September 9, 2022
Dear Helena Public Schools Families,
This weekend marks the return of one our district’s favorite family events. The “Carnival Classic” is this Sunday, Sept. 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Memorial Park.
There’s sunshine in the forecast and old-fashioned fun waiting for everyone, including a water balloon toss, face and hair painting, crafts, a temporary tattoo parlor, tie-dying, and the chance to win a goldfish or adopt a stuffed animal. Your family can even test their pastry consumption skills in a hands-free donut-eating contest (don’t forget to bring your phone for pics).
Proceeds will benefit Helena Public Schools student clubs, teams, and activities. Thank you to the Helena Education Foundation (HEF) and its many supporters and volunteers for bringing this opportunity for fun and funding to our students.
We’re also grateful to HEF and its many community sponsors, including the Montana Book Company, for providing a hard cover book to every first grader in the district – more than 600 students – through its “Fabulous Firsts” program! These gifts are truly cherished by their young recipients and their families, who are invited to join the Fabulous Firsts festivities at their school.
HEF also will give full sets of this year’s seven featured “Fabulous Firsts” books to each elementary school library, as well as the Lewis and Clark Library. These are just a few of the ways HEF supports our mission to inspire kids to become lifelong learners.
You’ll find photos of the Fabulous Firsts events held so far this month on HEF’s Facebook page. Upcoming Fabulous Firsts celebrations are listed in the district calendar.
We’re fortunate to live and work in a community that supports our public school system, and I’d like to share a couple of fun ways to give back to our community partners.
Sunday, September 18, is the “NAMIWALKS Your Way Montana” day to raise awareness of mental health, with events planned statewide. NAMI is a national organization dedicated to advocacy, education, support, and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.
Thirty-seven teams and 153 individuals are already registered to walk in Helena’s NAMI fundraiser event starting at Memorial Park. Let’s help make it Montana’s biggest! We all have someone in our lives affected by mental illness, and this is a great way to show our support. You can register and see the top Montana teams so far at NAMIWalks Your Way.
Coming up on Saturday, October 1, is the “7th Annual Helena Sun Run” starting at Central Elementary School. Participants have the choice of a timed 5K, a 1-mile course, or a bicycle parade to support clean energy and climate solutions in Montana’s capital city.
The Sun Run’s incredible volunteers and runners have already helped install rooftop solar energy panels at Central and Jim Darcy elementary schools and all proceeds from this year’s event will go toward installing solar panels at Bryant. Register and learn more at Helena Sun Run.
Returning to the district calendar, I also encourage elementary and middle school parents to check for your school’s upcoming Parent Teacher Conference (PTC) dates. This will help you plan to schedule a time slot for your family. Watch for scheduling information from your child’s teacher. In addition to learning how your student is doing overall, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss results from their fall Benchmark Assessment. Testing continues next week, so please continue to make sure your student gets plenty of sleep and a good breakfast!
Picture days also continue next week – another good reason for kids to get a good night’s sleep. Please check the district calendar for your school’s picture day.
Finally, I would like to share some exciting news: Capital High School Math and Robotics Teacher Jake Warner is among four finalists chosen from 57 nominees for Montana Teacher of the Year! One of them will have the opportunity to represent Montana during the 2023 National Teacher of the Year Program in Washington, D.C. Best of luck, Mr. Warner, and thank you for representing the excellence that defines our staff at Helena Public Schools!
The passion our teachers have for their work and our students have for learning was plain to see over the past two weeks as students and staff returned to their classrooms. I’m grateful to all who captured these moments and shared them for all to enjoy.
It’s gonna be a great year!
Rex Weltz, Superintendent
Helena Public Schools