May 29, 2018


Quite the Year!

My first Newsbits article of this school year included this information:

While we continue to be excited about the facility work, we must be even MORE excited, even MORE strategic and even MORE dedicated to our most important work:  helping our students achieve success.  No matter how nice our buildings are, no matter what kind of technology we have, no matter how much our budget is or isn’t, if we don’t ensure and thrive on student success we cannot meet our student achievement goals…There are challenges before us to be sure, but our ability to overcome and do right by our kids, our community and our future is unsurpassed.  Together, we can rise to the challenge and by doing so, our students will as well.

Little did I know of the significant challenges that were to come!  Between the major personnel issues, the boundary adjustment process, significant student discipline decisions, the budget challenges, tax complaints, salary criticisms, Memorial Stadium delays, the GFHS facility design, and the plethora of other challenges that have come our way, we have stood tall and we have stood together.  As I look back, each challenge was an opportunity for leadership; an opportunity “to do right by our kids, our community and our future.”

While I must admit that some of the days were a little rough, please know how much I have appreciated the cards, emails, posters, hugs, snacks and other tokens of support that I have received from many of you over the last month.  They adorn my office, make me smile and remind me of what we are all about:  positive and supportive relationships.  As I noted in my February 5 article (, I signed up for this hard work, but I sure thank all of you for your support as we “stand in the arena.”

As this challenging, exciting and productive school year draws to a close, please take some time to celebrate your personal goals as well as the District goals that were accomplished.  You can find a list of accomplishments at this website:  The 2017-2018 document will be put up this summer.

As always, there is still so much to do, even over the summer months:

  • We will watch all the construction happening throughout the District.
  • We will be developing a budget to present to the Trustees in August that is about $1.6 million short of what was actually needed. Without a doubt, it will be a challenge to get the budget to balance.  I know sacrifices have been made by staff members and for that I’m sorry.
  • We will be engaging in professional development in these upcoming months that ensures instructional excellence. I know you will find the planned activities to be productive and worthwhile.
  • Our buildings will be cleaned and shined by our dedicated engineering staff. Scheduling and student enrollment will be completed.
  • …and the list goes on!

Thanks in advance to all of you working these summer days to prepare for the 2018-2019 school year.  For those of you who are retiring after serving the district for many years, I wish you the best.  To everyone else, I hope you get the chance to recharge your batteries a bit.

As for me, I will take some time to rest, but I also plan to roll up my sleeves to continue the good work we have before us.  I will not wish the days away, but I will be looking forward to seeing you at Convocation on Monday, August 27 at 8:00 am in the CMR Fieldhouse.  In the meantime…

Take care. Be safe.  Stay well.





Monday, August 27, 2018

8:00 AM

C.M. Russell High School Fieldhouse

More information will be provided in August.

Invitation to Staff:  IGNITE OUR PASSION

Wanted:  Four passionate GFPS employees to

give a 5-minute presentation to inspire GFPS!

Each person gets 5 minutes and 20 powerpoint slides to

inspire the 2018-2019 school year.

There will be prizes for participants.

Watch your email for more details.

In-District Teacher Transfer Information

Current openings were posted on Thursday, May 24, 2018 and will close on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

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


In-District Teacher Transfer Information

In-District transfers will continue through June and July.

Openings available for in-district transfer will be posted on the on-line application system (Applitrack Link To In-District Job Postingsand on the bulletin board at the DOB throughout the summer. 

Please contact your building administrator or the human resources department if you have any questions.

Have a great summer!

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


Fall Print and Graphic Orders 2018-2019 School Year

All Fall orders need to be titled as “Fall” for the due date. That is for both the Print Center orders and Graphic orders.

Graphic orders for the 2018-2019 school year that must be created need to be submitted no later than June 30th. Any submissions beyond then may not be returned until approximately early October. Please try to prepare for the new school year early so we can get your orders done on time. These orders may be sent in starting now.

Fall Print orders CAN NOT be submitted electronically. With having such a high volume of orders for the fall, we do not want to risk any orders being lost in the system. If you have any questions or concerns please call 268-6051.


Microsoft Windows Update changes

The Data Center has made changes to the deployment of Windows updates.
This will affect you and all student computers.

Once your computer gets the updated policies and is rebooted to activate the policy, windows updates will begin being automatically installed and updated overnight.  The new policy started on 5/14/2018.

What will happen:

  1. Windows updates should be downloaded and installed during the day if there are outstanding updates.
  2. Overnight (between 10:00pm and 6:00am), your computer will be restarted if necessary.
    Unsaved files would be lost so it would be best, at end of day, to close open files and then CTRL-ALT-DEL and lock the computer, or simply logout of the computer.
    — This way, if the computer needs to restart you will not lose changes you have made to documents.
  3. Remember, we are now to leave the CPUs on from Monday thru Friday, shutting them down Friday and booting Monday mornings.  The monitor can be turned off nightly.

