Friday Update from Superintendent Weltz | May 17, 2024

Decorative Image with Safety Forum information: Community Safety Forum, Wednesday May 22, 6 p.m., Capital HighDear Families,

I would like to invite you to a special event coming up this Wednesday at Capital High School on a topic that touches the lives of every family in our community – school safety.

A public Community Safety Forum – sponsored by the Helena Education Foundation and the Helena Education Association – will feature nationally renowned school safety expert Jason Russell, founder and president of Secure Environment Consultants (SEC).

A former Secret Service agent, Russell has provided safety audits and consultations to hundreds of organizations nationwide including schools, childcare centers, workplaces, houses of worship, medical centers, municipalities and public spaces.

His presentation is this Wednesday, May 22, at 6 p.m. in the Capital High School Auditorium.

Mr. Russell will cover a range of topics, including:

  • Evolving school safety trends and response strategies
  • How the school safety audit process works
  • School safety best practices
  • Emerging policies, procedures and physical security measures shaping the future of school security
  • The role of community engagement, policy development and partnerships in advancing school security

Mr. Russell will also discuss how we can come together as a community to support safe school environments, and I encourage all who are interested to attend – parents, grandparents, staff, community members and business and government leaders. We all have a vested interest in supporting safe schools where our students and staff can focus on what matters.

Mr. Russell’s first visit to Helena was in 2022, when we partnered with other districts to engage SEC for school safety audits. We have already implemented a number of SEC’s recommendations and more are planned as resources allow. On this trip, Mr. Russell will audit additional school sites in our district.

I want to again thank the Helena Education Foundation and the Helena Education Association for making this informative evening possible for our community.

One of the most powerful things we can all do to protect our kids is keeping guns safe and secure, whether we’re storing firearms in our homes, enjoying a family hunting trip, traveling or visiting the homes of friends or family. The website offers excellent resources – everything from a guide to gun storage devices to tips on how to talk with kids about guns. Please take a few minutes to visit the site and learn about the many ways you can help keep your home and our community safe.

In other district announcements, registration is now open for the “Munchtana” free summer meals program. The federally funded program provides breakfast, lunch and multi-day food packs at convenient locations throughout the community.

District Food Services Director Robert Worthy is passionate about this vital service for kids who would otherwise face hungry days and nights over summer break. In fact, Mr. Worthy provided more meals last summer – at 63,178 – than any other sponsor of this federal program in Montana. Thank you to the Independent Record for featuring Mr. Worthy and spreading the word about this important service for our community.

Meals will be served June 10 through August 16 (no meals July 4 and 5). Registration is simple and is required for the first meal only. All children ages 1 to 18 are eligible. Click here to register and see times and locations.

Sign up is also open now through the end of June for screenings for the district’s new KinderSprouts public pre-school program. Created under House Bill 352 passed by the 2023 Legislature, KinderSprouts is an early literacy intervention program for four-year-olds. The Legislature funded the program with the aim of ensuring that all Montana students have the opportunity to become proficient readers by the third grade.

Students must be four years of age by September 10 to participate and, as required by House Bill 352, must be admitted via a screening process to determine whether they would benefit from early literacy intervention. The program will focus on the building blocks of reading and learning that students need for a strong start to kindergarten, which will in turn serve as a springboard for their entire K-12 career.

We look forward to welcoming our first KinderSprouts class this fall! Click here to register for a free screening to determine if your child is eligible.

We’re now into my favorite part of the school year as students get to show their families all they have learned. In addition to state track, tennis and softball competitions we have high school band, choir and orchestra concerts, end-of-year elementary school concerts, family field days and more in store.

I hope you can find some downtime to enjoy with your family and recharge this weekend for the exciting days ahead!

Please also take a moment to enjoy the exciting student and staff recognitions below. These include students and an educator who are representing Montana and Helena Public Schools at the national level.

Among them is the Capital High Business Professionals of America (BPA) Club, which had finishes in the Top 10 at the highly competitive national competition in Chicago. Behind each of these success stories are hours of practice and fundraising by students and the passionate work, leadership and encouragement of their club advisors. Special thanks to Capital High BPA Club Advisor Jamie Toivonen, Helena High Mock Trial Advisor Kaci Askin and Capital High Biology Teacher Sarah Urban for giving your students a jump start on their future careers!

Thank you and congratulations to all!


Signature: Rex M. Weltz






Rex M. Weltz, Superintendent
Helena Public Schools


Student & Educator Recognitions

Capital High business club earns national awards in Chicago

The Capital High School Business Professionals of America (BPA) Club represented the Bruins at the highest level at the National Business Professional Leadership Conference in Chicago, Illinois, last week.

CHS students placed in the Top 10 and Top 20 in multiple events at the national-level competition and earned two club awards: The “BPA Cares Award for Community Service” and the “National Quality Distinguished Chapter Award.”

Congratulations to:

Taylor Ferretti, who earned the Bronze Level Presidential Volunteer Service Award and the National Ambassador Torch Award
Brooklynn Haab – National Champion, 1st Place in Advanced Interview Skills
Josephine Casey, Brooklynn Haab and McKenzy Heppner – 7th Place in Advanced Interview Skills

Thank you, Taylor, Brooklynn and Josephine, for representing Helena Public Schools on the national stage!

