December 3, 2018


GFPS Thanks Our Local Businesses

Last Tuesday morning, you may have seen your principal hanging out with a community business leader.  In conjunction with the Great Falls Chamber of Commerce and the GFPS Foundation, we hosted the first ever Business Goes to School Day.  At a “lunch and learn” held after the event, the business leaders provided testimony as to what they had seen.  They were surprised by how things have changed since they were in school.  They admitted to not really knowing what 21st century learning environments look like.  They spoke in admiration of the work you are doing.  And most importantly, they committed to being ambassadors for their public schools.

For many years, your district has recognized the importance of collaborative partnerships with local businesses.  We need their expertise, human resources, and financial support, and they need us to fill the workforce pipeline with educated and skilled graduates.

There are many, many local businesses that support our kids, our community and our future in big and little ways.  Their employees volunteer in our schools.  They support job shadows, internships and pre-apprenticeships.  They supply guest speakers.  They give pumpkins to first graders.  They support fundraisers.  They sponsor events, buy ads in our publications, and the list could go on and on.  I am grateful for each and every way our local businesses support our schools.

I’m also thankful for the taxes they pay.  Local businesses pay income taxes to the State of Montana.  A percentage of those taxes comes back to GFPS via the State’s share of our educational funding.  Our local businesses also pay local property taxes which support our schools via the operational and now bond levies.  The success of local businesses is vital to a strong local tax base.  A healthy business climate is good for future economic development.  A strong collaborative relationship between the businesses and the local schools is a hallmark of growing and robust communities.

To that end, I encourage us all to shop locally this holiday season.  Be sure to identify yourself as a GFPS employee and to thank the local business for their support of public education.  As you walk out the door, I am confident you will feel good about not only finding the perfect gift for all the special people in your life, but also about supporting our business friends and neighbors.  I know our local businesses really appreciate our support, just like we appreciate theirs.  Happy holiday shopping!

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.


The Community Health Care Center will be offering additional Saturday screenings in December as well four screening dates over the winter break, as follows:

  • Saturday December 8th, 7am-12pm, CHCC 115 4th St South
  • Monday December 24th, 730am-12pm, PGEC Clinic
  • Wednesday December 26th, 730am-12pm, PGEC Clinic
  • Thursday December 27th, 730am-12pm, CHCC 115 4th St South
  • Monday December 31st, 730am-12pm, PGEC Clinic

Please call (406) 454-6973 to schedule your appointment. Appointments can also be scheduled during regular clinic hours as follows:

  • CHCC Main Clinic at 115 4th St S is open M-F 7AM-6PM and will be closed on December 25th.
  • School-based Health Center at Paris Gibson Education Center is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 730am-430pm and Wednesdays from 9am-6pm.  The hours on Wednesdays will be changing to 7:30AM-4:30PM in December.
  • School-based Health Center at Giant Springs Elementary is open on Thursdays from 730am – 430pm. This clinic will be closed on 12/27/18, but the main site will be open.

Please remember, to be eligible for the $55 per month incentive on your health insurance premiums, you (and your covered spouse, if applicable) must complete a biometrics screening and the Health Risk Assessment (HRA) by no later than December 31st, 2018. The HRA can be completed using these directions:

GFPS Giving Campaign Exceeds Goal!

Great Falls Public Schools would like to thank everyone who donated to the annual Charitable Giving Campaign.  Each year the need in our community becomes greater. The campaign helps to create a better life for our families, our neighbors and our kids. This year the GFPS campaign was able to raise over $62,000 for United Way and Montana Shares to help those in need.

A heartfelt thank you to each of the building or department coordinators who gave generously of their time and to the supporters behind the scenes who helped get everything printed, organized, distributed, collected, and totaled. This year there were a number of fun and unique events at various buildings including: penny wars, breakfasts, potlucks and special drawings! Three schools were able to achieve 100% participation! They were: Giant Springs Elementary, North Middle School and Paris Gibson Education Center.  Again, thank you all so very much for being part of this!

