A Historic Year!

A Historic Year!

My first Newsbits article of this school year started out like this:
Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year…the 128th school year of this amazing institution—Great Falls Public Schools! Another year, where we work to ensure that our great democratic society is preserved through what I call the game-changer, the door-opener, the foundational enterprise that is so vital to our country, this important thing we call public education! It’s going to be historic not just because it’s a presidential election year and not just because the Montana Legislature will convene in Helena in January, but because we have a historic opportunity before us: the facility bond levy. For the first time since the late 1960’s, our community is having a serious conversation about building new schools and we are engaging community members with us as never before. We are telling our story as we seek to build, reinforce, replace, create, and improve our schools.

As you know, WE DID IT! We passed the bond levy, we had a national debate and election, and we survived the Montana legislature with some pretty good wins for public education. It’s been a historic year, for sure!

As this exciting and productive school year draws to a close, please take some time to celebrate your personal goals as well as the District goals that were accomplished. You can find a list of accomplishments at this website: http://gfps.k12.mt.us/sites/default/files/ACCOMPLISHMENTS.pdf. The 2016-2017 document will be put up this summer.

As always, there is still so much to do, even over the summer months:
• We will watch the Facility Plan become a reality thanks to the generosity of our community. All the information about the Plan and projects can be found here: www.gfps.k12.mt.us/content/facility-action.
• We will be developing a budget to present to the Trustees in August that is about $1.8 million short of what was actually needed. This resulted in reductions and operational changes. Without a doubt, it has been a challenge to get the budget to balance. I know sacrifices have been made by staff members and for that I thank you for supporting your school district as we weather these tough times.
• We will be engaging in professional development in these upcoming months that ensures instructional excellence. I know you will find the planned activities to be productive and worthwhile.
• Our buildings will be cleaned and shined by our dedicated engineering staff. Scheduling and student enrollment will be completed.
• …and the list goes on!

Thanks in advance to all of you working these summer days to prepare for the 2017-2018 school year. For those of you who are retiring after serving the district for many years, I wish you the best. To everyone else, I hope you get the chance to recharge your batteries a bit.

As for me, I will take some time to celebrate another great year, but I also plan to roll up my sleeves to continue the good work we have before us. I hope you will join me at the 4th of July Parade to celebrate this incredible country and community in which we live. I will not wish the days away, but I will be looking forward to seeing you at Convocation on Monday, August 28 at 8:00 am in the GFHS Fieldhouse. In the meantime…

Take care. Be safe. Stay well.