• SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE CENTER

     

    Dan Rispens  Dan Rispens, District Superintendent

                                               (Photo by Thom Bridge, Independent Record)


     

  • 3.1.24

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.    

      

    Outstanding Educators!

    Today I want to tell you about K.D. Jones. Mrs Jones was recently honored as the NCCE (National Council for Computer Education) 2024 Outstanding Technology Educator of the Year.  She is our Librarian at Radley Elementary, and also happens to be our Gifted and Talented Coordinator.   We are super proud of Mrs. Jones and this prestigious honor she has received.  But there’s more to this story that I want to share with you.   Last year, Katherine Senecal, an instructional coach at Radley Elementary was named as the 2023 Outstanding Technology Educator of the Year by the NCCE.  It may seem odd that two educators from the same school would win the same prestigious award in consecutive years, but I actually was not surprised at all.  You see, Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Senecal ARE outstanding educators.  They are also excellent representatives of the caliber of teachers we are so blessed to have in the East Helena Schools.  People who put kids first, focus on academics, care for their students, and embody the concept of lifelong learner. Kudos to you Mrs. Jones.  Thank you for your commitment to East Helena kids and for representing us so well!

     

    Radley Boiler Project

    Last winter it became pretty apparent to us that the boilers at Eastgate and Radley Elementary schools were in bad shape and in need of replacement. The equipment in both buildings had lived long past its typical life expectancy. Things came to a head when our insurance company told us to stop using one of the boilers at Radley because an inspector had found a leak and was concerned that it could fail.  We set out a year ago to upgrade the heating plants at both schools, and set us up for years to come with more efficient systems that would not only save money over the long haul, but keep kids and teachers safe and warm.

     

    We had some funds set aside to help with the replacement costs, but boilers like these are incredibly complex and expensive.  We found ourselves about $140,000 short of the full amount for the project to get it done right and replace that last leaky boiler at Radley.  Since last summer, I have been looking for a way to fund the full project.  Last fall I submitted a grant request to the Treacy Foundation asking for their support. The Treacy Foundation has been incredible, but they did not have the resources to fulfill our full request.  They were able to pledge $75,000 toward the project as seed money for other fundraising efforts. That’s where our amazing PTO stepped in and offered to assist with some fundraising for the “Radley Boiler Project.”  The PTO is taking this on as a special project and will be conducting some fundraisers this spring in support. I can’t say enough about our PTO and the work they do for East Helena kids and teachers, and I am asking you to get and support them in this fundraising effort.  We’ll be sharing more information as plans develop.  Stay tuned for details.  

     

    Opportunity for High Schoolers

    You are invited to participate in the Helena WINS Tech and Finance Night!

     

    WHEN: March 13th

    WHERE: Opportunity Bank (1550 Vandelay) - New location across from their Prospect branch.

    TIME: 5p-7p

    WHO: High school students who are interested in tech, finance, insurance, banking, etc.

    RSVP: https://cvent.me/zL74b9

     

    Students will have the opportunity to connect with local employers in the Helena area as well as Helena College and Carroll College to learn about the industries as a whole, how they work together, pathways here in the Helena area, and the advancements and growth happening and still to come in these industries! 

     

    Legislative Update

    Lastly, I wanted to share information regarding our progress in implementing legislation enacted by the 2023 Montana Legislature.  Our elected officials passed several new laws affecting K-12 education, and school officials across Montana are working hard to adapt to the new regulatory environment.   Here are some highlights:

     

    HB 549 - This law established authority for the Board of Public Education to approve public charter schools proposed by local districts and overseen by your locally elected school board. East Helena submitted an application for a charter school called the 227 Academy to serve local students in grades 6-12 as an alternative to traditional education programming.  Students who may benefit from this school are kids who may not thrive in the typical structure of  school and require a more personalized approach to be successful.  Our application was approved and our charter contract has been signed so we are now in the planning stages for a fall opening of the academy.   Parents interested in learning more about this innovative choice should contact Mrs. Morris at EVMS (227-7740) or Mr. Kessler at EHHS (227-7730).  

     

    HB 352 - Early Literacy.  This law replaces an earlier version of a legal means for schools to provide programming and education for 4 year olds.  Montana does not have a universal pre-K structure, but legislators do recognize the opportunity to support literacy development in early childhood and the positive long term impacts it can have for individual students and society as a whole if we help kids to be more successful.   The law is complicated and has three separate components schools can offer; a jump start program for 4 year olds,  a take home early literacy option for 4 year olds (parents implement this at home), and summer programming for students in grades K-3 who may be behind in reading.  East Helena has long offered 4 year old schooling for kids who qualified under the former “Age Excepted Kindergarten” law and are now adapting our protocols to meet the new standard and qualify students for the Early Literacy provisions of HB 352.  If you have a  child in your home who will be 4 on or before September 10, 2024, and if you’re interested in our early literacy jump start program, I encourage you to reach out to Mr. Crusat at Eastgate School (227-7770)  for more information.

     

    HB 203 - Non Resident Enrollment.  Did you know 13% of East Helena students live outside our district boundary lines?   East Helena Schools have long accepted students from the surrounding area if we have room in our classrooms for them.  This was not true of all Montana districts, and many were closed to non residents.   In their quest to provide parents more choice in the education of their children the 2023 legislature passed HB 203 which opened public school choice across district boundaries statewide. Local trustees can still deny an application from a non-resident student but must base the decision on factors such as school and classroom capacity and their local definition of quality education.  it is no longer allowable for districts to  issue a blanket refusal to allow non residents.  Our board has been working to incorporate the new rules in policy and comply with the legislation.  An important thing to know if you’re interested in applying is the due date for non resident applications for the 24-25 school year is coming up on April 15 (This applies to ALL nonresident students,even ones who are attending this year and want to stay for next year) . You can find the application here.  If you have questions about non resident enrollment, please call the district office at 227-7700.

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    2.16.24

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.    

      

    An Apology

    This week, one of our buses had a mishap and minor fender bender between EVMS and Radley.  The police had to be called, and when an accident occurs involving a school bus, there are mandatory steps the district must take in a  timely manner.  One of those steps involves transferring the children to another bus or driver to deliver them to their schools.

     

    In the end nobody was hurt, and it all turned out ok, except we forgot one important thing, notifying parents of the students involved.  And for that you have my deepest apology.  We are a district that takes great pride in our openness and involvement of parents in all things we do.  We value those connections between school and home more than you can imagine.  And for some reason, we dropped the ball.  I want you to know that we are taking steps to ensure we get it right next time.

     

    No School Feb 19 and Early Release Feb 26

    We are looking forward to a snowy and wintry 3 day weekend.  There is no school on Monday, February 19 (President’s Day).  We wish all of our EHPS families a safe and fun weekend!  I'll also take this opportunity to remind everyone that Monday, February 26 is an early release day.  Students will be dismissed at 12:30 PM on the 26th to allow staff some professional development time.

     

    You Could be an EHPS School Bus Driver!

