Residential community colleges offer low-cost alternative

With private and even public college tuition rising to above $60,000 a year, some area high school students have begun considering a low-cost alternative: residential community colleges. At one-third the price, these colleges often have smaller campuses and student bodies, a lower student-teacher ratio and all the amenities of a modern university, including dorms and cafeterias.

West Homer students show work down in artist residency

Using low-tech tools like cereal boxes and a pasta maker, Anchorage artist Jimmy Riordan showed West Homer Elementary School students how to create colorful, playful prints and other art works. Last Friday, students displayed their work in the hallways of the school, with older students buddying up with younger students as they looked at the work. Many of the student artists also were on hand to discuss their projects.

Young readers learn from both fact, fiction

For young children, the real world is a magical place. The metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly is as awe-inspiring as a well-written, fantastical story about unicorns. In both cases, children have the opportunity to learn about the world around them and how they fit in it. Both fiction (imaginary) and non-fiction (informational) books and media have an important place in the life of a child.

Students duct tape principals to wall

Students at West Homer Elementary School and Fireweed Academy last Thursday got a special treat: the chance to duct tape their principals to the wall of the school’s multipurpose room. As teachers peeled off strips of dull-gray but also brightly colored duct tape, West Homer Elementary Principal Eric Waltenbaugh and Fireweed Academy Principal Todd Hindmanprincipals stood on milk crates and bravely endured hundreds of little hands taping them to the wall. After about an hour, layers of duct tape covered their bodies so that they looked like caterpillars ready to emerge from their cocoons.

Homer DDF team wins at Anchorage meet

Over the weekend, the Homer High School DDF Team competed at Bartlett High School. The team brought home the following awards, including a Duo Interpretation sweep. The DDF Team competed against 10 other schools, Bartlett, East Anchorage, West Anchorage, Eagle River, Chugiak, South Anchorage, Service High, Dimond High, Seward and Hope. There were more than 150 competitors.

Paul Banks students on a mission: Read 2,000 hours by Feb. 3

At an assembly Tuesday for the Paul Banks Elementary School’s Read-a-thon, intergalactic mailman Commander Mike McKinney delivered a message from aliens on a distant planet to the students. The aliens heard that Paul Banks is the best school to learn to read. They want to visit, but don’t know how to build a spaceship, Commander Mike said. If the students read 120,000 minutes by Feb. 3, they will unclock the 10 files in the Galactic Library that will teach the aliens how to build a spaceship. As students read and unlock each of the files, a model of the spaceship will be built in the lobby.

Moose, pets don't mix

West Homer Elementary School students perform a skit about moose and dog interactions at the Homer City Council meeting Monday night. From left to right are Eli Zatz, Seamus McDonough as a dog and Thomas McDonough as a moose. 

The West Homer Brickheads team won the champions award in the recent LEGO Robotics competition. This year's theme was "Animal Allies." For the competition, the students had to design at project improving human-animal interactions.

School Events

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Dec. 23-Jan. 8: No school. Winter vacation.

Jan. 9: First day back to school.

Jan. 16: No school. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Feb. 9-10: Parent-teacher conferences, no school for students.

March 10: End of third quarter, no school for students.

March 13-17: Spring Break.

May 24: Last day of school.

The Kenai Peninsula School Board will meet:

Jan. 16

Feb. 6

March 6

April 3

May 1 (Seward High School)

June 5

June 6 (Planning Session)

Growing Readers: Children's books open up windows to another world

Children’s books are powerful. On the surface they entertain with laugh-out-loud humor, magical adventures, and puzzling mysteries. They feed curiosity with fascinating information about an unending array of topics like animals, machines, places and more.

On a more subtle level, thoughtfully crafted words and stylistic images amuse and inform while also teaching children how a story works, what letters are named, and what words sound like; some of the basic literacy skills children will use as developing readers and writers.

School events

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District


Chapman School

Dec. 23-Jan.8: Winter break, no school.

Jan. 9: Back to school.

Jan. 16: No school. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.



Fireweed Academy (both schools)

Dec. 22-Jan. 8: No school. Holiday break.

Jan. 9: First day back to school.



Homer Flex

Dec. 23-Jan. 8: Winter break.


Homer High School

Dec. 29: Girls basketball practice, 9 a.m.

Dec. 29: Wrestling practice, 10 a.m.

Kindergartners write letters of love and toys to Santa, part two

Santa sent over more letters from Paul Banks Elementary School’s kindergarten class, by way of teacher Wendy Todd. This week’s kids have some wishes in common. Two little ones pine for a dog stuffed animal, while another plies Santa with a loving greeting in hopes of getting a race car. One bold youngster dares to inquire on the number of presents that will be under the tree and draws a picture to illustrate his hopes.


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