Archive for the ‘From the Principal’ Category

End of Year Message from the Principal

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Hello Steller Community,

I can’t believe how fast the year has gone.  In looking back, we have covered a lot of ground, and our students are ready for a break from academic life.  Hopefully, the summer will bring them all the rest and recreation they deserve.  I’m sure you are due an equal amount of rest and a break form the daily grind.

This year, we have seen growth in many areas of concern.  We have worked hard to consolidate our practices and philosophy as a building by making sure we have accurate records of our policies.  We have instituted a Passages program that shows how important it is to us to follow our own philosophy of being self-directed and community oriented.  We have instituted a Homework center after school to help students on probation and on plans for success.  Lastly, we have also had many seventh hour programs that have helped our students stay focused and active.

We have had three National Merit Finalists in our building, two State Science Fair winners, two Presidential scholarship winners, and recently, we have had a Grand Champion in the National Portrait Gallery Teen Portrait Competition at the Smithsonian Institute (Micky Mann).  Our students have accomplished a lot.

Our building will be going through some small renovations this next year.  We received a grant to turn the old dark room into a Seminar teaching room.  Though we didn’t receive a grant to help us plan a Greenhouse and Teaching space, we will move forward in seeking funds.  We did receive some new equipment in our weight room that makes it safer for students.  We will continue to work on making our building a better place for all students.

Again, I want to thank all of the parents and staff for creating a work environment that is beneficial for students.  They are the reason we’re all here, and they can reach great heights with our support.  I hope you all have a wonderful summer.

 

Dale

From the Principal

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Hello Parents:
We are experiencing a large increase in the amount of students who are being dropped off late to school.  Please make it a point to have your students here on time, as it is difficult for our teachers to start their lessons on time.  Our whole building is affected by the tardies, as students go into other teachers’ classrooms to put items in their lockers.  Our staff appreciates your attention to this matter.
Thank you.
 Dale

Parent Volunteers Needed

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
Steller is in need of parent volunteers for the Steller Olympics all or part of the day on April 6, 2012.  If you are available to help out in any way, please email me evern_dale@asdk12.org so I can forward your name to the organizing committee.
Thanks for all you do!!!!
Dale

Karen Glavinic’s Blog

Friday, January 13th, 2012
Karen Glavinic is a teacher at Denali Montessori Elementary School and mother of two Steller Alumni Tonei (2008) and Robert (2011).  Karen has donated countless hours to both the Steller newsletter and website, even beyond her sons’ time at Steller.   Karen was recently diagnosed with Stage III multiple myeloma cancer and is currently at Providence Hospital.  If anyone wants to reach her by telephone, she is in room 259;  their switchboard is (907) 562-2211.

 

You can keep track of how she’s doing at this blog: www.caringbridge.org/visit/karenglavinic.  Karen’s blog can also be found in the Resources section on the Steller website www.stellerschool712.org.

ASD Wellness – Bath Salts

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Synthetic Marijuana is Illegal

Friday, December 9th, 2011

From The Principal – April 2011

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

There are many transitions in one’s life. You make a transition from an embryo to a newborn, then a transition from newborn to toddler, and so on. As we age we go from young-adult to adult and then to a “senior”. I am a senior this year and will be graduating from employee to retiree.

It is with a heavy heart that I will say goodbye to this profession after nearly 31 years of service. I have had the good fortune to have worked in some very good programs all across the state of Alaska and in the Lower 48. My last three years have been spent at Steller. It has been a most challenging and enjoyable journey. You all should feel proud of what the Steller community has done. We need to keep supporting one another and working out problems together. Our students and staff are awesome and our parents are second to none. It has been a privilege and an honor to have worked with all of you over the past 3 years.

Please continue to grow and reach out to others in the greater Anchorage area. I spoke to the principal at West one day and he said to me during one of our conversations that “Steller Kids are my Kids too. So many of your kids take class at my school I fell like they are mine too.” And that is true, our kids take classes and do every sort of sport you can name at West and Romig to a lesser degree. Please grow that relationship.  It is one that will prove productive for both West and Steller. I think we should also grow our relationship with the two universities [UAA & APU] as well as the Confucius Institute. These relationships [among others] epitomize what I believe Steller is about.

