March 11, 2019


Spread the Word Inclusion

Last week was the 10th annual Special Olympics Respect Rally.  I have written about this in the past as the organization has sought to “spread the word to end the word.”  Past rallies have urged our community to replace the word “retard” with the word “respect”.  This year, the message was taken one step further by asking us to spread the word INCLUSION.  The organizers asked us to show respect to all by including all.  Special Olympics Montana President and Chief Executive Fan Bob Norbie made these points which have resonated with me and I hope they do with you too:

  • “What you call people determines how you treat people.” Norbie was quoting a Special Olympian who was lamenting how much it hurts to be called names.  It is true that our thoughts drive our words and our words drive our actions.  Gandhi noted, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values and your values become your destiny.”  One small change in the sequence could change everything.
  • “We know the world would be better if everyone were included. Exclusion and discrimination continue to divide people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities.  We believe that the world would be better if all people were valued, respected, embraced and included in our schools, workplaces and communities. Our goal is to disrupt this cycle of isolation and exclusion with grassroots action for inclusion in schools, workplaces and communities.”  GFPS has and will continue to support this worthy goal.
  • “Through inclusive sports, classrooms, and community climates of acceptance…we reduce bullying and exclusion, we promote healthy activity and interactions, we combat stereotypes and stigma, we eliminate hurtful language in schools, and we engage young people in prosocial activities that lead to more inclusive and accepting attitudes and behavior.” He cited the Special Olympics Unified Champion School strategies that GFPS has embraced.  A big thanks to NMS Associate Principal Jamie McGraw for heading this up.  A big thanks to all the teachers and students who have and will show this unified and inclusive spirit this May when we host the Summer Games.
  • “Creating a more inclusive world starts with a single action: YOURS!  Be a teammate.  Be a friend.  Seek out someone who has been left out, isolated or bullied.  Sit next to someone alone at lunch.  Say hello to someone in the hallway.  Choose your way to spread inclusion.  Make it personal.  Start today!”

I hope Bob Norbie’s words encourage you to do something.  Any small thing like reminding students about the importance of inclusion is a good start.  Making inclusion of all a reality is not simple or easy.  It will take time.  At the end of the day however, it’s about choice.  At the rally last week, I noted, “We always have a choice in what we think and what we say and today’s rally is about making a BETTER choice.  A choice that focuses on abilities not disabilities.  A choice that focuses on positives instead of negatives.  A choice that focuses on dignifying not degrading.  A choice that focuses on respect for all!”  Here’s to inclusive choices today, tomorrow and always!

Take care.  Be safe. Stay well.

In-District Teacher Transfer Information

The first round of In-District Teacher Transfer Openings will be posted today, Monday, March 11, 2019 and will close on Friday, March 15, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.  

Any teacher currently employed with the District may apply for these positions. 

Check the on-line application system (Applitrack Link To In-District Job Postingsfor a full list of all current in-district teacher job openings on or after Monday, March 11, 2019.

If you are interested in applying for any of these openings please hand-deliver your
In-District Transfer Form to the Human Resources Office by the deadline.  You may obtain the form(s) in any school office and one form must be completed for each position for which you are applying.

Please contact your building administrator or the Human Resources Department if you have any questions.

Please be reminded that once a teacher accepts a position via the transfer process, that teacher cannot apply for another transfer position that year.

Budget building blocks, pen, drawing YOU’RE INVITED!

Public schools need public input!
2019-2020 BUDGET!



Tuesday, March 12, 2019, 5:30 pm at the District Office Building, 1100 4th St. S.

You are invited to join Superintendent Lacey and the Board Budget Committee in a presentation regarding 2019-2020 revenue and expense projections and frequently asked questions.  Participants can ask additional questions and provide input.  In order to prepare for the meeting, you are invited to review these websites for background information:  “School Budgeting “101” , “This is Great Falls Public Schools”

Thursday, March 21, 2019, 1:00 pm at the District Office Building, 1100 4th St. S.

The Board Budget Committee, made up of Trustees Jeff Gray, Jan Cahill and Kim Skornogoski, will review revenue and expense projections as well as public input to formulate a recommendation to the full Board.  They will consider options such as running an operational levy, a technology levy, a safety levy (depending on legislative action) or no levy.  The public is invited to attend and public comment will be on the agenda.

Monday, March 25, 2019, 5:30 pm at the District Office Building, 1100 4th St. S.

Along with the regular agenda, the Board will consider the recommendations of the Board Budget Committee and take action to prepare for the 2019-2020 budget.  In order to run a May levy election, the Trustees are required to set an amount, if any, at this meeting.  Public comment will be on the agenda.

Pints for Troy    American Red Cross with logo of a red cross in a white circle

#Riverview Pints for Troy

Date:  Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Time:  11:30 am to 6:30 pm
Location:  Riverview Gym, 100 Smelter Ave

Sign up for an appointment on line at (search by troystrong) or by calling Lee Ruud at 268-7040.               
 1-800-red cross     

Converge: E Pluribus Unum

Join us for an encore live performance!

Converge: E Pluribus Unum is an original play based on interviews with Great Falls Public Schools youth and educators who shared stories of struggle, loss, triumph and hope. These personal stories will raise awareness and spark conversation about the depth and breadth of hardship many youth and families in our community face.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019 7:00 p.m.

Visit us at
or on Facebook

Final Lesley University Graduate Program in Great Falls

Black Graduation hat, rolled white diploma with red ribbonThis will be the LAST Great Falls Cohort offered by Lesley University!

Future Master programs will only be offered on-line!

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

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
  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
  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.