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Superintendent’s Educational Snapshots
March 4, 2016
Helena School District ACT Writing Scores:
Helena School District students received the highest average ACT Writing Scores among the State’s AA districts! Please join me in congratulating the tremendous work and focus from teachers across departments who helped our students in this wonderful achievement.
Looking for Great Teachers:
The District is recruiting teachers and staff for the next school year. The District typically hires 40 or more new teachers each year. Applications are available through the District’s website. Please go to the following link for more information: http://helenaschools.org/departments/personnel/helena-school-district-employment-2/
Facilities and Grounds:
Maintaining our facilities and ground is an enormous responsibility as the District’s assets include over 1,250,000 square feet of facilities and over 185 acres of property. Thanks to our community for their support in this effort through our Building Reserve Levy.
Helena Education Foundation Scholars:
Congratulations to thirty-five seniors at HHS and CHS who met rigorous requirements to qualify as Helena Education Foundation Scholars. At the end of their seventh semester these qualifying seniors had at least a 3.7 grade point average, a minimum of 12 hours of advanced placement, honors, accelerated or college level classes, at least 23 total credit hours and were participating in a minimum of two extra-curricular activities. Thanks to the HEF for recognizing excellence in our district. Please go to https://www.hefmt.org/celebration-of-excellence for more information.
The District’s Technology Department is made up of 10 staff members who oversee 2,803 Chromebooks, 671 Macintosh computers, 3,135 Windows desktops and laptops and 76 servers. They also manage a large number of iPods, iPhones and iPads throughout the district. This is just one example as our District and community strive to provide the tools for teachers to teach and students to learn.
New Advanced Placement Courses:
With the goal of career and college readiness, Capital High is adding four new Advanced Placement classes next year. Economics, Calculus, Biology, and Chemistry. We have a robust schedule of AP courses in both high schools. Please contact your school counselors for more information.
Read Across America:
“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.” Read Across America is designed to spread the joy of reading to more children and young adults. I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading with state and local leaders at Four Georgians event. Check out: http://helenaschools.org/2016/02/27/celebrity-readers-aim-to-motivate-local-students/
Lewis and Clark Library:
Books Before Kindergarten Club wants to help prepare children for school. Parents are invited to sign up now for their child to receive a free drawstring backpack with resources for adults. Have fun reading!
Mark your Calendar:
Kent Kultgen, Ed.D.
With the help of a grant from the Office of Public Instruction, the district can provide support to homeless students to continue their education.
After reviewing the results of the community and staff listening sessions, the Board of Trustees has decided to delay the community telephone survey. A retreat is scheduled for March 17th so the board can begin developing an educational framework for the district.
Kent Kultgen, Ed.D.
The start of a new year is always a good time to reflect on the achievements of the previous year and to look ahead at the challenges and opportunities in the next year. Last week, I presented to the Board a “State of the District,” presentation detailing the numerous accomplishments in 2015. I am enormously proud of our students and staff for working so hard to stretch and grow to reach our goals together. We are not finished. Our kids are truly better off this year than they were last year and I want us to be able to say that again next year.
A few key accomplishments in 2015 include:
In 2016, the focus will be to continue working with the community on facility planning and end of year assessments.
A complete list of 2015 accomplishments and 2016 short-term goals can be found in the State of the District presentation.
Dates to Remember:
January 19-21 High School Testing
January 21 K-8 – Noon Early Dismissal
January 22 No School for K-12
January 25 3rd Quarter Begins
January 26 Board Work Session – Central-Linc. – 4:00 p.m.
February 16 Night to Shine – Civic Center – 6:00 p.m.
Have a great 2016,
Kent Kultgen, Ed.D.