Choice in how kids learn, choice in where they go to learn, internships, and mentorships are all hallmarks of Steller that make this program a worthwhile and viable educational option. But, as times change, as technology becomes omnipresent; the skills needed to navigate this frontier become qualifications to finding a great job not just an addendum on a résumé we need to be on the cutting edge of this renaissance, not lagging behind. As Steller moves forward in its bid for “Capital Projects Funding” give thought to how the project will best serve all of our kids, how it will serve all of our teachers and how it will make Steller even better able to prepare our students for life after High School.

On the one hand I wish that I could be around to help with this process, yet both my family and I are happy about my decision to hang up the pencils and erasers.

I wish you all the best of luck in your search for a new principal and with your continued journey towards and beyond excellence.

Yours Sincerely,

Harlod A. Green

 

From the Principal

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Last Week ASD Memorandum # 219 http://www.asdk12.org/School_Board/archives/2010-2011 Proposed Financial Plan (First Reading).

The board passed the proposed budget on first reading.  We heard lots of testimony from people concerned about four issues.

  1. The change in middle school sports from a competitive team model to an intramural program;
  2. The reduction in high school secretary positions;
  3. The reduction in library assistant positions; and
  4. The career guide positions in middle school.

The administration proposed about $13 million in spending reductions. Of that, there appears to be board concern over about $2 million of those changes, and based on the testimony, the community is concerned about a slightly smaller amount of reductions.  That suggests that the administration has done a very good job of listening to the views of board members and the community, and has aligned the budget with those views.

Although the board didn’t make any changes at this meeting, there will likely be some changes at the second reading. The District will continue to receive e-mails and other comments. E-mails can be sent to schoolboard@asdk12.org.  There was extensive discussion about possible changes.  There seems to be support for restoring summer school, high school secretarial support, and possibly the library assistants.  The career guides are proposed to be in the budget, and the board seems to be supportive of that as well.

What is less clear is whether there is support for making changes that would free up money to pay for adding anything back to the budget.  Some board members are willing to consider some increase in average class size.  Others are very much opposed.  Most board members seem willing to use some additional fund balance, but not enough to pay for everything the District would like to put back in the budget

Some new costs this year include:

New fees for rental of the Anchorage Football stadium
New fees for rental of municipal trails and picnic shelters
New fees for helping pay for property tax collection
Full cost of the School Resource Officers who spend about 70% of their time on ASD work.

I will keep you informed, as more information is available.

In addition we have just learned that Steller is not immune to the effects of retirement.  At the end of this school year our beloved Nina Bonito-Romine is retiring.  Sad but true, Nina has been a fixture in the hall’s of Steller for 28 years.  She will be missed by one and all.  Her wisdom, leadership and enthusiasm  for teaching and her support for the Steller way will leave a void that will be difficult to patch.  But, patch it we shall!

The enrollment projection for Steller next year is a bit down from previous years [see chart below].

Although we were slated to have 271 students this year we were significantly under that.

If you know of anyone that wants to come to Steller, please tell them to fill out an application and get it to Elizabeth Wood no later than March 24 by 3:00pm.  In an effort to up our enrollement we authorized a radio ad with KSKA for 12 spots on the morning drive advertising our upcoming Open House.  Depending on the results of this radio blitz-  will determine if we do the same for lottery.  Hopefully, we will have success with this strategy.  In addition Linda is working hard with the Know Your Alternatives and we are all set with our Elementary Ice Cream Social that we are hoping will bring in elementary parents to see what we are about.

Also, I’ve authorized our MPR for evening use to Winterberry.  This should create goodwill and positive rapport with another segment of the community.  The hope is by Winterberry having some events here the parents will inadvertently see Steller as a welcoming place to be.  The hope is we will draw some new support through this effort.

For those of you with Seniors and Juniors you should find this very helpful.  I have attached the link to the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education and Alaska Student Loan Corporation [APS] website for frequently asked questions.  I have received some questions regarding the funding of the program—this is how the question has been addressed on the APS website:

“Funding has not yet been appropriated for the Alaska Performance Scholarship. It is expected that funding will be considered in the 2011 Legislative session. The Governor’s office has announced that the Governor’s proposed FY 2012 budget will include $8.2 million for the first year’s awards.”

http://akadvantage.alaska.gov/Grants_and_Scholarships/Alaska_Scholarship_Program_FAQs.aspx#dec.

