8th Grade American History Text Update

MEMO: 8th Grade Social Studies Resources

The current 8th grade American History text will be replaced in fall 2015.  Middle School American History teachers should keep their current instructional resources until the new materials are received.

If you need support or have questions, please contact Melissa Linton, Curriculum and Assessment Coordinator at ext. 8861 or mlinton@kpbsd.org




Elementary Administrivia

The following information was shared during Administrivia at the 3.25.15 Administrator’s Meeting.

  • The current secretary for Curriculum and Elementary Education is retiring.  Please note that as of 4.1.15, Krissy Mahan will be the contact for these departments.
  • The Year-End Checklist promotion/acceleration information should be submitted to the attention of Krissy Mahan.  A memo indicating the final decision for each considered student must accompany a copy of E 5123. Additional guidance is available by reviewing BP and AR 5123 or contacting Dr. Ermold.
  • The annual KPBSD Leadership Academy will be held on May 27 & 28 at Soldotna High School.  Schools with ten or fewer teachers may register one teacher along with the site’s administrator, while schools with more than ten teachers may register two teachers to attend, along with the site’s administrator(s).  Although fewer participants will be funded to participate, those off contract will receive their per diem rate for these days because the District Instructional Team strongly believes the learning, decision making, and subsequent leadership provided by participants in the Leadership Academy constitutes a higher level of engagement and follow up expectation of shared leadership than participation in a sit-and-get training or materials orientation. Names must be sent to Cindy Cornett for registration.  Travel requests must be entered in Generation Ready.
  • When planning for 2015-16, principals need to ensure there is time allocated during Parent/Teacher conference days for professional development.  Any principal who is concerned or who needs help planning to provide adequate time for conferences should contact his/her director for guidance.


Standards Referenced Reporting Committee Update

The following message was sent to elementary principals and the PD Liaisons at sites with elementary grades.  Questions regarding the content of this message may be directed to school principals or Christine Ermold, Director of Elementary Education KPBSD.

The Standards Referenced Reporting Committee met on January 27th and reviewed the survey results from the first semester survey to elementary school teachers regarding standards based grading and standards referenced reporting.  If your site had three or more respondents to the survey, the school principal and Effective Instruction coach assigned to the school will receive a separate email with those results.  If you had less than three respondents, you will only receive the summary below. There were 118 respondents, and it is estimated that about 350 teachers teach grades K-6 in some capacity (including special education, specialists, and general education teachers) districtwide, yielding an approximate response rate of 33.7%.  The committee intends to redistribute the same survey again next December, to see what areas we’ve made progress in and which areas still need attention.

Following is a summary of district level data.

Regarding the standards and the report cards:

  • 79.65% of respondents indicated they understand and use the new standards.
  • 82% indicated they know how to help parents/guardians understand standards referenced rubrics and reports.
  • 75.79% indicated their students and/or they regularly refer to the standards that are being taught during regular daily work.
  • 42.48% of respondents indicate they are able to help students, colleagues, and parents understand what Standards Referenced Reporting is, and why we are using it.
  • 4.42% indicated they really don’t know what it is or why it’s being used, while 15.93% indicated they know what it is, but are still wrestling with why it’s being used.
  • 8% of respondents indicated a generally negative view of the standards referenced report card in their comments.


Regarding desired support and professional development opportunities:

  • 61.25% indicated grade level or small group in-service training is  something thing they’d most like to have available during the semester ahead.
  • 31.25% indicated a desire for a for-credit book talk on standards and grading.
  • 31.25% also indicated a desire for school-wide in-service training led by a district coach or member of the Standards Referenced Reporting Committee.
  • The desire to have PowerSchool front loaded with more assignments and assessments already linked to the standards was indicated by 55.26% of respondents.


Regarding collaboration:

  • 75.01% indicated their collaborative team has used student progress on the standards as a focus of their professional learning and work together.
  • 61.84% requested that the district provide facilitated collaboration during early release or in-service time to create more rubrics and tools for teaching and monitoring progress towards the standards.


As a result of the information found in the survey results, the Standards Referenced Reporting Committee took immediate action to:

  • Schedule grade-span focused collaboration sessions via Lync to provide an immediate opportunity that could help meet the identified need (see the email from Michelle Thomasson dated 1/27 sent to PD Liaisons and inserted here: PD For Grade Level Collaboration).   Please note that each school’s principal, in partnership with their PD site Liaison, is charged with assessing and planning for the professional development needs of the staff.  These sessions are a supportive opportunity for your teachers but you may need to schedule more site-specific activities to target your teacher’s needs.  As a reminder, the Effective Instruction Coaches and members of the Standards Referenced Reporting Committee are available to support you in this area, as may be needed.
  • Provide the survey results to principals, PD site liaisons, and coaches in the hopes of promoting conversation and planning of future collaboration and PD that meets each site’s identified needs.
  • Created a one page guidance document regarding standards referenced reporting for students who have IEPs.  The document was reviewed by the special education department.  A copy has also been inserted here Spec Ed Guidance and added to the ‘S’ drive for your easy reference.
  • Work towards creating short videos explaining the standards and the reporting system that can be posted on YouTube and shared with parents.


