Helena School District Press

Posted on May 12, 2016

Helena school board picks four interim superintendent finalists

During a special board meeting Wednesday, the Helena Public Schools Board of Trustees selected four finalists to interview for the position of interim school district superintendent: Lona Carter-Scanlon, George “Jack” Copps, Keith Meyer and Greg Upham.

Interviews with candidates are to be held on May 20, with a public reception May 19.

Read more, including resumes of finalists,  at the Helena IR here. 

Posted on May 11, 2016

Emmert, Goldes, and Talwani begin role as new Helena School Board trustees

Tyler Emmert, Sanjay Talwani, and Libby Goldes became members of the Helena School Board of Trustees on Tuesday evening.

Incumbent Goldes maintained her seat in last week’s election, and is now serving her fourth consecutive term.

Emmert and Talwani join the board, replacing Betsy Bauer and Libbi Lovshin.

Emmert came out on top receiving nearly 23 percent of the vote.

Talwani accumulated 22 percent of the vote while Goldes received a little more than 21 percent.

Outgoing Helena Public Schools superintendent Kent Kultgen said Emmert and Talwani make great additions to the school board.

Kultgen said, “Every decision they make, in one way or another, impacts the education of a child. That is what I have really tried to impress during my tenure here that we don’t talk in a vacuum, we talk in an educational environment and I really believe that this board understands that and they know that by everything that they talk about and everything they do reaches out and touches a child.”

Emmert, Talwani, and Goldes will serve on the Helena School Board for the next three years.

View story at KXLH here. 

Posted on May 11, 2016

Changing of guard for school board: New trustees take oaths of office

Newly elected Helena School Board trustees Sanjay Talwani and Tyler Emmert and re-elected trustee Libby Goldes took their oaths of office and their seats on the board Tuesday night, after the votes were canvassed. Voter turnout in the May 3 school election was 35.48 percent of the school district’s registered voters, which is about average for Helena school elections, according to district business manager Kim Harris.

The board thanked departing trustees Betsy Baur and Libbi Lovshin and graduating student board representatives Aidan Reed of Helena High School and Hannah Ludlow of Capital High School, who was out of town.

The board re-elected Aidan Myhre as board chairman and elected Sarah Sullivan as vice chairman.

 Read more at the Helena IR here. 
Posted on May 9, 2016

Purpose and perseverance: Helena College graduate overcomes obstacles to gain a new future

He was one of 248 graduates who received certificates and degrees during a ceremony held at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds. He was also among a more select group of 113 graduates who achieved honors with cumulative grade point averages of 3.5 or higher.

His grade point average of between 3.8 to 3.9 out of a possible 4.0 earned him Magna Cum Laude honors and a place among even more elite graduates.

Bisom, who received an Associate of Science degree, is the first Helena College student to graduate through the college’s Honors Pathway Program with the University of Montana’s Davidson Honors College.

Chad Hickox, the college’s associate dean of academic affairs, singled Bisom out for praise during the graduation ceremony and called him “one of our shining stars” who is blazing a trail for future Helena College students.

The Honors Pathway Program allows Bisom to enter Davidson Honors College as a junior where he intends to major in chemistry. He’s looking toward graduate school and medical research courses if all works in his favor afterward.

The Pathways Program is an alternative route for students who demonstrate themselves to be scholars, said Karen Henderson, a member of the Helena College faculty.

A week before Bisom would join others in caps and gowns who are the college’s class of 2016, he sat in the student center and talked about what brought him back to the classroom.

The student center is a room with couches and tables and chairs, one he frequented during his time at Helena College. It was also a room where he could be found long after most students had left for the day.

Bisom, 23, is soft spoken and pensive. Blonde hair is neatly combed and his black shirt is ironed with sharp creases. A biology textbook sits on the table within easy reach. His green eyes shine when he talks about learning.

He was 17 when he stepped away from high school. For a while he stayed at home, he said, and passed the time doing artwork, watching movies and reading. Books by award-winning English author Neil Gaiman caught his attention, as did books by Clive Barker.

These authors’ works, he explained, “made me view the world from a different perspective.”

They also got him engaged in reading and helped him resume his education.

Doubts accompanied him on his journey to obtain a high school diploma, but so did a determination to prove he wasn’t the person he used to be. A belief in himself, he said, helped him forge ahead.

The Access to Success program at the Helena College campus allowed him to devote himself to his high school studies. His effort was rewarded in 2013 with a high school diploma.

Access to Success also gave him a pathway to his future. For that he’s grateful.

