March 26, 2018

SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE

Our Compelling Story

A huge thank you to the hundreds of employees who have attended one of the four staff meetings about the levy!  The final one is this morning:

MEETING #4:

MONDAY, MARCH 26, 9:00-9:45Community Unity Opportunity logo

Aspen Conference Room, District Office Building

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the giving of your precious time to learn about the levy.  I truly believe that the facts tell a compelling story that can be shared by all of you.  Thanks for your help.

As a reminder, here are some key points about the levy:

  • The Operational Levy is for $1,349,048.
  • As the investment is spread across all property in our community, it will cost less than $20 per year or $1.66 per month for the average homeowner.
  • The passage of the levy will prevent additional deep reductions to teaching staff and educational programs.
  • The passage of this levy will keep programs in place so students can have the same opportunities as the GFPS students who have come before them, and also maintain their competitiveness with the other AA Montana districts.
  • The proceeds from the Facility Bond passed in 2016 cannot be used to pay for teaching staff and educational programs. Bonds are for buildings and levies are for learning.
  • With a successful Operational Levy, GFPS will be limited in the amount of any future levy requests. The current funding formula will allow only minor adjustments in local funding based on student enrollment.
  • GFPS has only passed an operational levy twice in the last ten years. Additional spending has not even equaled inflation.

In order to share the facts with community members as well, we are holding two community meetings on Monday, April 16.  One will be at noon and the other at 6 pm.  Both are in the PGEC Cafeteria.  Please invite your family, friends and neighbors to join us.  An invitation is on the GFPS main webpage.  Don’t forget to register to vote by April 4.  See related Newsbit article.

At the staff informational meeting at CMR I was asked by an employee about the cost of the colored brochures.  For 2000 brochures, it cost $400 more for colored than black and white. That’s $.20 per brochure. I have decided that with $1,349,048 at stake, the extra money is worth it as the colored eye-catching materials are far more likely to be read than black and white pieces. Given the brochures are key to our communication campaign, we will disseminate colored, attractive and compelling pieces of literature.

Lastly, please enjoy your spring break!  Please use it to catch your breath and gather your strength as we head into this final quarter of the 2017-2018 school year!  We are going to finish this year off right!

Take care.  Be safe.  Stay well.

Tammy


ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE?

Be a part of democracy by voting in the upcoming school election.  The ballot will include votes on an operational levy for the general funds as well as the selection of two (2) Trustees. The City is also running a Park Levy on the ballot.  It will once again be a mail-in ballot but you won’t get a ballot unless you are registered to vote! Check this out:

  • If you didn’t vote in the last federal election you are not considered an active voter and you will not receive a ballot by mail.
  • You can check your registration status at: https://app.mt.gov/voterinfo/
  • You can access the voter register application at http://sos.mt.gov/portals/142/Elections/documents/Officials/Voter-Registration-Application.pdf. You need to fill it out, print it and either mail it or drop it off at the Cascade County Elections Office.
  • Registration deadline is TUESDAY, APRIL 3, 2018.
  • Jury pools are no longer selected by using voter lists.
  • One GFPS Belief Statement says: A well-educated community is the foundation of our democracy.

VOTER REGISTRATION IS EASY TO DO AND ESSENTIAL IN HAVING A CITIZEN’S VOICE!


Montana Retired Educators Association

MREA

 

$1000 Scholarship

Who is Eligible?  An active Montana teacher who is currently in, or has been accepted in a university graduate program working towards a higher degree in the field of education.

How to Apply?  Request an application from MREA.

www.mrea.info

or

hamermrea@gmail.com

1722 Montana Ave
Black Eagle, MT  59414

Submission deadline is May 1, 2018


“Earth Science & Me”
A Teachers Workshop

 

When: July 9 – 12, 2018
Where:  Heck/Quaw Elementary School
Location:. Belgrade, MT
Instructors: Doug Scott & Dave Scott (professional geologists)

  • Designed for All Teachers! 2 ½ classroom days with “Hands-On” Mining & Geology activities, a 1-day Field Trip to a talc mine, & a ½ day field trip to a talc mill
  • What you get: Activity Notebooks; Posters; PowerPoint Presentations; Minerals, Ores, Sedimentary rocks, Metamorphic rocks, & Igneous rocks; Door Prizes; Continental breakfast (2 days);  Refreshments (4 days); & Lunches (3 days)
  • Re-certification Credits: 2.0 semester hours ($155): Course number: ERTH 588-50 (MSU); Tuition: $60.00 per teacher (checks payable to DST & Associates)
  • Curriculum – Why minerals are important; The Rock Cycle; How to identify a mineral; How to identify a sedimentary rock; How to identify a metamorphic rock; How to identify an igneous rock; How to identify an ore; The basics of plate tectonics; Essential Montana Geology Fundamentals; How geologists explore for ore; Why is coal important; The cost of mining; Why the ground shakes; The basics of volcanoes; How to make and read a map; GEOPARDY; & 1 ½ days of field trips!

