What’s Happening 1-27-2020

Connections – What’s Happening



Eligibility Grade Repor
Homeless Connect Flyer
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

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


  • 12/13 – Semester Reports Were Due
  • 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)
  • 02/13 – Solid Rock Tubing Hill 12-2pm
  • 02/19 – Connections Forensics (more info below)
  • 02/24 – Challenger Center Field Trip @ 1pm (more info below)
  • 02/27 – Alyeska Trip (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
  • 04/09 – Connections Homeschool Talent Show (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)

IN SEWARD & TIME CHANGE: Connections Geography Bee:

Connections students grade 4-8! Come test your world knowledge by participating in the Geo Bee:

CHANGE: WHEN: Friday, January 31, 2020, @ 9:30, am

CHANGE: WHERE: Seward Connections Office (304 Sea Lion Avenue, Seward)

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.

Contact Laura Haskins (lhaskins@kpbsd.k12.ak.us) if you have any questions regarding this or would like to participate!

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.

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

Solid Rock Tubing Hill:

Solid Rock Tubing Hill is open and ready for all Connections students and parents! We will enjoy the snow Thursday, February 13 at Solid Rock from 12-2pm and it’s FREE for Connections students (parents pay $6.00, cash only please). All home school families are invited, the cost is $6 (cash only) per person for non-Connections students/families. Solid Rock will have the tubes, but in the past, they have allowed students to bring their snowboards and ride the hill. Please RSVP at 714-8880 or email rpayne@kpbsd.org


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.

2/27 – Alyeska Trip!

  • Who: All Homeschool families
  • What: Skiing or snowboarding for the outdoor club. It can include lessons, rental, and lift tickets.
  • When: February 27th
  • Where: Meet at the Alyeska Day Lodge (not the hotel) by the gear rental area at 930am, at the latest. We need plenty of time to get outfitted and ready for lessons that start at 10:30am.
  • Why: Get out and enjoy the Alaskan winter, get some exercise, hang out with other homeschool families and have some fun!
    • All rentals, lessons, and lift tickets can be deducted directly from the student’s allotment IF they have PE on their ILP. Parents will need to pay for themselves if they plan on skiing.
    • You are responsible for your own transportation. We will not facilitate transportation, but if you are looking to carpool then please use the comments in our Facebook post to communicate with each other & coordinate rides.
    • Space may be limited, so please RSVP by emailing Mark Wackler at mwackler@kpbsd.org before February 10th.

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

2020 Homeschool Talent Show:

The 2020 Homeschool Talent Show will be on Thursday, April 9th from 5-6:30pm at the Soldotna High School Auditorium. Connections is looking for homeschool students to join the show and display their talents (singing, instrumental, art, skits, poem reading, whatever you want!). We encourage talents of all types and ability levels and it will not be judged, so don’t hesitate to take this opportunity to display your hard work on stage! Please contact Mark Wackler at mwackler@kpbsd.org if you are interested in participating in the talent show, or to get more info. Even if you won’t be participating, we’d love to see you in the audience to enjoy this free show!

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 the 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

Google Docs Training:

Every KPBSD student in grades 3-12 has an educational google account available to them.  We will look at how to access your KPBSD Google account as well as how to use google slides for student portfolios.  It’s a great way to document and report student progress. We will also cover how to share, edit, and collaborate using Google Docs. Please email jparrett@kpbsd.org  to rsvp a spot at the table. This is open to students in grades 3-12 as well as parents. Training will take place at our Homer office on Thursday, January 30th from 3-4pm.

First Friday Art Show:

Attention all Homer Area Connections Student Artists!!! Connections will be hosting an Art Show at Captain’s Coffee Roasting Co. on Friday, March 6th from 2:30 to 3:30. We welcome your digital art, photos, drawings, paintings, ceramics or other mediums.   Friends and family are welcome to attend.  This event is open to K-12th graders.  Please RSVP with Jake Parrett at jparrett@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.

  • 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
  • 02/05 – Snowshoe Hike (more info below)
  • 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)

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.

  • February 6th                 Elementary event (1-3pm)
  • February 20th               Middle/high school event (1-3pm)

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 11 am.  Please RSVP with Mark Wackler at mwackler@kpbsd.org

Snowshoe Hike

Connections families are invited to participate in a snowshoe hike at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on February 5th from 1-3 pm.  This trip is designed for students 2nd grade and up. Younger students can participate, however, the refuge does not have snowshoes to fit students below 2nd grade so you will have to provide your own.  Please RSVP to Kellie Davidson, kdavidson@kpbsd.org  so she can reserve the correct number of snowshoes for students and parents.

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

Friday, February 28, Ice Fishing Day Friday, at Grouse Lake ~10:00AM to 1:00PM
The Forest Service will be providing fishing gear and hot chocolate! Please mark your calendars and we will be in touch with additional details as the date gets nearer!

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.
This entry was posted in What's Happening. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply