September 4, 2018


Passion Ignited

Happy 130th Birthday, Great Falls Public Schools!  Isn’t it an amazing feeling to be a part of such an enduring and important enterprise?  Its history is rich with amazing achievements.  There is no doubt its future will be as well.

The 2018-2019 school year is off to an amazing start beginning with Convocation! Five outstanding humans stood before us with the sole purpose being to inspire us, to ignite our passions.  They did just that:

  • Principal Jon Konen reminded us that we can all be WILDCARDS if we:
    • Have an insatiable positive attitude;
    • Have the ability to create strong and kind relationships with others; and
    • Have the courage to persevere.
  • Educator Tammie Hickey focused on what the Adult Education Program and all of the rest of us have in common: LEARNING (Listening, Engagement, Attitude, Reflection, New Connections, Innovation, Narrators of our Future and Grit).  She also dared us to have the BEST YEAR EVER!
  • Student Zach Schermele reminded us that we each have a life to live and challenged us to go out and make the best of it! I can hardly wait to see what his future life holds!
  • Teacher Angie Pompa reminded us that the reading of children’s books is not only a great way to model literacy but also a great way to shape mindsets. She read What Do You Do With a Chance by Kobi Yamada.  You know what she taught us?  That taking chances can be the start of something incredible.
  • Community member Mary Moe pointed out that there is no more important job in the world than being an educator. She said, “Every day for the next 180 school days you have the opportunity to change a life. Every day you have the opportunity to switch on a light for someone stumbling through darkness. Every day a chance to change someone’s No into Yes, to be the somebody at school who makes a child feel like somebody at school. Every day, the opportunity to shape the community of tomorrow. Every day, the opportunity to hear America singing, to make the song beautiful, and to help every single young American in your classroom find his or her own voice in that song.”

Even now, as I reflect on the words of these passion igniters, I get goosebumps. I am ready to take this chance to be the wildcard, to live this life, to start with yes instead of no…to make it the best year ever!

Here’s to Great Falls Public Schools!  Here’s the humans that make it great!  Here’s to passion ignited!

Take care.  Be safe.  Stay well.


Open Enrollment is Now Open

I hope you all had wonderful summers and you are ready for school to begin!  The return to school also means that it’s time to think about your benefits for the upcoming school year.  Open enrollment begins today, and you have until Monday September 17th to complete your 2018/2019 benefit elections.  The Insurance Committee worked hard to put together a great benefit package this year and we’re excited to share your benefits with you.  Please consider attending one of the benefit meetings that began this week and will continue to be held into September.

  • Action is required during open enrollment.  You must make log into the enrollment site (instructions below) and make elections for the wellness and medical programs.
  • Employees and their family members who participate in the health plan will now have no cost (free) primary health care services available at the Community Health Care Center (CHCC) locations (onsite at PGEC and Giant Springs, or downtown at 115 4th Street South).
  • More information about the Wellness program will be sent to you after open enrollment ends.

Instructions for enrolling in your benefits:

  1. Go to
  2. Your username and password has been reset.  Please log into the site with:
    Username = the first initial of your first name followed by up to the first six initials of your last name and your date of birth in the YYYYMMDD format.  For example: Mick Jagger is mjagger19430726.
    Password = your date of birth in the YYYYMMDD format.
  3. Launch your enrollment.  You must make a wellness plan and medical plan election during open enrollment.
  4. Enroll in the flexible spending accounts if you would like to participate (prior amounts do not carry forward).
  5. Confirm/Enroll/Change other benefits (prior amounts will carry forward from last year).
  6. Complete and e-sign your enrollment.

Please let human resources know if you have any questions or if you need help with your enrollment.  Again please plan on attending a benefit meeting to learn more about the programs available to protect you and your family.  Thank you, and we’re looking forward to a great year!

Kerry Dattilo
Director of Human Resources

Wednesday, September 5, 2018     CMR     Auditorium     3:45pm
Thursday, September 6, 2018         DOB     Aspen              10:00am
Thursday, September 6, 2018        GFHS    Auditorium     3:45 pm
Wednesday, September 12, 2018     EMS    Room D-2       3:45pm
Thursday, September 13, 2018         NMS    Cafeteria         3:45pm

violinBIMM 2018

The Beginning Instrument Music Market For 5th Graders and any first time 6th Grade instrumental students

  Where:   PGEC  PARIS EDUCATION CENTER  Cafeteria (2400 Central Ave).