From the Principal

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

H. Green

On behalf of Steller staff, we all wish you a safe and happy holiday season.  May the New Year be one of peace and joy that you share with friends and family.

As we prepare for the up coming break keep in mind that attendance now is never more important.  As the semester ends students will need to complete and turn in any missing assignments, they will need to study for their final exams as well as prepare themselves mentally for full participation in whatever Intensive they signed up for.

I had the pleasure of working with 3 committees that worked on our school’s SAP [School Action Plan] and the PIP [Parent Involvement Plan]. The three committees consisted of a staff contingency, a parent contingency and a student contingency.  Each committee worked very hard to produce what we think is a quality document.  I have place copies of this document on the FLASH and the Steller School Website as well as publishing a copy in this newsletter.

If you are a Junior or a Sophomore be aware that the WorkKeys exam results should arrive in January sometime.  Please keep watch on the FLASH for announcements of work sessions hosted by John for the purpose of interpreting each of your results.  For any Seniors that are interested in taking the WorkKeys the District is offering a onetime opportunity to take the WorkKeys for free on January 27th.  See John if you are interested in taking advantage of this great opportunity.  For our Seniors it is worth noting that if you plan on attending a career and technical program after graduation you may qualify for the new Alaska Performance Scholarship with a score of 5 or better on the WorkKeys.  I have published an informational sheet on the Alaska Performance Scholarship, which contains information that outlines SAT/ACT score minimums and GPA minimums for qualifying for this scholarship if you plan on attending college after graduation in this newsletter.  If you have additional questions please see John.

Also, please keep in mind that December 16th is the last day of school for the first semester, please help your child to remember to turn in any missing assignments or projects prior to this date.

Finally, I would like to thank Steller teachers for a wonderful and productive first semester, to acknowledge our parent volunteers for all of their hard work supporting our school, to praise our Building Plant Operator, JayBee for an amazing job of keeping our building in top condition, Elizabeth for an absolutely superhuman job in our front office, our Special Ed TAs for their hard work and Ferny for making our building sparkle.  To all of you I wish the merriest of holidays and the happiest of New Years.

Second Quarter is Here

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

H.Green

Dear Steller Parents and Guardians,

Can you believe a few weeks from now will mark the end of our first Semester?  Finals week will begin on November 29th, the week following Thanksgiving. During this period, rest and proper nourishment are critical for our students to do their best on their finals.

Homework is not our enemy, this is one way students can practice what they have learned and begin to hone those skills for later use in their pursuit of higher education or the world of work.  Likewise the quizzes and tests they are given are like a mirror.  A mirror that gives each student a glimpse of what things they are good at and what things need improvement.

There has been lots happening at Steller this month.  Select students have been engaged in the New WorkKeys Exam and the Plan Exam.  Alyse Galvin has  developed and implemented an exciting parent, student and staff meeting called “Steller Café”.  The first meeting was held on November 4, 2010 in our MPR.  Keep watching the FLASH for more on this exciting new endeavor.

Alayne and students in the Art Club are moving forward on their “First Friday” like event called Creative Commons. This promises to be an exciting and fun event.  Watch the FLASH for more information on it as well.

A committee consisting of a parent, student, nurse, Administrative Secretary and myself have been interviewing all week looking for that perfect candidate to fill our secretary opening.  We have had some promising candidates and as of the writing of this article we have three more applicants to interview.  We are all optimistic we will find someone perfect for that position.

As we move toward the end of yet another quarter we thank you for your continued trust and support in helping make Steller one of the best schools  in Anchorage.

Dear Parents/Guardians of Eleventh Grade Students,

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

The Anchorage School District will be giving 11th-graders the nationally standardized ACT WorkKeys assessments in three entry-level academic skills that employers find most value:

  • reading for information
  • applied mathematics
  • and locating information

The ACT Company has done extensive research on thousands of occupations to find the skills that successful employees actually use on the job.  Students with these academic skills are more prepared to learn specific skills on the job and to succeed in training after high school. WorkKeys can help students see the connection between their high school classes and their futures.

