October 23, 2017

Superintendent’s Message


As we approach November and all the opportunities it provides to give thanks, I ask you to end October by also giving.  By Friday of this week, I ask you to give to our annual Giving Campaign.  I hope to reach our goal of supporting so many worthy organizations that help our students with $60,000 from us.  We can reach that goal in two ways:
  •          If you gave last year (THANK YOU), consider giving just a little bit more.
    o   If every one of the 564 people who gave last year gave just $12 (or $1/month) more, we can reach our goal.
  •          If you couldn’t give last year, consider giving this year.
    o   If the remaining 900 employees who didn’t give last year, each gave $6 (or $.50/month), we can reach our goal.
If both happen, we would be considered rock stars in the giving world!
Currently, GFPS gives the 5th largest amount of any business or organization.  We can’t beat the top groups as they also give a corporate match for every employee donation and that is not a possibility for public agencies, but I just know we can do more.  Here’s our giving history…it would be amazing to double our giving in 14 years:
One last nudge:  for every site (and there are 24 of them) that has 100% of the employees give, I will personally give that site $100 to do with whatever your team decides.  That’s how much I believe in this campaign!
Each site has a coordinator who can answer any questions you might have.  I thank them for their service and I ask you to reward them with a contribution.  If you’ve given in the past, give a little more.  If you haven’t, now’s the time.  Every contribution makes a difference! 
Take care.  Be safe.  Stay well.

Red Ribbon Week, 2017

Celebrate Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23-27, 2017

The Community Red Ribbon Planning Team has been busy! There are a number of activities taking place to recognize this very important week. The national theme is: “Your Future is Key So Stay Drug Free!” Check out the details below:                                   
  • Red Ribbons: for all staff members. See your building Administrative Assistant to get one!
  • Community Wear Red Wednesday: Staff is encouraged to wear RED on Wednesday along with students from private, public and rural schools as well as our community members.
  • Other theme days for RR Week 2017 are listed below. We keep it simple so students/staff don’t have to purchase anything. Our kids love these days!
    – Monday: “Turn Your Back on Drugs” wear clothes backwards. (Easy to do on Monday after a long weekend!)
    – Tuesday: “Sock It To Drugs” wear crazy socks.
    – Wednesday: “Your Future is Key, so Stay Drug Free!” wear red day.
    – Thursday: “Too Bright For Drugs” wear bright colors.
    – Friday: “Team Up Against Drugs” wear your favorite team shirt, jersey or colors.
  • Our Community: Take a drive by Central Ave, Flag Hill, Gibson Park, the Civic Center and the County Courthouse to name a few….we are decorating with red ribbons in and around these areas. Look for the message “Your Future is Key So Stay Drug Free” on our school reader boards.

Ins and Outs of Substance Abuse


·         The Ins & Outs of Substance Abuse: Great Falls College MSU is collaborating with Alliance For Youth and Gateway Community Services to host a series of events on campus that aim to raise awareness about substance abuse. Events include:  a screening of  “Paper Tigers”  taking place on Monday, 10-23-17 and three panel discussions taking place various times on Wednesday, 10-25-17. The events are FREE and open to the public. Click here for the event flier.  Click here for the detailed press release.

Flu Shots Schedule, 2017

 2017 Benefis Flu Shot Schedule

Great Falls Public Schools is again offering free flu shots for all employees and spouses of district employees.  (You do not have to carry insurance to be eligible for the free flu shot.) Please note the below listed dates and times.  Shots are not available for children at these times/dates.
Please RSVP to 268-6010.
Final Flu Shot Offerings End Next Week!
Great Falls Public Schools is offering free flu shots for all employees and spouses of district employees. You do not have to carry insurance to be eligible for the free flu shot.  Shots are not available for children at these dates/times. Please RSVP to 268-6010.  The final days are: October 23, 24, 25, 26, 2017. Click here for the schedule with specific dates, times and locations. 

What is Changing – Password Policy

                                            October 19, 2017

What Is Changing?

What: Implement a strong password policy
When: Effective November 15, 2017
Why: In order to protect confidential data and business operations, having a strong Information Security policy is required. There are many layers to Information Security and one of the most basic and best practices is a strong password policy. A strong password consists of:
  • complexity (3 of the 4 following criteria)
o   upper case
o   lower case
o   numbers
o   special characters
  • minimum length 8 characters
  • restricting reuse of old passwords (not last 3)
  • and periodic expiring and entering a new password annually
Who: All individuals (staff & students) who log into the GFPS domain and who have not changed or reset their password in the last year.
How: At end of day, November 14, 2017, the Data Center will set the new password policy. The next time an individual logs into the GFPS domain, the password will be evaluated to see if it has been changed or reset within the last 365 days. If not, the individual will be prompted to enter a new password using the rules listed above. If the password meets the policy rules, you will be asked to re-enter to confirm. Users must log into a Microsoft Windows pc or laptop to change their password. You cannot change your password on an iPad or Chromebook. Generic logins for labs at the elementary level will not be effected by this policy.
Recommendations: The new password cannot contain any part of your name. A good practice is to use a phrase that you can easily remember, i.e. Ilike7up. Another option would be to take a word or phrase you can easily remember and replace e with 3, i with 1, o with 0, or s with 5 and then capitalize the first letter, i.e. Supportit = Supp0rt1t. A strong password is only as good as you keep it confidential. Under no circumstances should staff share their password. At the elementary level, it is permissible for students to share their password with their teacher but they should also be instructed not to share with other students.
New accounts: After November 14, 2017, all new accounts will have the following format – P******s where ****** is the same identifier we have always used.
Contacts: Tom Hering, Bob McGregor, IT Help Desk

Rampart Winds


Bison Science and Math Exploratorium

When and Where: Thursday October 26th from 3:30 – 7:00 in the Old Gym at GFHS
What: An opportunity for students and their families to experience the variety of science courses and math choices offered by Great Falls High School:
·        Use sonic motion detectors to match a graph
·        Construct density bottles
·        Have a tug – of – war with force probes
·        Build a Pringle protector
·        Launch paper rockets
·        Identify organs via dissection
·        Investigate aerodynamics using wind tunnels
·        Look at the effects of DNA cross matches
·        Perform chemistry experiments
·        “Play” with math manipulatives
·        And much more!

Bring the entire family and come enjoy the wonders of science and math.