November 19, 2018

Superintendent’s Message

A Thanksgiving Pause

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! It’s a holiday that is about reflecting on the past as we appreciate the good times of the previous year.  It’s also a time that is full of anticipation of the future as the magical holiday season follows immediately on its heels.  It’s a holiday that doesn’t require the buying of gifts or massive amounts of home decorating.  It’s hopefully a break from the intense commercialism that starts the very next day.  It’s a holiday that allows us to enjoy family, friends, fellowship and of course, food!

As I reflect on the past year, I am grateful for my work, my family, my friends and my community.  I am also thankful for each of you and the work you do.  Your dedication to our kids, our community and our future, no matter how crazy things are all around us, warms my heart.  You aren’t told “thank you” enough so please let this message in a small way make up for that.

Along with Thanksgiving blessings to each of you, I also wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving break.  I hope you are surrounded by those you love as you eat a wonderful meal and put your feet up for some much deserved rest.  Take this time to recharge your batteries as you pause to reflect on all on the blessings in your life.  Take this time to prepare your hearts and minds for all the joys and opportunities December will bring.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Take care.  Be safe.  Stay well.

Superintendent Search Survey

This is  a survey administered by the Montana School Boards Association on behalf of the Great Falls Board of Trustees to assist in the hiring of a new Superintendent.  The School Board appreciates your time and assistance in completing this important survey.  The results will help the Board as they review the applications for the position of superintendent of schools.
SURVEY DEADLINE:  Friday, November 30, 2018, 5:00 pm MST.

Wellness Closures for Thanksgiving Break

  • The PGEC Fitness Center and gym will be closed November 21-25, 2018, opening back up on Monday, November 26, 2018.
  • The Circuit Training class is cancelled for November 21, resuming Monday, November 26, 2018.
  • Zumba is cancelled for November 22, resuming, Tuesday, November 27, 2018.
  • Yoga classes are cancelled November 21-22, resuming Wednesday, November 28, 2018.
  • The GFH Pool will be closed November 21-25, 2018, opening again on Monday, November 26, 2018.

Have you Completed Your Health Screening & HRA Information?

Click here for information on completing the wellness screening and maintaining the engaged premium incentive for district insurance.

Click here to visit the GFPS HR website for additional resources regarding GFPS Benefits.


The Community Health Care Center will be offering additional Saturday screenings in December as well four screening dates over the winter break, as follows:

  • Saturday December 1st, 7am-12pm, CHCC 115 4th St South
  • Saturday December 8th, 7am-12pm, CHCC 115 4th St South
  • Monday December 24th, 730am-12pm, PGEC Clinic
  • Wednesday December 26th, 730am-12pm, PGEC Clinic
  • Thursday December 27th, 730am-12pm, CHCC 115 4th St South
  • Monday December 31st, 730am-12pm, PGEC Clinic

Please call (406) 454-6973 to schedule your appointment. Appointments can also be scheduled during regular clinic hours as follows:

  • CHCC Main Clinic at 115 4th St S is open M-F 7AM-6PM and will be closed on December 25th.
  • School-based Health Center at Paris Gibson Education Center is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 730am-430pm and Wednesdays from 9am-6pm.  The hours on Wednesdays will be changing to 7:30AM-4:30PM in December.
  • School-based Health Center at Giant Springs Elementary is open on Thursdays from 730am – 430pm. This clinic will be closed on 12/27/18, but the main site will be open.

Please remember, to be eligible for the $55 per month incentive on your health insurance premiums, you (and your covered spouse, if applicable) must complete a biometrics screening and the Health Risk Assessment (HRA) by no later than December 31st, 2018. The HRA can be completed using these directions:

Emergency Response to an Armed Intruder Training

The last training for the school year will take place on January 21, 2019. The training is 6 hours and takes place from 8:30-3:30 pm with an hour lunch  break. There are currently spots open. Register in PIR Central or contact Jody Murray by email or at 268-6770

Course description:
This course was designed to give those involved in an active shooter or active threat incident practical measures to utilize to help ensure their safety and the safety of others until law enforcement arrives. This course uses hands-on performance based training designed to increase safety and efficiency in an effort to save lives. This training incorporates lecture, practical exercises, and scenario based modules. At the conclusion of this training students will recognize the importance of planning, rehearsals, preparation, and survival techniques associated with an immediate response to an armed intruder.