    It’s probably no surprise to many, but several of our bus driver’s are of retirement age.  Because of that we are always recruiting additional talent to assist with student transportation.   Most people have a hard time imagining themselves in control of a giant school bus heading down the road.  But did you know that our buses are actually easier to drive than you might think?  Our buses all have automatic transmissions, power steering, and the basic controls are not that much different than a standard car or SUV these days.  We can train you to be  a school bus driver and assist you in getting your commercial driver’s license.   It can be good extra money.

     

    Starting pay is $17.90/hour plus benefits.  If you have children who are students at our schools, they can ride the route with you in the morning or afternoon if needed.  You are not required to take over the road trips or field trips during the day.  Most afternoon routes are finished by 4:30.  If this sounds like something for you, please give us a call at 227-7700 to get connected to Nick Turner, our transportation supervisor.

     

    (Rep[eated Topic)Manufacturing and Mechanics Night at Helena College 2.21.24

    Attention High School Parents - See below for an exciting visitation opportunity with Helena College:

     

    It’s time to discover the World of Manufacturing and Mechanics!  

    Helena WINS, in collaboration with Helena College, invites high school students and parents to Manufacturing & Mechanics Night. This event offers a unique opportunity to gain insights about rewarding careers directly from college faculty and industry professionals. 

    Students can expect to be introduced to auto mechanics, aviation mechanics, CNC & Manual machining, diesel mechanics, welding and more! Don't miss this chance to explore your passion and get a glimpse into the exciting world of manufacturing and mechanics. We look forward to welcoming you and showing students and their parents all that this industry has to offer! 

    Please register using the provided link: https://cvent.me/0PqO4q 

    📅 Date: Wednesday, February 21st 

    🕠 Time: 5:30-7:30pm 

    📍 Location: Helena College Airport Campus 

     

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    1.26.24

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.    

      

    Cold Snap!

    I want to take a moment and offer a huge THANK YOU to parents and our EHPS staff for how everyone  handled the recent severe weather cold snap.  If you’ve lived in Montana even for a little while, you know that sub zero temps are pretty normal and -40 is not outside the realm of possibility.  Severe cold like the weather we just experienced makes everything harder and stresses systems and machinery.  We fully understand that parents have to gauge the safety of leaving home and bringing kids to school in such conditions.  We are also aware that many people have no choice about leaving home and going to work regardless of weather.  Our doctors and nurses, police officers, firefighters, and other front line workers have to go to work, and school closures are very disruptive to their families and routines.   And of course for some of our students, school is a safe, (warm) space to be, making it pretty important for schools to be open if possible.

     

    Our teachers and staff showed up for work without complaint managing inside recesses and a bit of cabin fever with great success.  Several staff went above and beyond including our transportation supervisor who was on the job at 4 AM every morning plowing snow and starting buses in the frigid, dark cold.    Our maintenance supervisor was onsite all weekend checking buildings and taking care of issues with our boilers to make sure the heat stayed on.  And our activity bus driver spent most of the night dealing with bus issues in Miles City.

     

    Overall, we managed to carry on in the East Helena Tradition.  Hopefully warmer days are ahead!

     

    4 Day School Week

    By now you may have read or heard about the article in this week’s Independent Record regarding the idea of  a 4 day school week in East Helena.  The article and related discussion may be a bit misleading to local residents and parents at this time.  The district is not “going to a 4 day school week” right now.  The calendar committee asked the school board for permission to study the concept and bring back information for the board to consider and review next year.  The board agreed that it was a good idea to gather this information.  Most of this was based on the level of parent interest as shown in last fall’s calendar survey.  Many districts in Montana are making this transition (to a 4 day week) for a variety of reasons, but East Helena has not seriously studied the idea or its related impacts.

     

    So, for the time being, we still have school on Fridays.  And we are interested in your ideas and opinions.  Mr. Kessler is the chair of the calendar committee, and you can share your thoughts with him at bkessler@ehps.k12.mt.us.  He will take that input to the full committee.   I will share more information as it becomes available.

     

    Manufacturing and Mechanics Night at Helena College 2.21.24

    Attention High School Parents - See below for an exciting visitation opportunity with Helena College:

     

    It’s time to discover the World of Manufacturing and Mechanics!  

    Helena WINS, in collaboration with Helena College, invites high school students and parents to Manufacturing & Mechanics Night. This event offers a unique opportunity to gain insights about rewarding careers directly from college faculty and industry professionals. 

    Students can expect to be introduced to auto mechanics, aviation mechanics, CNC & Manual machining, diesel mechanics, welding and more! Don't miss this chance to explore your passion and get a glimpse into the exciting world of manufacturing and mechanics. We look forward to welcoming you and showing students and their parents all that this industry has to offer! 

    Please register using the provided link: https://cvent.me/0PqO4q 

    📅 Date: Wednesday, February 21st 

    🕠 Time: 5:30-7:30pm 

    📍 Location: Helena College Airport Campus 

     

    (Reminder) Non Resident Applications

    The East Helena School system is home to more than 200 non resident students whose parents live outside EHPS boundaries but choose to bring their kids here for their education.  Starting in 2024 there will be important changes to this arrangement brought on by new legislation from the 2023 Montana Legislature.  These changes are being reviewed and adopted by the board in Board Policy 3141.  The essence of the new law and procedures is that parents now have more choice about which district their children can attend, and districts no longer have an option to simply close to outside enrollment.  An additional caveat is that any tuition charges will be paid by the district of residence to the district of attendance rather than parents paying tuition out of pocket. 

     

    One key piece of the new policy being reviewed by the trustees is some hard deadlines that will need to be adhered to in considering any applications.  Long story short, if you are a nonresident family who wishes to continue attending EHPS, it is key to complete the non resident application each year for each child attending East Helena Schools.  If the board determines that admitting non-resident students may affect the overall quality of education in the district due to issues such as facilities or classroom crowding, final decisions may come down to a first-come, first-served situation.  In that case, the sooner your application is submitted, the better off you’ll be.  

     

    You can find the new application here.  We will begin accepting them and time/date stamping them when the Central Office opens on January 2, 2024.  You can email your completed applications to Jen Cordell anytime on or after January 1, 2024.

     

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    1.16.24

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Tonight, EHPS and numerous schools across Montana received an emailed bomb threat stating that bombs had been placed in schools.  We believe at least 75 school districts are affected.  We have consulted law enforcement and, although we do not see this as a credible threat, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Deputies are searching all EHPS campuses at this time. 

     

    Unless we hear otherwise from law enforcement, we are planning to hold school as usual tomorrow.  

     

    I recognize that violent threats of this nature can cause serious anxiety and concern for our students and families, and want you to know that we take all threats seriously.  At times like these, I am incredibly appreciative of our School Resource Officer Program as well as our partnership with the East Helena Police Department and the Sheriff's Office.   You may notice an increased law enforcement presence at the schools tomorrow as we continue to work and monitor the situation. 

     

    We will share additional information and updates as necessary via our email and text messaging system.



    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    1.10.24

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.    

      

    Cold Weather Coming!

    By now you’ve seen the forecast and are likely aware that we are about to get a good dose of REAL Montana winter weather.  High temps below zero are on the horizon and Friday/Saturday look to be the worst of it with severe wind chills.

