October 1, 2018

Flying Wild logo with school house and flying bird

Teacher Workshop      

October 19, 2018

This information-filled Flying WILD – Project WILD training is designed to provide K-12 educators with instructional tools and resources to assist in teaching K-12 youth about Montana’s avian fauna.

Participants will be engaged in standard’s based learning incorporating science, math, and reading literacy skills.  Learn about the new E-bird website and potential classroom resources from Montana Audubon and FWP.

To reserve your spot or for more information contact FWP at 454-5844.

6 hours of OPI Credit will be available.  

The workshop begins at 8:30 and adjourns at 3:30;  please wear appropriate clothes to go outside.

Location:  Participants will meet at FWP Regional Office, Giant Springs Road, Great Falls.

There is no fee for the workshop.  Contact Laura at lhajek@mt.gov to register for the workshop.

Password Policy Reminder

Last year at this time, we implemented a stronger password policy. In addition to enforcing a complex format and minimum length of 8 characters, the policy also requires annual password changes. This is a reminder that you will need to change your password soon, as well as some guidance on how to do it.

There are two options for changing your password.

  • You can wait till Windows prompts you to change your password, which will be 365 days after the day you changed it last year.
  • You can be proactive and change it ahead of time, which resets the 365 day countdown. From the desktop of a Windows computer, press Ctl-Alt-Del. From the menu presented, select Change a Password. Enter your current password, a new password and confirm new password.

When entering a new password, you must follow the rules of a complex password (3 of 4 options – upper case, lower case, numbers, special characters), and a minimum length of 8 characters. In addition, you cannot use the past three passwords or any part of your name (and as a result, no part of your username). Please also remember you must do this on a District supplied Microsoft Windows device, not a Chromebook or iPad.

When you change your Windows Active Directory password, it will also update the following applications with the same password – email, Google Drive, Office 365, iVisions, Moodle, and SharePoint.

If you use the GFPS-Staff Wi-Fi network, you will need to re-authenticate your account on each device accessing the staff network by updating your password there as well. The easiest way to do this is to forget or disconnect from the Staff network and then reconnect, which will prompt you for your new credentials.

If you have email setup on your smartphone, it may prompt you to change your password the first time you use it after changing it on a District Windows device. If it does not automatically prompt you to update your password, then you can change it by:

  • iPhone – Settings, Accounts & Passwords, Exchange, and then the Account associated with your GFPS email.
  • Android – Email app, Menu (3 bars in top left corner), Settings wheel, Account associated with your GFPS email, Exchange Server Settings.

If you have any further questions on the password policy, please contact the IT Help Desk at 7393 or Tom Hering at 6068.

Severance Pay for Retiring Teachers

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 December 1, 2018 at 5:00 p.m., if terminating employment at the end of the first 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 October 10, 2018 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

Travel Per Diem Rate Change

District Policy 7336 outlines the guidelines established for Travel Allowances and Expenses.  As a part of the guidelines, our district uses the GSA.Gov guidelines and rates for Meal Per diem. The purpose of this memo is to notify employees that effective October 1st, the established GSA Meal rate changes.  Any travel paperwork that has already been received for travel after October 1 will be adjusted accordingly at the Business Office.  Information, in the form of a new rate sheet, for Montana cities will be sent out to each of the building secretaries.  For out of State travel, employees are directed to the GSA.Gov website.  The only exception to the meal rate identified on the site is GFPS does not pay the $5 incidental fee.  If you have any travel related questions, feel free to contact Brenda Hess at Extension 6065.

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 laneya_martin@gfps.k12.mt.us for the application.  The application must be received by October 5, 2018. The application should be emailed to: marlena.halko@clmt.com

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

STEM Mini Grants            Great Falls Public Schools Foundation Logo

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 shelly_kelly@gfps.k12.mt.us. For technical questions regarding the application, please contact Lyndsay Lettre at x7401 or foundation@gfps.k12.mt.us.

Thank you,
Lyndsay Lettre, Administrative Assistant
P. (406) 268-74011100 4th Street South, 59405                         
P.O. Box 2429, 59403                                                               

Benefit for Stephanie Frank

Help Support the Fight - Breast Cancer logo

Join us October 5th at The Sting, to support Riverview 1st grade teacher, Stephanie Frank in her fight against breast cancer.  There will be Silent and Live Auction items and 50/50!
The fun begins at 6pm!



Communicating with Parents of English Learners

Communicating with parents who speak no or limited English is a challenge, but we have resources to support you.
Please call or email Irina Mills or Carol Paul for information on emailing/texting parents with Google Translate to set up conferences or communicate about a student.
We also have interpreters for Parent-teacher conferences! Please call at least a week in advance to request an interpreter for Parent-Teacher Conferences.
We look forward to working with you!

Carol Paul
Title Coordinator, Great Falls Public Schools
1100 4th Street South
Great Falls, MT 59405

Through language, . . . students learn how to become strategic thinkers, not merely strategy users.  Peter Johnston

For texting using Google Translate, this is helpful

Safe Schools Online Safety Training $50.00 Card Drawing

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 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 30th with the winners being announced the following week.