No Refunds after June 15, 2018

 

Cut here and return bottom portion:

 

Earth Science & Me Workshop Registration Form   ($60.00 Tuition Fee due with registration)

 

Workshop location: Heck/Quaw Elementary, Belgrade, MT     Dates: July 9-12, 2018

First Name:
Last Name:
Address:
City, State, Zip:
Home Telephone:

Email address:
Tee Shirt size:  S   M   L   XL   XXL    (Circle one)

Mail registration and a $60.00 check to: DST & Associates  14293 W. Baltic Ave.  Lakewood, CO 80228
Questions?   Call 509.270.0997


Apartment for Rent

If you are looking for a spacious one bedroom/one bath apartment with washer/dryer hook-ups, the district has one available.  The main floor apartment in the Victorian house located at 824 4th Avenue North (close to Whittier Elementary School) is now open.  If you would like more information or to see this rental, contact Brian Patrick, Director of Business Operations at 268-6050 or via e-mail at brian_patrick@gfps.k12.mt.us.


In-District Teacher Transfer Information

Current openings will be posted Wednesday, March 28, 2018 and will close on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

Check the on-line application system (Applitrack Link To In-District Job Postingsfor a list of all current in-district teacher job openings.  

If you are interested in applying for these openings please hand-deliver your In-District Transfer Form to the Human Resources Office to meet the deadline.

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


Preventing phishing and malware attacks through email.

  • Examine the Sender address
    • If you don’t recognize the sender or you are not expecting an email from them, treat the email with caution especially if the sender is requesting you to open an attachment, click on an embedded link, or ask for confidential information.
    • Also look to see if the sender address matches the content and message of the email. For example, an email with the sender address of hounddog@gmail.com that is soliciting information for US Bank is a definite red flag.
    • Sometimes the sender will “spoof” the sender email address into looking legitimate from a friend or coworker. If the content of the email does not make sense for the person you know, contact them directly to verify before proceeding.
    • Often times, spam email will list a different sender email address than the one that lists once you click the ‘reply to’ link. Always examine the address that actually lists once you click reply to make sure it appears appropriate.
    • Use your ‘junk mail’ folder. If you receive mail that you do not really want, mark it as junk. If you receive more mail from that user, it will be routed to your ‘junk mail’ folder for you. However, you should periodically check your junk mail folder to be sure you are not missing relevant mail. Computers are not perfect in determining what mail is junk and what is not.
  • Be suspect of unknown attachments and links
    • The most frequent way viruses and malware gain access to the computer and/or network is from individuals opening attachments and website links. Again, if you are not expecting to receive information this way, do not open it.
    • Always mouse over website links in emails and evaluate if the actual website link is relevant for the message. If you mouse over the link, it will display the actual link involved. Verify it’s appropriate and relevant for the message.
    • If in doubt, contact the institution by phone or open your internet browser and go directly to their website. Do not use the link in the email to access their website.
  • Suspect emails requesting confidential information
    • Most all reputable businesses do not solicit for confidential information via email. Again, contact the institution via phone if you have doubts.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
    • It is interesting that some of the very first phishing scams are still circling around. The wealthy Nigerian that wants to give you $5 million is still a scam as it was 10 years ago.
    • While offers for huge discounts or $40 laptops can be very enticing, it usually is too good to be true. Try to avoid falling for these tricks.
  • Scare tactics
    • Perpetrators sometimes use scare tactics to lure you into their trap. Threatening emails from the IRS or attorneys are one such example. Other common schemes are emails that threaten to disable your account or shut down your email because you have reached a size limitation. Again, as stated before, contact the institution directly if you are suspect.
  • Unsubscribe links in an email

If you get unwanted email and it contains an unsubscribe link, think before you respond. If you did not subscribe to the message, do not click the unsubscribe link. Often times, all that does is inform the senders that it’s a real account on the other end and they start sending you more unwanted email.

