October 8, 2018

Superintendent’s Message

“For it is in giving that we receive.”  No one understands this quote from St. Francis of Assisi like educators. We give it our all every day for which we are rewarded many times over.  We also give our precious resources each year during the GFPS Annual Giving Campaign.  This year is no different as we are a “Pacesetter” group for United Way’s annual campaign.  A pacesetter leads the way and is a model for others to follow.  GFPS exemplifies that in every way.  Over the last 14 years, GFPS staff members have given over $600,000 to support United Ways’ health, education and prosperity initiatives our community.  This year, we want to add another $60,000 to that total.

Here’s our giving history…it would be amazing to double our giving over the 15 years:

Campaign Year $ Donated by GFPS Employees % of GFPS Employees Donating Any Amount
2019 GOAL  $ 60,000 100%
2018 TOTAL  $ 54,779 44%
2017 TOTAL  $ 53,919 40%
2016 TOTAL  $ 53,234 42%
2015 TOTAL  $ 51,353 40%
2014 TOTAL  $ 45,765 36%
2013 TOTAL  $ 48,173 39%
2012 TOTAL  $ 44,073 34%
2011 TOTAL  $ 48,081 32%
2010 TOTAL  $ 45,973 34%
2009 TOTAL  $ 43,729 35%
2008 TOTAL  $ 40,534
2007 TOTAL  $ 40,774
2006 TOTAL  $ 32,248
2005 TOTAL  $ 30,474

We only need $5221 more to reach our goal.  We can do it in two ways:

  • If the 615 people who gave last year (THANK YOU), give just $10 more, that would exceed the $5221 needed.
  • If an additional 100 people gave $5/month or $60 that would get us there too.
  • If both happen, we would be considered rock stars in the giving world!

In order to learn more about what United Way does, be sure to check out the United Way video that shows how they fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community.  Your contribution helps our community win that fight. You can view it here:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EKv9l3NLmE.  I get emotional watching the movie because I believe in their work so much and I hope you do too!

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.

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.

Staff Computer Acceptable Use and Internet Safety Agreement

The Board of Trustees recently adopted the Staff Computer Acceptable Use and Internet Safety Agreement which replaces the “Code of Ethics for Technology” form that was signed when you were hired.  GFPS offers staff access to electronic devices, networks, and the Internet, but access is a privilege, not a right, and carries with it responsibilities.  It is imperative that any and all staff utilizing District technology resources understand these responsibilities.  Therefore, every staff member must sign that they have read and received the new Acceptable Use Form.  Signature of this form is mandatory in order to have access to GFPS technology resources.  The signed consent form will be placed in your personnel file.  The form is due to your building principal/supervisor no later than October 17, 2018.

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

American Red Cross Logo

#Riverview Pints for Troy


October 17
11:30 to 6:30
Riverview Gym

Sign up for an appointment on line at redcrossblood.org (search by troystrong) or by calling Lee Ruud at 268-7040.
Redcrossblood.org                 1-800-red cross

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

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) 268-7401
1100 4th Street South, 59405
P.O. Box 2429, 59403

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 November 30th with the winners being announced the following week.

MILITARY FAMILIES                                    Boy holding two American flags

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.

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

Community Health Care Center Inc. logo

GFPS 2019 Health Screening Campaign, October 1 – December 28, 2018

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.    

What are the services provided at this biometric screening visit that will be covered at 100% by the GFPS plan? 

  • Height and weight will be measured for calculating body mass index (BMI)
  • Your blood pressure will be measured (please wear sleeves that can be easily rolled up)
  • 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?

  • Fasting is highly encouraged for accurate test results.
  • It is not required to meet the requirement for the Engaged incentive.

 How Long Will it Take to Receive the Results of My Biometric Screening?

The results from your blood draw will be available 3-5 business days after you complete your screening. A nurse from CHCC will reach out to you by phone to communicate your results. A printout of your results will also be mailed to you so you are able to input the information in your HRA.

Can I Get a Flu Shot While I’m at the Clinic for my Biometric Screening?

Yes!  Even better, the cost of your flu shot will be covered at 100% if you’re enrolled in a 2018-19 GFPS health plan.  Please indicate that you would like to schedule a flu shot when you call to schedule your appointment.

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.

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

Community Health Care Center Inc. logo

Services Available Through the Community Health Care Centers

The Great Falls Public Schools and your local Community Health Care Center are proud to partner and provide a multitude of medical and behavioral health services available at no cost for enrollees of the Great Falls Public Schools health insurance plan.  The CHCC has several multi-disciplinary providers and staff available to assist with your health needs most convenient for you- either by scheduling an appointment in advance, same-day appointments, or walk-in.  The listing of specific medical and behavioral health services offered free of charge for enrollees of the Great Falls Public Schools is listed below:

 Medical Services:

  • Preventative care and screenings (including well woman exams)
  • Physicals
  • Care for common illnesses and minor injuries
  • Management of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, depression, and high blood pressure
  • Lab testing
  • Immunizations
  • Referral(s) to specialists

Behavioral Health Services:

  • Individual counseling
  • Crisis management
  • Brief therapy
  • Substance use disorder therapy
  • Referral(s) to community resources

For your convenience, all of the above high quality, whole-person care services (and more) are offered at one of several locations within the Great Falls community:  

  • Community Health Care Center Main Clinic
    115 4th Street South
    Great Falls, MT  59401
    Hours:  Mon – Thurs: 7 am – 6 pm and Fri: 7 am – 5 pm
  • School-based Health Center at Paris Gibson
    2400 Central Ave
    Great Falls, MT  59401
    Hours:  Mon: 7:30 am – 4:30 pm and Wed: 9 am – 6 pm
  • School-based Health Center at Giant Springs
    520 32nd Street North
    Great Falls, MT  59401
    Hours:  Thurs: 7:30 am – 4:30 pm

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

World Homeless Day – Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The following restaurants will be donating a percentage of their sales to Stand Up for Students, a program to assist homeless students in Great Falls.

  • Beef O’Brady’s
  • Dairy Queen
  • The Pit Stop
  • Teriyaki Madness
  • MacKenzie River Pizza
  • Big Mouth BBQ at the Front

Toiletries & Warm Clothing can be taken to Chicago Title, First American Title, Great Falls Association of REALTORS, Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Macek Companies or the O’haire Motor Inn.

Wear Purple on the 10th!


Invitation to Judge



1900 2nd Avenue South                  Refreshments provided all day . . .


Speech Rounds            8:00AM     10:00AM             12:00PM             2:00PM                4:00PM

Debate Rounds            8:00AM     10:00AM             12:00PM             2:00PM                4:00PM

Feel free to register online!

bar code to scan

SCAN QR CODE or REGISTER ONLINE at https://bit.ly/2Dh2EOG

Email or phone with any questions: Julie Easton 268-6381, gfhjudgerecruiting@gmail.com

Judging clinic offered at GFH Tuesday, Oct 30—6:30-7:15 pm, Room 216

THANK YOU in advance for supporting Montana students!


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.

Spread the word!
All Great Falls voters are invited!                     KEY Kids Education Yes logo

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