February 22, 2016
Issue No: 



Budgets and Buildings

Your school district is embarking on two VERY important processes: planning for the 2016-2017 operational budget and asking for taxpayer support to improve the buildings we use to conduct our work. It is absolutely critical that all GFPS employees have the facts of both matters so you can discuss them with your friends and neighbors. I will be presenting information about both topics at several upcoming meetings. PLEASE make the time to attend.

The Board will be taking action on the Facility Plan and the related costs to be put forth to the community for a vote in October. Public comment will be taken.
Today, Monday, February 22, 2016, 5:30 pm, DOB, Aspen Conference Room

These are budget specific meetings with community members present. Come help your Board members plan for next year’s general fund budget revenues and expenditures.
Thursday, March 3, 2016, 5:30 pm, PGEC: Review of Revenue/Expenses; Participant Input on
Budget Priorities
Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 5:30 pm, PGEC: Budget Recommendations & Proposal

These meetings are just for GFPS staff members. The bulk of the agenda will be about the Facility Plan and the related costs to be put before the voters in October. There will be however, some discussion about the 2016-2017 budget as well. I will present roughly the same information at each meeting. There will be time set aside to ask questions as well.
Tuesday, March 1, 4:00-5:00, CMR Auditorium
Thursday, March 3, 4:00-5:00, GFHS Auditorium
Friday, March 4, 10:00-11:00, DOB Aspen
Monday, March 7, 4:00-5:00, DOB Aspen

When dealing with complicated processes, it is often the case for misinformation to be spread. This is your opportunity to get the facts. I look forward to sharing them with you.

Take care. Be safe. Stay well.


Community Screenings


Notice to Members of MPERA-Administered Retirement Systems

On May 2, 2016, the Montana Public Employee Retirement Administration (MPERA) is implementing a new computer system that will improve customer service for employers and members. With the implementation of the new system there will be some impacts to our members. Please be aware of the following:
If you want to retire effective April 1, 2016
• April 14, 2016 – This is the last day we can receive your completed retirement application (including all required paperwork) for you to receive a retirement benefit on the last working day of April.
If you want to purchase any type of service
• March 1, 2016 – MPERA will stop processing service purchase requests. We will do our best to process your request by this deadline. If your request to purchase service is not processed by March 1, 2016, it will not be calculated and mailed to you until the new system goes live in May of 2016. Please be assured that you will not be charged any additional interest due to this short delay.
• May 2, 2016 - Service purchase requests received after March 1, 2016 will be processed as quickly as possible in the new system.
Employers will begin using the new computer system in May. Later this year MPERA will implement a web-based Member Self Service Portal that will provide account access to all of our members. Watch our website for more information about the Member Self Service Portal.
If you have any questions, please contact MPERA at 1-800-275-7372 (or 444-3154 in Helena).


Discovery Grant Applications Now Open

The Great Falls Public Schools Foundation is pleased to announce that Discovery Grant applications are now open. Individuals can apply for a maximum of $3,000 per grant. The Foundation will award $60,000 for Discovery Grants this year.

This grant program provides opportunities for teachers to purchase equipment or books that will enrich student education. Additionally, individuals can apply for funds to teach students in new environments and facilitate social and academic out of school experiences. These are just a few examples of funded Discovery Grants.

Applications are currently being accepted and will close on March 4th, 2016. The winners will be notified by April 4th. You can find the application here.

If you have any questions regarding the online application process, please contact Lyndsay Lettre at 268-7401 or at foundation [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us. General questions about the grants can be directed to Dave Crum at 268-7340 or at dave_crum [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us.


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


ELL Corner

Do you have a culturally responsive classroom? Culturally responsive instruction connects a seemingly rigid curriculum to the knowledge and experiences of the diverse students in our classrooms. Culturally responsive teachers validate family backgrounds by using the literacies and experiences found in their students’ homes as a starting place for instruction. Strategy example: During discussion, elicit dictation from individuals or the group. Write students' suggestions on the whiteboard using the students' exact words without corrections or changes. Point out strengths first then with the students, read and revise for academic English. This strategy allows students to opportunity to see and hear their own and others’ errors, thus developing critical eyes and ears. This strategy is particularly useful for students struggling with the development of academic English. For more strategies and information on how to support the development of academic English and culturally responsive classrooms, contact:
Lisa Jahraus, Title TSA, x6028
Irina Payne, ESL Teacher, x6056