MAT-SU CENTRAL
                                        MARCH 2011 NEWSLETTER
                                          600 E. Railroad Avenue #6 Wasilla, AK 99654
                                                        Phone: 373-3570 Fax: 373-3573
                                                            PRINCIPAL: John Brown
                                     VISIT US ON FACEBOOK
From the Principal ~
Greetings Families and Friends of Mat-Su Central School,
Improving Your Program The buzz you hear when you visit us at Railr oad Avenue may be a power tool or the
standing of walls as we witness our facility im provements first hand. However, the real significant im provements
are what you don’t see. Your Academic Advisory Council has been hard at work to expand learning opportunities,
improve advisory support and ease th e red tape for hom e schooling. Our prim ary focus is on providing a m enu of
options that match the diverse needs of your home school fam ily. Whether it’s academic assistance or enrichment
offerings that your child seeks, our m ission is simple: “What are the goals you have for your child(ren) and how
can we help you meet these goals?”
Save the Dates! Please note that on March 11 th MSCS will be f ully open for business. Initially this date was
scheduled as a Teacher workday, however the cancellation of services prior to Thanksgiving (remember “IceZilla”)
opened this date up for educational se rvices. MSCS will be cl osed during the Mat-Su Borough School District’s
spring break, March 14th-18. State mandated testing is also right around the corner. Be sure to have April 5th, 6th &
7th on your calendar for SBA/HSGQE testing. Additional information will be forthcoming.
Graduation News For our seniors out there, start m aking plans for celebrating your gradua tion now. Keep the
“pedal to the metal” and complete your journey. In order for staff to veri fy course completion, plan on having all
of your necessary cou rsework in front of your advisor by May 6 th. A key to completing your requirements is
seeking out assistance from your advisor. We have a talen ted high school staff that can offer academ ic support,
materials logistics, or words of encouragement! This year’s event is slated for May 23rd @ the Career & Tech High
School. If you have n ot received graduation planning notifications, please contact
Vicki Dewalt or Chris Jacobson. MSCS is proud to have Mari Jo Parks on staff t o
offer college and career planning which includes FAFSA, s cholarship information,
and community internships.
Once again, if there is anything I or th e MSCS staff can do to support your hom e
school experience, connect wi th any of us. Our doors are always open. From     the
MSCS family, have a safe and fulfilling March with your family!
Honored to be your Principal,
John Brown

                                       Student Presentations
Mat-Su Central School is offering a student oral presentation opportunity on March 24th. Set up will
begin at 10 AM and presentations will run from 11 AM to 12 PM. This event’s theme is open to any
subject ~ Students are encouraged to participate! They will do an oral presentation, including something
visual and bring a food to share which is related in some way to the presentation. All participants &
families will share a lunch potluck after the presentations – Please contact Beth if you are planning to
participate so we can plan for you: or phone 373-3570 ext 10.
The Simkins Family
Highlights by Becky Simkins
               “Do Your Best!” That is the Simkins' homeschool motto. This is our first
               year with Mat-Su Central School. We are very pleased with the program.
               Our son, David, is enrolled in Kindergarten; and he thinks Mrs. Bishop
               rocks! This program has opened up so many opportunities for David's
               learning with its financial help and also the guidance of a great
               overseeing teacher, Janis Bishop.
Our great success this year has been “learning to read”. David has excelled in his
reading with the help of the Sonday System. We are so glad that Mrs. Bishop
recommended it to us. It's an amazing program. Math skills are developed daily with
Saxon Math 1. One of the benefits of homeschooling has been that David can work
at his level academically and not be held to his age-level learning. This has been a
great advantage for him this year. Another benefit is being able to do family projects and activities together, such as
creating a garden and harvesting potatoes. See photo of David (above left) with potatoes from the family garden.
David's dad is very involved in passing on his knowledge of the outdoors to our children. We have been on week-
long float trips, back-country camping and canoeing, hunting, fishing, and numerous outdoor outings. David has
been using a bow and arrow since he was three years old. Our family feels “at home” when we are sitting around a
campfire on a river bank. David is very familiar with the Gulkana River. He has traveled it three times. Last
summer he and his dad caught a huge rainbow trout {see photo}. The grayling fishing is
excellent on the Gulkana. {See photo of David with grayling} Every time David put his line in
the water he had a fish on! He said, “I'm zinging 'em!” We're not sure where he came up with
that word, but we knew what he meant. His dad has also taught him how to fish in the winter.
David caught a char entirely on his own this winter. Hunting is also a valuable skill that his dad
is teaching him. We had a very successful rabbit hunt this fall with the kids. {see photo at right}
                       Our beagle, Ginger, had a lot to do with our hunting success that day!
                     Some PE Activities that MSCS has helped us to pay for are swimming,
                     gymnastics, and wrestling. These are great ways to keep the kids active
                     during our long winters. I really like the flexibility in homeschooling that
                     allows time for these types of activities. Our homeschooling schedule is
                     pretty traditional; we do the basics in the morning and have time in the
                     afternoons for the “fun stuff”. As all homeschooling families know, there are sacrifices that are
                     made to allow one parent to be at home teaching the children. I have found this year, that the
joys of teaching David far outweigh any sacrifices that we have made. I am thankful for the freedom to choose to
teach him at home. And I am very thankful for the support that we have received from the folks at MSCS. They
have helped make our first year a huge success, and we look forward to many years working with them in educating
our children.
Their Advisory Teacher, Janis Bishop, says they brighten her day when they walk in the door – “The kids are so
enthusiastic about what they are learning and so willing to share what they are working on – it makes my work as an
advisor a real pleasure!”