Bobby Ingalls, Chief Joseph
Nathan Hicks, Chief Joseph
Rikki Johnson, Giant Springs
Terri Gordilla, Lincoln
Brittany Levandowski, Lewis & Clark
Laurel Anderson, Lewis & Clark
Rochelle Johnson, Longfellow
Suzie Doughty, Loy
Lexie Service, Loy
Amy Hollenback, Meadow Lark
Susan Dolan, Meadow Lark
Gary Jenkins, Morningside
Carole McKittrick, Mountain View
Leann Svir, Riverview
Kristin McDermott, Sacajawea
Todd Currey, Sunnyside
Kimberly Clark, Valley View
Amber Pederson, West
Roni Pearsall, Whittier
Jennifer Newman, East Middle School
Clinton Topel, North Middle School
Danielle Hogan, C.M. Russell High School
Char Marlowe-Brown, Great Falls High School
Anitra Hall, Great Falls High School
Jody Knutson, Great Falls High School
Jodi Hicks, Paris Gibson Education Center
Erica Harp, Paris Gibson Education Center
Ryan Beam, Early Learning Family Center
Rachelle Broughton, District Office Building
Dusty Molyneaux, District Office Building
Brent Cutler, Buildings and Grounds Dept.
Miranda Murray, GFPS
Erin Butts, GFPS
Jody Murray, GFPS

Indian Education for All (IEFA) Message

Around this time of year it is important to consider that the holiday’s are not the most positive time for all of our students at home. We know as educators that students can struggle to have success throughout the day and may not be able to think about tomorrow or the upcoming holidays. Here are some things that we can do to support our students and help alleviate some of this stress in the classroom, hallway, and shared interactions:

  1. We cannot always know where our students have been; emotionally, physically, psychological, but we do have control over their experiences in our rooms. If we try to keep our own judgments or personal beliefs out of the equations we can focus on making today the best day.
  2. Behavior can be the sign of something bigger going on with a student. If we operate from the idea that behavior issues can be a teachable moment , we are far more likely to have meaningful interaction with our students. Instead of applying punishment, feedback in the form of dialogue, explanations, and reasoning, making consequences relevant.
  3. Lastly, know your students and your resources. Our community is more generous than ever during the holidays. Resources like The Giving Tree, Food Pantries, My Neighbor in Need, and The Cameron Family Center can help provide the essentials and more that our students might need. Also, health clinics located at two schools in our district (PGEC and Giant Springs) can provide students and families access to free healthcare for conditions that they may be experiencing. This would take the financial burden and concern for well-being off many parent’s minds over the holidays or all year long.

Thank you Great Falls Public Schools staff for always putting students first.

Water Aerobics

The current session of the Water Aerobics class at the Great Falls High School pool will end on December 6, 2018 and resume on January 8, 2019.

Call for PIR Facilitators for the 2019-2020 School Year

Details about 2019-2020 PIR Proposals:

  • The date range for PIR sessions is June 8, 2019 – April 30, 2020 (priority will be given to those proposals that take place during first semester).
  • All forms are due by Friday, March 1, 2019.
  • No new proposals will be accepted after the March 1 deadline.
  • Please be sure to avoid the DD & PIR Summit dates (June 10-12 & Aug 22), any holidays, MEA days, and Wednesdays when scheduling your dates.
  • PIR Sessions can be done as a single 6-hour session, two 3-hour sessions, or three 2-hour sessions.

If you are interested in facilitating or co-facilitating a PIR offering, please use this worksheet to be sure you have all of the information you need. The link to the actual form is at the bottom of the worksheet. For more information about PIR Facilitator Obligations and Pay, please visit the following link:

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.

STEM Mini Grants

Tree with red apple at bottom Great Falls Public Schools Foundation

Attention Teachers,

How would you like to provide an additional enriching science opportunity for your students? Unfortunately, there will be no formal district-wide STEAM EXPO this year. However, that doesn’t mean students should stop questioning, investigating, and hypothesizing under your guidance.

