September 30, 2019

severance pay

 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, 2019 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 16, 2019 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

Annual Cybersecurity Training

We ask that all employees complete this training by end of day Friday, October 11th.

Cybersecurity has become a hot topic for school districts across the nation recently. Last year there were 122 publicly-disclosed cybersecurity incidents affecting 119 K-12 education agencies across 38 states (including Montana). This equates to an an incident reported every three days. There are probably hundreds more that are not reported. Incidents are defined as both cyber attacks and data breaches.

In an effort to educate our staff on the risks of cyber crime, GFPS is instituting an annual cybersecurity training program. On August 26th, all employees who have a GFPS email address will receive an email notification similar to the one following this paragraph. Rest assured this is a legitimate email and staff can click on the link in the email without worry. The link will direct you to a website where you will be able to watch a 15 minute video on your role in internet security, primarily focusing on email phishing attempts. While there may be some unique terms you have not heard of before, this video is designed for non-technical employees and presented in layman’s terms. There will be a short quiz at the end of the video. It is more important that you learn about the topic versus getting every answer correct. Take your time.

Cybersecurity Training

You will receive reminders throughout the next 7 weeks to complete the training if you have not done so already. We will also work with building administrators and supervisors to reinforce the importance of completing this training on time.

After the training is complete, we will be sending out test phishing emails throughout the year to check what you have learned and retained. If you fail any of these tests, please be aware you will be required to complete a more in-depth video training. Also, understand that GFPS has a number of policies already in place on appropriate use of internet and email resources and violations of those policies could result in disciplinary action.

You can reference the following policies if you would like to learn more:

5450 Employee Electronic Mail and OnLine Services Usage

5450F Staff Computer Acceptable Use and Internet Safety Agreement

5460 Electronic Resources and Social Networking

We hope that all employees take this seriously and understand that everyone has a part in keeping both student and employee protected information secure and private. If you have any concerns, questions or issues with this cybersecurity training, please direct those to:

Tom Hering
Director of Information Technology
Phone: 268-6068

National Merit Finalists

CMR:  Jayla Mitchell, Braden Younkin and Gail Parambi
GFH:  Turner Burchard

GFPS National Merit Finalists

Forty-four (44) students
 in the entire state of Montana earned this recognition based on their 2018 PSAT scores, and three of them came from CMR High School and one from GFH!

Congratulations to GFPS staff and parents for making a difference in the lives of these students!

2019 Fall Employee Wellness Poker Walk RESULTS

2019 Fall Poker Walk WinnersIt certainly was a beautiful Fall day for the Employee Wellness Poker Walk that took place last week.  Typically held in the Spring of the year, the GFPS Employee Wellness Team decided to try a Fall Poker Walk due to inclement weather in May the last few years.

Employees, family members, friends and furry friends followed the Rivers Edge Trail near Broadwater Bay collecting cards along the way. Thanks to all who attended!

Making this event a success were the following volunteers:  Heather Spurzem, Sandy Bennett, Jacqueline Green, Kerry Dattilo, Laneya Martin, Erica Harp, Renae Burleigh, Miranda Murray, Jody Murray.

Winners of the cash prizes are listed below.

Instant Prize Joker Drawing:
Stacey Barnes, LF

Best Hands:
Deidre Martinko, SAC
Pamela Mackiel, GS
Mary Somerfeld, NMS
Kathie Sybrant, NMS
Manuela Walker, GFH
Tom Cubbage, CMR

Low Hand:
Mary Wren, EMS

North Middle School Student as the Featured Soloist in LEGENDS Concert

Ben Hodson soloist

The Montana Association of Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist Competition winner (and North Middle School student) Benjamin Hodson will be performing with the Great Falls Symphony as a featured soloist in the LEGENDS concert.  The orchestra will be performing music from the movies How to Train Your Dragon and The Lord of the Rings as the Great Falls Symphony kicks off its 61st season on Saturday, October 5 at 7:30 P.M.

American Indian Studies Series
American Indian Studies

This five course program through IEFA is available for both GFPS educators and students.

Educators will be offered a $200 honorarium towards the purchase of classroom materials after the completion of three of these courses, and an additional honorarium of $200 upon the completion of the final two (these do not have to occur in order).  We will be offering these as PIR for the 2019-2020 school year.  Please register through PIR ECentral.

Students will be offered one half credit upon the completion of all five courses and must be completed on the offered dates or on the makeup dates.  This half credit is approved by the GFPS Board as a history course or as an elective.

Click here for more information about the program.

Symphony Concerts

Legends SymphonyLEGENDS
September 23rd – October 5th

The Great Falls Symphony kicks off its 61st season on Saturday, October 5 at 7:30pm, with Legends, a program filled with epic tales of myth and magic. We will visit the ancient world for Respighi’s Pines of Rome, while also traveling to fictional lands for the film scores of How to Train Your Dragon and The Lord of the Rings. For tickets, contact the Mansfield box office at 406 455 8514, or visit


Tricks or Treats SymphonySYMPHONY TRICKS & TREATS
October 14th—October 26th

The Great Falls Symphony Presents a FREE family concert on Saturday, October 26 at 11:00 am. Bring your kids to the historic Mansfield Theater and introduce them to the magic of a live symphony experience! No tickets are required to attend this concert. Be sure to arrive early in order to find a seat. Wear your best Halloween costume to the event and watch as Maestro Grant Harville takes us door-to-door to find some musical “tricks and treats” with the Great Falls Symphony! The concert is presented in a short, one-hour format without intermission. Visit for more information. 

Benefit for Stand UP for Students
Stand UP for Students flyer

“Buzzing Beyond Billings” in Great Falls

BBB Great Falls flyer


Safe Schools Online Safety Training $50.00 Card Drawing 

Safe Schools Safe Training

During the months of September through 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 29th with the winners being announced the following week.