                    Mom, Becky, says, “The ice fishing pics are at ------
                            Lake. We don't tell the name of this one!
Congratulations!! To 3rd grader, Olivia Wills, who took second place in the private schools’ regional Spelling
Bee and will compete in Washington DC on May 14th and to Esther Udodik, Joe Olson, and Collin Smith, who
all took first places in their Divisions at the ACS Speech Meet in Anchorage on February 18th!

Attention Mat-Su Home School families:
The cold and flu season is upon us! To help prevent the spread of illness among MSCS students, families and staff
members, please follow these guidelines:
   •   If your children are sick, keep them home from any MSCS activities! This includes advisor appointments,
       classes or groups held by MSCS, and field trips. Sick kids don’t learn well or enjoy activities, and can
       expose others unnecessarily to communicable illnesses. Although each child’s health concern may be unique,
       in general, “sick” means fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, etc. Some of our MSCS students suffer
       from chronic illnesses or disabilities that make them more likely to become seriously ill if
       exposed to communicable illnesses. We ask your help to insure all of our students
       have a healthy learning experience.
   •   If a child has asthma, serious allergies, or requires any medication or special care while
       on a field trip unaccompanied by his or her parent, the parent must consult with the nurse
       prior to the field trip! Student safety is our first priority. You can email directly or phone
       the front office and ask to speak with the nurse, and the office staff will connect you or give you contact
   •   If your child is not in compliance with Alaska and MSBSD immunization regulations (either with up-to-date
       shot records or appropriate exemption on file at MSCS) he or she will not be allowed to participate in field
       trips. Please contact the nurse if you have questions.
Remember, we can all help to prevent illness by washing our hands frequently, coughing into our sleeves, and
staying home when ill. It’s also important to get plenty of sleep, eat healthy foods, and be active!
Please contact me anytime with questions or health concerns!
Chris VanCleve, RN, NSCN

                              GRADE LEVEL PICTURES                       JURIED ART SHOW/CONTEST FOR
                                    FOR YEARBOOK                                     YEARBOOK ART
                       The Yearbook crew will be taking group          Calling all artists! MSCS and the Yearbook
                       pictures (by grade level) at MSCS in the        Group are hosting a juried art contest. The
                       library on the following dates:                 contest is open to original drawings, paintings
                       Grades K- 2 – Monday March 7                    and photography. The judging will occur on
THE NEXT GRAD          Grades 3- 5 – Tuesday March 8                   March 23rd. There will be ribbons for the top
MEETING WILL            Grades 6-8 – Wednesday March 9                 3 in each category formats and by grade
BE HELD                 Grades 9 – 11 – Thursday March 10              levels k-2, 3-5, 6-8, and high school.
TUESDAY,                Grade 12 – Friday March 11                     Additionally, the top three placers in each
MARCH 29, 2011         All pictures will be taken at 4:30. Please      category and age division will have their
IN THE MSCS            have your student in the building 30            artwork shown in the yearbook. For entry
LIBRARY ~              minutes prior to that time.                     information and judging criteria, see Mr.
                                                                       Welk at MSCS.
SAVE                     SPRING PICTURE DAY
THE                         MARCH 21, 2011
                            10:30 AM – 3 PM