What you should do:
Periodically you should check Settings/Windows Updates to ensure that updates are being applied to computers.  Microsoft pushes updates to ensure their products work as they should and the update process closes vulnerabilities or issues they find. 

It is imperative that updates are performed on windows computers.

— On windows 10, to check updates, click the windows flag (white flag typically found in lower left hand corner), type Windows Updates and choose Check Updates to review.

To check installed updates, click Check for Updates and/or Update history.

— If you find updates are not being installed or it has been several months since the last update, you should contact the helpdesk at 7393.


Swim lesson registration set to take place at the Great Falls High Pool.

Due to construction on the campus, The Great Falls High Pool will be offering two 2 week sessions of swim lessons this summer.  Sessions will begin on June 4th and June 18th .  One half hour classes will be offered from 9 AM until noon in the morning session and from 6-7 PM  in the evening session.  Classes run Monday –Thursdays. Cost is $40 for ages 5 and up, $45 for ages 4 and under.

Registration will take place at the pool office from 4-7 PM on the following dates:
May 14-18
May 21-24
May 29- 31

For more information contact Bob Stingley at 268-6281,
Or Julie Anderson at 268-6266,


You are invited to Laurie Matteson’s Retirement BBQBBQ SpatulaBBQ kabobs

Join us to honor Laurie’s 30 years of teaching at Lincoln Elementary with GFPS!
Let’s send her off with a lot of love to her new adventure in Ethiopia.

Date:  Wednesday, May 30th
Time:  4-6pm
Place:  Lincoln Gym


North Western Energy logo
NorthWestern Energy Event

What:  Beyond the Dam, concert & bike ride event
When:  Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9
Why: To share dam safety messages with the public
Where:  Heritage Park (inside Giant Springs State Park) in Great Falls, MT

For the second year we are excited to sponsor this companywide signature event, “Beyond the Dam.” This event will be held in Great Falls, due to the great trail access around several of our hydro-electric facilities.

If you’ve never been to these facilities – this is your chance to get unprecedented access! The bike route takes you across Black Eagle and depending upon your skill level – Rainbow and Cochrane Dams. There is a beginner, intermediate and advanced route.  The intermediate and advanced rides will have timing chips and support at the first aid booths from Heed Energy Drinks out of Whitefish, Montana.  Learn more about the bike ride and register here: . Not a biker? You can still join us in the fun by helping staff the event or coming to the pre-event.

New this year – June 8th, beginning at 5 p.m. there will be a concert at Giant Springs Park with opening act F.O.G., followed by the well-known Bop-A-Dips from 7-9:30 p.m.  The music will conclude with a fireworks display that you won’t want to miss. Join us for a great night in Heritage Park. You’re welcome to pack in your own dinner, cooler or picnic, just leave the glass and dogs at home!  Don’t forget a chair.

As you can imagine an event of this size requires a small army of volunteers to pull off – and we would love to have more support! If you’re interested in learning more about how you might be able to help, contact Heidi Hockett at 406-590-1803 or by email at

Help us spread the word! Invite your family and friends.  Invite friends from the gym.  Invite your neighbors. Please share the event at NorthWestern’s Facebook page or point people to:

All race proceeds benefit the River’s Edge Trail to help improve the trails around the Missouri River.


Calling all BOOKWORMS to Cindy George’s Retirement Celebration

green worm sitting on a stack of books, reading a book

After 33 years with Great Falls Public Schools, Cindy George (Districtwide Library/Media Assistant) is closing one chapter and opening a new one. 

Please help us celebrate on the following date and time:
When: Thursday – June 28, 2018
Time: 3:00 pm
Where: District Office Building – Aspen Conf. Room


picture of grad hat and diploma

Lesley University Graduate Program in Great Falls

Starts Fall 2018!

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

Come and See Final Projects
created by the students in the Great Falls Cohort
Saturday, June 9th         12:30 – 1:15pm!
Great Falls High School    Rm. 104

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


Montana Institute on Educational Technology – Tech Days

Montana Institute on Educational Technology (MIET) logoDon’t miss out on the 2018 Montana Institute on Educational Technology Tech Days! Join your colleagues from across the state for two days of learning about educational technology, with new sessions and new facilitators! 


Come away with ideas for your classroom, new skills to enhance your practice, and a network of professionals to call your own. Be sure to visit our vendor booths for the latest advances in technology.

There is still time to register, to be held on June 12-13, 2018.

Registration is $135 per person and includes lunch if registered by June 5.

Participants can earn up to 15 OPI renewal units. Graduate credits and CEUs are available for an additional cost.


Luminaria Walk Lights up the Trail

In 1993 the Luminaria Walk began with 200 Luminarias lighting the trail near the caboose as the first annual Luminaria Walk sponsored by the River’s Edge Trail.  In 2018 over 1000 luminiarias have been decorated / colored and will line the trail for the Saturday, June 16th event from 7:00 – 11:00 pm.  The luminaria bags are decorated by students from many schools in Great Falls.