  • If in doubt, delete it
    • Many of us have this insatiable need to respond to everything that is sent to us. Unfortunately, being aware of the risks that are present is essential in our digital world. Sometimes the best advice is to just delete the email. If it is important enough, the sender will contact you again, and, more than likely, will use a different communication method.
  • Make sure antivirus and operating systems are up to date
    • Unfortunately, the bad guys are usually a step ahead of the good guys and even after following the tips listed above, it is still possible to be deceived. Having a security hardened computer is essential to protecting against attacks. Here are some areas to look at to keep your (home) personal computer safe and secure. (These items are done on your GFPS computer for you.):
      • Install anti-virus software and make sure it is always active and up to date.
      • Install anti-malware software and make sure to do regular scans of your system.
      • Regularly perform critical security updates to the operating system on your computer.
      • Enable the software firewall provided by the operating system or purchase one.
      • Keep abreast of security issues related to software applications installed on your computer. If the vendor releases a security bulletin, follow their instructions on how to update or patch the software.
      • Make sure the router provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) provides a sufficient level of security. If you do not know how to do this, contact your ISP to help you. If the router also provides wireless services, make sure the wireless is secured and not left open, allowing anyone to connect to it freely.
      • Have a separate login account that has administrator privileges and only use when you need to make an update, not on a daily basis.
      • Set your computer to lock the account after x minutes of inactivity.
    • Check accounts periodically
      • Check financial accounts periodically to verify they have not been tampered with.
      • Run credit reports regularly. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion provide for one free credit report each year. While they are slightly different in what they report, running one every 4 months provides a minimal level of monitoring throughout the year. Equifax provides a real time, active monitoring subscription service for a nominal monthly fee.

Communication with Parents of English Learners

Are you planning Parent-Teacher conferences, Home Visits, or other communication with parents of English Learners?

Please call us to schedule Title III funded interpreters to ensure effective communication.

Please contact Carol Paul at 6779 at least 1 week before the conference so that our interpreters can make arrangements to be with you. We have employed interpreters of Spanish, German, and Greek.

If you know adults who speak English and Tagalog, Vietnamese, or Japanese, we would like to hire interpreters in those languages, as well;  please encourage them to contact Carol or apply on AppliTrack.


National Board Certification

  • Strong Professional Development
  • Recognizing the many demands on teachers’ time, the certification process is designed to be flexible, efficient and affordable
  • Interested in learning more?

Please join us for an informational meeting to see if National Boards is right for you!

  • When: Thursday, April 12th from 4:15-5
  • Where: Mountain View Elementary Library (3420 15th Ave S.)
  • What: This will be an informational introduction to the certification process.  We will address Why certify? How does one certify? What is the process? The cost? The local support available in our district? What is Jumpstart?
  • Light snacks will be provided.

Have questions or need more information?  Please contact Amy Konen at 268-7314 or amy_konen@gfps.k12.mt.us  or Londa Hart at 268-6693  or londa_hart@gfps.k12.mt.us

Please consider joining us and finding out if National Boards is the right choice for you!  See you then!


Great Falls College logo, GFPS logo, MIET Tech Days logo

Announcing MIET 2018 Registration
Registration for MIET 2018 Tech Days is now open!

Early Bird Price is $110 if registered by May 18, 2018

Groups of 5 or more can register at $100 each, if registered by May 18, 2018

Be sure to check the posted schedule to see session topics.
Also be watching for session spotlights to get more information about specific topics.

College credits are available for an additional cost.

Check out our website!


To All Certified Staff

PIR registration for the 2018-19 school year begins on April 2. It is highly suggested to register as soon as possible.

To fulfill the 187 day contract, each teacher needs six DD PIR credits and 12 more credits that are flexible (additional DD credits or just plain PIR credits.) These credits are taken outside the duty day and/or contract year because they are traded for two (MEA) days off in mid-October and one day off on MLK Day.

The four DD options are:

  • June 12-13 MIET
  • June 14 Weston Kieschnick (Bold School)
  • August 21 Weston Kieschnick (Bold School)
  • September 1-October 31 online Moodle Course (self-paced to be done sometime in the two-month window)

Beyond the traditional PIR eCentral catalog offerings, summer options for the other 12 flexible credits are:

  • June 12 and 13 Elementary and Student Services PIR Summit
  • August 22 and 23 Elementary and Student Services PIR Summit
  • August 22 and 23 Secondary PIR Summit

Click here for information about how to use PIR eCentral.

Click here to register.