In addition to competing, BPA Club members took “CertiPort” exams to earn certifications in professional business applications such as Adobe, Meta, Cisco, and Intuit. The certification program is designed to build a skilled workforce to meet the needs of local employers and government technology initiatives.

The Bruins also made a visit to the University of Chicago campus!

Way to go CHS BPA!

CHS student Brooklynn Haab holds a First Place plaque at the BPA Leadership Conference

CHS student Brooklynn Haab holds a First Place plaque at the BPA Leadership Conference.


Here is a complete list of results:

Top 10 finishes
Brooklynn Haab – National Champion for 1st Place Advanced Interview Skills

Josephine Casey, Brooklynn Haab, and McKenzy Heppner – 7th Place Advanced Interview Skills 

Top 20 finishes
Taylor Ferretti – 12th Place Meeting and Event Planning Concepts
Brooklynn Haab – 17th Management, Marketing, and HR Concepts
Taylor Ferretti – Bronze Level Presidential Volunteer Service Award, National Ambassador Torch Award
Capital High School – BPA Cares Community Service Award, Quality Distinguished Chapter Award

Certiport Certifications:
Liam Kelly – 4 Certifications earned
Kayle Andiolo – 3 Certifications earned

Taylor Feretti receives the BPA Presidential Volunteer Service Award.

Taylor Feretti, winner of the BPA Presidential Volunteer Service Award and National Ambassador Torch Award.

Taylor Ferretti – 2 Certifications earned
Ryan Fuller – 1 Certification earned
Josephine Casey – 1 Certification earned

Helena High Mock Trial Team competes in Wilmington, Delaware

Group photo of the HHS Mock Trial Team

Group photo of the HHS Mock Trial Team

The Helena High Mock Trial Team recently returned from the National High School Mock Trial Championship, in Wilmington, Delaware. This is the fifth consecutive year the Bengals and Business and Marketing Teacher Kaci Askin have qualified for nationals. The HHS team took on competitors from Nebraska, Maine, Oregon and Hawaii.

Congratulations to the following HHS competitors who earned individual awards:

Star Witness Awards
Gabbi Lavoie – 2 awards
Lily Pierson
Owen McDaniel

Star Attorney Awards
Grey Gildroy
Caili Lowney
Lily Pierson

Group photos of the Capital High BPA Team in front of a gold emblem.

Capital High Business Professionals of America Team.

Special thanks to the following local attorneys who volunteered as team coaches: Sean Morrison, Brian Miller, Abbie Cziok

HHS Mock Trial Team:

Kai Moser, Owen McDaniel, Caili Lowney, Camile Certain, Gabbi LaVoie, Grey Gildroy, Lily Pierson

CHS Teacher Adam Clinch earns MPTF “Award for Teaching Excellence”

Capital High School Math Teacher Adam Clinch, has been selected from a pool of the state’s top educators to receive the Montana Professional Teaching Foundation’s (MPTF) “Award for Teaching Excellence.”

Mr. Clinch will represent Montana at the 2025 National Education Association Foundation Gala in Washington D.C. next spring, where he will join 49 other state-level winners as candidates for the Foundation’s national awards.

Mr. Clinch was selected by a panel of MPTF member teachers after a rigorous application process, including an explanation of his teaching beliefs, style and evidence of impact.

Asked about his teaching philosophy, Mr. Clinch writes, “… as every teacher knows, your students must know you care and see them as individual people. Only then can I help make the world of math a home whose front door is always open for every student.”

Congratulations, Mr. Clinch!

CHS Honors Biology students place in top three at air quality research symposium

Capital High School Honors Biology students placed in the top three for air quality research projects at the REACH (Research Education on Air and Cardiovascular Health) Symposium at the University of Montana this week. Claire Lane earned “2nd Place Presentation” for her project titled “Particulate Matter 2.5 Levels in a Climbing Gym on Set Day v. a Normal Day.”

Claire Lane, 2nd Place for Presentation, UM REACH Symposium, holds her certificate.

Claire Lane, 2nd Place for Presentation, UM REACH Symposium

Madi Emmert and Elizabeth Urban, 3rd Place for "Are Dissections Safe?" UM REACH Symposium

Madi Emmert and Elizabeth Urban, 3rd Place for “Are Dissections Safe?” UM REACH Symposium

Madi Emmert and Elizabeth Urban earned “3rd Place Poster” for their project titled “Are Dissections Safe?”

A total of 34 CHS students presented their research projects at the symposium on the University of Montana campus in Missoula. Congratulations to all and thank you to Ms. Urban for enabling students to experience this professional-level learning opportunity.


The Lewis & Clark Library is the place to be this summer!

Looking for no-cost, high-quality programs and events for your kids this summer? The Lewis & Clark Library is the place to be!

Kids can watch a matinee movie with snacks, attend a story time in the parks, participate in a reading challenge with prizes and so much more!

Teens can stay busy with crocheting class, robotics, a youth media lab and other activities just for them!

Check out the Summer Library Program flier for details!


Students help Helena on HMS Service Day

If you notice a picnic table in a park with a fresh coat of paint or a previously littered lawn with a little less trash there might have been a Helena Middle School student involved.

Friday was School Service Day at HMS, an opportunity for and 6th, 7th and 8th graders to experience the benefits of helping other in our community. Activities ranged from making fleece tie blankets to children admitted to St. Peter’s Health to reading to elementary school students.

Enjoy these photos of a fun and philanthropic day!