Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Happy Holiday Planning

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

The Holiday Break is just around the corner. Students will be excused from school for the Holidays starting on Wednesday, December 21 at the following times:
  • PBES: 12:15 PM
  • CHS: 12:20 PM
  • FBMS: 12:30 PM

School will be back in session on Tuesday, January 3 at its regularly scheduled times.
Left to Right: Pax Haslem, Robert Whitehead, Joanne Schrupp, Ken Rolf, Joanne Speak, Mark Ator
Debi Smith, Robin Nansel, Shay Grinsell, Bob Lewandowski

GO COLTS! GO FILLIES! 

MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!


"Get out in front and stay there!"

Friday, December 9, 2016

WEATHER RELATED: School Closure Process

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Winter weather is about to set in. AND with MONTANA winter weather comes the unpredictability of road condition as well as a number of other inhibiting factor. SO...this podcast will feature school closure information.




GO COLTS! GO FILLIES! 

MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!


"Get out in front and stay there!"

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Low Temperatures Create Heating Issues at CHS

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

WEATHER UPDATE: The extreme temperatures outside have created heating issues at the High School. The air handling system that heats the cafeteria and office area is experiencing mechanical issues. It will take over a week before parts are available. There are backup radiant heat systems in these areas that haven’t been used for some time. We are doing everything possible to re-establish these backup systems and fix the main system.

In the meantime all other areas in the high school are operational. The academic wings, gym and auditorium all have heat. We have no reason to believe conditions are not safe and appropriate for our students and staff. All activities, including lunch, that are scheduled in the dining area of the cafeteria will be moved to the learning commons. Thank you for your understanding.

GO COLTS! GO FILLIES! 

MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!


"Get out in front and stay there!"

Friday, December 2, 2016

Let the VLOGGING Begin!

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

Social media extends its self in so many ways. In fact, social media has created a fundamental shift in power.  The district will attempt to utilize these media venues to share information and collect feedback to create a transparent environment that people know and trust. We hope to complement the concept of "word of mouth" with the light speed of social media.


MAKE DUST marks my first public YouTube Channel and this is my very first podcast on it. I encourage you to watch the podcast that I vlogged and subscribe to the MAKE DUST channel.

GO COLTS! GO FILLIES! 

MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!


"Get out in front and stay there!"

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Pancake Breakfast Smiles

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

Bill and Jose serving it up. 

The Quality of Life Corporation sponsored a Free Pancake Breakfast for the community at the Colstrip Parks and Recreation Department (CPRD) in the Colstrip Community Center Basement where the Breakfast Program occurs! This is the Quality of Life Corporation's way of thanking the community and sponsors for allowing them to provide this unique program for Colstrip kids.

The Quality of Life Corporation has sponsored a Breakfast program for a number of years. The program is offered to all Colstrip students. The doors open at 6:00 AM until the start of school. Students are picked up at CPRD by the school district transportation system and taken to their appropriate school. This program enables parents that must go to work early to drop their children off at the Breakfast Program knowing that their children will be nurtured, fed and safely transported to school.

If you have any questions concerning the Breakfast Program please feel free to contact any of the Quality of Life Board Members. Quality of Life Board consist of President Bill Neumiller, Vice President Bob Lewandowski, Secretary Gary Parry,  Treasure Rick Harbin, Member Jose Ortiz, Member Jim Atchison, Member Cathy Frank.




WHAT IS THE QUALITY OF LIFE CORPORATION?

As per the Articles of Incorporation:
The Quality of Life Corporation is a non-profit organization formed: (a)  To benefit the activities and operations of the Colstrip Parks and Recreation Department (CPRD) and Colstrip Public School District to improve the quality of life of residents and visitors through delivery of charitable and educational services and programs. (b)  To promote the well-being and healthy living of children, youth and adults in the community of Colstrip. (c) To raise funds within and without the State of Montana, and to solicit, receive, and hold money and property, both real and personal, by gift, contribution, bequest, devise or otherwise. (d) To carry on educational activities relating to the rendering of services to children, youth and adults. (e) To distribute funding for educational/vocational scholarships. (f) To engage in any activity not prohibited by the Montana Nonprofit Corporation Act.
One of the many satisfied PANCAKE EATERS! 

GO COLTS! GO FILLIES! 

MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!


"Get out in front and stay there!"


