigned specific jobs to be performed.  The student’s time will be divided between the Space Station and Mission Control.  This field trip is a valuable experience that directly ties to your student’s standards in science.  If you are interested please contact Wendi Dutcher at wdutcher@kpbsd.org  to confirm your spot.  This opportunity has limited space so please let us know if you will be attending.  Prior to the field trip, you will receive a packet of information that will help you prepare for this trip.

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 their way 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:

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
  • 01/28 – Windblown Shapes – (more info below)
  • 02/10– ADF&G led Salmon Dissections 1:30 – 3pm in the Homer Office. Please contact Derek to sign up dbynagle@kpbsd.org
  • 03/04 – ADF&G Ice fishing at the Homer reservoir 1:15 – 2:45pm. Please contact Derek to sign up dbynagle@kpbsd.org

Girls on the Run :

Girls on the Run is so much fun. We inspire girls (3rd – 8th grade) to be joyful, healthy, and confident using fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Online registration is available at https://www.gotrgreateralaska.org/  Email marcee@havenhousealaska.org  Registration fee $100 (half and full scholarships available). Starts second week of February 2020 at West Homer Elementary School Tuesdays & Thursdays 3 – 4:30pm

Windblown Shapes

Together we will read a story and discuss differences and similarities between shapes, practice making shapes with our bodies, and look at images and discuss how artists use shape in their artworks. Each student will create his or her own shape art to take home.

  • Who: Kindergarten – third grade
  • What: includes reading, speaking and listening skills, math terminology, and art integration
  • Where: Homer Office
  • When: Tuesday, January 28 from 2:30-3:30

Please contact Joanna Fonkert with any questions jfonkert@kpbsd.org



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.

  • 01/21 – Homeschool Open Gym @ the Kenai Recreation center 12-2pm
  • 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)
  • 01/28 – Homeschool Open Gym @ the Kenai Recreation center 12-2pm
  • 01/30 – Outdoor Club: Make Your own Survival Kit – 11am (more info below)
  • 02/04 – Homeschool Open Gym @ the Kenai Recreation center 12-2pm
  • 02/06 – Kenai Watershed Elementary event 1-3pm
  • 02/11 – Homeschool Open Gym @ the Kenai Recreation center 12-2pm
  • 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
  • 02/18 – Homeschool Open Gym @ the Kenai Recreation center 12-2pm
  • 02/20 – Kenai Watershed Middle/High School Event 1-3pm
  • 02/25 – Homeschool Open Gym @ the Kenai Recreation center 12-2pm
  • 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)


Emergency Trauma Technician Course:

Sign up through the OneStop portal: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfk4MO5bitmNPkByzu_W1BgIbuApZKiAZawbh0961Ivz336UQ/viewform

Dates and Times are to be determined by student response, see attached flyer.

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.

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 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

Outdoor Club: Make Your Own Survival Kit:

You never know when something might go wrong, so a survival kit is an absolute must for any outdoor enthusiast. Come join us to learn about the essential elements that make up a good survival kit, and you’ll even get to make your own kit to take home with you!  This get-together is for homeschool students of all grades, and we’ll meet at the Soldotna office at 11am.  Please RSVP with Mark Wackler at mwackler@kpbsd.org.

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

1st Semester Grade Reports Were Due – If you have not already turned in your grades now is the time, thank you!

01/27 – Kahoot! Geography Challenge:

The Seward Connections Office will be hosting a Geography Challenge using the ever-popular online quiz program Kahoot!

  • WHAT: This will be a wonderful practice for those who have signed up for the Geo Bee at the end of the month, but it is open to any 4th -8th grader who wants to test their geography knowledge or just have fun. Students will need to bring a device (laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.) to play along, we can also make a device available if your student doesn’t have one.
  • WHEN: Please join us Monday, January 27th from 1-2pm. RSVP with Laura Haskins: lhaskins@kpbsd.org


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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