December 18, 2017
Issue No: 


Superintendent's Message

 Rest, Relax, Reflect and Recharge

The holiday break is almost here!  As I have been out and about at various concerts, I can certainly feel the anticipation building.  I want to believe that our youngest students are thinking about the wonderful gifts Santa is going to bring them; that our teenaged students are looking forward to sleeping in and having a break from homework; and that parents are looking forward to the opportunity to gather with family and friends to celebrate the season.  I would love to believe that these pleasant paradigms of Christmas are true stories, but sadly, they are not for far too many.

Thankfully, our schools step up and lean in to make Christmas a little nicer for as many families as we can.  Angel trees, food drives, adopt-a-family campaigns, food baskets, and the anonymous giving of gift cards are all common activities that take place behind the scenes in our schools during this time of year.  All done because we know, as a popular quote tells us, “Helping one person might not change the world, but it could change the world for one person.”  That’s what GFPS is really all about. Day in and day out, we change the world for each student and during this time of the year, that means making Christmas a little brighter for as many students as we can.

Thank goodness for the door-opener, the life-changer, the opportunity-maker we call public education!  Thank goodness for all of you who do more, give more and believe more.  Thank goodness for all of those in our community who do the same.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And soon a little break to rest.  Please take some time to relax, to put your feet up and to give yourself a pat on the back for a 2017 well-lived.  Also, take some time to reflect on your work.  I hope you feel a sense of pride in the big and small actions you have taken to ensure the future of our students.  Lastly, please take some time to recharge.  2018 is on the horizon and I know that some of the days are going to be long and the work is going to be hard.  But I also know that our kids, our community and our future deserve our best. 

So rest, relax, reflect and recharge!  Thank you for being a part of great schools, greater tomorrows and Great Falls! Happy Holidays to you and those you love.  My best wishes for a great 2018!

Take care. Be safe.  Stay well.


Community Budget Meetings

Online Learning Opportunity - Supporting At-Risk Students

Teacher Learning Hub: The Hub is a learning network on the Moodle platform dedicated to providing free, high quality professional learning for all K-12 educators across Montana.  It aims to minimize the time teachers spend away from their classrooms to attend training, as well as save school districts money on professional learning.  Get started by creating an account today at   


Length: 1 hour each

Audience: Faculty and staff 


Format: The participant learns about mental health warning signs and communication strategies by viewing a conversation between a virtual child psychologist and a virtual teacher. The participant then guides the teacher through three conversations with distressed students, each taking approximately 5-7 minutes. The program prepares the participant to identify, approach, and refer students exhibiting signs of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.


Evidence base: The At-Risk for High School Educators program has been accepted into SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) and the SPRC/AFSP Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention (BPR). A quasi-experimental study among 327 high school teachers from 40 states found consistent and statistically significant results across demographic characteristics. The results suggested that At-Risk increases teachers’ ability to identify, approach, and refer students exhibiting signs of distress; teachers’ confidence in their ability to help a suicidal student; and the likelihood that teachers will intervene when faced with a student at risk. 

Montana State Speech and Debate Tournament, 2018

GFPS Staff,
On January 26th and 27th, CMR will be hosting the State Speech and Debate Tournament and there is a need for judges.  Judging clinics will be held in January, so even if you haven’t judged before, please don’t hesitate to volunteer.
Please consider taking part in this excellent opportunity to come see some of the best and brightest students from across the State of Montana demonstrate their ability in public speaking and knowledge of current affairs. 
Invitation to Judge
Montana State Speech and Debate Tournament
January 26th and 27th, 2018
Please consider volunteering your time to support students in this tournament!
Friday, January 26th:
Speech Rounds at CM Russell High School
4:00 PM               6:00 PM               8:00 PM
Debate Rounds at CM Russell High School
4:00 PM               6:00 PM               8:00 PM
Saturday, January 27th:
Speech Rounds at CM Russell High School
8:30 AM              10:30 AM            1:00 PM               3:00 PM
Debate Rounds at CM Russell High School
8:00 AM      10:00 AM       12:00 PM     1:30 PM        3:00 PM    


STEAM 2018


Join the Fun! It’s FREE!