Be Sure to Complete Your Health Screening and Maintain Your Engaged Premium Incentive!

Employees enrolled in Great Falls Public Schools health plan may earn a $55 per month premium contribution reduction by completing a biometric screening and online health risk assessment (HRA) questionnaire by December 31, 2018. This incentive is available to all enrolled employees, regardless of which plan you’re enrolled in or the number of family members enrolled. If your spouse is covered under your GFPS health plan then she/he must also complete a biometric screening and HRA by December 31, 2018 to earn the premium incentive.    

The incentive is awarded at the start of the plan year (October 1st) in good faith that you will complete the Engaged incentive activities.  However, if you or your spouse (if enrolled) do not complete both the biometric screening and HRA by December 31, 2018, you will no longer receive the Engaged incentive and will be subject to the higher premium contribution.

Any employee may participate in these screenings free of charge, regardless of health plan enrollment.

Details and FAQ’s About How to Earn Your 2018-19 GFPS Engaged Health Plan Incentive

1.  Complete Your Biometric Screening First, if possible
If possible, we recommend that you complete your biometric screening prior to your HRA. This will provide you with current biometric values to enter into the health assessment. Because the screenings are being provided by a new vendor, your biometric values will not be uploaded to your HRA as they were previously.

2.  How Do I Schedule My Biometric Screening?
Cascade County Community Health Care Centers will provide biometric screenings October 1 – December 28.

To schedule an appointment at any Community Health Care Center location, call 406-454-6973.


The School-based Health Center at Paris Gibson Education Center will be open on Saturday, October 6 and Saturday, October 27 from 8am-1pm to complete health screenings!! Call the number above to schedule a time or feel free to walk in on a Saturday for a screening!

Community Health Care Center locations and hours are listed below. Please note the Holiday Hours.

Community Health Care Center Main Clinic
115 4th Street South
Great Falls, MT  59401
Hours:  Mon – Thurs: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Fri: 7:00 am – 5:00 pm

School-based Health Center at Paris Gibson
2400 Central Ave
Great Falls, MT  59401
Hours:  Mon: 7:30 am – 4:30 pm
Wed: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

School-based Health Center at Giant Springs
520 32nd Street North
Great Falls, MT  59401
Hours:  Thurs: 7:30 am – 4:30 pm

You may also “walk-in” to complete your biometric screening without an appointment during clinic hours of operation.  Please be aware that walk-in participants may be subject to wait times. Service will be provided first to those who have scheduled an appointment.

Holiday Hours:

  • All CHCC Clinics will be closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • School clinics will be closed when schools are closed.
  • The main clinic will be open the day before and the day after Thanksgiving.

The main clinic will be open the day before and the day after Christmas.

3.  What Tests Will Be Performed at the Biometric Screening?
a.  Height and weight will be measured for calculating body mass index (BMI)
b.  Your blood pressure will be measured (please wear sleeves that can be easily rolled up)
c.  A venous blood draw will be taken for the following tests:
Total Cholesterol
HDL Cholesterol
Blood Glucose
LDL Cholesterol (if fasting)
Triglycerides (if fasting)

Is Fasting Required?
a.  Fasting is highly encouraged for accurate test results.
b.  It is not required to meet the requirement for the Engaged incentive.

 5.  How Long Will it Take to Complete My Biometric Screening?
Biometric screening appointments take approximately 20 minutes. Expect to spend a few additional minutes if you chose to receive a flu shot.

6.  Can I Submit Results from a Previous Health Screening?
Yes.  If you have completed the health screening tests outlined in #3 between June 1 – December 31, 2018, you may submit these results using a Physician Form.  The form must be signed by your physician. To obtain a Physician Form, go to http://gfpsweb.weebly.com/benefits.html.
Physician Forms should be returned directly to CHCC. Instructions for return will be provided on the form.

7.  How Do I Complete My Health Risk Assessment?
You can access the health risk assessment from the Blue Access for Members home page (BAM). You’ll find a link to the BCBS “Well on Target” wellness portal or directly to the Health Assessment.

If you don’t have a BAM account, use the “Blue Access for Members Registration Member Flier” PDF located on http://gfpsweb.weebly.com/benefits.html. There are additional benefits to having a BAM account, listed on the first page of the flier.

You can also access the Well On Target portal directly – see page two of the Well on Target Flier:  http://gfpsweb.weebly.com/benefits.html.

Regardless of which way you create your account, the same username and password will provide you with access to both Blue Access for Members (BAM) and Well On Target.

If you have questions about the health risk assessment of the Well on Target program, contact BlueCross BlueShield of Montana at 877-806-9380.

8.  What Happens Next?
If you successfully complete both activities needed to earn the Engaged incentive by December 31, 2018, you will continue receiving the Engaged premium incentive.