     

    At this time, our Vigilante swim team has decided to scratch their trip to Havre, but we are not planning any other cancellations or school closures, and our transportation crew are preparing buses to be able to operate in these temps.  In the event of canceled bus routes or the need to close schools we will be using our infinite Campus communication system to send texts and emails to keep parents in the loop.

     

    Since this is the first frigid weather system of the season, I am going to share some important reminders:

    • School will continue as usual.  Any necessary changes will be communicated via our communication system (emails and texts) and also posted via social media.

    • I have asked principals to share information with parents the times their doors open for students in the morning.  It is not safe to drop children off for school and leave them outside in sub zero temperatures.

    • Although we work very hard to keep our buses on time and on the road, it is possible that buses can break down or run late, especially on cold weather days.  It is not safe to leave children unattended and exposed to frigid weather in sub zero temperatures.  Please wait with them for the bus.

    • This is a good time to check with friends and neighbors to ensure everyone is safe and warm.  It could also be a good time to arrange carpools in neighborhoods to get kids to school.

    • If you feel it is unsafe to bring your kids to school, parents are welcome to excuse students and keep them home on frigid days.  Please call the school to let them know, and have students check in online with teachers to try and stay caught up on work.

    Extreme weather can stress systems, equipment and people.  For some of our students, school may be the safest, warmest place to be during these weather systems.  If you have concerns or if your child is in need of warm clothing (coats, boots, gloves/hats), please contact your child’s school for assistance.

     

    No School Monday, January 15

    Just a quick reminder from the school calendar that there is no school Monday, January 15.

     

    School Board Appreciation Month

    Here in East Helena, we are fortunate to have a group of school board trustees who work hard on behalf of kids in our community.  Trustees are elected officials who volunteer a significant amount of time to guide the direction of the district and develop policy to direct our future actions.   Our calendars show that January is School Board Appreciation Month, and in that spirit, I am inviting all parents to take a moment to say “Thanks” to a trustee (or all of them),  and let them know you appreciate their leadership.  You can send an email to all trustees using schoolboard@ehps.k12.mt.us - A list of the board members can be found here.

     

    IR Column

    I was asked to submit a monthly column to the Helena independent Record.  You can find the text of this month’s submission below:

     

    Happy New Year everyone!  I hope your year brings exciting opportunities and challenges to keep life fun and interesting.  For this month’s column we are going to take a look at some of the financial challenges facing the East Helena Schools.

     

    At November's school board meeting I shared information with the board regarding budget challenges the district is facing as we move toward the 2024-25 school year.  The two largest factors that affect the district’s budget are legislative adjustments to the funding formula and the number of students enrolled in our schools.  As we look forward to next year, we will see a 3% increase voted by the legislature in the last session.   While 3% is a significant increase, it does not in any way keep pace with the inflation that we have seen in the past few years.  Further complicating our budget picture is an actual decline in enrollment.  This is the first time I remember an enrollment decline in my 23 years in East Helena.  The enrollment decline reduces our actual budget increase to about 1.4% because funding is allocated on a per student basis.

     

    Another complicating factor for us is the fact that the district has applied for and received several grants.  One of the largest grants, a literacy grant we have had for the past 5 years, is expiring this year and at this time, there are not many prospects for renewing it.  The grant provides funding for 6 positions in the district.  We also have to deal with wage pressure and the need to compensate our teachers and staff fairly so we can continue to attract and retain high quality staff.   And of course, as I mentioned before, inflation in everything from supplies to the health insurance we provide to staff adds to the load. 

     

    Long story short, just as many families are having to tighten their belts to deal with rising costs, the district is facing challenges too. We project a possible budget shortfall of up to 1.2 million dollars next year.  It is difficult to dial that number in too closely due to several variables in projecting costs for 24-25. I'll be working with the board and school staff to refine our numbers over the months to come.  You can imagine there are many variables that affect budget planning.  I’ll do my best to keep you updated here and as always, please feel free to shoot me a note with questions you may have.

     

    (Reminder) Non Resident Applications

    The East Helena School system is home to more than 200 non resident students whose parents live outside EHPS boundaries but choose to bring their kids here for their education.  Starting in 2024 there will be important changes to this arrangement brought on by new legislation from the 2023 Montana Legislature.  These changes are being reviewed and adopted by the board in Board Policy 3141.  The essence of the new law and procedures is that parents now have more choice about which district their children can attend, and districts no longer have an option to simply close to outside enrollment.  An additional caveat is that any tuition charges will be paid by the district of residence to the district of attendance rather than parents paying tuition out of pocket. 

     

    One key piece of the new policy being reviewed by the trustees is some hard deadlines that will need to be adhered to in considering any applications.  Long story short, if you are a nonresident family who wishes to continue attending EHPS, it is key to complete the non resident application each year for each child attending East Helena Schools.  If the board determines that admitting non-resident students may affect the overall quality of education in the district due to issues such as facilities or classroom crowding, final decisions may come down to a first-come, first-served situation.  In that case, the sooner your application is submitted, the better off you’ll be.  

     

    You can find the new application here.  We will begin accepting them and time/date stamping them when the Central Office opens on January 2, 2024.  You can email your completed applications to Jen Cordell anytime on or after January 1, 2024.

     

    (Reminder)Montana Income Tax Credit Information

    By now, many people are aware of the Innovative Tax Credit Program in Montana.  This unique program allows individuals or businesses to direct all or a portion of their anticipated income tax bill directly to a school district of their choice.  The legislature has expanded the program allowing additional donations to qualify in 2024.  The portal for districts to enter donations opens January 17 at 10:00 AM.  In the past, the donation cap has been reached in minutes, even seconds, so time is of the essence. There are links below to informational documents and news articles, but here are some key pieces to consider:

      

    • You’ll want to make your best educated guess at what your 2024 Montana income tax bill will be,

    • You would need to be prepared to make a donation to a school district of your choice (Hopefully East Helena!)  of all or a portion of your anticipated income tax bill by January 17, 2024. (The district must have your check in hand to enter the donation in the portal),

    • If your donation is entered in time, we will provide you with a tax credit certificate to be used in winter 2025 when filing your 2024 income taxes,  

    • This is a dollar for dollar credit up to the amount owed or the amount of the credit with a  cap of $200,000 per business or individual,

    • If you are employed in a position that withholds state income tax, you could conceivably stop the withholding for 2024,

    • The credit can be carried forward to another tax year if necessary, 

    • If your donation does not get entered in the portal before the $5 million cap is reached, we will be unable to record the donation and we will return your check to you.

    Here are some informational links:

    Link to our tax Credit Donation Form

     

    News story about the tax credit

     

    Link to Dept of Revenue informational Booklet

     

    Info link from another district’s business services page

     

    If you have additional questions or would like to discuss a planned donation, feel free to shoot me an email:  drispens@ehps.k12.mt.us

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    12.21.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.    

      

    Christmas Break

    On this first day of break, I want to wish all our students, families, and employees a wonderful break and holiday season.  I hope you’re able to find some time for rest and relaxation as well as an opportunity to celebrate the season with people you love. 

     

    The Central Office will be open Wednesday and Thursday, Dec 27 and 28.  School resumes January 2nd, 2024.

