Newsbits
January 16, 2017
Issue No: 
20

Contents

Superintendent's Message

 Education is Hope

Today is the day we set aside as a nation to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK).  This day is to commemorate the life and legacy of a man who changed this country for the better.  A man who, in the face of great adversity, taught our nation that we had yet to live up to the true meaning of the very principles on which our country was founded.  A man who demonstrated for the world the great power of peaceful protest.  A man that loved and believed and served.
 
Despite our progress, if Dr. King were here today, he would remind us, just as President Obama did last week, that there’s still much work to be done. He would urge us to work harder to ease discord and to fight injustice in our communities. And he would lead us to bring an end to the culture of violence tearing communities apart across not just our nation, but our globe.  And he would urge us to not procrastinate; to not hope someone else will solve our problems; to not bury our heads in the sand.  He would demand that we take action. 
 
So we must ask ourselves today, right now, what action should we take? Where can we reject despair and turn to hope?  How can we make Dr. King’s calls for justice, equality and opportunity be a reality for all our people? In my mind, there is one thing that has great potential to do all that and more, and that’s the institution of public education.  That’s right, public education is an entity that has the horsepower to make a difference.  Public education is a synonym for hope.  Only by educating our citizens can there be any hope to face our nation’s challenges to ensure civil rights for us all.


MLK left our world a better place, albeit not a perfect place.  Even after all these years, we seek to fulfill his dream where all people are respected regardless of skin color, wealth, gender, abilities or disabilities, and any other characteristics that make us individuals.  Freedom and respect for all.  As a nation, we have work yet to do.  As individuals, we seek to be culturally proficient.  As educators, we model and teach these important principles to future generations.  Thank you for sharing Dr. King’s messages this week, next week and every day of the year.  Thank you for being a part of the one entity that can make change happen. 


Take care.  Be safe.  Stay well.
Tammy

Speech & Debate Judges Needed



NATIONAL SPEECH & DEBATE ASSOCIATION
QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT
 
FEBRUARY 10 & 11, 2017
 
Please consider volunteering your time to help us meet our needs of 200 judges per round for this qualifying tournament!
 
Friday, February 10:
Speech Rounds at Great Falls High School     

   4:00 PM               6:00 PM               8:00 PM
 
Debate Rounds at East Middle School

   4:00 PM               6:00 PM               8:00 PM
 
Saturday, February 11:
Speech Rounds at Great Falls High School

9:00 AM       11:00 AM     2:00 PM        4:00 PM
 
Debate Rounds at East Middle School
8:00 AM 10:00 AM 12:00 PM 2:00 PM 3:30 PM 5:00PM
 
or
CONTACT Julie Easton at 268-6369 or at julie_easton [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us (julie_easton [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us)
Meals and snacks provided at both schools.
 
THANK YOU for supporting Montana students!

  

Severance Pay for Retiring Teachers, 2017

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 1, 2017 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 10, 2017 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 

Heisey Teacher Scholarships

 
Great Falls Public Schools Foundation’s
Heisey Teacher Scholarship Applications for 2017-2018 School Year
Now Open
 
What:
  • Twenty $1,000 scholarships will be awarded competitively to 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, 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.
  • All monies must be expended within six months of the date the scholarship is awarded.
Who:
  • 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.
When:
  • Online applications opened January 9, 2017
  • Application is available here.
  • Online applications will close on February 9, 2017
 
APPLICATION WIIL BE RANKED ON:
  • 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). 

Discovery Grant Information

Do you have an innovative and creative project you’d like to implement in your classroom or building? You can receive money through a Discovery grant and submissions open today, December 5th, and close January 27th. Great Falls Public Schools employees can submit applications for funding ranging from $500 to $3,000. The program provides 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. You can find the application HERE or through the Foundation’s webpage at http://www.gfpsfoundation.org/programs/discovery-grants/

If you have questions about the Discovery Grant program 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.    

Attention Teachers

There has been an intermittent technical problem with the gradebook. At times, after grades have been entered and you save, the gradebook will spin and spin and finally will time out.

 
It appears that the grades are not saving for that class, and you may or may not have the same issue entering grades in another class. This issue has occurred district wide but typically has been occurring when adding grades for a transfer-in student. What we have found is that the next day the grades have been updated with the changes. From that point, the gradebook seems to function properly.

Please be aware of this issue. If you do experience problems, please call ext 6073 to let us know, however we currently do not have a resolution from PowerSchool except that the problem seems to resolve overnight.