Recommendations for future action (based on the survey results and other input received from our district’s teachers and principals) include:

  • Recommending an allocation of professional development funds in FY16 to support grade-alike collaboration sessions focused on rubrics for assessing the standards and ways students can demonstrate a ‘4’ on various standards.
  • Offering a for-credit course via distance technology focused on a book talk about standards and grading during 2015-16.
  • Continuing to provide as-requested support to specific sites.
  • Continuing to provide just-in-time updates during Coffee/ Tea sessions, on the KP Knowledgebase, and in the ‘S’ drive.
  • Continuing to front-load PowerSchool with assessments tied to the standards, and encouraging curriculum committees to identify any assignments that are likely used by most teachers that can also be front-loaded into PowerSchool.
  • Provide a refined guide for principals, secretaries, and teachers at multi-graded sites regarding the minimum course enrollment required in a student’s schedule.

We will work to get any site-specific data you’re going to receive to principals ASAP-  It should be by the end of the day tomorrow at the latest.

Thank you for all your effort to support our students, their teachers, and their parents!


Secondary Education & Student Activities “Administrivia” (1.21.15)

Secondary Education “Administrivia” (1.21.15)

  • Digital Technology Initiative Mid-Year Update:
    • We are half way through year 1 of our three year grant from the DEED.  Our mid-year report was submitted January 15th to the independent evaluator (Dr. Dale Cope)
    • The 15 teacher cohort is in the middle of their formalized training/PD sessions.
    • Most cohort members have completed the Quality Matters online course training curriculum.
    • Several Blended Learning topic Lync session trainings have/will also take place throughout this school year.
    • 19 Educators attended the iNACOL conference in Palm Springs, CA funded by the grant
    • 20+/- Educators will also attend ASTE this February in Anchorage funded by the grant
  • Activity/Field Trip Travel Possible Technology Assistance:  
    • David Henson and Jim White are working on a prototype activity trip tracking system that will preload trips, participants, emergency paperwork, and the ability to add/subtract trip participants and add notes/details using a smartphone and a QPC code reader application.
    • We are going to be working with some schools to pilot this  year and hope to go live district-wide next Fall for all activity and fieldtrips (K-12).
    • A new Travel regulations memo will be formalized by the end of this year to reflect all current and any new activity travel expectations for schools (i.e. travel range restrictions, when use of ALMR radio is expected, private vehicle transport restrictions, coaches driving restrictions, and driver on duty/driving time restrictions, etc…).
  • Distance Learning Program:
  • Our second semester course enrollment numbers are at 1010 as of this morning (1.21.15).  This is early for numbers to be this large and our teachers are near capacity on their individual teacher loads.
  • Some changes planned include allowing students to enroll in distance classes during the course enrollment period directly from Powerschool (DP/Counselors working on this now)
  • Next year Credit Recovery Courses for Connections and our K-12 program will no longer be supervised/Teacher of Record by the Distance Learning Program.  Like our larger high schools have for years, these schools will now need to oversee Credit Recovery with their own teaching staff.
  • As the program grows we are hearing concerns/worries from teachers about whether they will eventually be replaced by distance education.  This is absolutely not the case and I would be happy to discuss these concerns with anyone.  Please refer questions on this matter to me (John O’Brien)



  • Summer School Credit Recovery Session:  
  • The session will be run just as it has in the past.
  • Our large high schools provide the program (SoHi, Nikiski, Homer, KCHS, Seward)
  • All CORE areas are provided (Math, Lang. Arts, Social Studies, and Science)
  • The program is an “on-line prescriptive” web based program through Pearson called “GRADPOINT”
  • The Session runs for three weeks in June. Half days (8:00-noon) June 1-19
  • Principals do their own hiring by emailing internal certified staff to solicit interest
  • Staff need to be certified and HQ in one of the four CORE areas (preference)



  • Policy Change TAKE NOTE: 
  • AR 6146.1 High School Graduation Requirements: Additional quality points will be assigned for College Board Advanced Placement (AP) courses for the purpose of calculating grade point average (GPA). For each passing semester grade in an Advanced Placement course, 0.021 will be added to the student’s cumulative GPA. Effective for SY 2015, the fall semester weighted quality points will be added at the conclusion of the fall semester (like before).  In order to receive the spring semester weighted quality points, students must also complete the National Advanced Placement course examination.


It has come to our attention that Electronic Student Editions of MyMath materials in Connected will soon expire.

