Homer Alaska - Schools

Story last updated at 2:12 PM on Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Superintendent's Welcome



On behalf of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, I am pleased to welcome everyone to the 2012-2013 school year.

At the end of May students and most of our staff said goodbye to school and hello to summer vacation. Although the break is a time to slow down and recharge, ironically, it is a time when most Alaskans speed up and do as much they can. Nevertheless, I am sure our students' and staff's time away from school was refreshing.

At the district level we spent a lot of time analyzing test scores, reviewing discipline data and other indicators that affect student performance. The borough made numerous upgrades to our facilities. We are pleased our students made small gains on their scores on the state's standardized tests. Our most exciting finding from last year is a sharp increase in our graduation rate. While it is not as high as we want it to be, the increase suggests our myriad secondary offerings and interventions are helping more students finish high school in four years.

Looking ahead, our new strategic plan that will soon be before the board for adoption will guide much of our work in the coming five years. The plan that was written last spring has three focus areas (academic success, organizational excellence, and community and family engagement) to ensure a comprehensive approach toward our improvement efforts. Each of our schools has set goals to meet the plan. I will be presenting the school board an update on progress toward meeting the plan at the end of each semester.

All of us at KPBSD strive to keep you, our stakeholders, informed about our operations; this is a responsibility we take seriously. Our website is our main source of communication and is in a constant state of change with postings of new information. We will continue to provide district information through Facebook, Twitter and my blog. In addition, your school blog and district publications will keep you up to speed on what is going on in KPBSD.

In the Homer area, we welcome back our teachers, secretaries, aides, nurses, custodians, bus drivers and food service professionals — they are the backbone of our district's success.

Locally, I am pleased long-time KPBSD employee Nancy Kleine is our new Nanwalek principal. Her experience of growing up on Kachemak Bay will be an asset as she transitions to her new job.

We invite parents and community members to join us by volunteering in the schools and becoming involved in partnerships to support students. Schools need the help of parents and community members to be successful with each student. It is also critical for our students to know that their parents, guardians, relatives and friends are supportive of their schooling process. A student without this support may, at times, feel at a loss to find the necessary focus to excel at his or her studies.

Please let your principal know of recommendations you may have for improving your school or the district; we are always receptive to hearing your thoughts.

I hope to see you in the coming months and wish you a great start to the school year.

We anxiously await the return of our students and look forward to another outstanding school year.

Sincerely, Steve Atwater, Ph.D.