By Kirk Miller
Havre Public Schools
At Havre Public Schools we are drawing winter activities to a close and are getting ready for spring. The second trimester for our K-5 students ended on last Friday, and grade reports should have arrived home this week. We are fast approaching the end of third quarter at Havre Middle School and Havre High School next Friday.
At this time of year it is important to help our students stay focused on academics and attendance. We have learned that when we have regular attendance, our students make great progress. I hope you will continue to emphasize this simple but important item with your student.
Spring testing for our students began this week with the administration of the MontCAS (Montana Comprehensive Assessment System) Phase 2 tests at Sunnyside School for our fourth-graders. In the coming weeks we will also be testing eighth-graders at Havre Middle School and sophomores at Havre High School. The scores on the mathematics and reading tests are used in part to determine Havre Public Schools' status under the federal No Child Left Behind legislation. We request your assistance in making sure your student comes to school during these test weeks, well rested and having had some breakfast to get them going. Again, I emphasize that attendance is critical. If they are not here, it is difficult to measure progress and to make progress. Later this month, the state ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) will be given to our fourth- and eighth-graders, and the ITED (Iowa Test of Educational Development) will be given to our juniors. We continue to balance the demands of federal and state testing requirements with the need to allow adequate time for preparing our kids, while meeting the accountability measures so necessary to help the public understand the progress of our students. Please contact your school if you have questions about the tests or the test times. Other questions regarding testing can be directed to me.
Certainly it would be difficult this time of year to write an article from the school that doesn't include a report about happenings in the legislative session. This year, more than ever before, what happens in Helena over the next month and a half will determine Havre Public Schools' ability to continue to provide the educational programming our community expects. Following and providing significant input into key legislative issues have been a focus of our school district leadership team. As the session continues you can count on continued advocacy for what is right for students, balanced with the ability of our Montana communities to meet the needs. The Legislature is working to define a basic system of quality elementary and secondary schools, determining an appropriate funding amount for immediate relief to meet the definition, and crafting a funding formula to better meet the needs in the future. As simply as this was said, I can assure you that the task is daunting.
The fact that the Legislature is unlikely to make final budget determinations until the end of the session creates some timeline challenges for the school election on May 3. We continue to plan as best we can, knowing that legislative action will affect the final outcome of many decisions to be made. What we do know is that the trustees took action on resolutions at their Tuesday school board meeting calling for an election that includes three vacancies for trustee seats in the elementary district and the possibility to set mill levy amounts in the future, if deemed necessary after legislative action.
The trustee seats are currently held by Denise Thompson, Teresa Miller and Joe Marino. Petitions to run for the school board can be picked up from the election administrator at Robins School and must be filed by March 24. If you are interested or have questions, please contact Zella Witter at 265-4356 or pick up a petition at Robins School, 425 Sixth St.
Springtime means spring activities and programs are on the horizon. The first day of practice for high school tennis, track and softball is Monday. Patriotic programs were presented recently by our third-graders and fifth-graders to packed houses. Our kids did an excellent job. Spring concert season is upon us as our middle school bands and choirs recently had concerts and festivals. Our high school students will be competing at the District Music Festival right here in Havre on April 22-23. On April 17, the 15th annual Salute to Senior Citizens will be taking place at Havre Middle School in honor of all senior citizens in our community, who do so much to support the kids in our schools.
I hope you will put these activities on your calendar and check out other activities on our District Events Calendar on the Web at http://www.k12.mt.us.
Thanks for reading.