Students may receive a nationally recognized credential.  This National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) documents their achievement in the three skills areas mentioned above. NCRCs and score reports can be shown to prospective employers and listed on resumes’ and job applications.  Many employers nationwide now look for career readiness certificates.

WorkKeys assessments use a scoring system of 3 to 6 or 7, depending on the test.  The higher the student’s skill level, the more jobs he or she will be better prepared to enter.

ACT awards National Career Readiness Certificates at four levels.  Students who score at least 6 on all three WorkKeys assessments receive the Platinum Credential. Those who lowest score is 5 on any of the three assessments receive the Gold Credential.  Students whose lowest score is 4 on any test receive the Silver Credential, and those whose lowest score is a 3 on any test receive the Bronze Credential.

Parents can use WorkKeys as an opportunity to talk to their students about career interests, the skills that employers look for, and the relevance of school to future employment.  For more information about WorkKeys you can go to www.act.org/workkeys.

WorkKeys can become a valuable piece of the puzzle for students as they examine their career goals.  Preparing for the National Career Readiness Certificate helps students define career goals and build the skills that employers and post-high school training programs want to see.

Here are some other ways you can help your student explore the future:

  • Talk about your own job and how you decided on your occupational area. Ask family members and friends to share their educational and work experiences with your student.
  • Ask your student about his/her interests and abilities.
  • Point out examples of occupations you encounter in daily life, such as teacher, pharmacist, construction worker, dental hygienist, office worker, plumber, carpet layer, sales person, tour guide, chef, welder, ship worker, truck driver, real estate agent, banker, store clerk, fast food worker, utility worker, receptionist, etc.
  • Talk to your student about broad career areas and the variety of occupations that fall under an area.  For example if your child is interested in healthcare, there is an assortment of occupations with varying levels of training that he or she might consider, such as pharmacist, x-ray technician, doctor, medical receptionist, dental hygienist, nurse, physician assistant, physical therapist, dentist, medical billing specialist, pharmacy technician, dietician, and many more.
  • Encourage your student to talk to his/her school guidance counselor or career resource advisor for more information on career & technical high school and college programs, apprenticeships, occupational certificates, and 2 and 4-year degrees.

Parents and students please remember, as with all standardized tests, students are not allowed to have any electronic device on their person during this test.  It would be best if they could leave all such items at home for the duration of the testing period.  The stakes are very high for these exams and it would be a tragedy if anyone’s test should be invalidated due to possession of one of these devices.

As time draws near I will keep you posted of any changes that should occur.

Harlod Green

Principal/Steller Secondary

Principal’s Report

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

H. Green

1. First let me apologize for my absence at the Parent Group Meeting. At this time I am in a great deal of pain!

2. Science SBA: Grades 8th & 10th
Friday, April 1st
8:30 – 11:40 AM (students can take as much time as needed for this exam.)

3. Reading SBA, SBA/HSGQE, & HSGQE Retest
Tuesday, April 6th
8:30 – 11:40 AM (students can take as much time as needed for this exam.)

4. Writing SBA, SBA/HSGQE, & HSGQE Retest
Wednesday, April 7th
8:30 – 11:40 AM (students can take as much time as needed for this exam.)

5. Math SBA, SBA/HSGQE, & HSGQE Retest
Thursday, April 8th
8:30 – 11:40 AM (students can take as much time as needed for this exam.)

6. We [Steller Staff] have begun to look at a philosophical question: What would we like Steller to look like; to have; to incorporate? We briefly touched on issues such as:
· Better tech/facilities a state of the art facility
· staff development using tech
· team teaching
· semester long classes to fully develop learning opportunities

The above are just a few of the ideas we are toying with. We will begin a conversation to continue brainstorming these and other ideas at this Monday’s staff meeting.

