Friday Update from Superintendent Weltz | October 27, 2023

Dear Families,

What a difference a couple weeks makes! When I sent out my last update only two weeks ago, it was 40 degrees warmer.

To our families in outlying areas, thank you for your patience as icy roads caused bus delays and some cancelations this week. And a big thanks to the heroes in our transportation, maintenance and custodial departments, who rose as early as 2 a.m. this week to plow parking lots, de-ice sidewalks and drive rural roads to determine whether they were safe for school buses.

Meanwhile, our maintenance team has been working full-speed to clear the field at Vigilante Stadium for the Bengal’s first-round playoff game tonight against Billings Skyview. They got an assist from a team of at least 30 volunteers who turned out at sunrise this morning, shovels and leaf blowers in hand, to clear almost two feet of snow from the bleachers. Parents of athletes, booster club members and Bengals fans of all ages pushed the heavy snow down onto the field, where our crew scooped it up and hauled it away with heavy equipment. See photos on Facebook.

Thank you Team Bengals; we couldn’t have done it without you!

In the academic arena, Helena Public Schools has once again ranked among Montana’s top three AA districts for English Language Arts, Math and Science in statewide ACT test results. The Office of Public Instruction administers the ACT exam to high school juniors across the state each spring, with results released in the fall; the exam is also an admission requirement for many colleges and universities across the nation.

We keep a close eye on ACT scores because they measure students’ academic strength as they approach the end of their K-12 journey; in essence, the ACT exam captures the sum total of the quality education our students receive at every level along the way. When the class of ’24 visits elementary schools this spring, donning caps and gowns for the traditional “Grad Walk” celebration, we’ll see this amazing educational journey come full circle.

I’m also pleased to share the list of students who received top scores on last spring’s Advanced Placement (AP) exams, a separate college preparedness test that is optional for students. Helena Public Schools had a total of 124 students districtwide earn scores of 3 or higher on 3 or more AP exams, earning special recognition as “AP Scholars.” See our Student & Educator Recognitions page for a full list. Congratulations to these outstanding students!

Congratulations are also in order for our School Age Child Care (SACC) team for a flawless performance on their annual renewal inspection as a state-licensed child care facility. State inspectors found no deficiencies in visits to each of the program’s 11 sites, which provide high-quality afterschool care to 350 students districtwide. The inspection touches on everything from fast access to emergency contact paperwork to behavioral management plans. We’re grateful for SACC Program Coordinator Kirstan Roush and her outstanding team for all they do for kids in our community.

In this week’s top sports news, a huge cheer goes out to our Helena High Boy’s Cross-Country team! The Bengal boys brought home the third-place trophy from the State Cross Country meet last weekend in Kalispell, with all-state performances by Milo Kauffman (10th) and Elliot Stimpson (11th). Other team members include Henry Sund, Dylan Hill, Jake Matthews, Trey Schlepp and Garrett Hinderman. Congratulations Bengals and Coach Zentz!

Meanwhile, our Capital High and Helena High thespians have teamed up to organize a Door-to-Door Drama Food Drive. Thanks to all in our community who have already answered their doors, donating more than 630 pounds of pantry items plus two bags of toiletries for Helena Food Share. The drama clubs’ final door-to-door tour will be tomorrow.

For those staying home this chilly weekend, our District Wellness Committee would like to share a couple fall comfort food recipes for apple sauce and a tasty dip; make it a family activity and enter to win a fine dining experience for your class in this month’s SnackStrong challenge.

If you’re looking for Halloween family fun, please see our roundup of trick-or-treat activities, including a “Haunted Shop” at Helena High with a no-scare zone for little ones and a haunted corridor for the brave. If you’re going trick-or-treating door-to-door Tuesday evening, remember to dress ghosts and goblins, big and small, in reflective clothing and check out these additional safety tips.

Bundle up and have a fun and safe weekend!


Signature: Rex M. Weltz

Rex M. Weltz, Superintendent
Helena Public Schools