Teachers and administrators, please encourage ALL your students to either participate or attend.
(High School Teachers, please encourage your students to look into the STEAM scholarship as well.)
STEAM EXPO (science, technology, engineering, art, math) is an event designed to encourage the interaction and collaboration between our Great Falls Public School students and community professionals. The purpose is to apply knowledge and understanding of science, technology, engineering, art, and math to conduct in-depth “real-world” investigations. The process will include mentorships, demonstrations of classroom science explorations, and extensions of the inquiry process posed in student note-booking journals. The exposition itself will offer a venue for students to demonstrate the results of their STEAM studies, professionals to show how STEAM is used to better our communities, and spectators to participate in hands-on experiments. The STEAM EXPO event will connect our schools to the community, our students to professionals, and generate interest and excitement for science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. 
Participants and public will interact with science, technology, engineering, art, and math projects.
Community groups will also share information and provide hands-on activities!
Hope to see you as well at the STEAM EXPO 2018 to see the amazing inquiry work that will be presented by GFPS K-12 students.
March 24, 2018   10:00 AM-1:30 PM
Great Falls High Fieldhouse
Click on the link below for more information:

HiGH TRUST 2018, Level 1 and 2

January 18-21st
  • ”Growing with Gratitude®” The Greatest Gift you can give yourself and those you love!
  • Leave school...energized...not exhausted!
  • Teach without stress...get that “gerbil feeling out forever!
  • Positive Teaching Attitude!
  • Be your “real self”, ..teach from your “moral code”!
  • Bring your “personal truth” into your teaching!
  • Celebrate students with your goodness & caring!
Times: Thursday/Friday: 4:00-9:00 PM, Saturday/Sunday 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Click here for more information and registration form.


Grant Opportunities Through GFPS Foundation

The Great Falls Public Schools Foundation is offering two grant programs this year. Included will be Discovery Grants (individual teacher grants) and Innovation Grants (collaboration grants). These applications will open December 18th and close on February 5th.
Foundation grants are available to GFPS Staff to provide opportunities for students to learn in new environments, experience creative teaching methods, participate in out of school experiences, or have new equipment or materials that provide enrichment and support.
Discovery Grants are individual teacher projects with funding ranging from $500 to $3,000. Innovation Grants are collaborative group projects with funding up to $10,000.  
Great Falls Public Schools employees can submit applications HERE or through the Foundation’s webpage at The Foundation will be funding up to $150,000 between the two programs.
If you have questions about the grants please contact Dave Crum at dave_crum [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us or call 7340. If you have questions regarding the online application, please contact Lyndsay Lettre at foundation [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us or at 7401.   

Lesley University Graduate Program in Great Falls - 2018

Lesley University Graduate Program in Great Falls
Integrated Teaching through the Arts Curriculum & Instruction, M.Ed.

Program is designed for all K-12 educators

Project based – no GRE required

Skills that transfer to your everyday lessons!

Move up on the Salary Schedule as you go!

Financial aid and payment plans are available.

Regionally and nationally accredited

Financial Aid Counselor to assist Student Loan Process!

Deferred Student Loan payment 6 months after completion of your degree!

Nineteen weekends total!  The entire program is completed in less than two years.

$5000 Loan Forgiveness is available!

$50 application fee waiver!

Face-To-Face teaching one weekend a month: Saturday & Sunday 8am – 5pm
Contact: Cathy Kuntz

ckuntz [at] lesley [dot] edu

Wellness Updates

Holiday Break Closures:

Fitness Center & Classes
Our Fitness Center will be closed over the Holiday Break and Fitness classes cancelled as well. See details below, in Newsbits and on the GFPS Wellness website.
  • Zumba: No class December 26 or 28, 2017. Class will resume January 2, 2018.
  • YOGA: No class December 27 or 28, 2017. Class will resume on January 3, 2018.
  • Circuit Training: No class December 25 or 27, 2017. Class will resume on January 4, 2018.
  • Swimming: Pool closed December 23, 2017  through January 1, 2018. Pool hours will resume January 2, 2018.
  • Aqua Aerobics: Off the month of December with class resuming on Tuesday, January 9, 2018.