Standard 1

Purpose and Direction

The school maintains and communicates a purpose and direction that commit to high expectations for learning as well as shared values and beliefs about teaching and learning.

To access the Soldotna High School Faculty presentation for Standard 1 click Standard 1 Video


The mission statement of a high school is of critical importance; it should be a functional tool that directs a school’s assessment of its own progress by examining hard, measureable data acquired from local, state and national sources.

In June 2008, a group of Soldotna High School teachers, counselors and administrators participated in a district-wide conference entitled “Failure is Not an Option.” The main precept of “Failure is Not an Option” emphasized that successful schools design and implement their school mission statements to incorporate directives based on current educational research as well as input from school administrators, teachers, staff and the local community. Following the “Failure is Not an Option” conference, participants presented a new mission statement, rewritten with these criteria in mind, to the staff of Soldotna High School at the October in-service. Staff offered suggestions for the revision, refinement and implementation of the mission statement, which was approved in January 2009 (SBDM Minutes Jan 2009) and is now clearly displayed on the Soldotna High School website as the collective vision of our school. The digital documentation of the mission statement provides all stakeholders a clear vision as to how Soldotna High School will hold itself accountable to its own high standards.

Soldotna High School ensures that students and parents are provided with detailed information about the mission and operation of the school. Students are provided with a copy of the Parent/Student Handbook when they register and are required to achieve a score of 100% on a Handbook Test, ensuring that they have read and understood all civic and social expectations. Students and parents are also provided with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) Parent/Student Handbook which includes all school and district expectations and can be accessed online via the Soldotna High School website. All Soldotna High School athletes are required to abide by the School District Activities Association Guidelines which are also easily accessible on the KPBSD website.

Soldotna High School’s mission statement is a living document; our school goals are written anew each fall and reviewed each spring with the goal of assessing their applicability and success. Goals and assessment data are reviewed by our Site Based Council, which is comprised of teachers, administrators, students, parents and community members. To achieve a Level 4 score, this Site Based Council would need to transition from a pre-selected group to an entity made up of members chosen randomly from all stakeholders, as the standard requires.


A deep commitment on the part of Soldotna High School teachers to the ongoing process of improving and enriching a learning environment that supports all students allows us to serve the wide range of cognitive and developmental levels represented in our student body. Our student population includes individuals ranging from college-bound students fully immersed in AP and jumpstart programs to students who are pre-schedule concrete thinkers. In order to serve each population effectively, efficiently, and with excellence, Soldotna High School offers a full spectrum of learning environments that offer challenging programs for students of all abilities. In addition to the expansion of our Advanced Placement (AP) offerings, we also provide opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in Community Life Skills classes. Articulated agreements with Kenai Peninsula College provide student opportunities for college credit in courses including Child Development, Nutrition, Culinary Arts and Process Technology.

In 2012, our staff focus groups, called Soldotna Learning Teams (SLTs), examined Marzano and Pickering’s The Highly Engaged Classroom and came up with ideas to implement those learning strategies in Soldotna High School classrooms. Examples include presentations, activities and tools to assist teachers in the planning process. The Special Education Department, for example, created a tool that provides teachers with a quick reference guide to various engagement strategies recommended by Marzano.

Soldotna High School staff members consistently collaborate on ways to use technology to enhance student achievement and provide an optimal 21st century educational experience. To meet this objective, various grants were developed to obtain the needed technology resources. 32% of the current certified staff at Soldotna High School have either written or been a part of a team that has drafted a grant that supported student learning (Knoebel Staff Survey). Two of these grants resulted in the acquisition of five SMART Boards, twenty-eight laptops, and six iPads (KPBSD tech grantKPBSD Tech Grant 2, and iPad Elks Club Grant). Through a Professional Development Grant in 2011, several teachers participated in SMART Board training to better utilize that technology in their classrooms. All staff members received in-service training in the use of Dashboard, the delivery system developed by KPBSD to provide individual student and class standardized testing results. Soldotna High School teachers use PowerSchool to record and post grades and assignments to be accessed online by students and parents. Class Blogs and websites also enhance curriculum delivery by providing online access to classroom materials and Digital Lesson Plans. Lesson recordings are provided to students who either miss class or need to review. Soldotna High School administration use attendance and graduation rates, test data and behavior incidents to assess the effectiveness of technology integration ( SoHi Admin Annual Tech Integration).

An essential component of attaining the high standards Soldotna High School sets for itself in providing challenging and equitable learning experiences is the quality of its teachers. The drive of Soldotna High School teachers to remain life-long learners enhances the culture of the school by infusing the learning environment with passionate, knowledgeable stakeholders who impact students on a daily basis.  In a survey of certified staff members at Soldotna High School, 79% reported that they either have a master’s degree or are currently in the process of completing the required courses to be certified as a master teacher. All teachers on staff are Highly Qualified for their teaching assignments as listed on the school website. All AP teachers are required to obtain College Board certification and regularly travel to conferences to continue their education. School leaders hold all school personnel accountable through the evaluation system. Teachers are either on a Teacher Enrichment Pathway (TEP) or are assessed through a standard evaluation. Standard Based Assessment (SBA) and High School Graduation Qualifying Exam (HSGQE) results are reviewed and drive the school goals. Dashboard provides a profile with current and comprehensive data on student and school performance. Counselors provide a list of Seniors-at-Risk indicating students who need to pass portions of the HSGQE and are credit deficient.

In pursuit of a Level 4 score in this area, Soldotna High School should develop a system in which all stakeholder groups work collaboratively and consistently, in authentic and meaningful ways, toward providing all students with the leaning, thinking and life skills necessary for success.


Soldotna High School’s leaders promote accountability by providing an effective learning environment through a systematic evaluation process based on Danielson’s framework of educational practices. This transparent evaluation approach provides staff with opportunities to analyze their craft and a medium through which to initiate a dialogue with an administrator about what can be done to become a proficient/advanced educator in all domains (Self Reflection Rubric). The evaluation process is ongoing throughout the year and includes allotted time to evaluate the action steps taken to improve instruction and student achievement.

In pursuit of a Level 4 in this area, Soldotna High School could develop a system in which all school personnel may hold each other accountable for the implementation of interventions and strategies. This can be accomplished though a reconfiguration of our SLT groups into Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) which will place the focus of accountability more on the staff as a whole rather than on an administrator-driven model.