Friday Update from Superintendent Weltz | March 22, 2024

Dear Families and Staff,

Whatever Spring Break holds for you – work, a getaway, or a good book to weather the weekend storm – I hope you’re able to enjoy some extra time with your loved ones.

This change of pace is well-deserved as the past few weeks have been action-packed at every level.

Warren Elementary students explored new frontiers today at “Kids College” – a career exploration program created by Warren Librarian Jena Marshall.

Ms. Marshall recruited more than 30 community members to visit the school over the course of three Fridays to offer hands-on career experiences. Students chose to participate in various career “tracks” to explore vocations such as cooking, livestock and agriculture, veterinary Lowe's employee works on a building project with students at Warren Elementary School's "Kids College", nursing, dance, sewing, hair styling, military service, firefighting, painting, law enforcement, robotics, college sports, flower arranging and more.

Veterinarian poses with dog and students at Warren Elementary "Kids College" event.One of the many presenters included University of Montana Head Football Coach Bobby Hauck and several of his Grizzly players, who met with students interested in athletic careers via Zoom. The students then met in person with Helena’s very own Carroll College Volleyball Coach Maureen Boyle and her Saints players.

Thank you, Ms. Marshall, for planting these seeds of possibility.

Meanwhile, students and parents at Bryant Elementary went on culinary adventures at today’s “Cooking up Fun Day.” The event featured Blackfeet Tribal Member Mariah Gladstone, chef and founder of “IndigiKitchen.” Ms. Gladstone introduced families to pre-contact native foods and demonstrated how to prepare and enjoy them, weaving Blackfeet history and ancestral lessons throughout her presentation. She was joined by the MSU Extension office, which taught kids the basics of planting food – a fun activity to try at home over the Spring Break.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, our high school students continue to bring home state championships, with a Helena High team winning first place in the Montana High School Mock Trial competition hosted here at home at the Lewis & Clark County Courthouse. Congratulations to our Bengals and to HHS Business Education Teacher Kacey Askin for his leadership!

Bengals and Bruins also earned top spots in the Business Professionals of America (BPA) State Leadership Conference in Billings. The BPA Club gives students hands on experience in skill areas ranging from computer programming, to accounting, to business law. Thank you to BPA Advisors Samantha Humphrey (HHS) and Jamie Toivonen (CHS) for leading and mentoring these outstanding students.

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to congratulate five Bengal and Bruin leaders who were announced this week as recipients of the Youth Serve Scholarship. These civic-minded students were featured in today’s Independent Record.

Group photo of students at the 2024 BPA Leadership Conference.The Youth Serve Montana Scholarship is designed to promote community volunteerism among youth, encourage young leaders to further their learning, and provide tuition assistance for Montana students to attend college in state. Each winner contributed at least 1,000 hours of volunteer work to our community.

Trustees approve official ballot language

Helena Public Schools has long provided a rich variety of opportunities and experiences to students of all ages and aptitudes. As I’ve shared in recent letters, our district – and other AAs across Montana – are struggling to preserve our current levels of staff and programming as we approach the 2024-25 school year with multi-million-dollar budget shortfalls.

As we seek funding solutions at the state level, we’re also introducing ballot measures to ensure school safety and technology supports as well as basic operating funds.

On Tuesday, the Helena Public Schools Board of Trustees finalized ballot language for the upcoming May election, which is now available on our website. I encourage you to explore the ballot, which will be mailed to residents by the Lewis & Clark County Elections Office on April 22.

KinderSprouts screening starts April 1

Finally, a few quick planning notes for our return in April. Screening begins April 1 for the district’s new KinderSprouts program, a FREE, pre-school program for qualifying students.

KinderSprouts was developed under the parameters of House Bill 352 passed by the 2023 Legislature. The program is designed to increase the number of students who can read proficiently by the end of third grade. Students must be four years of age to participate and, per House Bill 352, must be admitted via a screening process to determine whether they would benefit from early literacy intervention. Visit our website to learn more or schedule a screening.

For parents of high schoolers, please note that April 9 is Juniors Only ACT Day, as juniors take the ACT test. There is no school that day for freshmen, sophomores and seniors.

And families of all ages will want to mark their calendars for April 13, when the Montana Matters Youth Outdoor Experience comes to the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds. This free day of adventures includes the chance to win a summer camp experience! See the flyer below for details.

Stay warm this weekend!


Signature: Rex M. Weltz, Superintendent








Rex M. Weltz, Superintendent
Helena Public Schools


Student Awards & Recognitions

Montana High School Mock Trial Competition

Sponsored by the Trustees of the State Bar of Montana, the Mock Trial Competition gives students from across the state the opportunity to experience the legal process, engage with attorneys and judges, and develop their presentation, public speaking and teamwork skills.

Two of Helena High’s three teams who entered the competition competed in the championship round, with the “Shea” team prevailing in a close matchup with a split ballot. Congratulations to Caili Lowney, Grey Gildroy, Gabbi Lavoie, Lily Pierson, Kai Moser, Ben Cleary and Camille Certain.

HHS students also earned individual awards:

Outstanding Attorney: Michael Leyva, Caili Lowney, Mia Taylor, Gabbi Lavoie, Kenzie Criswell and Glacia Lucchetti.

Outstanding Witness: Nate Fang, Grey Gildroy, Lily Pierson, Maverick Franklin and Kenzie Criswell.

Youth Serve Montana Scholarship

Congratulations to our 2024 Youth Serve Montana Scholarship winners!

$1,500 scholarships – 100 hours or more of community service: Kylee Gardipee and Qayl Kujala, of Helena High; Philip Patten of Capital High.

$1,000 scholarships – 50 to 99 hours of community service: Deven Birkeland (CHS) and Ryan Maus (HHS)

Thank you to Governor’s Office of Community Service, Reach Higher Montana, and Montana Campus Compact for helping these civic-minded students continue their studies. See full details, including $1,000 scholarship winners,

Business Professionals of America (BPA) National Qualifiers

Congratulations to our Bengal and Bruin BPA National Qualifiers:

Capital High

  • Liam Kelly: 1st in Digital Communication and Design Concepts
  • Taylor Ferretti: 1st in Advanced Accounting; Presidential Volunteer Service Award; Community Service BPA Cares Award
  • Ryan Fuller: 2nd Server Administration Using Microsoft
  • Brooklyn Haab: 2nd Advanced Interview Skills; 4th in Business Law and Ethics
  • McKenzy Heppner, Joey Casey and Brooklyn Haab: 2nd in Presentation Management Team
  • McKenzy Heppner: 4th in Legal Office Procedures
  • Sam Flynn: 5th in Place Device Configuration & Troubleshooting; 3rd Java Programming
  • Kayle Andriolo: 3rd Fundamentals of Web Design

Capital High BPA was also awarded the Silver Star Award for Chapter Development

 Helena High

  • Matthew Roberts: 1st in Information Technology Concepts; 2nd in Python Programming; 5th in Java; 7th in Computer Programming Concepts
  • Khalil Elias: Java State Champion
  • Titan Raskovich: 1st in Device Configuration and Troubleshooting; 2nd in Computer Network Technology; 3rd in Computer Security; 5th in Information Technology Concepts; 11th in Computer Programming Concepts
  • Kaden Price: 2nd in C#; 2nd in Java
  • Dominic Blake: 3rd in C#; 5th in Python