The Importance of Attendance: Learning is Cumulative

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

H. Green

Value education and give it high priority in your family! Convey a positive attitude about school and treat going to school as part of the normal course of events, something that is expected of your child. Let him/her know that school is the most important thing in his/her life at this time, and that his/her future job opportunities will depend on how well (s)he handles his/her present “job” (school). Help him/her develop good study and work habits and praise him/her when (s)he is successful. Get to know your child’s friends as they have more influence with him/her at this time in his/her life than you do. Get personally involved in school activities, go to sporting events, attend plays and concerts, join the Parent Group/Advisory Board, volunteer, read the school paper. Know what’s going on at school [McKenny Independent School District]

Students usually begin each new school year with excitement and enthusiasm – even if they don’t show it to adults. The anticipation of new classes, new friendships, and renewing old friendships provides real motivation for daily attendance at school during those first few weeks. Unfortunately, after a brief time some students, particularly those at the middle and high school levels and those who don’t do well in school, become careless about regular attendance. Missing a few classes seems inconsequential to them. Sometimes it seems insignificant to parents as well.

The teaching/learning process builds upon itself: Each lesson presented to students is based upon or related to those that preceded it. Just as we can never regain a moment of time wasted, the child who misses a day of school also misses a day of education which cannot be retrieved.  Indeed, research shows that those children who attend school regularly are more likely to be successful during their school years.

Success after graduation is a second reason for regular school attendance. If young people don’t develop the habits of good attendance and prompt completion of assignments while they’re in school, when will they learn these things? Their success as adults in their chosen occupations is dependent upon these habits. From experience, most teachers know that students’ success in their school years is directly related to the importance that parents attach to education. If parents believe and act as if the child’s education is important, the child will most likely believe it too. So it

is with regular attendance at school. When parents believe that consistent attendance is important and communicate that belief to their children starting in the elementary years, unnecessary absences from school will be dramatically reduced [Polson k12 District 23].

What can Parents do?

1. Let your child know that you expect him/her to attend school every day. Explain that, just as you have a job, it’s his/her job to go to school and learn.

2. Set a time for doing homework each evening and a time for going to bed. Unfinished homework and too little sleep are common reasons why parents hear the words, “I don’t feel good,” on school mornings.

3. Get involved with your child’s school. When (s)he sees you in the halls or the classrooms (s)he’ll understand that school is important.

Attendance patterns are formed early in life. Children who develop good attendance habits in the early grades will be more likely to continue them throughout their school career.  That’s important, because students who miss school miss out on carefully planned sequences of instruction.  They miss out on active learning experiences and class participation. They miss out on the opportunity to ask questions. They are more likely to fall behind. And they are more likely to drop out [Copyright © 2003 The Parent Institute].

I know that it is getting warm and we have more light and the temptation to go outside is all to real.  However,  please continue to urge your child to go to school and resist the temptation to skip classes.

Welcome Back

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

If you are anything like I am, one of the things you did over the break in abundance was eat.  Turkey, ham, yams, pies of all types etc… were consumed to the point of bursting.  It was also a time for grandmas, grandpas, family, and friends to experiment with different concoctions that are lauded as “mm-mm good!”  For example, a mixture of pineapple cubes, melon balls, and a dash of vanilla all combined with sparkling water was supposed to be “to-die-for”.  And I almost did, trying to drink the delicacy while keeping a straight face!

The house was alive with the sounds of little feet running around and, yes, sometimes falling down.  But, it was all in good fun and as soon as the “boo-boo” was patted, blown on, or kissed they were right back at it, giggling and screaming as though nothing ever happened.  I never knew such small throats could produce such loud, penetrating sounds!  However, I don’t think there is a more beautiful sounds than the laughter and screams of a small child having fun.

It is also very curious how moms and dads all over rush out to buy wonderful things for their young ones thinking all the while that “He is going to really love this!” or “She will be so happy to get this!” only to discover the truth.  What is the truth? Two-year olds would rather play with the paper and the styrofoam packing materials than their new toy!  I think next year I will buy large quantities of brightly colored paper, ball it all up, stick it all in a large bag, and give it to my son.

My daughter acted as if she was in a competition to see how many presents she could open in the least amount of time.  As soon as she unwrapped one she was on to the next and the item was cast aside never having been played with. Then she tried to take my son’s presents and open his.  When asked why, she said that it is ok because she was “only trying to help”.

