The FUNd Stuff at PNA!

This issue is big, but how else would we send off the 2016-2017 school year? Thank you to all of you who read our news, share in our adventures, delight in our successes, and have formed a friendship with our little school in Alaska. We appreciate your continued interest and we look forward to next year and the next tome of stories that will come out of PNA!

Congratulations, Graduates!

On this, your graduation day all stand and give cheer

To honor you for all the work you've done to get you here.

As we rise and give applause be sure you don't forget

That learning is not over as your future plans are met.

May you always be a listener and learn from all you meet

Always keep a student's spirit and your life will be complete.

- Author Unknown

Ready to for high school, the 8th graders take one last trip around, up, over, under, through the playground before heading in to receive their diplomas.

Sam Orbase was a PNA student for only one year, but her impressions of the school are as if she had been her for years.

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one."

- C.S. Lewis

Listening to the students speak at Graduation this year, we heard a common element among their speeches...their friends. Friends they can't imagine living without, friends they didn't expect to make, friends they plan on staying in touch with long after leaving PNA.

Friendships are a cornerstone of the school experience for children. When parents look at PNA as an option for their family, they tend to focus on the academics. How do you teach math, what kinds of languages will my children learn, do they learn cursive? Spelling? Musical instruments? They ask how often they go outside and do they need to bring lunch or do we provide that, too? But kids, kids wonder whether they will be liked. Will they fit in? Will their classmates will be friendly? Will they be cool? Are there even enough kids in the class to have friends?

According to our graduates, PNA is a pretty good place to form lifelong friends. They've met people they liked that then moved away, and they've found new relationships with classmates they hadn't considered as friends before. They've learned how to have meaningful friendships and resolve differences rather than flitting from one group to another when they felt at odds or out of place. They learned that friends can be found in the most unlikely of places, and that despite surface perceptions, for the most part the kids in their classes support one anther because they have learned the value of mutual respect and understanding.

Are they perfect at these skills? No, but they've got a jump ahead of their peers from other schools when it comes to navigating the roads of adolescence and the ever-changing landscape of friendships they will encounter in high school.

As we look back over the year, and at all the people we've welcomed in and all we've said farewell to, we know that the strength of PNA comes from the many, many different people we call friends. We hope you all have a fantastic summer with people you love, wherever adventure takes you!

Postcards from the Classroom

We certainly know how to pack a lot into the last week of school, and this year was no exception! This year International Night, Yearbook Signing, Graduation, and Field Day rounded out our events calendar and closed out 2016-2017 school year.

Click any picture below to jump into the slideshow.

Love What You See?

You Can Support It!

Your gift benefits today's students and everyone's future. Spread the word! Don't let PNA be Anchorage's best kept secret. Let your friends know!

To make a donation or refer a family to PNA, Call (907) 333-1080 and speak

with Jennie Tschappat, Director of Admissions and Communications.

Au Revoir...

Kids and teachers alike look forward to summer vacation, but this year the end of year has brought with it goodbyes. Some of our faculty and staff are headed off to new places. Mr. Dale and his family are moving to Spokane, Ms. Kristen and her family are moving with the military (and we are ever grateful for their service), Ms. Thorpe and Ms. Lorenz will be spending time with their respective families and Mrs. Sutton is retiring from teaching and returning to Georgia.

All of these people have made a lasting impact on PNA and and we will miss having them within our walls for many years to come.

Art Showing

For twenty years Brenda Jaeger has been teaching PNA kids how to draw their own faces, become masters of the color wheel, throw pots and fuse glass, appreciate art's place in history and history's place in art, and discover that creativity is not just limited to pen, paint and paper.

Once again, this year's Art Show was a colorful celebration of a year in her classroom.

Coming Right Up

Summer is a time for kids to get out and explore. At PNA we know the value of a positive educational experience, and is why we offer stimulating summer programs sure to engage even the most discerning kids. PNA's summer programs provide a safe place where students are free to imagine, invent, dream and build; a place where they can fail and start again with new ideas and inspiration.

Tuesday, May 30

Pint-Sized Panthers Summer Camp Begins!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Create Academy Summer Camp Begins!

