Friday Update from Superintendent Weltz | September 29, 2023

Dear Helena Public Schools Families,

I can’t think of a better way to start a crisp fall morning than diving into a sweet cinnamon roll, and that’s exactly what’s on the menu for our elementary school families this Wednesday.

District food services vendor, Sodexo, is serving free breakfast to families who lace up their sneakers for “Walk, Bike & Roll to School Day” Oct. 4. The main entrĂ©e is homemade whole-grain cinnamon rolls with light blueberry icing. Yoghurt, fruit and cereal will also be served.

Held each October, Walk, Bike & Roll to School Day is a global event that celebrates fitness and the importance of safe and accessible routes to school for kids. If you aren’t able to participate, please check your school newsletter for times and locations for your student to join a neighborhood “walking train” to school led by volunteers.

A big thanks to Sodexo for this special treat, and for all they do to provide kids with food to learn and grow on throughout the year. Here is some food for thought: District Food Services Manager Robert Worthy and his team served more than 777,335 meals to Helena children during the 2022-23 school year, including 48,246 meals served over the summer through our Munchtana Food Truck.

Yet there is still much work to be done, including finding ways to prepare a wider variety of items made from scratch, providing more time and space for school lunch to be served, and addressing the long-time need for an expanded and modernized district central kitchen facility.

You are invited to participate in a community discussion around these needs. On Wednesday, Oct. 11, Helena Public Schools is hosting the “Let’s Talk About Food in Schools” forum focused on what’s happening around food and nutrition in the district. While the discussion will be focused on elementary schools, all are welcome. Please visit the RSVP page to learn more and register for either the lunchtime or evening session.

The forum is a partnership of the Kids Nutrition Coalition, St. Peter’s Health, Sodexo, Helena Food Share and Helena Public Schools. We hope you can join us!

Next week also brings a day to celebrate those who keep our schools clean, healthy and safe. It’s clear how much our schools love our custodians as they plan some very special events for National School Custodian Day Monday. Schools are putting together goodie baskets, posters and other treats. Warren Elementary is even planning a custodian parade.

Our custodians are caretakers not only of our buildings, but also of our students, helping turn frowns upside down with friendly greetings, lending an ear in the hallway to a student with something to say, and serving as an extra set of eyes and ears to alert staff to potential issues. They are role models, problem solvers and guardians. To each of our custodians who make it possible to teach, learn and play every day: Thank you.

If you know someone who would be a good fit for our district custodian team, please share this link to our district Human Resources page, which provides information on how to apply. These rewarding positions offer competitive pay and benefits. The district is also seeking substitute teachers for short-term and long-term opportunities. Learn more at

As we close out the month of September, I’d like to thank all in our community who participated in outreach activities for National Suicide Prevention Month. Firearms have long been part of our lifestyle in our state, with many families enjoying hunting together this time of year. At the same time, Montana has the nation’s second-highest suicide rate, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Firearms were the most common method in more than half of all suicide deaths nationwide.

The best way to prevent an impulsive decision from becoming a permanent one is to secure firearms in safe storage. As we set out to enjoy this beautiful season in our beautiful state, visit BeSmart for tips on how to keep your family safe.

The month of October brings new ways to focus on your family’s health while supporting your school. Please see details below on how register for the Sun Run coming up October 7. All proceeds support the installation of solar photovoltaic arrays at the district’s three new elementary school buildings: Central (installation complete), Jim Darcy (installation complete) and Bryant (installation pending).

Below you’ll also find details on how to earn prizes for your school in the Snack Strong Challenge.

Finally, please join me in cheering on our Helena High Bengals! Best of luck to our athletes, pep band and dance and cheer teams as they take on Kalispell Flathead tonight at 7 pm at Vigilante Stadium. Go Bengals!


Signature: Rex M. Weltz

Rex Weltz, Superintendent
Helena Public Schools


Angel Fund back-to-school shopping assistance application period opens Oct. 2
The application period will open Monday, Oct. 2, for assistance with back-to-school shopping. Please see your school’s front office or counselor for information on how to apply. Details are also available at

Helena Sun Run 2023
This year’s Sun Run is Saturday, Oct. 7, starting and finishing at Central School. All proceeds benefit installation of photovoltaic solar arrays in Helena Public Schools. Kids 11 and under are free! Find race information at Or go directly to the signup page at

Snack Strong Challenge: Eat well, win prizes for your elementary school

The #MTHarvestoftheMonth Program showcases a different Montana-grown food each month. September’s feature is herbs. Herbs have had cultural, medicinal, and culinary importance for thousands of years. In ancient Greece famous athletes and artists were crowned with wreaths of bay leaves, and bay leaves were used medicinally during the Middle Ages.

One of our SNACK STRONG challenges this month is Spinach Basil Pesto. Try it on pizza, pasta, or as a dip or spread. To win prizes for your elementary school, post a picture of your pesto with your school’s hashtag (see below) or complete this form

Bon appetite!

See recipe here –…/HOM22_RecipeCard…


Helena Symphony to Premiere “The Little Engine that Could”
The Helena Symphony has an exciting opportunity coming up for elementary-age kids. On September 30, the Helena Symphony Orchestra will launch its “Symphony Kids” concert series with the premiere of “The Little Engine that Could.” These free, 30-minute performances are a fun way to help kids build arts appreciation while supporting one of our essential community partners.

Last Chance Community Powow offers family fun
The Last Chance Community Powwow is this weekend. Events are free and open to the public today through Oct. 1 at the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds. Learn more.

Apply to receive free COVID-19 tests
The federal government is again providing free COVID-19 tests. You can request four free tests per household through Officials say the tests are able to detect the latest variants and are intended to be used through the end of the year.