Indian Education for All (IEFA) Messages

Brought to you by Baobab Studios, this animated short story is a great resource for the visualization of an American Indian story of Crow and how he made the ultimate sacrifice to save his friends. This short film is narrated by Randy Edmonds, Kiowa-Caddo tribal elder and founder of the National Urban Indian Council. Based on the Lenape story of Rainbow Crow, this short film is sure to catch your students imagination.

Use this animated short to tie storytelling, listening, retelling, and interpretation standards. Ask students to watch this with the intention of looking for the lesson both for the character Crow and for the viewer/listener. Ask students to retell the story to a partner. Have students write their own stories to explain how something came to be the way it is.


Take the opportunity to observe IEFA lessons and working with American Indian students in a classroom setting. We are inviting all GFPS educators to observe cultural content naturally infused to meet Montana curriculum content standards. Availability Monday through Thursday in the mornings. These observation opportunities are geared toward middle and high school but can be adapted for upper elementary.

Contact Jordann Lankford at for more information.

STEM Mini Grants

Tree with red apple at bottom Great Falls Public Schools Foundation

Attention Teachers,

How would you like to provide an additional enriching science opportunity for your students? Unfortunately, there will be no formal district-wide STEAM EXPO this year. However, that doesn’t mean students should stop questioning, investigating, and hypothesizing under your guidance.

If you love science and are willing to support your students with STEM related projects or project-based learning projects, we have an opportunity for you!

We are working with the Foundation to offer a “Project Based Learning-STEM Focused Mini Grant.” With this $300 grant, you will be able to provide an authentic, real world, impactful experience for your students.

The applications will open on October 15 and close on December 14. Please click here to access the application. For questions regarding the grant, please contact Shelly Kelly at x6037 or For technical questions regarding the application, please contact Lyndsay Lettre at x7401 or

Safe Schools Online Safety Training – Chance to Win a $50.00 Gift Card

School Safety Starts With YOU!

During the months of October and November, 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 November 30th with the winners being announced the following week.

Workplace Safety – Preventing Strain or Injury by Claims

Remember you have control.
Great Falls School employees are known for being conscientious about school safety.
Let’s make a choice to lower the number of bodily motion claims this school year.

“Strain or Injury By” (commonly referred to as bodily motion injuries) may potentially occur when the body is in motion due to improper lifting, carrying, turning, reaching, pulling pushing, etc.  When an employee sustains a bodily motion injury the recovery can often times be painful and costly.

Here are some ideas to help prevent injury:

Check the weight of the load with a “trial” lift
Stand square to the load and get as close as you can
Keep your legs about shoulder width apart for good balance
Bend the knees and hips, not the back
As you start the lift, raise your eyes and look ahead. This will keep your spine in correct alignment.
Push with the hips and legs to lift  the load
Put the load down by reversing the actions used to lift the object
Always use equipment such as handcarts, dollies, etc. to assist if it is available

Carry loads close to the body, preferably at waist level
When the weight of the load is unevenly distributed, make sure the heaviest portion is closest to the body
While putting loads down, when possible, place the load on shelves or other surfaces at waist level
If possible, place the heavy loads close to the ground and light loads up slightly above waist level
When two or more people carry a load, one person should act as the leader. Be sure that you can see where you are going

Put yourself on the same level as the load you are going to move.

Move in the direction of the turn with your feet and legs
DO NOT twist at the waist
Step in the direction of the turn

PUSHING an object is better for the back than PULLING an object.

 District Rental House Available

Gray and White House that is if rent

The District has a three bedroom, two-bathroom house with a garage for rent ($1,100 per month).  It is located at 820 4th Avenue North (next to Whittier Elementary School).   It comes with a clothes washer and dryer.  Tenant will be responsible for gas and electricity.   To arrange a tour, please contact Brian Patrick at 268-6050.