Happy Holidays! This is a great time of year to enjoy family and friends and get re-energized for 2016. As we look forward to the New Year and all it has to offer, I would like to thank you for your support as we ensure more students are learning more in our schools. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
REMINDER: On-line Listening Session:
Nearly 300 members of the public and staff attended the eight listening sessions held in November and December to hear the community and staff’s opinions on Helena Public Schools facilities. If you missed the meeting, it’s not too late to have your voice heard. We want to hear from you. Click on the Helena School District website at Online Listening Session today. The deadline is Dec. 31st.
College and Career Readiness
Great News from College Board:
Helena High School District is one of 425 school districts in the U.S. and Canada being honored by the College Board. The 6th Annual AP® District Honor Roll recognizes school districts for increasing access to AP course work, while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of three or higher on AP exams. Overall, students at Capital and Helena High can take one or more of the ten Advanced Placement (AP) courses offered. Topics range from foreign languages, literature, European or U.S. History, Government, Psychology, Art History, Calculus, Statistics, to Biology with a total of 665 students enrolled in these classes. Taking these rigorous classes translates to college credit and saved tuition when students achieve a high score on AP exams. Please join me in congratulating our high schools and students for this honor!
Before the Bell:
Smith Elementary School and Kessler Elementary School were two of the nine schools that received grants from Governor Bullock and the First Lady to increase participation in breakfast programs or implement a new school breakfast program. National studies have found that school breakfast is associated with lower rates of tardiness, fewer referrals to the school nurse, and fewer disciplinary incidents. Research also shows that students who eat breakfast at school perform 17 percent better on math tests compared to those who eat at home or do not eat breakfast at all.
Every Student Succeeds Act:
President Obama signed the new federal education Every Student Succeeds Act into law on December 10, 2015 and we are pleased. (IR article) This new education law, among other things, is intended to adopt higher academic standards in nearly every state, putting our schools on par with their international competitors and our children on track to graduate from high school ready for college and career.
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed attending the Festival of Trees, an event supporting Intermountain, an organization dedicated to providing a holistic approach to helping children thrive and grow. We are fortunate to have Intermountain in our community, as they play an important role for the Helena School District through a strong partnership in providing mental health services.
Registration for kindergarten officially kicks-off on January 4th. Please go to http://helenaschools.org/about/enrollment-registration/ for all the information, or contact your school’s principal.
Mark Your Calendar:
December 31, 2015 – last day to participate in Online Listening Session
January 4, 2016 – First Day Back to School
January 12, 2016 – Board of Trustee Meeting at Ray Bjork Learning Center
January 18, 2016 – No school for Martin Luther King Holiday
January 21, 2016 — Noon Dismissal for K-8
January 22, 2016 – No school for K-12; High School Staff In-Service Records Day
January 26, 2016 – Board of Trustees Work Session at Central-Linc. Elementary School
January 29, 2016 – Board of Trustees Retreat – location tbd
Access to Success students in the Strategies II class-College and Career Readiness-participated in mock interviews with business/community members to prepare for future career opportunities. Students prepared their resumes, learned proper attire and etiquette of interviewing, and the dos and don’ts of a good interview. I enjoyed interviewing student Taylor Truax and thank all volunteers for taking the time to help our students learn these important life skills.
Congratulations to Bryant School
Bryant school was selected by Code.org to receive $10,000 worth of computer hardware and accessories to support their computer programming unit.
Big Shout Out to Bryant School teacher, Joice Franzen, for organizing the Hour of Code school-wide event in December and getting this important grant!
Immunization Update The 2015 Legislature passed a new immunization requirement for seventh graders to get another Tdap booster to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, or whooping cough. All kids entering school must show proof of two varicella, or chickenpox, vaccinations. If you have questions, consult with your school nurse or the Lewis and Clark Public Health Department at 1930 9th Avenue, Helena, MT 59601 or by phone: (406) 457-8900.