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: Colstrip Largest Nationally Accreditated School District in Montana

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

Administration Team members receive System Accreditation
Certificates at the November 2016 Board Meeting
Colstrip Public School District #19 is all about school improvement. Getting better is what drives this school system. There are a number of high schools and elementary schools that are nationally accredited by AdvancED in the state of Montana, but there are only four systems that have been accredited in this state and Colstrip Public School District is the largest.

What is a system? A system includes all educational levels and buildings: kindergarten through the twelfth grade. A system must work effectively together for school improvement in order to be nationally accredited. System accreditation is a measure of all schools and all of its parts including the board, administration, business department, students and community. In this case, each and every part of our district effectively contributes to the outcomes of our students and has been recognized for meeting identified national standards of excellence.

National accreditation through AdvancED has been issued to Pine Butte Elementary School, Frank Brattin Middle School, Colstrip High School and Colstrip Pubic School District #19.

With this recognition comes the confidence that students that are sent to an institution that is accredited will attend a system that meets educational standards of excellence.  Here lies a few of the reasons why national accreditation is important to our community and the students we serve in our district:
Accreditation lays the groundwork for success for schools and students. Parents have long held education as a key to their child’s preparation and success in life.  Equally, educators have known that a quality education is of the utmost importance for a child’s future. Quality and success are not mutually exclusive in the education process.  Quality and student success go hand‐in‐hand and are why many schools seek accreditation.  
 Accreditation benefits parents and students. When a school or school system achieves accreditation, parents and the community can be assured that the top priorities are: 
  • increasing student achievement 
  • providing a safe and enriching learning environment 
  • running an efficient operation   
Students benefit from accreditation as well.  Students are assured: 
  • qualified teachers who are working to improve their methods 
  • more focus on student learning 
  • better transition from grade to grade 
  • a rigorous, diverse, and sound curriculum based on quality standards 
  • a range of student activities and support services 
  • smoother transfer of credits from school to school   
  • eligibility for special programs, grants, and scholarships

These are just a few of the reasons for accreditation and the meaning it holds for students attending our school. It is with pride, and a great deal of effort, that Colstrip Public Schools can attest that they are currently the largest nationally accredited school district in Montana.

Principal Shay Grinsell receives building accreditation in behalf of PBES.
Principal Pax Haslem receives building accreditation in behalf of FBMS.
Principal Mark Ator receives building accreditation in behalf of CHS.
Superintendent Bob Lewandowski receives
System Accreditation in behalf of  Colstrip Public Schools.

GO COLTS! GO FILLIES! 

MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!


"Get out in front and stay there!"




Friday, November 11, 2016

Colstrip Veterans' Day Honoring

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

I had the pleasure of attending the Veterans' Honoring at 2:00 PM at the Colstrip City Center. Our middle school students at Frank Brattin were exceptional in every way. It is so good to see our youth respect those who served this country as well as the flag they fought and died for; it provided an assurance that America is truly great!

During the ceremony, American Legion, Trevor J Johnson Post 44 lead by Post Commander Robin Sterrett spoke about those that have served and those that our county has lost. In Sterrett's speech, he defined the American hero saying: "Veterans come in all shapes and sizes. Young and old - rich and poor - black and white - and nearly every category in between, they are men and women who served or still serve America."

As the FBMS band played students and staff lined up to shake our veterans' hands and say thank you. It was a moving moment watching this display of gratitude and respect.

Sterrett ended his speech telling our students: "Thank you again for allowing me to speak on behalf of our nation's veterans. God bless you and God bless our nation's veterans."

American Legion Post 44, thank you! Thank you for reminding our youth about the real heroes. It was a pleasure listening and then the opportunity in thanking you for the sacrifices made in behalf of others.

Additional thanks to the students, teachers, band, choir and Principal Haslem. Well done FBMS!



































Monday, October 31, 2016

Fall Celebration: Happy Scrabbleween!

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

The Frank Brattin Middle School, lead by Principal Pax Haslem, celebrated the end of October with the "MUSTANGS" version of Scrabble. How many points for"MUSTANGS?"


Roxie Wilson, Audrey Watson and Lisa Blevins
Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Watson and Mrs. Blevins spelled things out for me showing me what my name was worth: 7 points.

All in all, it is great seeing the FBMS celebrating this month. I can't think of a more academic costume that would involve an entire faculty. WELL DONE FBMS! You are making DUST!

GO COLTS! GO FILLIES! 

MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!


"Get out in front and stay there!"

