Friday update from Superintendent Weltz | October 13, 2023

Dear Helena Public Schools Families,

As we build on a strong start to the school year, I’m reminded of the incredible ways our community supports our public schools.

Individuals, businesses and organizations work with our schools every day to empower students, from the Angel Fund, which is accepting applications for its back-to-school shopping program, to the Helena Fire Department, which is giving second graders safety lessons at Fire Station 1.

On Tuesday, our district celebrated an exciting gift at CR Anderson Middle School, as Governor Gianforte and Jake Steinfeld – better known as the “Body by Jake” fitness icon – dedicated $100,000 worth of fitness equipment. The new “Don’t Quit Fitness Center” was equipped by Steinfeld’s National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils (NFGFC). A big thank you to Governor Gianforte, Jake Steinfeld and all who made the new “Don’t Quit Fitness Center” possible. Special thanks go to CRA Teachers Rebecca Cleveland and Christine Maharg, who enlisted students to produce the video application that made CRA one of only three schools in Montana to receive the NFGFC award. Mission Middle School in St. Ignatius and Lodge Grass School in Lodge Grass were also awarded new fitness centers. And a big thanks to CRA Principal Kathleen Prody for her coordination and support of Tuesday’s event.

I believe that every ounce of time, money and energy our community invests in our schools pays us back tenfold as we graduate skilled, caring and responsible citizens. I recently heard from one of these young leaders, who is literally giving back ounce-by-ounce. Senior Ellie Mercer is coordinating Capital High’s upcoming blood drive, and contacted my office for help publicizing the event. Students and families are invited to roll up a sleeve on Friday, October 27, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the CHS Library.

HOSA has long held annual blood drives, but is aiming to hold a total of three this year as flu season and natural disasters have taken a toll on the national blood supply, Ellie explained. If you’re able to donate blood, please register here. Students must be 16 or older to participate, and must provide a signed permission form. (Download blood drive permission forms here.) Let’s help our students give back!

Meanwhile, our high school thespians are tapping their talents to serve others. In recent letters, I’ve shared details on the Helena Education Foundation’s “Fabulous Firsts” program, which every year provides a hardcover book for every first grader in the district to take home.

Our CHS and HHS thespians are now taking it a step further. The drama students have selected several of this year’s nine Fabulous First books to adapt into plays to perform for first graders at elementary schools. The actors are hard at work writing scripts, building sets and assembling costumes and props. I look forward to sharing outtakes of the magic they create (the books they chose are still a surprise). Thank you to HEF and its generous sponsors for bringing Fabulous Firsts full circle!

If you’re looking for ways to get involved, a quick reminder that we’re seeking individuals to serve as substitute teachers, para professionals and custodians. As a labor shortage continues to affect our community, we urgently need positive, caring people in these positions to support students and staff. If you enjoy working with kids and have time available, I encourage you to learn more at

It’s been an exciting week for our Bengal and Bruin fans, with our crosstown volleyball and crosstown cross country events in the books. Congratulations to our Helena High runners, who won both the girls and boys crosstown meets on Wednesday. And best of luck to our competitors at both CHS and HHS, who will travel to Kalispell for the state meet next Saturday.

In the gym, Capital High defeated Helena High in crosstown volleyball action Thursday night 3-1. Congratulations, Bruins!

And in the stadium, we’re excited to welcome all elementary students to get in free tonight as the Bengals host Butte at 7 p.m. at Vigilante Stadium. This is a great opportunity for some family fun as we cheer on the Bengals!

Looking ahead, remember that this will be a short week as we have no school Thursday and Friday for educator conferences.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend,

Signature: Rex M. Weltz

Rex Weltz, Superintendent
Helena Public Schools