It’s $cholarship Season
Calling all seniors to check out opportunities in the Montana University Systems
• Montana’s STEM Scholarship
• Montana University System Honor Scholarship
• Governor’s Best & Brightest High School Merit Scholarship
Student Assistance Foundation (SAF) It’s time for students/parents to get Federal Student Aid (FSA) IDs. The free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2016-2017 academic year may not be available until January 1, 2016 but students and parents don’t need to wait to get their FSA IDs in preparation for completing this form. For more information, visit www.SmartAboutCollege.org.
Mark Your Calendar
Facility Listening Sessions resume again next week. We want to hear from you! Please consider attending one of four (4) more opportunities to engage in a conversation and support Helena Public Schools educational goals.
1. Monday, December 7th @ 6:00 p.m. @ Ray Bjork Learning Center Gym, 1600 8th Avenue
2. Tuesday, December 8th (Staff Session) @ 6:00 p.m. @ Ray Bjork Learning Center Gym, 1600 8th Avenue
3. Wednesday, December 9th @ 6:00 p.m. @ Ray Bjork Learning Center Gym, 1600 8th Avenue
4. Thursday, December 10th @ 6:00 p.m. @ Warren Elementary School, 2690 Old York Road
Calling on talented high school students to consider auditioning for Night to Shine. Thank you, Helena Community Credit Union for sponsoring this fun community event.
December 17, 2015 – Audition forms due
December 29, 2015 – Audition Schedule to be posted
January 4 and 5, 2016 – Auditions at HMS
February 14 and 15, 2016 – Mandatory Rehearsals
February 16, 2016 – Performance Night
This is the season for students’ Holiday Programs. Be sure to check with your child’s teacher for time and location, since many programs are not held at the school due to limited space.
Winter Break – There will be no school from December 21, 2015 through January 1, 2016. Enjoy!
Kent Kultgen, Ed.D.
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Mark your Calendar
2. Tuesday December 8th – Staff Ray Bjork Learning Center Gym 1600 8th Ave, Helena, MT 59601
Kent Kultgen, Ed.D. Superintendent
The Helena High School District encompasses a large region. The north and south boundaries align with the Lewis and Clark County lines which stretch all the way south to the Jefferson County line and then north all the way to Craig. The east to west region goes east to the Broadwater County line all the way west to MacDonald Pass and follows the Continental Divide.
We operate 44 regular bus routes and 14 special needs routes, totaling 4,342 miles each school day.
Our buses make 3,117 stops per day to pick up or drop off students with each stop taking about two minutes.
Student safety is our main goal. Buses provide transportation for students to and from school equipped with seat belts to keep students safe and cameras to monitor riders while on the bus and when loading and unloading. In addition to proper licensing to operate a bus, our drivers have an additional 10 hours of training per year.
Safety Tips from the Office of Public Instruction on
Sharing the Road with Students and School Buses
Jim Darcy Principal, Brian Cummings, was invited to participate in the Montana National Guard’s “Boss Lift” program and flew from Helena to Libby in a Chinook helicopter. The program is designed to provide support to employers when service members in their employ are away from work for military duty.
“We all had such a positive reminder that when military personnel are deployed, his or her family needs the support of the schools, community and employers that touch these families. This support is imperative as a service member is deployed and also just as important when they return from serving our country” – Brian Cummings, Principal
Mark Your Calendar:
The Helena School Board has four standing committees that each meet once a month. All meetings are posted and the public is welcome to attend. Minutes of these meetings are posted on the district website: www.helenaschools.org/board-of-trustees/. They are as follows:
Parent/Teacher Conferences are right around the corner. Please look for information from your child’s school.
Community Listening Sessions kick-off Monday, November 9th at the Ray Bjork Learning Center. Refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m. with each of the meetings beginning at 6:00 p.m. These are NOT a series of meetings, but rather several opportunities for the Helena Board of Trustees to hear what the community thinks is important to improve our school facilities to enhance student achievement. Besides these six community sessions, two more will be provided for the Helena School staff.
Kent Kultgen, Ed.D.
Mark your Calendar