  When:   Thursday, September 6, 2018

  What:  Vendors from Nicholls Music, Rod’s Music, and Bass Clef School of Music will be on hand to sell and rent beginning string and band instruments.  Books, reeds, cleaning supplies, music stands, and other accessories will be available as well.

GFPS music staff will also be available to help with instrument selection and rental of school owned instruments.

  • Vendor Rent-to-Own prices will vary with instruments.
  • GFPS rents baritones, violas, cellos to 5th/6th graders.

GFPS Instruments –   $70.00 yearly    $35.00 half year (check/cash only!)  (GFPS reduced lunch students – $20.00 yearly    $10.00 half year)

Why: Great Falls is legendary for the musical talent we produce, and we want you to join in the adventure! GFPS Music and the Music Merchants of Great Falls want to make choosing and maintaining an instrument easier for new students and parents.  Playing an instrument can be a lifelong endeavor, and we want you to start out with the best possible conditions for success!

Questions: Call your Instrumental Directors:

CJ, LN, LC, LY, MS, MV, SS:  Band: Mr. Hugg 799.7389/Mrs. Tokerud 868-9176, Strings:  Mrs. Hansen (MS only) 750.8214/Ms. Schaeffer 720-254-9040

Whittier: Band: Mr. Hugg /Strings: Ms. Schaeffer (numbers above)

LF, ML, RS, RV, SAC, VV, WST: Band: Mrs. Molyneaux 868-1226/Mrs. Painter 781-9971, Strings: Mr. Poe-Kiser 207.4006

Dusty  Molyneaux, GFPS Music and Art Supervisor at 268-6079

See you at the BIMM!

Connect Great Falls

Teacher’s Welcome Event   

Friday, September 7th, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Centene Stadium, 1015 25th St. N.

  • Door Prizes
  • Kickball
  • Food and Drinks
  • Fun!

We want our community’s teachers to know how important and appreciated they are.  Whether you are new to the community or returning for another  year in Great Falls, we want to make sure you kick off the school year with some fun. Families and friends are welcome!

Connect Great Falls is an affiliate group of United Way of Cascade County.  Our mission is to provide a vibrant community for young professionals in Great Falls through volunteer opportunities, social networking events and professional development sessions.  We are always looking to build our network… and we’re waiting for YOU to join!  Learn more at or by contacting


picture of GFPS letters     United Way Logo




Voices of Hope

A message from United Way. . .for times when we want to support colleagues, students and families or our own family members:

“If only there were a central place where you could find out how and where to access services….”  believe it or not – that place already exists!  It’s a service called 2-1-1 and it’s provided by Voices of Hope here in Great Falls.  You can simply call 2-1-1 or visit the website (the website has information for the entire state).

My Best Day 5k and Kids Dash

Great Falls, Montana
Sunday, September 9th, 2019

1:30 to 2:45  Registration/Packet Pickup                                                                T-shirt deadline August 24th
2:30 to 2:50  Warm-ups
2:50 to 3:00 National Anthem and America the Beautiful
3:00 to 4:00 5K Race
4:00 to 4:15 Kids Dash
4:30 to 6:30 Music/beverages at Big Mouth BBQ/The Front parking lot

Contact:  Jason Bliss                                     Joanie Agamenoni
Phone:  406-855-5112                                     406-781-7739

Please contact either Jason or Joanie for a registration form.

About the event

My Best Day 5k and Kids Dash is a fundraiser for the Jake Arntson Memorial Fund.  Please join us as we celebrate the memory of a boy that was a light to not only his family, but everyone that knew him.  All monies raised will go to the Jake Arntson Memorial Fund through the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation, which will fund the Jake Arntson Teammate of the Year Scholarship.   These scholarships will be awarded to three C.M. Russell and three Great Falls High School student-athletes that demonstrate the qualities of an exceptional teammate in their sport.   There are as many walkers as runners, all are welcome.

Scholarship winners

2017 CMR:  Maddie Skawinski, volleyball (Fall/Overall $2500), Katherine Onstad, swimming (winter $500),  and Tristin Achenbach, softball (spring $500).  2018 CMR:  Jake Wilkens, football (fall $500), Morgan Duncan, swimming (winter, $500), MacKenzie George, tennis (spring $500) and Annabella Aline, cross country/track (overall, $2,000).  2018 GFHS:  Jacob Baroch, football (fall $500), Erin Hocker, girls basketball (winter/overall $2500), Teagan Olson, track (spring $500).

