December 17, 2018

Superintendent’s Message


As the holiday break approaches, please take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back.  Over the last four months, you have given your expertise and energy to our students and to public education.  Over the last few weeks, you have stepped up and leaned in to make Christmas a little nicer for students and their families.  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.  You have also given your hard earned money to help others through the GFPS Annual Giving Campaign.

Back in October, I asked more of you to give, and I asked those who had given in the past to give a bit more.  AND YOU DID!  I am excited to announce that we not only met but exceeded our goal and set a new giving record!!  644 (47%) of you (up from 44% last year) gave $62,933…exceeding our goal by almost $3000!!!  Since 2005, we have more than doubled our totals!  On behalf of the many agencies and their causes that will be funded with this money, I am extremely grateful to those who generously donated!  Please give a pat on the back to those who made this possible…the building champions and the principals who worked diligently and creatively out in the buildings, and to Campaign Coordinator Jody Murray.

As we celebrate our success and enjoy the upcoming holiday break, please take some time to relax, to put your feet up, and to give yourself another pat on the back for a 2018 well-lived.  Also, take some time to reflect on your work.  I hope you feel a sense of pride in the big and small things you’ve done to ensure the future of our students.  Lastly, please take some time to recharge.  2019 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 2019!

Take care.  Be safe.  Stay well.


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

On a moonlite night, Santa sleigh and four reindeer flying over snowing city


Have you heard?
Christmas is coming!

Listen every night from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve on KMON 560 AM at 6:55 pm to hear a new reader from our community sharing ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

You can visit Cherry Creek media at to see the schedule and listen to your favorites again and again.



Due to our transition to using Community Health Care Center for our biometric screenings, we feel it is appropriate to extend the screening opportunities through the end of January. Employees on the GFPS health insurance plan must complete a biometric screening and a health risk assessment between now and the end of January to be eligible for the monthly premium incentive.

Special Saturday screening days have been scheduled for January 5th, 12th and 19th at the main CHCC location at 113 4th St South. The hours on these screening days will run from 6am-12pm.
Entire January schedule:  GFPS BMS January Calendar

Please call 454-6973 to schedule your appointment.

Fitness Center and Class Updates

ZUMBA classes will be changing location with the move of Longfellow students and staff. Here are the details:

  • December 18 and 20, 2018, class will take place in the Longfellow Cafeteria NOT the GYM.
  • Beginning January 3, 2019, classes will take place in the Whittier Cafeteria/Gym.
  • Class times will remain the same: 4:30-5:30 pm Tuesday & Thursday through all of the changes.


  • The Center will be open until next Thursday, December 20, 2018
  • Close for the Holiday Break beginning Friday, December 21, 2018 opening back up on January 2, 2019.

Other classes and GFH Pool info:

  • YOGA: cancelled December 26, 27, 2018, resuming January 2, 2019.
  • Circuit Training: cancelled December 26, 31, 2018, resuming January 2, 2019.
  • Aqua Class: cancelled the month of December, resuming January 8, 2019.
  • GFH Pool: TBD look for information in this week’s Wellness Wednesday.

Angels in Action

What is Angels in Action?
Angels in Action is a non-profit program for GFPS families who are facing a crisis.  This program will provide employees a modest donation to help off-set the cost of expenses experienced because of the crisis.  Angels in Action is completely funded through donations from GFPS employees and individuals, businesses and volunteers who wish to contribute.
Learn more about the Angels in Action program.

Emergency Response to an Armed Intruder Training

The last training for the school year will take place on January 21, 2019. The training is 6 hours and takes place from 8:30-3:30 pm with an hour lunch  break. There are currently spots open. Register in PIR Central or contact Jody Murray by email or at 268-6770

Course description:
This course was designed to give those involved in an active shooter or active threat incident practical measures to utilize to help ensure their safety and the safety of others until law enforcement arrives. This course uses hands-on performance based training designed to increase safety and efficiency in an effort to save lives. This training incorporates lecture, practical exercises, and scenario based modules. At the conclusion of this training students will recognize the importance of planning, rehearsals, preparation, and survival techniques associated with an immediate response to an armed intruder.

Responding to Military Children with Exception Needs Training

Responding to Military Children with Exceptional Needs is a professional development institute designed to inform concerned adults about military-connected children with exceptional needs and the issues they may face as they transition from school to school.
A free training will take place on Saturday, February 9, 2019 from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm at the Great Falls Association of Realtors; 401 13th Ave South.  This training is sponsored by the U.S. Air Force and Malmstrom AFB School Liaison Office.

Registration information can me found here.

Speech and Debate Judges Needed

This year, C.M. Russell High School is hosting the Electric City Optimists Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament January 11th and 12th.

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.

Friday, January 11th:

  • Speech Rounds at CM Russell High School
    4:00 PM 6:00 PM 8:00 PM
  • Debate Rounds at CMR unless otherwise announced
    4:00 PM 6:00 PM 8:00 PM

Saturday, January 12th:

  • Speech Rounds at CM Russell High School
    8:30 AM 10:30 AM 1:00 PM 3:00 PM
  • Debate Rounds at CMR unless otherwise announced
    8:00 AM 10:00 AM 12:00 PM 2:00 PM 4:00 PM

If you are interested in judging for the tournament, you may register in these ways:

Thank you!

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Discovery Grants and Innovation Grants

Tree with red apple at bottom Great Falls Public Schools Foundation

The Great Falls Public Schools Foundation is offering two grant programs again this year. Included will be Discovery Grants (individual teacher grants) and Innovation Grants (collaboration grants). These applications will open December 10th and close on February 1st.

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 over $100,000 between the two programs.

If you have questions about the grants please contact Dave Crum at or call x7340. If you have questions regarding the online application, please contact Lyndsay Lettre at or at x7401.

12 Ways to Have a Health Holiday Season

Snowman with child, woman and man standing around

Brighten the holidays by making your health and safety a priority. Take steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy—and ready to enjoy the holidays.

  1. Wash hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. It’s flu season. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots.
  3. Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and out of control. Some of the best ways to manage stress are to find support, connect socially, and get plenty of sleep.
  4. Don’t drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger. Choose not to drink and drive and help others do the same.
  5. Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smokers have greater health risks because of their tobacco use, but nonsmokers also are at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke.
  6. Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to their height, weight, and age. Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip and encourage passengers to do the same.
  7. Get exams and screenings. Ask your health care provider what exams you need and when to get them. Update your personal and family history.
  8. Get your vaccinations. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year.
  9. Monitor children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, and other objects out of children’s reach. Protect them from drowning, burns, falls, and other potential accidents.
  10. Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, food cooking on stoves, or candles unattended. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly.
  11. Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate foods promptly.
  12. Eat healthy, stay active. Eat fruits and vegetables which pack nutrients and help lower the risk for certain diseases. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. Also, be active for at least 2½ hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.

Be inspired to stay in the spirit of good health!