Sunday, March 26, 2017

Saying Goodbye to Someone Loved

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

March has been a tough month in our small community here in Colstrip. A day ago, March 25, 2017, I attended a second celebration of life in this month, this time for a student that has been fighting a battle with cancer. I didn't know the student well, but am very familiar with her mother who is a teacher in our district. Thinking about her pain is unbearable and I am sure our school and community will do everything possible to help this family and comfort them as we move forward. Once again, the loss of a child has become a reality in our lives. A reality understood too well.

It is because of my post on "The Loss of a Loved One" earlier in the month concerning the death of one of our students to a car accident that I feel compelled to follow up. This loss ended after a 6 year fight with cancer.

The community of Colstrip, as well as most of Montana, have reached out and have been a part of this fight. The death of this student has left a huge hole in our hearts. What was so touching, in a time when everything seemed so bleak, was the way the greater community and this girl said goodbye to one another.

To clear things up, this celebration of life was planned by the student that passed away and was one of the most moving services I have attended. I was touched by the the officiating pastor, the music, the speakers and the poems. There was Christmas music playing in the background as people were being seated. This was not the ordinary, but the extraordinary. It was as special as Sydney Hedges was to those she knew and loved.

Like I said, I didn't get a chance to know Sydney, but I was touched by her through this celebration. The services somehow made sense out of saying goodbye to someone you love. I don't know how to explain it, but the reoccurring message encouraged those attending to celebrate the moment and love those around us. I think the poem in the pamphlet at the celebration speaks unselfishly to this special goodbye:

Miss Me - But Let Me Go

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free.

Miss me a little - but not for long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the Love that we once shared
Miss me - but let me go.

For this journey we all must take
And each must go alone.
It's all part of the Master's plan,
A step on the road home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart,
Go to the friends we know.
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds,
Miss me - but let my go.

-Ella Blalock

Friday, March 17, 2017

Aggressively Recruiting Human Resources

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

Colstrip Public Schools are aggressively recruiting potential applicants to fill vacant positions for 2017-2018. It is becoming more difficult to hire highly qualified staff and administration. Our school district is taking the next step by using social media to generate interest in what Colstrip has to offer.

It is our intent to brand and market our school system using social media as well as other means to get attract the very best teaching candidates for our school.

Please share this information as to assist the school district with these endeavors. We are seeking the very best for the very best.



"Get out in front and stay there!"

Trustees Approve School Calendar for 2017-2018

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

After being presented two calendars options for 2017-2018 by the Calendar Committee, the Board of Trustees selected the following 2017-2018 Calendar (select link for a printable version). 

The Calendar length is 177 student contact days.  School ends after Memorial Day. School begins on August 24 and ends on May 30. It has (1) Snow Day; (8) Winter Break Days; (3) Spring Break Days. It has (139) Full Days; (37) Part Days; and (1) Half Days. There are (185) Professional Days and (8) PIR Days.


Full Day: (WHITE COLORED DAYS) This is a regular day of school.Typical days are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday during the following times:
Elementary School: 8:15 AM - 3:30 PM
Middle School: 8:15 AM - 3:45 PM
High School: 8:05 AM - 3:35 PM

Partial Days: (GREEN COLORED DAYS) School is dismissed early. These days are scheduled on Thursdays. Staff will remain in school and continue with their professional responsibilities meeting with parents, school improvement teams, data collection and planning and preparation. These days will also be used for delivery professional development to the staff. These days will focus on school improvement through communication and collaboration efforts. Partial day times:
Elementary School: 8:15 AM - 2:30 PM
Middle School: 8:15 AM - 2:45 PM
High School: 8:05 AM - 2:35 PM

Half Days: (PURPLE COLORED DAYS) Half-days often occur right before holiday breaks. Half-day times:
Elementary School: 8:15 AM - 12:15 PM
Middle School: 8:15 AM - 12:30 PM
High School: 8:05 AM - 12:20 PM

Student Days: Days students will be in attendance at school.

Staff Days: Days scheduled for the professional staff.

PIR Days: (ORANGE COLORED DAYS) Pupil Instruction Related (PIR) or professional development/training days. No school is scheduled for students.

Vacation or Holidays: (YELLOW COLORED DAYS) Days recognized as holidays or breaks. There is NO SCHOOL on these days.



"Get out in front and stay there!"

Saturday, March 4, 2017


Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

It is possible to be two places at once. Before leaving town to attend much needed professional development versus attending my daughter's divisional basketball tournament, I needed to provide my wife with some answers. Utilizing social media and streaming content I am able to attend the AASA National Conference on Education during the day and attend my daughter's Divisional Playoff Games at night (via the internet). I was able to meet my daughter's, wife's and district's needs thanks to technology.


You if can't make the game, our staff at Colstrip has an answer for you. They are working with the MHSA and the NFHS to bring our games to you. Go to:

Once you arrive at the web sight all you have to do is type in your favorite school: Colstrip. The website will take you through the rest. You will be able to listen to Russ Davidson call the game while watching the Fillies take their 22-0 season to the Divisional Championships at 6:30 PM MST.

What you miss on-line you can catch at

The photo of my daughter is just one of many that you may view and/or purchase.

Can you be at two places at once? Absolutely! I do; however, know that nothing beats being at both places in person. Who knows what the future holds. In the mean time, BEST OF LUCK to the FILLIES at tonight's CHAMPIONSHIP GAME! MAKE DUST FILLIES!

Best of luck in the Divisional Championship!



"Get out in front and stay there!"

Loss of a Loved One

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

In 2008 I lost my oldest daughter, Ashton, at the age of 21 to a tragic car accident outside the little school district I was Superintendent at in Wyoming. I can't begin to tell or describe the pain that my family continues to go through because of this loss. At times it is more than what my family and I can bare, but there are other times when I am comforted knowing she lives in the lives of so many who loved her and the lives she touched.

It is with the same sentiment and emotional struggle that I have in the hearing of the loss of one of my students at Colstrip High School. It was just two weeks ago that I was taking photos of this young lady and the other cheerleaders. She was being tossed so high above others in her stunts. She was flying above all those beneath that were waiting to embrace her again. She was an angle atop of the tree. She was the focal point of those that cheer us on to do better. Those that cheer our teams and students on to be better.

There are no words that can comfort such a loss. It is so raw and so painful. I can't help but wipe the tears out of my eyes as I try to somehow acknowledge this loss and help our community. I offer my own loss of a daughter, that was much too young, as a soul of empathy. My family and I are here for Paige's family and our greater family here in Colstrip.

Here at Colstrip Public Schools, we love Paige as we do all of our students. I will continue to take pictures, love and participate in the lives of our students. I hope that Paige and her family can take comfort in knowing that Colstrip Public Schools and the families it represents will do everything possible to take care of you and all those that lament this horrible tragedy.