Packet Pick-up

Participants will have two options for packet pick-up.  Saturday, September 8th, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. or Sunday, September 9th, 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. at Big Mouth BBQ/The Front, 201 3rd Street Northwest, Great Falls, Montana.

My Best Day Course

Participants will start on the River’s Edge Trail behind The Front/Staybridge Inn & Suites running towards to federal courthouse.  You will take a left onto the Central Avenue walking bridge.  At the end of the bridge, take a left onto River’s Edge Trail heading towards Gibson Park.  You will cross River Road at the designated spot, which will be manned.  You will run under the railroad overpass and take a right into Gibson Park heading towards the Children’s Museum.  Continue running around the loop towards the pond.  Take a right out of Gibson Park to head back under the railroad overpass and head back the way you came.  There will be water/aid station at the half-way point.

Kids Dash

The kids get an opportunity to show their stuff.  At the finish of the 5k there will be a course set up for the kids.  They have two options:  one lap or two laps.  The kids can do either one or both.  Parents and fans will be able to stand in the middle of the course and cheer them on.


High School House Ground Breaking

High School House Ground Breaking September 5th 1:00pm 1509 6th Ave NW

Please join us to celebrate the Ground Breaking for another High School House.  On Wednesday, September 5th at 1:00 pm ~ 1509 6th Ave NW community members, CMR, GFH students and staff will celebrate the 41st  house being built in partnership with NeighborWorks.

Pete Pace (Project Manager for the High School House and teacher) commented, The High School House provides hands-on training that translates directly to attractive careers upon graduation.

 The High School House is a work-related or internship-like experience that provides not only specific career-oriented instruction, but also students learn important manual competencies and problem solving skills that can be used throughout their lives or to form a foundation for a career in the skilled trades.

 The High School House program feeds Great Falls area employers who are hungry for students with technical skills.”

Neighbors helping Neighbors!

Our High School House Students will have two projects this year.  Pete Pace (project manager and High School teacher) will instruct his students as they build a garage/shop at the Grace Home for Veterans.

Please join us for this Construction Launch event and Ribbon Cutting!

When: September 6, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.

Where: The Grace Home: 2211 5th Avenue North, Great Falls

Details: Grace Home, in collaboration with the CMR & GFH Construction Students, Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce

Leadership Great Falls (LGF) and numerous community partners, is launching construction of a new woodworking and mentoring garage / shop.

The GFHS Dahl Gallery presents Thought Lines by Susan Thomas

The Great Falls High Dahl Gallery is happy to kick off the 2018-2019 exhibition season with an amazing local artist Susan Thomas.  Susan’s work entices the viewer to stop and reflect on the interaction between object and light with the cast shadows playing an integral part in the overall experience.  In addition to the three dimensional work Susan’s exhibition includes original two dimensional works in watercolor, acrylic, charcoal and ink.  Her interplay of curvilinear lines draws the viewer through her abstracted works.  Viewing Susan’s works in a gallery setting truly allows you to appreciate the nuances of her creative process.  The exhibit is currently on display and will be up through September 30th.  The Dahl Gallery is open to the public and is open weekdays and on weekends during special events at Great Falls High Auditorium.  If the public would like to come view the exhibition during school hours they are asked to stop in the office for a visitor’s pass, however the gallery is open until 7PM each evening.    The opening reception and artist talk will be held Thursday, September 6th from 3:15-4:45 with the artist talk starting at approximately at 3:20 PM.  As always the gallery and reception are free.   ?For more information about the Dahl Gallery please contact Cortni Harant at 268-6362 or email her at

graduation cap and diplomaLesley University Graduate Program in Great Falls

Starts November, 2018!

Integrated Teaching through the Arts Curriculum & Instruction, M.Ed.

Program is designed for all K-12 educators
Project based – no GRE required
Skills that transfer to your everyday lessons!
Move up on the Salary Schedule as you go!
Financial aid and payment plans are available.
Regionally and nationally accredited
Financial Aid Counselor to assist Student Loan Process!
Deferred Student Loan payment 6 months after completion of your degree!
Nineteen weekends total! The entire program is completed in less than two years
$5000 Loan Forgiveness is available!              $50 application fee waiver!

Face-To-Face teaching one weekend a month: Saturday & Sunday 8am – 5pm

Contact: Cathy Kuntz