If you love science and are willing to support your students with STEM related projects or project-based learning projects, we have an opportunity for you!

We are working with the Foundation to offer a “Project Based Learning-STEM Focused Mini Grant.” With this $300 grant, you will be able to provide an authentic, real world, impactful experience for your students.

The applications will open on October 15 and close on December 14. Please click here to access the application. For questions regarding the grant, please contact Shelly Kelly at x6037 or For technical questions regarding the application, please contact Lyndsay Lettre at x7401 or

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.

Currently Enrolled in a Master’s Program?

 Delta Kappa Gamma is providing 2 Elizabeth Wick Scholarships to teachers who are already enrolled in a Master’s program. Each scholarship recipient will receive $1000.00 in April 2019. Applications are due January 15, 2019.

Photograph of former librarian Elizabeth WickElizabeth Wick was a 60-year member of Delta Kappa Gamma. While in college in Dillon, she worked as a textbook librarian for 40 cents an hour. Elizabeth spent summers at Northwestern University where she received her master’s degree in Elementary Education. Elizabeth taught in Glasgow and Kalispell before coming to Great Falls, where she taught first grade at Largent and Longfellow schools from 1951 until her retirement in 1973.


Please send completed application to:
Tara Hagins
Morningside Elementary

Safe Schools Fall Online Safety Training $50.00 Card Drawing Winners

Safety Starts with YOU sign

Kim Sangray – Chief Joseph
Keely Opdahl – East Middle School
Michelle Preston – North Middle School
Dustin Ashby – Great Falls High School
Barbara Doughty – East Middle School


Preventing Injuries From Being Struck

The MSGIA Workers’ Compensation Pool tracks injuries from being “Struck or Injured By” in an effort to eliminate these injuries from the workplace. During the last five years, the Great Falls Schools reported four hundred twenty (420) injuries from being “Struck or Injured By” type accidents. These claims are reserved at $184,039.66.  These claims have resulted from being struck by students, falling objects, and/or objects handled by others, etc. In an effort to prevent these claims, the following information has been provided.

To help prevent injuries from students:

  • Don’t play with the students – there is a difference between demonstrating and playing.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Don’t step between students to break up a fight – try to separate them without getting between them.
  • Remember that if a student has sensory issues to a lot of stimulation it can cause problems – awareness of the disability is essential to preventing possible injuries.
  • Remember that the most predictable thing about a student’s behavior is the student’s unpredictability. Be sure to document every incident.
  • Know the student and have a back-up plan.
  • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Have dress codes regarding hair, jewelry, etc.
  • Don’t hover – give the student space.
  • Remember that not everyone wants to be touched and may react unexpectedly.
  • Remember that for some student’s weekends and breaks from school are no vacation.
  • Follow Bloodborne Pathogens procedures.

If you sense a student is about to have a “meltdown” or become aggressive you need to:

  • Know your surroundings, placement of furniture, and anything that can become a weapon.
  • While standing place your feet in an “L” position with your dominate foot forward – this will allow you to deflect, defend if necessary or to allow the student to pass by you.
  • Move the rest of the class during a meltdown and have a place to take them.

For struck by injuries not caused by a person:

  • Watch storage so that items won’t fall onto someone.
  • Again, be aware of your surroundings and realize that in gymnasiums and on playgrounds balls will be in the air.
  • If some yells “Duck,” go down first and then look why the warning was sent.
  • Watch for the location/position of moving things.
  • Be prepared that if something is attached to a wall it may be able to fall.
  • If you drop an item, try to get your toes out of the way.
  • Animals and insects can cause a struck injured by claim.  Know your surroundings and the little critters that may take up residency.

District Rental House Available

Gray and White House that is if rent

The District has a three bedroom, two-bathroom house with a garage for rent ($1,100 per month).  It is located at 820 4th Avenue North (next to Whittier Elementary School).   It comes with a clothes washer and dryer.  Tenant will be responsible for gas and electricity.   To arrange a tour, please contact Brian Patrick at 268-6050.