August 23, 2017

First Day of School

Enjoy your summer and don't forget to read, read, read!

For a full calendar, please visit the Calendar page on our website!

Dear Families and Friends of PNA,

Well, this is a new location for me. Jennie thought I might write the letter this week, and I said - why not! My daughter Claire graduated on Tuesday, wrapping up a series of lasts for me as a parent: last Spring trip send-off, last parent lunch, last carpool drive. Soon I'll wrap up my 11 years of board work at the year's last board meeting in June. And this is my last issue of the FUNd Stuff as a regular writer/editor - so why not sit in this spot for once?

It feels like an apt transition. I have spent years sussing out PNA's voice with the Board in strategic planning sessions, with staff in marketing meetings, with teachers in desk-side conversations, with parents in the parking lot. And I've spent the last five years hashing and mashing that voice with the best collaborator and co-pilot imaginable, Jennie, to share the Voice with FUNd Stuff readers. It has been a delight to frame PNA's endeavors, philosophy, successes (and misses) in a way that helps define both independent education and PNA's mission to anybody willing to open our 160 or so issues. But now I am about to be a regular citizen, and I can use my own voice; I am not-so-secretly thrilled to have the opportunity to let it be carried further than normal, this once.

What would I have done without PNA? PNA has been my second home for thirteen years, epitomizing everything a home should be: a safe haven; a place you can be your best - and worst; the point of departure for all manner of adventures. PNA has been a second school to me as well - my continuing education. PNA's welcoming and open nature has allowed me to dip into almost every aspect of what it takes to run a school; from PA meetings to staff meetings to board meetings, I think I am one of the few who has done each on a regular basis, one year or another. But more than that, PNA is a school in the best sense of the word: it's a community of learners, where all can learn from everyone. PNA's parents have been a bastion of inspiration, its students ever-surprising and illuminating. For my kids, PNA has offered guidance, support, responsibility, challenge, and love. Their years here have made an indelible difference in creating the foundation of their character; this, more than anything they've done or learned, will influence everything that comes after, instilling in their choices and decisions a profound regard for fairness, kindness, inclusion, purpose, curiosity, excellence, and challenge.

What made this possible is community. While it's true my kids' most direct and constant contact was with their teachers, it's also true that PNA's custodian, Joe Full, has been smiling and saying "how are you today" to me and my kids, many days a week, for thirteen solid years, that parents - current and alumni - have been liberal with both warm hugs and stern finger-wags, and that Silas, three years after graduation, has walked in to any PNA classroom and instantly been invited to either join in, or teach, or both. In my mind, this is an impact that cannot be denied and should not be overlooked. PNA's strength is its unity of vision and purpose - the community's collective commitment to PNA's ideals.

Thank you, PNA, for creating this wonderful environment that my family has had the good fortune to be a part of for so long. Thank you for asking more of yourselves, more of your students, and more of your parents. Thank you for offering them more as well. Thank you for letting our children be as much of themselves as they can be.

Lastly, thank you for forging a path for independent education in Alaska. Anchorage deserves and requires it.

Congratulations on your first twenty years, PNA. In my new, permanent role of Alumni Parent, I can't wait to congratulate you for each of the next twenty - and beyond.


Amy Rhyneer

Just One More...

What happens when your Koosh Ball misses the bucket? You get to have a teammate mess up your hair...unless you just have such fabulous hair that, as Joaquin pointed out, "It doesn't really mess's like I'm not even here!"

Who's Behind this FUNd Stuff madness, anyway?

The FUNd Stuff Editorial Staff

Amy Rhyneer, Kathy Heinlein,

and Jennie Tschappat.

The FUNd Stuff is a bi-monthly (or so) publication from the staff, students, parents, and teachers of PNA. Want to know more about anything we've highlighted here? Get in touch! (907) 333-1080 or

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As always, our continued success is shared with the people and companies that support us.


Many thanks to... 

John Hardwick and Ral West


Skiva Investments LLC



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Anchorage, Alaska 99507

Tel: (907) 333-1080 Fax: (907) 333-1652

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