If you or your spouse (if enrolled) do not complete one or both of the activities needed to earn the Engaged incentive by December 31, you will experience a $55/month increase in your health plan premium contribution effective in January, 2019.

A nurse from a Community Health Care Center may reach out to you to recommend and schedule follow up services if you can benefit from additional services or programs offered by Community Health Care Centers.

Free Flu Shots Through Benefis Health System for all Employees and Spouses of District Employees

Great Falls Public Schools is again offering free flu shots through Benefis Health System for all employees and spouses of district employees – see link below for dates, times and locations.  (You do not have to carry insurance to be eligible for the free flu shot.) Shots are not available for children at these times/dates. North and Sacajawea will be having separate flu shot clinics for staff and students through CCHD on and October 16th and November 8th, respectively.

Flu Shot Schedule

Military Families:             Boy holding two American flags
You’re Invited!

As a way to honor our community military members and their families,
Great Falls Public Schools is sponsoring free admittance to and recognition of any community member with a military ID at the events below.
By showing your military ID, you will get in free.  *Be sure to listen for a special announcement during the game to recognize your extraordinary contributions to our great country.


  • CMR Football at Memorial Stadium, Friday, October 12, 7 pm, vs. Kalispell Flathead
  • CMR Volleyball at CMR, Saturday, October 27, 1:00 pm, vs. Billings Skyview
  • *CMR Soccer at Siebel Field, Friday, October 5, Girls-3 pm, Boys, 5 pm, vs. Bozeman
  • *GFHS Soccer at Siebel Field, Friday, October 5, Girls-3 pm, Boys, 5 pm, vs. Billings West
  • GFH Football at Memorial Stadium, Thursday, October 18, 7 pm, vs. Bozeman
  • GFH Volleyball at GFHS, Saturday, October 27, 1:00 pm, vs. Billings West

* Given no intercom at Siebel Field, a special announcement honoring military families was made at the crosstown soccer games on October 2 at Memorial Stadium.

Legislative Candidate              red apple

When:  October 9, 2018, 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Where:  Gibson Room – Mansfield Center (Civic Center)

Sponsored by Kids Education YES
Refreshments and light hors d’oeuvres provided

Great Falls Voters,

KEY invites you to come meet the candidates who are running for office in your state legislative district.  This is your opportunity to personally engage with candidates and discuss topics that are important to you.

KEY is committed to informing voters about local education funding issues and promoting voter participation in local elections.  We encourage you to join us for this opportunity to connect with candidates who want to represent you in Helena.

KEY Kids Education Yes logo

Spread the word!
All Great Falls voters are invited!

For more information go to:
or call 406-870-0227.


National Construction Week October 1-5, 2018
Don’t Just Chase Dreams…Build Them!

Home Builders Association provided 900 tape measure for our students!
The Home Builders Association generously donated 900 tape measures to the students of Longfellow Elementary. This is timely due to that fact that Longfellow will be under construction and tape measures are a tool frequently used by architects and builders when constructing a new building. By using the tape measures, students will have the opportunity to apply mathematical concepts and skills through a hands on experience.  Specifically the students will engage in a brainstorming and planning session for their new school where their ideas will be collected and their voices will be heard. With the tape measures provided, students will measure and learn about scale, allowing them to practice skills related to the construction trades. “What a wonderful opportunity to teach students the importance of mathematical concepts as applied to a trade,” commented  Assistant Superintendent Ruth Uecker.

National Construction Week Highlights:
:  Sletten Construction will present various career opportunities at North Middle School
Tuesday:  Jackson Contractors will present to Great Falls High Construction IT Students
Wednesday:  Our High School House students will enjoy pizza compliments of Sletten Construction as they continue building a shop at the Grace Home
Thursday:  Paul Hogan (welding teacher) reception at the Great Falls College
Friday:  Jackson Contractors will present to CMR Construction IT students

Welcome GFH Class of 1958!

On October 5th and 6th, the GFH Class of 1958 will enjoy the GFH Jazz Band, tours and the football game!

PSAT/ACT/SAT Workshops

CMR 2018 PSAT Workshop
When: Wednesday October 3, 2018 from 7:00 – 8:15 pm
Where: Great Falls College – MSU — Room B101

GFH 2018 PSAT Workshop
When:  Monday, October 8, 2018 from 7:00 – 8:15 pm
Where:  University of Providence – McLaughlin Athletic Center – Classroom

Cost: $10/student
What to bring: PSAT Practice Booklet (you’ll get this from Mrs. Schoenen (CMR) or Mr. Getten (GFH) when you register for the PSAT), pencils, calculator.
What you’ll learn:
Overview of the PSAT/SAT/ACT
Scoring practices and strategies
Tips/Strategies/Shortcuts for each section of the PSAT and SAT
(Critical Reading, Math, Writing)
How to move through questions easier and faster
Test Day tips
How to Register: 
CMR:  Fill out the registration form from Mrs. Schoenen and send it and payment to address on form
GFH:  Fill out the registration form from Mr. Getten and send it and payment to address on form