January 12, 2015
Issue No: 


Superintendent’s Message

Superintendent’s Message
Over the holidays, I was skiing with my nephews and daughters, all of whom I taught to ski when they were very little, and was reminded by them about all the fun and challenges we had in those early years.  When I think about getting them all bundled in 5 hats, 5 coats, 10 mittens, 5 pairs of snow pants, 10 ski socks and 10 ski boots, I find it miraculous that we were able to snap into 5 pairs of skis and make a day of it.  And many fine days of skiing there were!  But they also reminded me that sometimes, one or more kiddos would be in a tough spot and my position on the hill was such that I couldn’t get right there to help.  They reminded me that my usual response to this predicament was, “Figure it out!”  They still remember this today and credit it in part to helping them be the great skiers that they are.
“Figure it out” meant that I expected them to have the knowledge and skills necessary to do just that.  I had high expectations for them because I had taught them over and over how to get up.  I had shown them how to make sure their skis were below their heads, to put the downhill ski on first, to use a ski pole for balance, etc.  “Figure it out” also meant that they needed to stop flailing around, to calm down, and to think their way through the challenge.  “Figure it out” also meant that sometimes they needed to ask for help from another skier and that it was ok to do so.
As we laughed about those good times, it dawned on me that I ask you to “figure it out” on a daily basis too.  Our profession is challenging and sometimes I know you find yourself in serious predicaments.  You are asked to “figure it out” with high expectations because you have the knowledge, skills, and tools you need to address most challenges. Be confident in those, and in most cases, you will be successful.   I also know that stress makes each of us flail about a bit and I hope you can find a way to calm yourself as you “figure it out”.  I also want you to know that it is ok to ask for help.  Sometimes the challenges are just too much and it is ok to ask for support.
I look forward to this second half of the school year as we work as a team to “figure it out” whatever “it” may be.  As for my kids, they now just wait for me at the bottom of the mountain as I try to figure out how to keep up.
Take care.  Be safe.  Stay well.


Keep Your School Healthy


Keep Your School Healthy!
#1:  Your number one defense is good hand hygiene!
·        Wash hands well and often. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  If can’t wash with soap and water, use a hand sanitizer.
·        Remind children to keep hands away from faces and don’t touch their mouth, nose or eyes.
·        Cover your cough. Cough into the inside of elbow, or into a tissue — not in hands! Discard the tissue and wash hands or use hand sanitizer as soon as possible, and encourage students and coworkers to do the same.
·        Don’t share water bottles, utensils, cups, etc. with others.
·        Consider cleaning commonly used areas such as key boards and telephones with appropriate cleaners on a daily basis.
#2:  Stay home when sick and help to identify students who may need to be sent home
Signs and Symptoms of Illness:
•   Temperature over 100 degrees F orally
•   Nausea or vomiting
•   Stomachache
•   Diarrhea
•   Headache not relieved with OTC pain medication or with other flu-like symptoms, such as generalized body aches.
•   Persistent or productive cough
•   Earache
•   Thick yellowish discharge from the nose
•   Red or pink eyes with continuous drainage
•   Fatigue, loss of energy, or decrease in activity
When to return to school:
·        Fever free for 24 hours without the use of a fever reducing medication (i.e. Tylenol)
·        In general, it is best to wait until symptoms have resolved and are feeling better before returning to school.  If have had vomiting or diarrhea, should stay home for 24 hours after symptoms end. 
·        If started on an antibiotic or other medication, the provider should state when can return to school.
If you have a student demonstrating symptoms of illness please refer them to the office.  Office staff can call the school nurse as needed.
Coaches may need to assess the overall welfare of players and the entire team by asking individual players who are symptomatic to stay home, without penalty, so as not to expose other players to include opponents.

CCHD will be providing Tdap vaccinations

 CCHD will be providing Tdap vaccinations on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 from 3:30–5:00pm in the Aspen Conference Room of the GFPS Administration Building. The Tdap vaccine protects adults and adolescents from pertussis. This booster is now routinely given at age 11 or 12, but some adults may not have received it. Any adult younger than age 65 who has not had a Tdap vaccine should receive one. Tdap is especially important for anyone having close contact with a baby younger than 12 months. Pregnant women should get a dose of Tdap during each pregnancy to protect the newborn from pertussis. Tdap vaccine costs $89 per dose, however, CCHD accepts all payment types and insurance.


Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease that spreads through the air by cough. The most effective way to prevent pertussis is through vaccination.

Pertussis typically begins with cold symptoms and a cough, which becomes much worse over one to two weeks. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs (“coughing fit”) followed by a whooping noise. However, older children, adults, and very young infants may not develop the whoop. Coughing fits may also be followed by vomiting or turning blue and are often worse at night. There is generally no fever, and cough medicines usually do not help alleviate the cough. Anyone experiencing these symptoms or who has children experiencing these symptoms should contact their health care provider.


The disease is most serious and most likely to develop in very young infants – especially those under the age of six months. Infants should be kept away from anyone diagnosed with Pertussis or identified as a close contact of someone who has been diagnosed. Infants with any coughing illness should be promptly evaluated by their doctor.