“I wouldn’t be here today were it not for those people,” he said.

Read more at the Helena IR here.

Posted on May 6, 2016

11 apply to be Helena interim school superintendent

Some faces are familiar. Some not.

A total of 11 applicants are in the running to become the Helena Public Schools interim superintendent.

The Helena Public Schools Board of Trustees holds a public meeting at noon Wednesday, May 11, at the May Butler Building, 55 S. Rodney, to review the applications.

“I’m delighted we have 11 applicants,” said board chairman Aidan Myhre. “It shows an interest in the Helena community and Helena School District and the willingness to provide the leadership to work through the issues the community has prioritized.”

Board members are reviewing the applicants’ materials, she said, and have not yet made a decision about how many it will narrow down to for interviews.

They hope to begin interviews no later than May 23, she said.

Read more about the applicants at the Helena IR here.

Posted on May 4, 2016

Emmert, Talwani and Goldes elected to school board

Tyler Emmert, Sanjay Talwani, and Libby Goldes won three-year seats Tuesday on the Helena Public Schools Board of Trustees, according to unofficial election results.

The three were among a field of five candidates running for election.

Vote tallies, according to the Lewis & Clark County Elections Office were:

Tyler Emmert: 6,863 votes; Sanjay Talwani: 6,526; and Libby Goldes: 6,342.

Other candidates’ tallies were John McEwen, 6,139; and Jon Rush: 3,918.

Read more at the Helena IR here. 

Congratulations Tyler, Sanjay, and Libby for your successful election to the Helena School Board!

Posted on May 3, 2016

Local control hot topic at joint meeting of Helena, East Helena school boards

Local control and having a representative voice at the table were the two primary issues that East Helena school trustees brought up at a joint meeting of the East Helena and Helena school boards Monday night at East Valley Middle School.

The purpose of the meeting, which was facilitated by Virginia “Ginny” Tribe, was to improve communication between the two school boards and learn where they have common ground.

Reqdmore atthe Helena IR here.

Posted on May 1, 2016

Joint school board meeting slated for Monday

Facilitator Virginia “Ginny” Tribe will facilitate a joint meeting of the East Helena and Helena school boards at 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 2, at East Valley Middle School Library, 400 Kalispell Ave., East Helena.

Tribe, who has led the Helena Public Schools’ strategic planning sessions and community listening sessions, will help bring together an open discussion about the educational expectations of each school board.

“I think both sides don’t understand the specifics of what the other side wants,” said Helena Public Schools Superintendent Kent Kultgen.

 “We see this as a first step because we truly feel that these two boards should do everything possible to solve this at the lowest level, rather than the Legislature settling it,” he said.

Helena High School takes in about 500 students who graduate from the East Helena K-8 district, according to previous Independent Record articles. During the last legislative session, the East Helena district supported legislation that would have allowed it the freedom to vote to build its own high school.

Helena IR article.

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Posted on April 29, 2016

Schools switch workers comp carriers; $37K savings expected next year

After 27 years with the same workers compensation insurance carrier, the Helena Public Schools Board of Trustees broke with tradition at Tuesday night’s school board meeting and voted to switch providers.

HPS will switch to PayneWest/Montana State Fund for the coming fiscal year instead of staying with its current carrier Montana Schools Group Insurance Authority, a self-insured workers compensation pool for K-12 school districts operated by the Montana School Boards Association.

The coverage is identical, said school district business manager Kim Harris, so that is not an issue.

The projected minimum savings will be $37,000 the first year, she said.

 Read more at the IR here.
Posted on April 28, 2016

One Class At A Time: Kelly Bundt

For this week’s One Class At A Time recipient, a visit from First Interstate Bank and KXLH came as a complete surprise.

KXLH and a First Interstate Bank employee invaded Kelly Bundt’s fourth-grade class at Four Georgians School, presenting her with a $250 check.

It turns out KC Wickens, a parent of one of her students, applied for the One Class At A Time grant.

In the application, Wickens describes Bundt as an amazing teacher who has helped her special needs child with accommodations, to better learn in a regular classroom environment.

As for Bundt, she remains ever thankful and plans on putting the money to good use.

Bundt said, “The money I would like to use to extend not only that child’s learning but the other students in my classroom and also in our school. It will take me awhile to figure out the best way to do that. I’ll have to visit with my colleagues and come up with a plan.”

Bundt said receiving the $250 grant will only motivate her to continue serving the children of Four Georgians in the best way possible.

View story here.

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