     

    Non Resident Applications

    The East Helena School system is home to more than 200 non resident students whose parents live outside EHPS boundaries but choose to bring their kids here for their education.  Starting in 2024 there will be important changes to this arrangement brought on by new legislation from the 2023 Montana Legislature.   These changes are being reviewed and adopted by the board in Board Policy 3141.   The essence of the new law and procedures is that parents now have more choice about which district their children can attend, and districts no longer have an option to simply close to outside enrollment.  An additional caveat is that any tuition charges will be paid by the district of residence to the district of attendance rather than parents paying tuition out of pocket. 

     

    One key piece of the new policy being reviewed by the trustees is some hard deadlines that will need to be adhered to in considering any applications.  Long story short, if you are a nonresident family who wishes to continue attending EHPS, it is key to complete the non resident application each year for each child attending East Helena Schools.  If the board determines that admitting non-resident students may affect the overall quality of education in the district due to issues such as facilities or classroom crowding, final decisions may come down to a first-come, first-served situation.  In that case, the sooner your application is submitted, the better off you’ll be.  

     

    You can find the new application here.  We will begin accepting them and time/date stamping them when the Central Office opens on January 2, 2024.  You can email your completed applications to Jen Cordell anytime on or after January 1, 2024.

     

    Montana Income Tax Credit Information

    By now, many people are aware of the Innovative Tax Credit Program in Montana.  This unique program allows individuals or businesses to direct all or a portion of their anticipated income tax bill directly to a school district of their choice.  The legislature has expanded the program allowing additional donations to qualify in 2024.  The portal for districts to enter donations opens January 17 at 10:00 AM.  In the past, the donation cap has been reached in minutes, even seconds, so time is of the essence. There are links below to informational documents and news articles, but here are some key pieces to consider:

      

    • You’ll want to make your best educated guess at what your 2024 Montana income tax bill will be,

    • You would need to be prepared to make a donation to a school district of your choice (Hopefully East Helena!)  of all or a portion of your anticipated income tax bill by January 17, 2024. (The district must have your check in hand to enter the donation in the portal),

    • If your donation is entered in time, we will provide you with a tax credit certificate to be used in winter 2025 when filing your 2024 income taxes,  

    • This is a dollar for dollar credit up to the amount owed or the amount of the credit with a  cap of $200,000 per business or individual,

    • If you are employed in a position that withholds state income tax, you could conceivably stop the withholding for 2024,

    • The credit can be carried forward to another tax year if necessary, 

    • If your donation does not get entered in the portal before the $5 million cap is reached, we will be unable to record the donation and we will return your check to you.

    Here are some informational links:

     

    News story about the tax credit

     

    Link to Dept of Revenue informational Booklet

     

    Info link from another district’s business services page

     

    If you have additional questions or would like to discuss a planned donation, feel free to shoot me an email:  drispens@ehps.k12.mt.us

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    12.1.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.    

      

    Help Wanted (We are in DIRE need)

    Paraprofessionals

    Bus Drivers

    Apply online

     

    Winter Sports and Parking at EHHS

    We are kicking off winter sports season this weekend with a  flurry of activities.  Our speech and debate teams are partnering with area schools to host one of the biggest Speech and Debate tournaments in Montana this weekend.  Events will be taking place at EHHS, Carroll College, and Capital High School.  Our Girls and Boys basketball teams get rolling Saturday hosting Butte Central.  Games start at noon with sub-vasity matches at both PPE and EHHS.  The girls varsity game is set for 3 PM at EHHS and the boys varsity game will be right after at about 4:30.  Our wrestlers will travel to Livingston Saturday.  Their event starts at 10 AM.  Swimming dives in next week, traveling to Butte on Friday.  We are excited for our student competitors who represent us well across our great state!!! Go Vigilantes!!!

     

    Christmas Stroll Dec 7 - Don’t Miss it!

    Don’t miss the East Helena Christmas Stroll Thursday, Dec 7 from 5:30 - 8:30 PM on Main Street in East Helena.  There are events for all ages!   Our EVMS 8th graders painted windows downtown to prepare for the event.   And you won’t want to miss the dance and music performances in The Radley Gym!    You can find more info about the stroll on the flier at this link.

     

    Budget Update

    At November's School board meeting I shared information with the board regarding budget challenges the district is facing as we move toward the 2024-25 school year.  The two largest factors that affect the district’s budget are legislative adjustments to the funding formula and the number of students enrolled in our schools.  As we look forward to next year, we will see a 3% increase voted by the legislature in the last session.   While 3% is a significant increase, it does not in any way keep pace with the inflation that we have seen in the past few years.   Further complicating our budget picture is an actual decline in enrollment.  This is the first time I remember an enrollment decline in my 23 years in East Helena.  The enrollment decline reduces the actual increase to about 1.4% because funding is allocated on a  per student basis.

     

    Another complicating factor is the fact that the district has applied for and received several grants.  One of the largest grants, a literacy grant we have had for the past 5 years, is expiring this year and at this time, there are not many prospects for renewing it.  The grant provides funding for 6 positions in the district.  We also have to deal with wage pressure and the need to compensate our teachers and staff fairly.   And of course, as I mentioned before, inflation in everything from supplies to the health insurance we provide to staff adds to the load. 

     

    Long story short, just as many families are having to tighten their belts to deal with rising costs, the district is facing challenges too. We project a possible budget shortfall of up to 1.2 million dollars next year.  I'll be working with the board and school staff to dial in that picture more clearly over the months to come.  You can imagine there are many variables that affect budget planning.  I’ll do my best to keep you updated here and as always, please feel free to shoot me a note with questions you may have.

     

    EHHS Students Earning College Credit (update)

    See below for a story from the last Supt update regarding EHHS students earning college credit.  After sending that out, Mr. Kessler and I calculated that in the past several years, EHHS Students have earned about 371 credits during high school which has saved families a projected $100,000 in tuition costs!  

     

    DId you happen to catch the story last week about Caleb Daum, an EHHS Senior who is completing his high school diploma while getting a head start on a 2 year machining degree at Helena College through our dual enrollment partnership?  Caleb is making us proud and is serving as an example of what can be accomplished through dual credit and dual enrollment.  Additionally, for most of our students who are participating in dual credit and dual enrollment,we can cover all or most of their costs for tuition etc through our Montana Advanced Opportunity Grant saving families money and lowering potential student debt loads for those who seek post secondary education.   Students enrolled at EHHS can access Advanced Opportunity funds for college credit, AP tests, internships and apprenticeships and related costs, and more.  Contact school counselors or administration for more information.

     

    When we started planning EHHS, the community told us that this type of arrangement was a priority.  It builds added value to our schools and benefits kids and families.   I am proud to report that motivated students have been earning college credit while attending EHHS since 2020.  The Montana University Systems’  “One, Two, Free” Program and our Advanced Opportunity Grant help to defray tuition costs and make this type of opportunity available to any student interested in challenging themselves and taking it on.  We are proud of Caleb and all of our students who are taking advantage of these opportunities!  Keep up the great work. 

     

    You can find the news story at this link.

     

    Montana Environmental Trust Group Annual Meeting

    If you missed the METG Annual meeting (because MAYBE you went to the Apples vs Doughnuts basketball game instead - and who could blame you!?).  You can access the content at this link.  The slides from the presentation as well as a recording of the meeting are available for the public. 

