October 9, 2017
Issue No: 


Superintendent's Message

School District Governance
Public schools in Montana are governed by school boards under Article X, Section 8 of the Montana Constitution.  Access to an elected, volunteer board of trustees is one of the best assurances of excellence a community can have. The Montana School Board Association (MTSBA) puts it this way:  School board members are a representatives of their community, leaders of their district, stewards of the district’s children and its tax dollars, and advocates of public education and an educated public.
GFPS is so lucky to have a Board that believes in public education and we currently have an opportunity to select a new member for our Board.  Due to the resignation of Trustee Ryan, his seat has been vacated mid-term which means that a new Board member is selected by the current Board to serve until the next election in May.  At that time, the seat is included in the election with the interim member having the choice to run or not.
Later today, information about the application process and timelines will be posted on our website.  Be sure to pass it along to community members who have the potential to lead, steward and advocate for our district.  Also, please know that you are welcome to participate in this public process.  You are also invited to attend Board meetings.  Information about the Board can be found at this link:
I look forward to introducing the new Trustee to you in the very near future. 
Take care.  Be safe.  Stay well.


Online Learning Opportunity - Supporting At-Risk Students

Teacher Learning Hub: The Hub is a learning network on the Moodle platform dedicated to providing free, high quality professional learning for all K-12 educators across Montana.  It aims to minimize the time teachers spend away from their classrooms to attend training, as well as save school districts money on professional learning.  Get started by creating an account today at   


Length: 1 hour each

Audience: Faculty and staff 


Format: The participant learns about mental health warning signs and communication strategies by viewing a conversation between a virtual child psychologist and a virtual teacher. The participant then guides the teacher through three conversations with distressed students, each taking approximately 5-7 minutes. The program prepares the participant to identify, approach, and refer students exhibiting signs of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.


Evidence base: The At-Risk for High School Educators program has been accepted into SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) and the SPRC/AFSP Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention (BPR). A quasi-experimental study among 327 high school teachers from 40 states found consistent and statistically significant results across demographic characteristics. The results suggested that At-Risk increases teachers’ ability to identify, approach, and refer students exhibiting signs of distress; teachers’ confidence in their ability to help a suicidal student; and the likelihood that teachers will intervene when faced with a student at risk. 

Red Flag Reporting, 2017

Great Falls Public Schools Mission is that we successfully educate students to navigate their future. In order to accomplish this we have a number of belief statements that drive our work, help us to formulate our goals and build the culture of our organization. At GFPS we believe all students and staff learn and work best in a safe, secure, and nurturing environment. We believe highly skilled and committed personnel are our greatest asset.

We can’t do it alone, but we can do it together. 
The Board believes that highly skilled and committed personnel are the District’s greatest asset. In support of this Board’s strong commitment to the public’s trust and confidence of school staff, the Board holds all school staff to the highest level of professional responsibility in their conduct. We know that District resources and staff are public assets requiring responsible stewardship and community involvement.  Board Policy 5223 covers this matter in great detail.  In order to ensure we are being responsible stewards of tax payer dollars and in honor of this belief, GFPS rolled out a program called Red Flag Reporting in the fall of 2016.
This program is an anonymous reporting system that allows any GFPS Employee to report concerns regarding possible fraudulent behavior.
If you are a new employee or would like a refresher on this reporting system, an informational meeting has been scheduled for October 24th at 4:30 pm in the Aspen Room at the District Office Building.
Remember, if you have concerns, contact your administrator, HR Department or Red Flag Reporting.

Flu Shots, October, 2017

2017 Benefis Flu Shot Schedule
Great Falls Public Schools is again offering free flu shots for all employees and spouses of district employees.  (You do not have to carry insurance to be eligible for the free flu shot.) Please note the below listed dates and times.  Shots are not available for children at these times/dates.

Please RSVP to 268-6010. 

MSU Northern/VESi Online Courses

Continuing Education                                          Courses for Teachers

Montana State                                                University Northern /                                                VESi Courses

MSU-Northern has partnered with VESi to profice online courses that provide graduate or undergraduate level credit.

Courses offered for 2 or 3 Graduate and
Undergraduate level credits with fees of just $290.

Riverview Blood Drive

The Ross family is part of our GFPS family.  Callie teaches 3rd grade at Riverview where her daughter Kennedy goes to kindergarten and Wes coaches football at Great Falls High.  Their son, Troy was life-flighted to Seattle Children’s Hospital where he is currently being treated for Pulmonary Capillaritis.  He required several blood transfusions that saved his life. “Blood donors no doubt saved his life,” Callie wrote. “Troy has been given three-quarters of his current blood supply.” In a show of support, we are holding two blood drives at Riverview.  Please show how much we care by donating! Click here to see flyer for details. 

Retirement Party for Jay Luchsinger

Please come and honor Jay Luchsinger for his 28 years of service to GFPS at a retirement celebration.

Wednesday, October 18th at 3:00 p.m. in the library at Chief Joseph.  Please RSVP 268-6675. 

USAF Academy Band Concert

Press Release:
What:  USAF Academy Band Rampart Winds Concert
Who: Rampart Winds Woodwind Quintet            
When: Wednesday Oct 25, 7 pm
Where:  West Elementary, 1205 1st Ave NW
Free concert to the public from the fabulous Air Force Academy Rampart Winds Woodwind Quintet.  Classics, popular music, and patriotic selections will be performed at this event—something for everyone!
Tickets are available from the GFPS Music and Art Department.  Doors will open to ticket holders at 6 pm, and non-ticket holders will be admitted at 6:45 pm.  Please call the office at 268-6079 to get tickets or for more information on the event.
The Quintet will also be performing at Loy and Chief Jo elementary schools on Monday afternoon (Oct 23), area schools on Tuesday (Oct 24), and will be working with band students at East Middle School and North Middle School on Wed morning (Oct 25).