Meet the CRSD – Joyanna Dorsey

Each month the CRSD Snippets will highlight one of our dedicated employees.   We will randomly draw a name so that every employee in the district has the opportunity to be recognized for their unique and essential role in providing a quality education in our rural envir2014 Joyanna Dorseyonment.   This month, we are pleased to present Joyanna Dorsey.

Name: Joyanna Dorsey


Birthday: July 25th

Role in the CRSD: Instructional Aide

 Primary Campus: Glennallen

Where are you originally from? California

Favorite Book/Author/TV Show: Big Bang Theory

Favorite Music Genre: Hip Hop

Favorite Place in Alaska: Any outdoors location for camping

Favorite Place Outside of Alaska: California with family, especially the beach

Hobbies: Drawing

Favorite Aspect of Teaching: Working with the staff and children is always a pleasure

One Interesting Thing About You That Might Be Surprising: I spent 12 years in Mexico.

Favorite Beverage: Grapefruit Juice

Favorite Snack: Fruit

In One Sentence, What Advice Do You Have for Students? Always set a good example, because you don’t know who is looking up to you.

Joanna started working in the Copper River School District in January of 2014.  Send Joyanna an email or buy her a grapefruit juice to let her know how much we appreciate her serving students and families in the CRSD.

From all of the Copper River School District employees and the Board of Education, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Snippets – Guest Post by Ramona Henspeter: “Co-operative Homeschooling at Upstream Learning”

Co-operative Homeschooling at Upstream Learning

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 1.27.19 PMThroughout my 20 years of homeschooling and 6 years of working alongside homeschool families enrolled in Upstream Learning, I’ve come to realize that home education is carried out in as many different ways as there are homeschooling families. With public and private education now climbing out of the box more and more, offering a plethora of ways to educate children, it’s helpful to view education methods on a continuum, with the traditional classroom on one end and parent-directed ‘school at home’ on the other. We have seen our Upstream Learning families moving about on the continuum, with some remaining at home for all of their school activities, some joining various group classes and activities, some taking classes online or at the local high school, and some traveling while learning.

This year at Upstream Learning, we’re experiencing something new from the continuum – a co-op. The concept of co-ops is common in homeschool circles. My family belonged to one several years ago, when a few families met bi-weekly at a local church basement to share our special interests and expose our children to a variety of elective activities we couldn’t do on our own at home. Our co-op is a bit different, however, as it’s held in our Upstream Learning Center two days each week. Last spring a group of parents of young students approached CRSD administration and requested the chance to start a co-op in our building (the north end of the District Office), using their student allotment funds for curriculum, while providing the teaching themselves or by hiring local instructors to teach specialty classes. According to parent Victoria Rego, they formed the co-op for three key reasons: “to provide vital classes like music, art, and outdoor education; to offer support for homeschool families and help lighten the burden of creating a high-quality education for our children; and to offer those positive elements of a classroom while emphasizing academic rigor and character-building with a low student to instructor ratio.”

Now that we’re nearly finished with first semester, we can report the Upstream Learning Co-op is alive and well! The core group is small, but they hope to grow next semester. CRSD provided the use of a bright, spacious classroom, and the parents and children have transformed it into a friendly, inviting learning environment where other homeschool parents and siblings can study, socialize and support each other in their most important job. Victoria reports that “in its first term the co-op has successfully coordinated courses, workshops and field trips in outdoor science, music theory, world history, subsistence, Spanish, fine arts, civics, math and reading. Through integration of practical, culturally-relevant skills and disciplines in a small classroom setting, co-op students are building their knowledge and understanding of core subjects like math, science and language arts.”

Upstream Learning staff has supported the co-op by helping arrange for specialist instructors to lead these classes, by sharing invitations to other homeschool students to join the group activity opportunities, and by interacting with the families during their co-op school days. Both staff and co-op parents are seeking to build bridges and lasting relationships, while strengthening our overall Upstream Learning program. Co-op is short for ‘cooperative’ – two or more people or groups working together towards the same end. We have witnessed this taking place this school year, and it’s a joy to be a part of this new venture. The smiles and laughter of children in the mix of our day at Upstream Learning is invigorating. Thank you, Co-op families, for enriching our days while learning together in our presence! The Co-op parents have some exciting classes planned for spring semester, and there’s room for more students to join them.

We’re always looking for local community members to share their expertise with our students at Upstream Learning. Please contact me (Ramona Henspeter) if you have a special skill or interest you might like to teach to our K-12 students. Also, we’d like to keep our classroom humming with activity throughout the week. If homeschool parents of other age groups would like to organize their own co-op or plan some occasional activities, we’re here to support you and get things off the ground. The possibilities for subjects and formats are numerous, and the Copper Valley provides one of the greatest and most unique classrooms in the world. As local families are presented with more and more options to customize student learning along the education continuum, we hope many will choose to join our Upstream Learning community!

Written by Ramona Henspeter, Upstream Learning support teacher, with input from co-op parent, Victoria Rego.

Snippets – General Updates Edition December 2014


High school wrestling, hockey and basketball are now in full swing. You can catch hockey and basketball games on KCAM.   Please check the district website for game dates and times.   Please consider attending a home game to show your support for our student athletes.   A special thanks to all the volunteers and coaches who work with parents to keep our activities going.CRSD


A small group of parent and CRSD staff met on November 24th to discuss digital learning programs in the district.   A report on current e-learning options was presented along with a period for Q&A.   The committee also discussed processes for updating current adopted curriculum. Here are a few CRSD e-learning stats: Currently there are 74 9th-12th grade students taking 109 e-learning courses.   Each student in grades 3rd-12th has an assigned laptop.   Students in grades 2nd-5th have iPads.   The committee will meet again in the spring to review learning data and 2015-2016 e-learning programs.


The Kenny Lake Pellet boiler continues to operate well, providing heat for the entire school facility.   When designed, the projected savings from the bio-mass system was calculated based upon $4.05 a gallon for heating fuel.   With the recent drop in oil prices, bio-mass fuel for the boiler is costing the district slightly more than heating fuel.   We will continue to monitor the financial impact of the system and adjust our heating methods accordingly.


“Count period” takes place each year to determine funding for Alaska’s public schools.   Enrollment is tracked over a 20 day period, averaged and then submitted to the Department of Education and Early Childhood. Our enrollment is calculated by multiplying the enrollment by factors based on school size, district cost-of-living, correspondence, vocational-education, special education and a few others.   This year’s count period was September 29th, 2014 through October 24th, 2014.   The table below shows our projected enrollment used in last year’s budgeting process and the actual enrollment at the end of this year’s count period.

Projected Actual
Slana School 15 18.25
Glennallen School 284 285.85
Kenny Lake School 84.5 78
Upstream Learning 41 55.45
Total 424.5 437.55


It’s that time of year when we get to enjoy Christmas programs. It is the best entertainment around!

Upstream Learning Christmas Dinner and the Arts – Friday, December 12th at 6:00PM (please RSVP at 822-3234 ext. 227)

Glennallen School Christmas Concert (K-12th) – Tuesday, December 16th at 6:00PM

Kenny Lake High School Christmas Concert (5th-12th) – Wednesday, December 17th at 7:00PM

Kenny Lake Elementary Christmas Program (K-4th grade) – Thursday, December 18th at 1:30PM

Slana School Christmas Program – Thursday, December 18th at 6:00PM

I hope to see you at one (or more) of the school Christmas programs – come celebrate Christmas with the students!