     

    Concert and Music Program Reminders

    It is concert season and music program time in the schools.  Our kids and teachers work hard to practice and prepare for these events, and we all look forward to the performances and concerts.  With that in mind it is important to keep a few things in mind as you prepare to attend your child’s performance. Respect and proper behavior from everyone is essential to making it an enjoyable experience for all.  This can be accomplished by remembering the A,B,C’s of concert etiquette:

     

    A-Always remain quiet during the performance so we can hear the music, 

    B- Be attentive give the performers your attention and respect, 

    C- Be Considerate to others by not leaving your seat during the music

     

    Additional tips include arriving early to get a seat and trying to avoid showing up late.  If you do arrive late, wait until a break in the music to find a seat.  And remember that students involved in the concert are expected to remain at the concert for the entire performance, not just their section.

     

    Everyone at the performance is there to hear their daughter or son. niece or nephew, granddaughter or grandson or friend perform.  Following the A,B,C’s of etiquette and being respectful at all times will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone.

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    11.10.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.    

      

    Help Wanted (We are in DIRE need)

    Kitchen Help 

    Bus Drivers

    Apply online

     

    Honoring Our Veterans

    We salute those who served in the military and made sacrifices for our freedom.  Montana in general and East Helena in particular has a very high percentage of our population who have served in the armed forces. We have always been proud of that heritage.  If you or someone in your family has served or is currently serving, Thank You!

     

    The East Helena VFW Will hold their annual Veteran’s Day Observance Saturday at 11:00 AM.  The parade rolls down Main Street from the VFW to the Veteran’s Memorial at the park on Main Street where a ceremony will be held.  We typically bring our students out for the event, but since it’s on Saturday this year, we are encouraging families to come down and join in recognizing and honoring our vets.  

     

    EHHS Students Earning College Credit

    DId you happen to catch the story last week about Caleb Daum, an EHHS Senior who is completing his high school diploma while getting a head start on a 2 year machining degree at Helena College through our dual enrollment partnership?  Caleb is making us proud and is serving as an example of what can be accomplished through dual credit and dual enrollment.  Additionally, for most of our students who are participating in dual credit and dual enrollment,we can cover all or most of their costs for tuition etc through our Montana Advanced Opportunity Grant saving families money and lowering potential student debt loads for those who seek post secondary education.   Students enrolled at EHHS can access Advanced Opportunity funds for college credit, AP tests, internships and apprenticeships and related costs, and more.  Contact school counselors or administration for more information.

     

    When we started planning EHHS, the community told us that this type of arrangement was a priority.  It builds added value to our schools and benefits kids and families.   I am proud to report that motivated students have been earning college credit while attending EHHS since 2020.  The Montana University Systems’  “One, Two, Free” Program and our Advanced Opportunity Grant help to defray tuition costs and make this type of opportunity available to any student interested in challenging themselves and taking it on.  We are proud of Caleb and all of our students who are taking advantage of these opportunities!  Keep up the great work. 

     

    You can find the news story at this link.

     

     

     

    PTO Fundraiser Update

    I was asked to report about the PTO Fundraiser.  It’s important to note that the PTO is a separate entity from the school district and their accounts are completely separate.  But I did reach out to the PTO leadership and they are happy to have me share the results of their fall fundraiser.  Here’s the info:

     

    Total raised: $91,635

    PTO portion: $64,144.50 (70% of funds raised)

    Total donors: 1,614

     

    Emails sent: 5,862

    Donors due to emails: 1,471 with $84,664

    Donors through text messages: 33 with $2,160

    Donors through social media: 110 with $4,575

     

    Our PTO is AMAZING, and they truly focus on using these funds to benefit the schools, kids, and teachers through grants and other programs that directly affect our operations.  We are lucky to have such a supportive community and such a dedicated group of parents working on behalf of our students!!!!!

     

    Sheriff's Office VS Teachers Basketball Game

    Don’t miss the basketball game next Wednesday, November 15, at 6 PM in the EHHS gym.  Apples Vs. Donuts!!!   A team of EHPS teachers will be facing off against a team of Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office deputies. Admission is $5 and all funds raised go to the Lewis and Clark Sheriff’s Community Foundation.  Tickets can be purchased in advance at the EVMS or EHHS offices or at the door. 

     

    Concert and Music Program Reminders

    It is concert season and music program time in the schools.  Our kids and teachers work hard to practice and prepare for these events, and we all look forward to the performances and concerts.  With that in mind it is important to keep a few things in mind as you prepare to attend your child’s performance. Respect and proper behavior from everyone is essential to making it an enjoyable experience for all.  This can be accomplished by remembering the A,B,C’s of concert etiquette:

     

    A-Always remain quiet during the performance so we can hear the music, 

    B- Be attentive give the performers your attention and respect, 

    C- Be Considerate to others by not leaving your seat during the music

     

    Additional tips include arriving early to get a seat and trying to avoid showing up late.  If you do arrive late, wait until a break in the music to find a seat.  And remember that students involved in the concert are expected to remain at the concert for the entire performance, not just their section.

     

    Everyone at the performance is there to hear their daughter or son. niece or nephew, granddaughter or grandson or friend perform.  Following the A,B,C’s of etiquette and being respectful at all times will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone.

     

    Montana Environmental Trust Group Annual Meeting

    The METG (Montana Environmental Trust Group) was formed out of the ASARCO bankruptcy and subsequent superfund cleanup status of the old smelter.   The METG consists of groups that have an interest in the clean-up process and standards.  The METG holds an annual public meeting to share information regarding the progress of clean up efforts.   The public is invited to attend and participate.  The next meeting will be held Wednesday, Nov 15, 2023 at 6 :00 PM at METG headquarters at 325 Manlove Avenue in East Helena.  you can also attend virtually - Join online: Use this link:

    https://tinyurl.com/METGmeetings

     

    Speech Judges Needed

    Do you want to be inspired? Come see our future community leaders in action! Helena School District, East Helena School District and Carroll College are teaming up to host the 2023 Valley of Gold All Class All Event meet  on December 1st and 2nd, 2023.  

     

    We need judges! This year’s tournament is bigger and better than ever. Schools from across Montana as well as from neighboring states are descending on the Helena Valley to compete. 

     

    There are over 100 judges required for each round across the three competition sites. We cannot run this tournament without your help. 

     

    East Helena will be hosting drama.  If you can help us please fill out this form: 

     JUDGE FORM

     

    If you would like to judge either Speech (@ Capital) or Drama (@ Carroll),

    Please visit SPEECH DEBATE JUDGES

     

    There are a variety of times available-judge one round, two, all!!!  Speech and debate can only function with the efforts of volunteer judges, so we need as many as we can get.  We will also be hosting online and in person judge training for those interested.  

     

    Now Hiring - Open positions for 23-24 school year

    We (Still) have a number of open positions to fill for the 23-24 school year.  See below for more info and please spread the word:

     

    • Classroom Paraprofessionals - Multiple positions - 7 hours/day Late August - Early June.  School schedule.  Starting pay $14.90/Hour

    • Kitchen Aid - Variable Hours.  School schedule. Up to 4 positions available.  Starting Pay $13.65/Hour

    • Bus Drivers - Variable hours (Mornings/afternoons) -, School Schedule. We will train you!  Starting Pay $17.90/Hour

    • JROTC Instructor

     

    You can find more information and application links here.