We wanted her to begin taking piano lessons this year.  Some of you may be able to relate to this.  Not having a piano, my wife and I began looking for one.  We got one from Costco.  Although it is not a Grande and does not fill up the entire room, it is pretty big, taking up a third of one of the downstairs playroom walls.  I told her that someone had brought her a very special gift and it was downstairs.  Keep in mind she had been unwrapping brightly colored packages for the last 15 minutes.  We went downstairs and she looked around for presents, walking past and nearly bumping into the piano. She did not see the large black item against the east wall of our downstairs playroom!  Neither my wife nor I said anything while my daughter asked, “Where is the present daddy?”  In the meantime my little boy spotted it right away and rushed over. He climbed onto the stool and began to play the favorite tune of all two-year olds, “The Ode to a Little Kid”.  Then my daughter said, “Oh, whose piano is that?” We just smiled…

Having had very little as a child, I am aware that I spoil my little ones and I know that experts say that I shouldn’t do that.  However, I know for a fact that you are only young once and for a very short time at that.  So, I intend for their childhoods to be the best of times for as long as I am able to make it so.

Principal’s Report: Jan 14, 2010

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

1.  Anchorage Museum – Two new programs for teens.

  • Teen Science Tour Guide – poster in the hallway.  Contact Karen Moulton 929-9227 for more information. Can help with the new Star Wars exhibit. Applications are due this month.
  • YourSpace – help develop a magazine at the museum, coordinate a coffee house and music night.  Contact Katie Kelley 929-9268 for more info.

2.  1/23/10 Sat SAT Tests Prior registration req See Karen in library for info.

3.  ✭NAEP Grade 8 & 12 January 25 – March 5, 2010 (National Assessment of Educational Progress)

4.  Steller Community,  Please nominate our school to receive a $1000 – $50,000 NFL Grant to improve our gym, repair/replace equipment, and expand our PE Program. Anyone can make a nomination—  students, teachers, staff, parents, former Steller Grads, and friends!

There is a completed nomination form in the Study Skills room as an example and you can use the computers in that room during lunch and after school to place your nomination.  If you would prefer to access it at home, the website is:
www.keepgyminschool.com.

The entire Steller Community will benefit from the improvements.  Remember that all nominations must be received by no later than February 1st!! Contact Shanley or Toni if you have questions.

5.  ✭Terra Nova Grade 7 February 2 & 3, 2010 (makeup’s through February 10)

6.  Saturday administration of the FEB. 6, 2010 ACT Testing for those juniors who signed up is quickly approaching.  Juniors who completed the ACT registration paperwork will be receiving an ACT Admissions Ticket from ACT through the mail. It will be important that students arrive at their designated ACT test center between 7:45- 8:00 am with their ACT Admissions Ticket AND a photo ID.

7.  Yesterday, 1/14/09, The Fire Marshall was dispatched to Steller due to a parent complaint regarding our students leaving their personal belongings on the floor in the hall way.  After I escorted him around the building and showed him the hooks that were place in our halls over the summer and he noticed that most of the students did use the hooks for hanging their coats he understood.  I explained that we did not have lockers in our halls, that we had some storage in each classroom but that being in the classroom made it inaccessible to our students during the day due to classes being in session he understood.  His comments on the complaint was, “ Complaint not justified”.  In the ticket I received he did make some comments:

  • Principal has been installing coat racks on the hallway walls & having the clothing hung on them.  Backpacks are neatly stored along several areas adjacent to the hallway walls and as long as these are neatly stored tightly up against the wall & a minimum of 6’ wide egress hallway is maintained, this meets current code for an educational occupancy.
  • One temporary table was out in the egress way today in a hallway-it will be removed after today [1/14/10].
  • Building was converted from an elementary school to a middle/high school- therefore there are no lockers for student storage.
  • No clothing is allowed on the floor areas- they are to be hung up.
  • Referenced Codes are Ifc 1017.2 & 807.4.3.1

The loud and clear message in all of this is:

  • Backpacks are fine on the floor up against the walls
  • All articles of clothing must be hung on the existing hooks or somewhere other than the floor in the hallway.

Please share this with your students and we will address it in our advisory groups.   The alternative is to be fined a ridiculous amount of money for every item of clothing on the floors if and when he or someone else comes in to inspect us.  I believe because we had a parent complaint lodged about this they will be coming back to check that we are in compliance.

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