Grades 5/6 Team: THE BOOK SLAYERS participated in the District
Battle on Saturday, February 5th and finished JUST out of the money!
The District took the top 6 teams to the Final Round, and the Book
Slayers were tied for 8th out of 24 teams ~ a good showing, especially
considering they only had just over a week of practice together! Two of
the kids had a week and a half to read the books, which they managed to do and
even reread a couple. Big thanks to Michelle Hand for stepping in at the last minute to help make this happen.
Keep up the reading and go for it again next year!
Grades 7/8 Team: THE STORY KEEPERS ~
Cancelled + Looking forward to next year!
High School Battle Team: The RAVEN BOOK WARRIORS fought hard in the
District Competition on February 1st ~ It was quite apparent right from the
beginning that the other District teams were out to seek revenge after our sweet
victory last year. Even though the Book Warriors had prepared diligently, the Colony High team was running on
high octane that day and took first place. When the dust settled, the RAVEN BOOK WARRIORS placed 5th in the
District, a noble standing, considering the ferocity of competition.
Big Thanks to Olena Ellis for leading the Raven Book Warriors again this year.

                               HIGH SCHOOL QUALIFYING EXAM (HSGQE)
                                  SPRING TESTING APRIL 5th, 6TH, and 7TH
Parents interested in improving their students’ writing skills: MSCS offers the Criterion
Writing Program for home study or here at the school for High School Graduation Qualifying
Exam HSGQE Prep. If you are interested in using this program, please contact Matt Welk or          TEST
your advisory teacher at 373-3570 for further information.                                         PREP

  GRAD                      Mat-Su Central School 2010/2011 Graduation
                            will be held at the Career & Tech High School
                                  at 7 PM on Monday, May 23, 2011

For families who have signed up for iPad Media and/or Lego Robotics in the Field Trip / Extended Activities
Packet, remaining Classes are on Wednesdays from 1:30 - 3 PM in the Library on the following dates:

                                            iPad Media                                            Lego Robotics
                                            March 2 & 23                                             March 9, 30
                                            April 13 & 27                                             April 20
                                                                                                       May 4
           Opportunity for Standardized Math Test Practice for Grades 3 – 6
Students today take a lot of tests, especially math. Some students naturally perform well on
tests, and some do not. But just about everyone can get better at taking tests by learning more
about what’s on the test and how to answer questions. Would your student benefit from working
with someone who could help him/her work through the test he/she has to take?

Mat-Su Central will be providing workshops for any interested student, grades 3 through 6, who would like to learn
what they need to know in order to do better on math tests. The dates set aside for these workshops at Mat-Su Central
are March 1, 3, and 8 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. The goal is to help students feel more confident as they come
to understand the content and learn some of the secrets of success for multiple choice tests at their grade level.
Workshops will be as follows:
        March 1: Session 1 will give step-by-step guidance to help students work through each problem. It
        will provide detailed and thorough written tips specifically for each math item to help students
        figure out how to solve the problem.
        March 3: Session 2 will provide test-taking tips for each item, but the tips will be less detailed than
        the ones on March 1. The tips will help guide the student toward the solution to each problem
        without giving away too much. In other words, students will need to take on a little more initiative.
        March 8: Session 3 will not provide any test-taking tips. The purpose of this session is to assess the
        progress students have made. Students should be more than ready to score well during this session
        without too much assistance. Success on this test will help students feel confident and ready for
        taking real tests.
        After each session we will correct the test to provide immediate feedback to the student as to how
        he/she has done. The answers that will be given will explain why that answer choice was correct
        and why each incorrect answer choice or “distractor” is incorrect.
If you are interested in having your student participate in these workshops please fill out the interest form at the front
office and give it to the ladies at the front desk. If you have any questions please contact Deb Klunder at 373-3570 or

                                REIMBURSEMENT TIPS & REMINDERS
   •   Camps or activities that happen in June must be pre-paid and receipts turned in by the Reimbursement Deadline in
       order to be reimbursed. Classes and Activities must be paid for and reimbursed in the school year in which they
   •   We do reimburse for freight/shipping costs
   •   We don’t reimburse for sales tax
   •   Allotment reimbursements require that grades are turned in for students as required each quarter (K-
       8)/semester (9-12) and that students attend State mandated testing

Online Registration is Coming to the Mat-Su Borough School District
Next year registration for school will be done online. Parents can register from home or school via the
internet. The log-in for online registration will be through I-Parent. If you have not already set up your I-
Parent account, MSCS will be mailing out your log-in sheet and access code this spring/summer. If you have
logged on to I-Parent, but forgotten how to access it, please contact the Help Desk at 761-4042.

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