Friday Message from Superintendent Weltz | May 5, 2023

Dear Helena Public Schools Families and Staff,

Thank you.

Thank you to all who cast a vote in the 2023 Helena Public School Election; who put up a yard sign; who wrote a letter to the editor; who shared on social media; who encouraged a neighbor to vote.

We are all owners of our community schools. And with these votes, our community has invested in their ongoing care and maintenance. I deeply value your trust that we will manage these resources wisely and we will do so. Thank you for helping us care for our schools on behalf of our students, staff and all who use these buildings through the seasons.

Voters also approved the Elementary General Fund Levy, which will help address the shortfall in the General Fund Budget. We have challenges ahead, but we’re going to face them head-on to create a healthy financial future for Helena Public Schools, all the while keeping students front and center.

Celebrate your teacher

Throughout my nearly three decades in education, whether serving as a teacher, principal or superintendent, I’ve considered this one of the most rewarding times of the year. Every report card, concert, play, art show and athletic event showcases the incredible learning and growth that our students achieve in the space of a school year.

In these moments, we’re also witnessing the remarkable work of our teachers. As we celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week starting Monday, we invite you to help us celebrate your child’s teacher. Write us a note, draw a picture or make a video on what you appreciate about your teacher, and we’ll share it on the district Facebook and/or the district website. Please send your teacher appreciation to

Here are some ideas:

  • Thank your child’s teacher for something they helped your child or your family with this year.
  • Share a photo of a kind note from your teacher or a memento from this school year that made your student (or you) feel good.
  • Share a picture of a thank you poster, artwork, a sidewalk chalk drawing – whatever inspires you – to thank your teacher.
  • Make a short teacher appreciation video (1 minute or less) and send a link to
  • Encourage your child to write a few sentences about their favorite class project this year.

Our admin team kicked off the celebration with a video of our own. To each and every one of our educators, thank you for all you do for our students and our community.

Helena Public Schools in the news

In case you missed it, our district’s Indian Education for All (IEFA) program was featured in an article in the Independent Record covering a series of fun and informative events at Central Elementary School last week exploring the culture and tradition of Montana First Peoples. On Wednesday evening Traditional Crow storyteller Peggy Well Known Buffalo shared stories of her people at Central Elementary Wednesday evening. Students and families were also treated to delicious traditional fry bread. On Thursday, students participated in traditional games led by Capital High IEFA director Joe Pichardo. Students then gathered inside the Dakota Lodge, to learn about the design principles of the tipi. The lodge travels from school to school throughout the district, and was set up by Helena High students who are enrolled members or descendants of Montana tribes. While the story focuses on Central Elementary, IEFA is part of the curriculum throughout the district with lessons going on year-round.

Student & Educator Recognitions

It’s the time of year when our high school students head to national competitions, and we have exciting results to report from the national Business Professionals of America (BPA) National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California.

Helena High’s Software Engineering team – Kaden Price, Foster Smith, Titan Russell and Nolan Verrill – placed second nationwide in the Software Engineering Virtual Event! The multi-month competition required teams to create a video game concept and write the code to operate it. The team also earned 10th place nationwide for their presentation.

Bengals also placed high in multiple individual categories, including Kaden Price and Matthew Roberts who placed first and second in the nation respectively in Java Programming. Way to go, Bengals!

Meanwhile, Capital High’s Financial Analyst Team – Taylor Ferretti, Abi Grotbo and Brendan Miller – took ninth place nationwide. Bruin Brendan Miller earned the BPA Service Learning Award with the most volunteer hours of any national BPA member, as well as the BPA President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award. Ryleigh Bushnell and Abi Grotbo earned the Ambassador Torch Award. Capital High also received recognition for Quality Chapter Distinction, the Special Olympics Award and the Community Service Award.

Thank you to teachers Samantha Humphrey (HHS Business Education), Buffy Smith (HHS Computer Sciences) and Terri Norman (CHS Business Education) for helping these students build their futures through the BPA clubs.

In other STEM student achievement, the team of Capital Science Teacher Jean Placko took first place in the Forestry category in the Montana Envirothon competition. Held by the Cascade County Conservation District, the event challenges teams to complete a written test and provide an oral presentation to solve a current issue in the areas of range management, soils, aquatics, wildlife or forestry.

The five-member team of Grayce Wilkins, John Goodwin, Madelyn Holston, Paige Frumkes and Sage Moler also took third place statewide in the Oral Presentation category and third place overall. Congratulations Bruins!

Finally, I hope you were able to get out today to enjoy the Vigilante Parade. Launched in 1924, the parade began as a solution to class rivalry stunts that were escalating out of control. Helena High Principal Albert J. Roberts was looking for a way to channel end-of-year energy into something fun and constructive. Ninety-nine years later, the parade still reminds us each year that our schools truly are at the heart of our community.


Signature: Rex. M. Weltz

Rex Weltz, Superintendent
Helena Public Schools