Steve Atwater, Ph.D ., KPBSD Superintendent
On behalf of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District I am pleased to welcome everyone to the 2012-13 school year. At the end of May our students and most of our staff said goodbye to school and hello to their summer vacation. Although the break is designed to be 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 that our students’ and staff’s time away from school was refreshing.
At the district level we spent a lot of time this summer analyzing test scores, reviewing discipline data and the other indicators that affect student performance. The borough also made numerous upgrades to our facilities. We are pleased that our students made small gains on their scores on the state’s standardized tests. Our most exciting finding from last year however, is a sharp increase in our graduation rate. While it is not as high as we want it to be, the increase does suggest that our myriad of secondary offerings and interventions are helping more of our students finish high school in four years.
Looking ahead, our new strategic plan that will be before the board for adoption in October 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 that we take 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 our progress toward meeting the plan at the end of each semester.
All of us at KPBSD strive to keep you, our stakeholders, informed about all of our operations; this is a responsibility that we take seriously. Our website is our main source of this communication and is in a constant state of change with postings of new information. We will also continue to provide district information to you through Facebook, Twitter and my blog. In addition, your school’s blog and other district publications will keep you up to speed on what is going on in KPBSD.
In the Seward area we welcome back our teachers, nurses, school secretaries, custodians, bus drivers, and food service professionals-they are the backbone of our district’s success. We have several new teachers to introduce; please join me in welcoming Judith Odhner, Al Plan and Breighley Sexton to Seward High; Adrian Hurst, Alexis Kaferstein, Margaret Leahy and Nicole Stover to Seward Elementary; Katy Jurney-Scrivo to Moose Pass, and Carrie Lunardi who will be a technology coach for the area.
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 that you may have for improvement at your school or for 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!