February 5, 2018

Superintendent’s Message

 In the Arena

Reviewing this old quote from President Theodore Roosevelt seems like a good way to wrap up the first month of 2018 and the first half of the 2017-18 school year:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I must admit that it sometimes feels like the critics are taking up all the oxygen, but we must listen to President Roosevelt and resist the urge to let them.  I hope his words resonate with all of you because you are the doer of deeds that matter; you are the devoted; you are the valiant strivers; you are the ones who dare to do more and to do better.
While it is hard to be in the crosshairs of the critic, I remind myself and all of you that we signed up for this. When we became public employees we signed up for serious responsibilities.  I’m not sure I completely understood what I was getting into when I decided that I wanted to be a teacher, but over the last 33 years, those serious responsibilities have become crystal clear, and over the last five years as your superintendent, they have become heavy. While the burdens of public employment are sometimes hard to bear, we must never forget that we signed up to be held to a higher standard than the average citizen.  We signed up to do right by our community’s children.
So, as we respond to last week’s personnel issues, or to the citizens that are upset about boundary adjustments, school-based health care clinics, student discipline, athletic win-loss records, the budget, taxes, administrative salaries, the track at CMR, the GFHS design, or the plethora of other complaints that have come and will continue to come our way, we must remember that “it is not the critic who counts”.  It’s the deeds we do for the right reasons that count.  I was reminded this week to heed President Lincoln’s words to “put your feet in the right place and stand firm.”   I am and I will, because like all of you, I signed up to be “in the arena” and to “spend myself” in this more than “worthy cause”:  public education.
Take care.  Be safe.  Stay well.

HR Director Announcement

Please welcome Kerry Dattilo as the Human Resource Director for Great Falls Public Schools. Ms. Dattilo was the Chief Executive Officer for Quality Life Concepts (QLC). Before being promoted to that position, she was the HR Director at Quality Life Concepts. Previous to that, she was a benefits analyst at Benefis and the District HR Manager for Bed Bath and Beyond. As a Great Falls native and GFHS graduate, Kerry is excited to work for the district where she went to school.
Kerry received her undergraduate degree in Business from York – Dominican College.
Throughout her career, Kerry has developed expertise in all areas of human resources. She has a vast knowledge of HR including hiring and onboarding, personnel policy development and enforcement, employee supervision, and benefits. These experiences have prepared her for this leadership role with Great Falls Public Schools.
Ms. Dattilo will replace current Human Resource Director Mindy Kiser, who will be taking a position with a company in Great Falls. Kerry was selected from candidates that were interviewed on December 4th. The hiring was finalized at the regular Board Meeting on January 8, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. at the District Office Building, 1100 4th Street South.

Safe School Online Safety Training


Safe Schools Online Safety Training
$50.00 Card Drawing
During the months of February and March, Montana School Boards Association invites you to participate in Safe Schools online safety training. Safe Schools offers online video safety training to all Great Falls Public Schools employees. Please follow the instructions below to access the video trainings:
  1. Make sure you are using Google Chrome Browser
  2. Go to the Safe Schools Link http://www.greatfalls.mt.safeschools.com
  3. Sign-in with your first name_last name
  4. Password  will be your first name_last name
  5. Click “View More Courses”
  6. Choose a safety training to view
  7. Once you have viewed the safety video, please go to the provided Google Doc’s Link https://goo.gl/forms/WmxZXuuAovGasgZw2
  8. Sign into your google account to fill out a 2 question survey on the training. You will be entered in a $50.00 gift card drawing upon completion of the survey. The drawing will end March 30th  with the winners being announced the following week.

Judges Needed – Please Consider Helping Out!

The STEAM TEAM is requesting kind, science-minded people to listen to and analyze student Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) projects. The 200+ student projects, ranging from grades K-12, have been fascinating in the past and, we are sure, will be again this year. We need YOU to come to the Expo and hear students share their findings. Judging is based on a simple rubric using hand-held devices. Training and tips, as well as lunch and snacks, will be provided to make your judging experience more enjoyable.  Please consider supporting these fantastic students and future innovators.
  • Who: YOU (Approximately 90 judges needed)
  • What: STEAM EXPO Judging, A Fantastic Celebration of Student Learning and Effort
  • When: March 24th, 2018 from 9:00-11:30 (Lunch and Snacks provided)
  • Where: Great Falls High School Swarthout Fieldhouse
  • Why: To analyze and celebrate student learning in the STEAM Fields
  • How: Email jeff_rieger@gfps.k12.mt.us or call Jeff at 268-7402 to sign up for judging

Aqua Aerobics at GFHS Pool

Aqua Aerobics at GFHS Pool is going to be cancelled tomorrow night (Tuesday , February 6) due to weather, and Thursday, Feb 8th for state swim meet warm ups, and Thursday, Feb. 15 for the Class C District Basketball Tournament.  After that we should be back to normal.  Joy, our instructor was going to contact everyone she has contact information for, but we just didn’t want any one coming tomorrow for their first time and not being able to swim.

Thanks, Bob Stingley