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    10.27.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.    Have a great weekend everyone and stay warm!

      

    Red Ribbon - Snowy Weather - Fright Night!

    It’s been a  busy week at school as we observed Red Ribbon Week.  The whole point of this annual observance is to build resilience in our kids and increase their ability to resist drugs and alcohol and make healthy lifestyle and relationship decisions.   This year the High Schoolers participated in an assembly called “Because I said I would.”  The presentation, intended to teach about integrity and following through on commitments while living an authentic life took place in the EHHS gym Wednesday morning. We all like the dress up days and the annual Red Ribbon Parade.  Unfortunately we had to cancel the parade this year due to the winter storm that was blowing through and dumping more than a foot of snow!  I was super sad for the middle school band as they had been practicing a month to prepare to march in the parade and perform for the community.  

     

    Speaking of snowy weather, this is a great time to remind parents that when wind chill temps are above 0 degrees, kids are going outside for recess.  Please make sure to send hats, gloves, coats and boots with children so they are prepared to be out in the weather.  Also, bus stops can be an issue in winter weather.  Our drivers work hard to run their routes safely and on time, but icy roads and wintry weather can delay things.  On those snowy and cold mornings, please do not leave kids unattended at bus stops in case a bus is delayed and late.  

     

    Fright night is coming next Tuesday on Main Street in East Helena.  Momst MAin street businesses will be open from 5-7 PM for trick or treating.  There will also be a group of us at City Hall passing out candy in the gym so don’t miss it. At dusk, J4 Automotive is hosting their movie in the park (Main Street Park).  The Title this year is “Nightmare Before Christmas.”  Bundle up and it should be a good time for all! 

     

     

    Charter School Update

    The school board will meet Monday at 5:30 PM in the EVMS library to review and consider an application to start a 6 - 12 grade alternative school in East Helena.  As mentioned in a previous Supt update, if you have thoughts or ideas about additional charter schools in East Helena, please send them my way.  

     

    A note about athletics from Mr. Mugel, EHPS Athletic Director

    Hello, Vigilante faithful.  

     

    I just wanted to give an end of season update to everyone and get everyone excited about the Winter season.  We have finished up another Fall season and we have lots of great things to be excited about from this past fall.  Our golf team had enough boys that we were able to post team scores.  They finished the season at the end of September with 2 girls qualifying for the state meet in Sidney.  They both had great seasons and learned a ton about competing every week.  I want to thank Coach Thatcher for all the time and hard work that he puts into the golf team.  He is not just the coach but the team driver as well.  He got to do back to back weekend trips to Sidney this year for divisionals and state.  

    The Cross Country team is starting to get more and more boys as we continue to build that program and we are working on getting more girls out each year.  These student athletes do a great job of getting prepared for each week’s meet and Coach Elwood has done a great job in his first year as the head coach.  He was assisted by Nathaniel Bailey and they were a great combination.  The boys were able to post some team scores this year for the first time and it was another great achievement for our Cross Country team.  All of our kids that came out this year all qualified for the state tournament and we had great weather up in Kalispell for the meet.  They were a fun bunch to be able to drive them up for the meet and I look forward to their future progress.

    Our boys and girls soccer teams continue to build and we were encouraged by the number of student athletes that came out this year.  Overall both teams were fairly young.  They worked hard every week and they showed great improvement.  I know that we are going to be getting better each year, thanks to the upperclassmen that have come out every year to help us build the soccer programs.  Thanks to them we will keep getting better.  Our head coaches Jeff Darling and Troy Zeeman along with our assistant coaches, Nikki Odegard and Jim Chambers kept the kids working hard and improving. 

    Our volleyball team has shown improvement each year and they were able to win some matches this year.  Our coaches always have our kids prepared and our kids are always battling hard with great attitudes.  Coach Layson, Coach Daum and Coach Kirchdoerfer did were great role models.  Our younger teams were always in games and kept working hard.  I am excited to see what our future holds as these younger players move up into the varsity program in the coming years.  

    The football team, though young overall, were able to win three games this year.  They just missed out on qualifying for the state playoffs.  We had over 80 students come out for the team this year and so our future looks bright in football as well.  Coach Murray and his staff work tirelessly year round to get better for each season.  

    Our fans were amazing once again throughout the season.  The football and volleyball crowds always make me proud to be a Vigilante.  The student section is always supportive and in big numbers.  Our community is always very supportive of all of our activities that are happening in the school.  

    I also want to congratulate all of our other groups and activities that have been very active this fall.  The FFA is very active and have been to several different state events.  Mrs. Caltabiano does an amazing job with her group.  The Band and Choir have been amazing this year as well.  Our last group that I want to thank is our Cheer Squad.  They are very active and do a great job of not just cheering but making sure that there are signs up in supporting all of our activities.  They have been great to watch as they keep practicing and cheering.  

    We will start winter activities soon.  The Winter Parent/Student meeting will be at the high school on 11/14 at 6:00 PM in the main gym.  We look forward to meeting all the new parents as well as all of the parents that have been coming every past year.  

     

    Thanks for all the support

     

    Sincerely, 

     

    Shaun Murgel

     

    Now Hiring - Open positions for 23-24 school year

    We (Still) have a number of open positions to fill for the 23-24 school year.  See below for more info and please spread the word:

     

    • High School Business Education teacher (Open Immediately)

    • Classroom Paraprofessionals - Multiple positions - 7 hours/day Late August - Early June.  School schedule.  Starting pay $14.90/Hour

    • Kitchen Aid - Variable Hours.  School schedule. Up to 4 positions available.  Starting Pay $13.65/Hour

    • Bus Drivers - Variable hours (Mornings/afternoons) -, School Schedule. We will train you!  Starting Pay $17.90/Hour

    • JROTC Instructor

     

    You can find more information and application links here.

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    10.13.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.  I am struggling with my new Wednesday publication schedule!  Sorry this is a couple days late!   Have a great weekend everyone!

      

    Community Meeting

    I wanted to start off with a reminder about our Facility Master Planning Work.  We need community input.  There is a community meeting scheduled for MONDAY, October 16 at 7 PM in the Radley Gymnasium.   We hope to see you there!

     

    Teacher Convention Days/Youth Hunt

    We are out of school next Thursday and Friday for state education conventions.  This carve out in school calendars is an annual event set aside for staff training and professional development.  Several of our district administrators and school board members will be attending the Montana Conference on Educational Leadership in Billings.    

     

    The Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks takes advantage of these non-school days to promote an opportunity for youth to hunt deer prior to the opening of regular rifle season.  You can find more information on their website found at this link:  https://fwp.mt.gov/hunt/youth

     

    Charter School Application Window Open

    The Montana Board of Public Education has opened the 2023 application window for public charter schools.  This opportunity was created under HB 549 in the 2023 legislature.  This year's application window is short (applications are due Nov 1), but we are attempting to submit an application for an alternative school for grades 6 - 12.   If approved, it would bolster our efforts to provide alternative paths to graduation for students in East Helena who are at risk of dropping out.