All the students from Meadowlark School will be coloring luminaria bags on Friday, May 25th at 2:45pm.  They have designated this time to engage in this community event and the River’s Edge Trail.  From coloring rainbows to pictures of the summer sunshine, the students are excited to be a part of this activity and see their own art pieces line the trail.

The River’s Edge Trail Board of Directors organizes this event as a labor of love for our community to encourage folks to walk the trail beginning at Gibson Park Bandshell or Westbank Park.  You can walk as far as you would like during the evening to enjoy the food and music.  This is not a fundraiser or a check-in event.  “Just enjoy this summer evening and the generous musicians that are giving their talent and time, as we already have a great lineup of music scattered throughout the trail”  commented Trail Board member Becky Nelson.

Musicians and Concessions needed:  If you would like to share your music along the trail, sell brownies to popcorn, help place luminarias on the trail or fill all 1000 bags with sand, please call Becky at 899-8642 for various volunteer opportunities.


American Indian Summer Culture Academy for Grades 4th to 11th!!! 

June 5-7, June 12-14, June 19-21, 26-28
Time: 10:30 to 2:00 pm
Where: Whittier School



TRAVEL PROJECTS……Fishing day, Gathering wilding day, Visit to Lewis and Clark Center –tour inside and outside. Ulm Pishkin Buffalo Jumps, Hike and Adventure.
Visit sweat lodge and learn about traditions,
Tipi rings adventure, looking for tipi rings

** Transportation provided 

Teacher and Cultural Liaison on site at all times!!


Summer of 2018 Fitness Schedules


  • Week of May 28-31 — NO Class
  • Summer Zumba will run: June 5 to July 31
  • Classes will take place Tuesday and Thursday 4:30-5:30 pm
  • Longfellow Elementary Gym — Use the NW door near the parking lot.

If you don’t typically check your school e-mail in the summer, you may send an alternative email to She is our go to for ZUMBA!


  • Begins Tuesday, June 5, 2018 & Ends Thursday, August 9, 2018
  • Classes held: Tuesdays 9:00-10:00 am & Thursdays 5:30-6:30 pm
  • Location: Free To Be Yoga Studio at 1415 NW Bypass Suite 4
  • $5 fee per class for summer yoga sessions, paid to the instructor.


Access from 5th Ave S & 19th St, located in Swarthout Fieldhouse

Lap Swim   Through July 3

  • Mon-Friday 6:00 AM -7:30 AM
  • Mon –Thursday 12-00 PM-1:00 PM

Open swim   Through July 3

  • Monday, Wed & Friday 1-3:45 PM
  • Tuesday & Thursday 1-2:45 PM
  • Mon & Wed evenings 7:30-8:45 PM

Any questions about the pool call Bob at 268-6281.

PGEC Fitness Center:

Due to construction at PGEC this summer the fitness center will not be open. On the bright side there will be a couple of new pieces of equipment ready to go when we return in August!


All-City Elementary Speech Meet

The All-City Elementary speech meet was a huge success thanks to the 107 student participants and their families, thirty-four volunteer judges from the community and both high school speech/debate teams, and five ECS teachers. Students in grades four, five and six from ALL fifteen elementary schools put their public speaking skills on display in the best way imaginable. The competition was strong, with many judges commenting on the quality of the speakers at this age. Please give all of those who competed a “pat on the back” for a job well done. In addition, a special thank you to the D.C. club concessions, ECS teachers, classroom teachers, and principals without whose support this event would not be possible.


Mini-Grant Program
Calumet Montana Refining
Community Advisory Panel

In an attempt to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of science and environmental issues, the Calumet Montana Refining Community Advisory Panel
(CAP) is sponsoring a mini-grant program for secondary schools in the Great Falls.  Cash mini-grants of $100 to $500 may be awarded to individual classrooms, a group of classrooms working together, or an entire school working on the same project. Examples of potential mini-grant projects include investigating a specific scientific or environmental problem, developing a series of science experiments to enrich classroom teaching, or taking a field trip to learn more about a certain area of science.

Mini-grant recipients will be required to attend a future Community Advisory Panel meeting to describe the methodology and results of their project.

Eligibility: Any secondary classroom, group of classrooms, or school in Great Falls, as well as private and Charter Schools, are eligible.  The program is not intended for individual student projects.

Grants: $100 to $500 grants will be awarded to projects chosen by a committee appointed by the CAP. A recipient is eligible for one grant.

Application: Any teacher or administrator who wishes to have a project considered for a mini-grant should complete an application form and submit by email to the CAP.   Please contact Laneya Martin at for the application.  The application must be received by September 28, 2018. The application should be emailed to:

Calumet Montana Refining
Marlena Halko
1900 10th Street NE
Great Falls, MT 59404
406-454-9845 phone 406-761-0174 fax