Friday Message from Superintendent Weltz | 5_19_23

Dear Helena Public Schools Families and Staff,

Each year I look forward to learning the stories behind the students and staff who are chosen for the Helena Education Foundation’s Celebration of Excellence Awards.

Whether it’s learning to tie a bow tie, overcoming shyness, or gaining the confidence to “do math,” the stories of how our educators influence students’ lives are inspirational. Find the full list of nominees as well as their stories and video features on HEF’s Celebration of Excellence page.

I am deeply grateful to the Helena Education Foundation and its sponsors for recognizing these remarkable students and educators, and for telling their stories. These are the stories of the little triumphs that happen in our classrooms every day as teachers help students along the path to adulthood. To each of our educators and student honorees, congratulations and thank you.

Peer Mentors inspire littles

I also want to recognize a group of students who have done some outstanding work behind the scenes.

Erin Cleveland’s Peer Mentoring Class at Capital High School has served more than 200 individuals this school year. The elective course gives students the opportunity to build leadership skills through school-and community-based service projects and mentoring programs.

Among other partnerships, Ms. Cleveland collaborates with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program of Central Montana, which pairs her student mentors with kids at Rossiter, Kessler and Four Georgians elementary schools.

We asked students to share what they’ve learned of the course of the year. Their responses capture the essence of our district mission to empower students to be responsible citizens and life-long learners:

Destiny Vogl, a junior, says that “being a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program to me means being there for those who need help or just need someone to talk to. This program has taught me a lot about selflessness and patience.”

Senior Jackson Anderson shared that “being a big has been very important to me because I see a lot of my younger self in my younger buddies. And watching our relationship grow has been very rewarding.”

Thank you to our CHS Peer Mentoring Class and Ms. Cleveland for being great Helena citizens! See a full list of Peer Mentoring students along with their comments and photos on our Student & Educator Recognitions page.

Modern Band Tour brings magic of music to elementary schools

Another way to mentor is to inspire, and that’s exactly what Capital High School band students did on a recent school tour, which included Broadwater, Bryant, Four Georgians, Kessler, Rossiter, Smith and Warren elementary schools.

Students planned the tour, including selecting and learning the songs, creating set lists and packing lists, assigning parts, and even drafting emails to principals and music teachers explaining the tour and asking for permission to come play. The musicians’ pop music selections were enthusiastically received by their young audiences. The “Modern Band” project was made possible by a Helena Education Foundation “Great Ideas Grant” awarded to CHS Choir Director Tom Baty and Band Director Zach Harris.

A big thank you to HEF, Mr. Baty and Mr. Harris for bringing this innovative outreach and mentoring opportunity to our students. See tour photos on our Student & Educator Recognitions page.

Free summer job training for students with disabilities

I’m excited to share a summer job training opportunity for high school students with disabilities through the Starbase Montana program. Starbase has formed a partnership with the Pre-Employment Transition Services Division of the Montana Department of Health and Human Services to offer a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Careers Camp. Camp courses include coding, computer-aided design (CAD), engineering design challenges, and robotics. Camp attendees will also have the opportunity to learn from disability advocacy speakers and to meet scientists, engineers and technicians.

This opportunity is open to students with disabilities in grades 9-12 and is free. Thank you to Starbase Montana for helping us fulfill our public school mission to serve all students! To learn more and register, visit

Helena High Thespians present “Rip Van Winkle”

If you’re looking for a family outing this evening, the Helena High Thespians are performing the second night of their production of Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle.” Additional performances are May 25 and 26. All performances are at the Helena High School Little Theater. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the show begins at 7 pm.

Grad Walk

In keeping with my focus on mentoring in today’s letter, I hope you enjoy these video highlights from this week’s Helena Public Schools Grad Walk. The joy was contagious as our 2023 graduates returned to their home elementary schools donning their caps and gowns.

A reminder that commencement ceremonies are as follows:

Friday, June 2
Access to Success: 9 a.m., Helena Middle School Auditorium
PAL (Project for Alternative Learning):  1 pm, Helena Middle School Auditorium

Saturday, June 3

Capital High School: 8 am, Nelson Stadium at Carroll College
Helena High School: 11 am, Nelson Stadium at Carroll College

Finally, I want to wish our softball teams a safe and winning weekend as the Bengals travel to Missoula and the Bruins travel to Bozeman. And best of luck to our track athletes who are hosting the Divisionals here at Vigilante Stadium!

Have a wonderful weekend.


Signature: Rex M. Weltz, Superintendent

Rex Weltz, Superintendent
Helena Public Schools