     

    Do you have a question about the process or idea for a charter school in East Helena?  We want to hear from you.  Even if we miss this year's application window, we can submit additional proposals in subsequent years.  You can email me at drispens@ehps.k12.mt.us or call the central office at 227-7700.

    Habitat for Humanity Town Hall

    You might be aware that Habitat for Humanity is proposing a 900 unit subdivision between the old rodeo grounds and Mountain View Meadows south of East Helena.  This project is intended to provide affordable housing in our community.   It will also add students to our school system. Next week Habitat is putting on a town hall fundraiser at which they will be sharing the vision for the neighborhood in East Helena. Former Governor Marc Racicot will be speaking. The event is at the Helena Civic Center at 5:30 PM on Thursday, October 19th. The website for the event is: www.helenahabitat.org/townhall.

     

    Red Ribbon Week

    We will celebrate Red Ribbon Week in the East Helena Schools the week of October 23-27.  Red Ribbon week encourages youngsters to “Say NO to Drugs” and live a healthy and happy lifestyle.  Click here to learn more about the background and history of Red Ribbon week .  In East Helena, the highlight of Red Ribbon Week is the Red Ribbon Parade at 2:00 PM Wednesday, October 25th. The Parade route goes from Radley School to EVMS and travels along Main Street.  Additionally, all students and staff are encouraged to get involved with the Red Ribbon Dress up themes:

    Red Ribbon Week Themed Dress-Up Days

    • Monday - "Too Bright for Drugs" - wear neon

    • Tuesday - "Cowboy Up Against Drugs" - wear western wear

    • Wednesday - "I'm a JEAN-ious, I'm Drug Free" - wear red and jeans (Parade 2pm)

    • Thursday - "I Dream of a Drug Free World" - wear pjs

    • Friday - "Drug Free, I Can Be Anything!" - dress like your future career

     

    Now Hiring - Open positions for 23-24 school year

    We (Still) have a number of open positions to fill for the 23-24 school year.  See below for more info and please spread the word:

     

    • Classroom Paraprofessionals - Multiple positions - 7 hours/day Late August - Early June.  School schedule.  Starting pay $14.90/Hour

    • Kitchen Aid - Variable Hours.  School schedule. Up to 4 positions available.  Starting Pay $13.65/Hour

    • Bus Drivers - Variable hours (Mornings/afternoons) -, School Schedule. We will train you!  Starting Pay $17.90/Hour

    • JROTC Instructor

     

    You can find more information and application links here.

     

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens




     

     

     

    9.29.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.  

      

    One Month in!

    Can you believe September’s gone!?!?  We are hitting midterm grades already and the fall sports season is half over.  I can never get over how fast time goes once school starts.

     

    As I get around the district to the various schools, it is so exciting to see teachers and kids getting down to business.  We are glad to be back in action in a  more “normal” school year.  This has definitely been one of the smoothest starts to school in recent memory, and we are excited to see how our students will grow and learn over the next 8 months.  On behalf of my entire staff, I just want to say “Thank You” for the opportunity to work with your kids and serve the community of East Helena.  Welcome back!

     

    National Principals Month!

    (From School Administrators of Montana)

    October marks the celebration of a special group of leaders in our community – our school principals. These dedicated individuals play a pivotal role in shaping our students’ futures and the trajectory of our education system.

    This month-long celebration is an opportunity to recognize and thank our principals for their unwavering dedication, exceptional leadership, and remarkable impact on student success.

    We encourage you to join us, and educational organizations nationwide like AFSA, NAESP, and NASSP, as we acknowledge the tireless efforts of these unsung heroes. Share your appreciation using the hashtag #ThankAPrincipal on social media, and visit principalsmonth.org for more resources and ways to get involved.

    Let’s come together to celebrate the extraordinary individuals at the helm of our schools and the difference they make every day transforming our communities.  

    Visit principalsmonth.org send an E-card to a principal and access the social media toolkit.

     

    Walk to School Day!

    Don’t miss Walk to School Day next Wednesday, October 4.  School principals will share out plans for their buildings/schools.  Walk to School Day is a great day to spend time with kids, get to know your neighbors and maybe even lay down some healthy habits!!!

     

    Planning for Growth!

    Your East Helena School Board is planning for the future of our community and district.  This is a great place to live and raise a family, and the secret is out!  As you drive around the district, you can see new houses being built and new folks moving in.  Developers and planners are telling us this is just the tip of the iceberg in what is coming our way in terms of growth as reclaimed ASARCO property is converted to new subdivisions.  We want to be prepared!

     

    Last winter the district hired SMA Architects (The folks who designed our awesome high school) to come and help us with some master planning for facilities.  The master plan will inform the board of their options in terms of new construction, additions, and remodeling to accommodate the students we expect in the not-so-distant future.  The process has included:

    • an assessment of our current facilities and their viability into the future,

    • a community survey of the public’s perception of our facility needs,

    • a small committee of board members and district leaders who meet regularly to plan, and

    • meetings with community groups like the EHHS Boosters and the East Helena PTO. 

     

    We also planned two community meetings for the general public to gather input and share plans.  The first meeting took place a couple weeks ago at EHHS. The second community meeting is scheduled for October 16 at 7 PM in the Radley Gymnasium.  At this meeting we will present proposals for the final master plan and gather community input and ideas to inform the board.  The public is invited to attend!

     

    The State of the District Budget

    I am regularly asked how we are getting along financially in light of the failed mill levy request from last spring’s ballot.  The answer is we are doing ok, but we have our challenges ahead.  When the $333,000 mill levy request failed we sharpened our pencils and determined where we could make cuts that would have the least impact on kids.  In most school districts, salaries for personnel make up a majority of the budget, and we are no exception.  So when cuts need to be made it almost always affects our staffing.  We are a people business, and it takes people to serve our kids. With that being said, we were able to identify a number of positions we had been planning to fill with the additional funds that we could eliminate without having to lay anyone off.   So the cuts did not actually result in anyone losing their job. But positions that are unfilled mean fewer services for our students.  Here is a list of the positions we cut from the budget and did not fill:

    • 5 paraprofessional positions (1 per school),

    • A Career and Technical Education teaching position at EHHS,

    • 1 of our 2 required JROTC positions (This jeopardizes the program),

    • An additional day-maintenance worker to take care of our schools,

    • an elementary teaching position.

     

    As we plan for next year we continue to evaluate our financial position.  

    • Surprisingly we are seeing less student enrollment growth than we anticipated, and while that helps our numbers in the classroom, it actually can have a negative or zero growth impact to our general fund budget.  

    • We are nearing the end of our COVID era funding which added $4,000,000 to district resources over the last 4 years.

    • Our literacy grant, which has provided $450,000 per year for the last 5 years, is set to expire at the end of this year,

    • We are dealing with inflationary pressure on everything we need to buy for the kids, and 

    • We continue to have salary pressure to try and be competitive in this labor market and keep up with inflation. 