Friday, October 14, 2016

Success in the Making

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

John F. Kennedy: "We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too." [2].  
On September 22 of this year students in grades K-5, at Pine Butte Elementary School, began using a new program called SuccessMakerSuccessMaker is an adaptive on-line curriculum program. It uses a student's answers to identify that child's needs and uses that information to assign material that addresses those needs. Therefore, two children in the same grade and classroom may work at different difficulty levels depending on their understanding of the current material. When a student answers a question, the material automatically adjusts future questions accordingly. In short, SuccessMaker custom fits learning in the subjects of reading and math for every student in kindergarten through fifth grade. Science and social studies lessons are also incorporated into the reading and math curriculum as they learn. 


WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

At Pine Butte Elementary we have a chromebook for every child (one-to-one). The chomebooks are located in each classroom. The students access their respective chomebooks, put on their headsets and logon to begin learning. Our students spend approximately 80 minute per week, minimum, on SuccessMaker. In many cases, teachers have students exceeding the minimum amount of time in order to exhilarate differentiated learning in math and reading.  

WHAT EXACTLY DOES IT TEACH?

SuccessMaker teaches literacy skills that coincide with Common Core standards for reading and the literacy guidelines published by the National Institute for Literacy. The math skills included in the program are based on standards set by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and also conform to Common Core standards.


Reading skills for kindergarten through fifth grade include phonological awareness, phonics, fluency and vocabulary. The program also includes comprehension activities that test students' understanding of the course material.
The SuccessMaker math program covers basic concepts such as number sense, operations and patterns, before progressing to more advanced topics such as probability, geometry, measurement and algebra. Once the student masters a group of skills, the program automatically assesses the student’s skill level and introduces new, higher-level concepts. [Reference]
HOW DOES SUCCESSMAKER BENEFIT LEARNING AT COLSTRIP?

SuccessMaker is a web-based program that provides reading and math instruction that promotes higher-order thinking strategies. The reading materials integrate interdisciplinary themes as well as science and social studies so students can expand their knowledge of various subjects. 
SuccessMaker also allows students, teachers and parents to track progress with real-time analysis of performance on reading and math lessons, activities and tests. The web-based program features on-demand intervention that provides feedback, additional instruction when students encounter challenges and step-by-step tutorials to assist with learning.
Educators and parents can forecast achievements and add customized lessons for students struggling with basic concepts. SuccessMaker is often used in the classroom to supplement learning and to provide extra practice with skills when students are not meeting state standards. The program is designed to cover Common Core standards and proficiency goals set by school districts. [Reference]
ACTION RESEARCH
In my experience as a superintendent, SuccessMaker has been used in each of the three districts I have lead over the past 12 years.  I have seen exceptional results in learning take place because of this program. It fills in learning gaps and helps students' learning success at the individual level. When students use SuccessMaker they are being challenged at their present level of understanding and learning. In a class of 20 students, its like having 20 individual lessons going on at the same time. This program engages students and allows students, both gifted and challenged, to learn the math and reading skills that will take them to their next level without being held up or held back. It is truly one of the best supplementary programs I have seen.
SuccessMaker is part of the Goals mentioned in my post on August 23 of this year in my post Goal Setting: To the Moon: "Our staff here at Colstrip is determined to take our students to the proverbial moon and back to ensure that all students learn at national target of excellence in mathematics, reading and language usage."
In short, SuccessMaker is success in the making for students here at Colstrip. It provides and "x-factor" to the already great instruction that is taking place at Pine Butte Elementary. 

GO COLTS! GO FILLIES! 

MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!


"Get out in front and stay there!"





Thursday, September 1, 2016

Changes in Security Access Control

Frequency Operated Button Reader for
remote door entry. Located at all main
entries.
by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

Our school district in response to continued senseless school shootings and security breeches across our country has implemented some additional crisis prevention measures for the safety of our children and staff. This year alone there have been nine (9) school shootings in the United States with four months left in the year. In 2015 there were twenty (20) shootings in schools according to Wikipedia's "List of Shootings in the United States." In response to such horrific acts, we know that not all tragedies can be prevented, but we need to do everything possible to keep our children and staff out of harm's way.

School safety is our number one priority at Colstrip. In response, the district is tightening up safety protocols that are already in place as well as implementing new preventative measures that may inconvenience the public and traffic flow throughout our schools. While there are only a few changes, we ask everyone to be patient and cooperate with the District in providing a safe environment for all.