 For more information, please call CCHD at 454-6950 or visit

Aquatic Classes and Lap Swim

                              Aquatic Classes and Lap Swim

The next session of Low Impact Aqua Exercise at the Great Falls High pool begins on Tuesday, January 13th.  The class takes place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7 PM-8 PM.  This session will run through mid-March.  There is no cost to GFPS employees.  The public is welcome to participate.  The cost for the public is $60.  Sign up by contacting Kim Fadrhonc.

Remember the Great Falls High pool also has lap swimming available from 6 AM-7:30 AM every Monday-Friday.  Again there is no cost to GFPS employees with a pass.  Open swim takes place every Monday and Thursday nights at the pool fro 7:30 PM - 8:45. This is another no cost activity for employees, family can join in for $1.50 for students and $2.50 for adults.

The pool is also available for rentals for birthday parties and other special events.  For more information contact bob Stingley at 6281.




Teachers who are assigned classes during the first semester in which the total aggregate enrollment exceeds current minimum State Standards are eligible for compensation for each student or major fraction in excess of the standards for each class. To be eligible for payment, the teacher must submit the total aggregate enrollment to the Human Resources Manager within seven (7) calendar days after the completion of the current semester. Teachers are asked to refer to Article 8, Section G, Paragraph 3, of the Negotiated Agreement.




Please remember that in order to be eligible for severance pay, a retiring teacher must submit a letter of resignation to the Board of Trustees no later than March 2, 2015 at 5:00 p.m., if terminating employment at the end of the second semester. You are encouraged to forward your letter prior to this date. You may wish to refer to Article 8.C of the Negotiated Agreement for further information. Teacher Retirement System must be contacted and an irrevocable election form completed by March 13, 2015 in order to be eligible to deduct additional contributions from termination pay on a tax-deferred basis. The Teacher Retirement System can be reached at 1-866-600-4045.

Human Resources Office


Great Falls Public Schools Foundation’s Heisey Teacher Scholarship 2015-2016 Now Open

Great Falls Public Schools Foundation’s
Heisey Teacher Scholarship Applications for 2015-2016 School Year
Now Open
·        Twenty $1,000 scholarships will be awarded competitively to PreK-12 school teachers in the Great Falls Public Schools District to help fund work toward a master’s degree, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification, academic work supporting Great Falls Public Schools’ District Goals, or an Endorsement, including; counseling, administration, special education, music, health enhancement, reading, gifted education or any other field related to education. 
·       Twenty scholarships will be awarded throughout the district, with the intent of awarding support in multiple schools.  In the event that one or more schools do not have a qualified applicant, multiple scholarships may be awarded at the same school.
·       Teachers who have already completed a master’s degree may apply the scholarship to a second master’s degree or an advanced  degree (Ph.D. or Ed.D.).
·      Scholarships may also be used for the purpose of working toward an advanced degree or securing an endorsement in a specific subject area, which is applicable to teaching. 
·      Scholarships may be utilized to fund the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification process.
·      Scholarships may be utilized to support academic work which would directly support the professional in their capacity of  supporting district level goals and initiatives. 
·       Monies will be distributed directly to the individual, payable to both them and the university or institution providing the education. 
·       All monies must be expended within six months of the date the scholarship is awarded.
·      Any teacher presently holding a teaching position in the Great Falls School District and who is committed to signing a contract to teach in the school district for the school year following the scholarship award.
·      Online applications will be accepted beginning January 5, 2014
·      Application is available here.
·      Online applications will close on February 6, 2015
·       Competency as a teacher as indicated by letters of reference and  other information presented to the committee.
·       Commitment to the profession as indicated by goals. 
·       Availability of job vacancies in the field, as well as needs of the      district.
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 (foundation [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us). General questions about the scholarship, can be directed to Dave Crum at 268-7340 or at dave_crum [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us (dave_crum [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us).



Web 2.0 College Class

 Web 2.0 College Class

Earn two master's-level credits through UGF for $170. The class has three after-school meetings (optional but highly recommended) with the rest online tutorials. You will build a website of web tool projects and how to use them in a classroom.  If interested, contact Katie Kotynski. 

Registration Form

Payment Form



Teacher time sheets are due in the Business Office the morning of Tuesday, January 13th.  Please e-mail your absences to BoPayrollLead [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us each day through January 23rd.  If you know in advance a teacher is going to be gone, please mark it on the time sheet rather than waiting to email.  Teachers who use time cards should also turn them in at this time. 
All other time cards are due in the Business Office the morning of Friday, January 23rd.
Substitute teacher time sheets are due by the 2nd of each month.
All time cards are due on the above dates.  Do not put them in the school mail any later, as it will be impossible to pay them on this pay period.   All time cards must be signed by the employee before pay checks will be released.
All federal time cards are due to federal programs office two days before the dates listed above.
Secretaries, please review your time card check-off list and be sure all employees have turned in their time cards
Any employee terminating their employment with the district must send their timecard to the business office immediately upon termination (DO NOT wait for the end of the pay period).  If the employee will be terminating shortly after the end of the pay period those days can be added to the current time card.


DD Cultural Proficiency