February 13, 2017
Issue No: 


Superintendent's Message

 Facility Plan Update

October 4, 2016 was a mere 127 days ago, but I have to tell you that minutes and hours of every single one of those days has been spent on fulfilling our promise to the Great Falls community:  we will improve our public school facilities to ensure they serve as educational institutions for years to come.  Here’s a recap of some of the activity so far:
  • 65% of the bonds ($64M out of the approved $98.8M) were sold last week at an interest rate of approximately 3.17%.  The rate estimate one year ago was 4.25%.  The current economy played a part in the lower rates, but so did the robust interest in GFPS by investors.  Bond interest rates are determined by supply and demand.  High demand drove our rates lower than estimated.  This is good news for our tax payers as they will pay less in interest than estimated.  Actually a lot less: $7.7M less over the 20 years.
  • The remainder of the bonds ($34.8M) will be sold in approximately 2 years.  They had to be phased due to rules that make us ensure that all the work the bonds are going to pay for will be done within 3 years.  There is no way to get all $98.8M of projects done in 3 years.  After the sale of the second series of bonds, we will have 5 years from the bond election (10/4/16) to get it all done.  Our budgets for each project are good which means there is no fear that projects will go undone due to not enough funds.  We are obligated to do all the work that was included in the bond language and we will.
  • There are very specific laws that govern how firms are selected to do the bond work.  The pertinent Montana Codes Annotated can be found in Title 18.  You can look them up here: Our consultants from Hulteng, Inc. have extensive experience with these processes and are leading us through them carefully and lawfully.
  • Ten different professional firms have been hired on an “indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ)” basis.  These firms are currently working on 27 different projects.  You can check this out at these webpages: and
  • The Little Russell remodel and the new building for the Buildings and Grounds Department is being designed by Nelson Architects and they are in the preliminary stages of planning and design.  This work is necessary in order to vacate and demolish their current location at Lowell so the Roosevelt replacement school can be built there.
  • L'Heureux Page Werner Architecture and Engineering (LPW) has been selected to do the design work for the Roosevelt replacement school.  They have already started working with staff and will soon communicate with the neighbors by Lowell School.
  • Request for Qualifications for the design team for the Multipurpose and STEM additions to CMR have been advertised and that design team will be selected soon.
  • All of the other projects have been put on timelines that ensure the completion of the projects as presented in the Facility Plan.
From afar, it might look like nothing is happening or that your school is being ignored.  Please know that there is a mountain of preliminary action that must take place prior to the actual work being done.  Also, please know that this is a 5-year process.  It is just not possible to do everything all at once.  Please be patient and please trust that there are good things to come.
Take care.  Be safe.  Stay well.

Autism Awareness, 2017

Preschool Expo


STEAM Expo 2017

 Join the Fun! It’s FREE!

Teachers and administrators, please encourage ALL your students to either participate or attend.
(High School Teachers, please encourage your students to look into the STEAM scholarship as well.)
STEAM EXPO (science, technology, engineering, art, math) is an event designed to encourage the interaction and collaboration between our Great Falls Public School students and community professionals. The purpose is to apply knowledge and understanding of science, technology, engineering, art, and math to conduct in-depth “real-world” investigations. The process will include mentorships, demonstrations of classroom science explorations, and extensions of the inquiry process posed in student note-booking journals. The exposition itself will offer a venue for students to demonstrate the results of their STEAM studies, professionals to show how STEAM is used to better our communities, and spectators to participate in hands-on experiments. The STEAM EXPO event will connect our schools to the community, our students to professionals, and generate interest and excitement for science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. 
Participants and public will interact with science, technology, engineering, art, and math projects.
Approximately 40 community groups will also share information and provide hands-on activities!
Hope to see you as well at the STEAM EXPO 2017 to see the amazing inquiry work that will be presented by GFPS K-12 students.
April 1, 2017   10:00 AM-2:00 PM
Great Falls High Fieldhouse
Click on the link below for more information:

STEAM Expo - Judges Needed




We need caring, involved people to listen to and critique student Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math projects. The 200+ student projects, ranging from grades K-12, have been fascinating in the past, and I am sure will be again this year. We need YOU to come and hear them share their findings. Judging is based on a simple rubric using hand-held devices. Training and tips, as well as lunch and snacks, will be provided to make your judging experience more enjoyable.  Please consider supporting these fantastic students and future innovators.

Who: YOU (Approximately 90 judges)

What: STEAM EXPO Judging, A Fantastic Celebration of Student Learning and Effort

When: APRIL 1st, 2017 from 9:00-11:30 (Lunch and Snacks provided)

Where: Great Falls High School Swarthout Fieldhouse

Why: To analyze and celebrate student learning in the STEAM Fields

How: Email jeff_rieger [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us or call Jeff at 268-7402 to volunteer