Because our buildings were designed before tragedies like Columbine (1999) and that of Sandy Hook (2012), we have multiple entries into our buildings that will have to be redirected. These changes will come at some inconvenience to the students, staff and public, but are necessary. We want to do everything possible to prevent and prepare for possible emergencies in our community. Restricting unmonitored access to students and staff is the first step. 

Public Access Changes:

  1. All doors except for the main entries will be locked.
  2. All access into any of the buildings by visitors must flow through the main entries.
  3. All visitors must check in at the front office of the respective school visited and receive appropriate visitor tags to be worn while they are in the building. This includes parents, past students and community members.
In addition to restricting and redirecting public access, the district has implemented a new security access control system. All employees will use a FOB (frequency operated button) to enter into any facility across the district. Keys will no longer be used for entry through our external doors. Old keys will no longer work. The security access system will recognize the FOB held up by its owner and momentarily unlock the door for entry. The system will record the time of day each FOB and its owner enters the building.

Once again, during school hours all doors will be locked. Parents and community members that wish to enter the school during the school day, must enter the main entrance at the far right door and then push the view panel button located in the breezeway of each school entry (this is clearly marked).When the button is pushed the staff will be able to see the guest and then allow entry into the office area. If a guest does not report directly to the office, the school will go into lockdown with a sounding alarm. Once again, student safety will not be compromised.

Another necessary inconvenience will be the scheduling of our building. All school activities will be scheduled into the security access system in order to allow doors to remain open during events. Activities that are not schedule through each building office will not be recognized or allowed entry. We are asking those of you that wish to use the building to request your event to be scheduled 72 hours prior to your event. Please see Board Policy 4330, Facility Use Agreement for additional details. 

Providing for the safety and security of our school district's students and employees is critical. The inconveniences and extra work are necessary. Colstrip Public Schools is doing everything possible to embrace the challenges of change as well as the opportunities they present. We hope that you will be able to support these changes in order to better serve our community.

GO COLTS! GO FILLIES! 

MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!


"Get out in front and stay there!"




Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New CREW Members Aboard

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

As we begin our voyage of the 2016-2016 school year, we would like welcome and introduce our newest educators. We are excited about all that they will bring to our students during the upcoming year. 

To the Moon!

GO COLTS! GO FILLIES! 

MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!


"Get out in front and stay there!"

Goal Setting: To the Moon

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

Apollo 11 Crew: Armstrong, Collins Aldrin [3]
In President Kennedy's race to the moon speech [1] given on September 12, 1962, he says:
William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.
If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred [2]
It is true that "all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties..." As we begin the new 2016-2017 school year, I can't think of a more honorable action than the teaching and learning of our youth. Not just for those that it may come easy, but also those that learn with great difficulty. The honorable profession of teaching and learning is driven by man's "quest for knowledge and progress." As a school district, we are "determined" and will not be "deterred" in setting and meeting the needs  of ALL students who attend our schools.

The first faculty and staff meeting took place yesterday, August 22, 2016. We spent most of the day looking at student scores of the past so that we could set goals for the year ahead. We looked into the mirror of our work through the lenses of the 2015-2016 student outcomes. We found that there are challenges that need to be embraced with the enthusiasm of opportunity. We watched Kennedy's race to the moon speech given at Rice University in that it is a great example of goal setting and that it might help us embrace the voyage that lies ahead. We wanted to set goals with Kennedy's bold determination in mind:
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too [2].  
Even though the task of goals setting was difficult for our faculty and staff. Goals were set to take our students to places they have never been in their academic endeavors.  We understand the needs of our students and will attempt to do better than we have done before. It is our goal to improve and get better at every level and in all areas. We will do this in a year's time. We will set sail on the 2016-2017 school year with the same zeal and enthusiasm of that of President Kennedy when he makes his plea to America to embrace the goal of going to the moon:
Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked [2].
NOTE: First landing on the Moon, Apollo 11, July 20, 1969 10:56 p.m. EDT

Our staff here at Colstrip is determined to take our students to the proverbial moon and back to ensure that all students learn at national target of excellence in mathematics, reading and language usage.

GO COLTS! GO FILLIES! 

MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!


"Get out in front and stay there!"

 
 
 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Colstrip Public Schools Awarded AdvancED School System Accreditation

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

It is official, I just received confirmation on our system accreditation status. See the news release below.

