January 21, 2019


Education is Hope

Today is set aside 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 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. He would lead us to bring an end to the culture of violence tearing communities apart across not just our nation, but our globe.  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? How 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:  the institution of public education.  That’s right, public education is the 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 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 must face our biases.  As educators, we must 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 provides the hope that change will happen.

Take care.  Be safe.  Stay well.

(This is article is a slightly modified version of a previously published article in Newsbits on January 16, 2017.)

  2019 Montana Region II Science and Engineering Fair 

 SScience and Engineering Fair logo Elem March 7, MS and HS March 8

Is your child looking for an opportunity outside of school to showcase his/her science or engineering talent?

If so, see below for information regarding participation in the 2019 Montana Region II
Science and Engineering Fair.

  • Registration opens February 4, 2019 and closes March 1, 2019.
  • Students may register at www.gfcmsu.edu/sciencefair/
  • This above website will give you information regarding registration cost (just $5.00 per student), schedule of events, project rules and criteria.
  • This is a great opportunity for students to be exposed to a broad range of scientific inquiry.
  • Since there will be no GFPS STEAM Expo this year, we hope students will take advantage of this opportunity.


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 Friday, March 1, 2019 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 5, 2019 in order to be eligible to deduct additional contributions from termination pay on a tax-deferred basis. The Irrevocable Election Form is available in Human Resources or Teacher’s Retirement website.  The Teacher Retirement System can be reached at 1-866-600-4045.

Human Resources Office



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.

January biometric screening schedule:  GFPS BMS January Calendar

Please call 454-6973 to schedule your appointment.

Great Falls Public Schools Foundation’sTree with red apple at the base. Great Falls Public Schools Foundation
Discovery Grants and Innovation Grants 

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 http://www.gfpsfoundation.org/programs/grants/. The Foundation will be funding over $100,000 between the two programs.

If you have questions about the grants please contact Dave Crum at dave_crum@gfps.k12.mt.us or call x7340. If you have questions regarding the online application, please contact Lyndsay Lettre at foundation@gfps.k12.mt.us or at x7401.

Great Falls Public Schools Foundation’s
Heisey Teacher Scholarship Applications for 2019-2020 School Year


  • Twenty $1,000 scholarships will be awarded competitively to Great Falls Public Schools teachers 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.


  • 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 open Wednesday, January 9, 2019
  • Application is available here.
  • Online applications will close on February 6, 2019


  • 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@gfps.k12.mt.us. General questions about the scholarship can be directed to Dave Crum at 268-7340 or at dave_crum@gfps.k12.mt.us.

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.

Earn Two Graduate Credits for $200

Would you like to earn a step  on the pay scale while learning something useful for your classroom?  This spring, Katie Kotynski is offering a class on creativity. Participants will read the book “Made to Stick” while designing lessons that foster innovation and vision as well as making the information learned  “stick” in your students’ minds. Your lessons will be individualized for your subject area. The class will be conducted through Google Classroom or Moodle with optional face-to-face discussion sessions. Cost is $200 plus the book (Amazon $9.84 hardbound; $14 Kindle). email Katie_kotynski@gfps.k12.mt.us if interested.

Lesley University Graduate Program in Great Falls

black graduation cap with diploma tied with a red ribbon

Starts late Spring!

Integrated Teaching through the Arts Curriculum & Instruction, M.Ed.

Program is designed for all K-12 educators
Project based – no GRE required
Skills that transfer to your everyday lessons!
Move up on the Salary Schedule as you go!
Financial aid and payment plans are available.
Regionally and nationally accredited
Financial Aid Counselor to assist Student Loan Process!
Deferred Student Loan payment 6 months after completion of your degree!
Nineteen weekends total! The entire program is completed in less than two years
$5000 Loan Forgiveness is available!  $50 application fee waiver!

Face-To-Face teaching one weekend a month: Saturday & Sunday 8am – 5pm

Contact: Cathy Kuntz


Robert Kruithoff’s Photographs on Display at the Dahl Gallery

Robert Kruithoff is a local photographer and emerging artist who grew up in the Golden Triangle.  He is currently serving Great Falls Public Schools as the 2018-2019 Artist in Residence, a program provided in partnership between the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art and the GFPS Foundation.  Robert’s work is currently on display at the Dahl Gallery located in Great Falls High from January 18th through March 10th and can be viewed weekdays from 8 AM until 7 PM.  On January 24th the Dahl will host an artist reception and talk.  The reception is from 3:15 until 4:30 PM with the artist talk starting at approximately 3:20. Light refreshments will be served.  All Dahl Gallery exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public. For more information on the exhibition or Dahl Gallery please contact Cortni Harant at Great Falls High, 406-268-6362, or via email at cortni_harant@gfps.k12.mt.us.     To see more of Robert’s work or schedule a photo session please visit his website at https://www.kruithoffphotography.com/.



Andrew Nagengast Gallery 16 Feb Featured Artist - photo of pottery vase

Gallery 16 is proud to announce our February featured potter is North Middle School Art teacher, Andrew Nagengast.  A reception will be held on February 1, Friday, from 5:00 – 9:00 PM at Gallery 16, 600 Central Avenue.  All are welcome.  His pottery will be shown all month.


Safety Starts with You! on yellow background

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 31st with the winners being announced the following week.