ALL teachers who use these digital resources will need to extend the date of usage in the Student Editions, Manage Content Tab.

This PowerPoint (MyMath ConnectEd Redeption Code date renewal) will walk you through a very simple four step process to change the date so expiration will not occur.

Please share as needed and call/email Melissa Linton if you need assistance.

Thank you,


x8861 mlinton@kpbsd.org

Blended & Online Learning

KPBSD sent 17 educators to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) Symposium in California.  Through the Digital Learning Initiative Grant that the KPBSD received we were able to send a team of district teachers and administrators to learn about “Blended Learning.”  This conference focuses on showcasing districts, schools, and classroom teachers who are using new learning models considered blended learning.  The intent is to “level the playing field for students through the creation of new learning models, and to ensure that students everywhere have access to a world-class education that prepares them for a lifetime of success, no matter their geographic location or economic situation.” -iNACOL


What is Blended learning?  Blended learning is any time a student learns at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home and at least in part through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; often used synonymously with

Hybrid Learning. (Horn and Staker, 2011)


KPBSD hopes that this 3 year Digital Learning grant will help us to build the capacity of our teachers to learn how to and begin to apply blended learning strategies throughout our district’s 43 schools. Over the next three years the grant will help fund professional development and learning opportunities for three cohorts of 15 teachers per year. The teacher cohorts will learn how to implement blended learning/teaching strategies within their classrooms and to share what they have learned with colleagues in their schools so that blended learning can be implemented in more and more classrooms.


Blended learning is all about personalizing the learning experience for each student focusing their individual learning at a time, place, path, and pace that meets their unique learning needs.  By using digital learning tools  within the classroom setting, teachers are able to leverage these tools and skills to provide higher quality immediate feedback to their students about their learning and growth.  Some teachers in our district already employ blended learning strategies in their classrooms and we hope more and more of our classrooms will become blended in the near future.

9.24.14 Administrator Meeting Information

The following information was shared by Christine Ermold during the 9.24.14 administrator meeting.  Please contact the office of Elementary Education with questions.

  • A copy of the PLC Collaboration Continuum was provided to all administrators.  After careful reflection on the evidence available at each site, administrators are asked to indicate where their school is practicing (overall) on each segment of the continuum and submit the information to Christine Ermold by 10/10/14.  Electronic copies of the continuum are available in the district’s ‘S’ drive < Collaboration Resources < Learning by Doing < PLC_Continuum.
  • Any goals or strategies assigned by site principals in On Strategy to the responsibility of the PD Department will be deleted.  To schedule support from the PD Department, principals or their PD Site Liaison should contact their site’s coach or Michelle Thomason.
  • An email will be coming requesting copies of all secondary course syllabi so that research regarding current grading practices in the district can be conducted.  Results of the analysis will be shared with administrators once available.
  • Coffee/Tea via Lync will be offered on 9/30/14 at 7:15 and 3:45.
  • Saturday School Support is available for teachers to receive whatever support they need on a drop-in basis between 9:00 a.m. and noon on Oct. 4, Nov. 1, and Dec. 6 in all three regional PD rooms.

Secondary Education & Student Activities Sept. Info.

This information was shared with Principals at the Sept. 24, 2014 Administrator Meeting:

  • As of September 23rd the District Distance Learning Program has a total of 914 Semester class enrolments. This is our highest ever and if second semester enrollments follow the same trend we are on track to our highest enrollment year ever.
  • The Blended Learning Initiative Cohort for Year one of the grant has been selected.  We have a total of fifteen (15) teachers who are involved representing  upper elementary, middle school, and high school levels from across multiple content areas.  Two of the teachers are from our partner districts (Cordova and Bristol Bay).
  • Schools with 5th and 10th Graders in attendance will all be administering the Gallop Student Poll/survey as a means of establishing benchmark data for our KPBSD Key Performance Indicators on Emotional Well Being.  Tiffany Eck the Secondary Education Administrative Assistant is working with coordinators of the Gallop poll from each school.  Questions contact Tiffany.
  • CTE Department announcement:  Dan Bohrnsen our district’s CTE/WDC Coordinator is retiring at end of the 2014-2015 school year.  We will be working on a transition plan very soon.
  • High Schools should be focusing  on working with Juniors to make a decision on which College, Career Ready Assessment they will take and have the State of Alaska Pay for. Choices are the WorKeys, ACT, or SAT.  This decision needs to be made by October 15th and returned to Julie Williams in the Assessment Department.  Remember this is a graduation requirement replacing the HSGQE.

PowerSchool II Lync Session

The following link can be used to access a Lync recording of the PowerSchool II session held on 8/18/14 at 3:30 p.m.  Please note that the account used during the training was created with fictional information for the purpose of the training and does not contain actual student information.  Please contact your instructional coach, Christine Ermold, or David Henson with questions.