(Colstrip, MT – July 19, 2016) – Superintendent Bob Lewandowski announced today that Colstrip Public School District #19 was granted AdvancED School System Accreditation from the AdvancED Accreditation Commission, the national commission that confers the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) accreditation seal.  This means that the system and all of its schools are accredited, and that Colstrip Public School District #19 is recognized across the nation as a quality school system.

The accreditation process involves three ongoing components:  1) meeting high quality standards; 2) implementing a continuous process of improvement; and 3) engaging in quality assurance through internal and external review.  The system’s accreditation is for a five-year term with regular monitoring of progress and reporting occurring during the term.

“School System Accreditation as conferred by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission provides Colstrip Public School District #19 a nationally-recognized mark of quality for our system and all the schools within our system,” shared Bob Lewandowski.  “It demonstrates to our community our commitment to excellence, our openness to external review and feedback, and our desire to be the best we can be on behalf of the students we serve.”

Dr. Mark Elgart, President/CEO of AdvancED, stated, “AdvancED School System Accreditation is a rigorous process that focuses the entire school system on the primary goal of creating lifelong learners.  Colstrip Public School District #19 is to be commended for engaging in this process and demonstrating a commitment to continuous improvement.”

Parents and interested community members can learn more about the System Accreditation Process at www.advanc-ed.org.

About AdvancED and NCA CASI
Dedicated to advancing excellence in education through accreditation, research, and professional services, AdvancED is the world's largest education community, serving and engaging 30,000 public and private schools and school systems in more than 70 countries and serving over 16 million students.  AdvancED is the parent organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).

NCA CASI is a non-governmental, voluntary association of nearly 10,000 public and private elementary and secondary schools throughout the world.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Emergency Operations Planning

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

On August 2, 2016 the Colstrip Public School District #19 will be reviewing their current Crisis Response Plan to ensure the best emergency management and operations in the event of a crisis. We have invited stakeholders that would play a significant role in an emergency response to join the District in reviewing and updating the current plan.  

This group is made up of approximately 50 individuals from school officials, law enforcement to emergency response agencies from around the area. This Emergency Operations Planning Team will incorporate new technologies and resources to create a new plan that takes an all-hazards approach to emergency management and plans for mitigation, prevention, preparedness, response and recovery that support the mission and goals of the District in case of a emergency or disaster.

The mission of Colstrip Public School District #19 in an emergency/disaster is to:

  1. Protect lives and property
  2. Respond to emergencies promptly and properly
  3. Coordinate with local emergency operations plans and community resources
  4. Aid in recovery from disasters

The goals of Colstrip Public School District #19 are to:


  1. Provide emergency response plans, services, and supplies for all facilities and employees
  2. Ensure the safety and supervision of students, faculty, staff and visitors to the school.
  3. Restore normal services as quickly as possible
  4. Coordinate the use of school personnel and facilities
  5. Provide detailed and accurate documentation of emergencies to aid in the recovery process

Colstrip Public School District #19 is doing everything possible to provide and promote SAFETY, SUPPORT and SECURITY for the students that attend our schools.

GO COLTS! GO FILLIES! 

MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!


"Get out in front and stay there!"

Friday, May 13, 2016

Colstrip Board Approves Canvas and Reorganizes Its Leadership

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

Joanne Schrupp presents the canvas results to the Board.
County Superintendent Joby Parker swears in new members.
 The Colstrip School District Board #19 reorganized and swore in new candidates at the May 9, 2016 Meeting. This is part of the reorganization process. The Board Members first approved the ballot canvas as seen in the photo. District Clerk and Election Officer, Joanne Schrupp presented the canvas for approval. The canvas contained two items: the Elementary General Fund Levy and the High School General Fund Levy. The Board approved the canvas results. The levies officially passed. The Board also approved election results for new board members by acclamation since there wasn't any opposition.

Bruce Brown and Deb Peters were each appointed 3 year terms by acclamation and Tanya Bradley will fill in the remainder of a vacated position for one year, also by acclamation.

José Ortiz was nominated and reinstated as the Chairman as was Deb Peters as the Vice Chairman.

The Board then appointed the following members as board committee representatives:
Transportation: Bruce Brown, Deb Peters
Facilities: Deb Peters, Bruce Brown
Curriculum Steering: Tanya Bradley , Steve Craig
Policy Review: Steve Craig, Tanya Bradley
Technology: Steve Craig, José Ortiz
Communications: Deb Peters, José Ortiz

Congratulations to all!

GO COLTS! GO FILLIES! 

MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!

"Get out in front and stay there!"