     

    As the school year continues, I will be working with the school board to dial in our funding needs and priorities.  Your school district has always worked hard to be responsible with resources and forward thinking. We try to take advantage of grant funding and other resources available to us. If you have comments or ideas, please send them my way as we try and consider all options to maintain our awesome programs while keeping costs in line.  

     

    Now Hiring - Open positions for 23-24 school year

    We (Still) have a number of open positions to fill for the 23-24 school year.  See below for more info and please spread the word:

     

    • Building Secretary - EHHS - $16.65/hour - 40 hours per week. 10 month schedule.

    • Classroom Paraprofessionals - Multiple positions - 7 hours/day Late August - Early June.  School schedule.  Starting pay $14.90/Hour

    • Kitchen Aid - Variable Hours.  School schedule. Up to 4 positions available.  Starting Pay $13.65/Hour

    • Bus Drivers - Variable hours (Mornings/afternoons) -, School Schedule. We will train you!  Starting Pay $17.90/Hour

    • JROTC Instructor

     

    You can find more information and application links here.

     

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    9.08.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens. 

      

    Communications Update!

    This should be your last Friday edition of the “Superintendent Update.”  As we have worked hard and set goals across the district to communicate openly with parents from the classroom to the central office, we have heard from some folks that it’s a little bit too much information to digest every Friday afternoon.  With that in mind we are adjusting the superintendent update to every other Wednesday this year.  So the next message will come Wednesday, Sept 27. Additionally, we have been invited by the Helena Independent Record to submit a monthly guest column which will be published the first Tuesday of each month. We’ll do our best to share those out through our channels as well.  At the end of the day, our goal is to keep parents informed and up to date with what’s going on in their schools.  We appreciate the feedback, and hope to continue our tradition of strong positive relationships between the schools and home to provide the best network of support for the children of East Helena Schools.

     

    Master Planning Meeting

    The district has hired SMA Architects to assist us in preparing for the significant growth the East Helena Community is expecting in the coming years.  Representatives from SMA want to meet with and hear from the local community.  To accomplish this, there will be two public meetings for folks to hear about the planning work and offer input.  The forest of these meetings is coming next Thursday, September 14 at 7:00 PM at EHHS.  All are welcome.  We hope to see you there.

     

    School Board Policies

    In East Helena we are fortunate to have a school board of dedicated individuals who have the best interest of our children at heart.  Our board works hard to maintain transparency and a solid relationship with the community.  Board members also regularly review and discuss policy keeping our policy manual up to date with current state and federal laws and regulations.  Our board policies are updated and maintained on our website for public access.  You can find the policy manual at the link below:

     

    https://simbli.eboardsolutions.com/Policy/PolicyListing.aspx?S=36031281&ptid=amIgTZiB9plushNjl6WXhfiOQ==

     

    Policies specifically related to parental rights are: 2132, 2158, 2335, 3233, 3510, 3410, 3413, and 3600.

     

    EHPS policy #2335 - Annual Notice 

    The week’s supt update is our annual notice for the 23-24 school year regarding policy 2335.  This annual notice is a requirement of SB 99 from the 2021 legislature. Our local district has always put a high value on teacher-parent communication.  Especially regarding something as sensitive as human sexuality instruction.  We always want to work with families to ensure that  we are working together to meet our curricular obligations while honoring your family’s viewpoints and providing the best education possible for your kids.  So in addition to this notice, I want to encourage all parents to be open and communicative with their child’s teacher(s) and/or principal if you have special requests regarding human sexuality instruction and your child.  

     

    In the East Helena Public Schools, these are the classes in which age appropriate instruction is scheduled to occur on the topic of human sexuality:

    • Grades 5-8 Health and PE

    • Grade 7 science (biology)

    • Grade 10 Health and Biology classes

    • Grade 11-12 Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology 

     

    Additionally, it is possible that class discussions on the topic of human sexuality may occur in some middle school and high school literature and history classes as well as our high school psychology classes.

     

    If you have questions about the nature of human sexuality instruction in your child’s classes, the best plan is to reach out to the teacher and principal and request more information.  Parents are welcome to review materials prior to instruction and, if desired, your child can be given an alternate assignment and be excused from the instruction on a given day.  

     

    Now Hiring - Open positions for 23-24 school year

    We (Still) have a number of open positions to fill as we prepare and plan for the 23-24 school year.  See below for more info and please spread the word:

     

    Classified (hourly) positions:

    • Classroom Paraprofessionals - Multiple positions - 7 hours/day Late August - Early June.  School schedule.  Starting pay $14.90/Hour

    • Kitchen Aid - Variable Hours.  School schedule. Up to 4 positions available.  Starting Pay $13.65/Hour

    • Bus Drivers - Variable hours (Mornings/afternoons) -, School Schedule. We will train you!  Starting Pay $17.90/Hour

    • JROTC Instructor

     

    You can find more information and application links here.

     

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    8.25.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens. 

      

    School Start up!

    Next Wednesday, we’ll open our doors to the 2023-24 school year!  Our staff has been attending trainings and busily preparing for the kids by getting schools, classrooms, gymnasiums, buses, and cafeterias in tip top shape.  

     

    We are looking forward to seeing the kids next week!  It hardly seems possible that summer has passed so quickly!  Here’s some quick “at a glance” info:

     

    School Board Policies

    In East Helena we are fortunate to have a school board of dedicated individuals who have the best interest of our children at heart.  Our board works hard to maintain transparency and a solid relationship with the community.  Board members also regularly review and discuss policy keeping our policy manual up to date with current state and federal laws and regulations.  Our board policies are updated and maintained on our website for public access.  You can find the policy manual at the link below:

     

    https://simbli.eboardsolutions.com/Policy/PolicyListing.aspx?S=36031281&ptid=amIgTZiB9plushNjl6WXhfiOQ==

     

    Now Hiring - Open positions for 23-24 school year

    We (Still) have a number of open positions to fill as we prepare and plan for the 23-24 school year.  See below for more info and please spread the word:

     

    Classified (hourly) positions:

    • Classroom Paraprofessionals - Multiple positions - 7 hours/day Late August - Early June.  School schedule.  Starting pay $14.90/Hour

    • Kitchen Aid - Variable Hours.  School schedule. Up to 4 positions available.  Starting Pay $13.65/Hour

    • Bus Drivers - Variable hours (Mornings/afternoons) -, School Schedule. We will train you!  Starting Pay $17.90/Hour

    • JROTC Instructor

     

    You can find more information and application links here.

     

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    7.21.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your mid-simmer update from Superintendent Rispens. 

      

    Remembering Mrs. Huschka

    With heavy hearts, we need to let you know of the passing of one of our East Helena High School teachers, Angela Huschka.  Angela died on July 17, 2023 in Blaine County, MT.

     

    Angela worked for the East Helena Schools for 6 years after a successful business career.  She started as a substitute teacher and helped us get East Helena High School off the ground as the school's first Business Education teacher.  She had a heart for kids, and always put the kids first in everything she did.   In addition to her full time teaching responsibilities, she was involved in our Business Professionals of America chapter and she led students in supervising the student store and the school's concession stand. She was respected and loved by co-workers and students alike.  She had recently retired to spend more time with her husband and family.  She will be sorely missed.

     

    For anyone who was lucky enough to work with, learn from, or simply be in the presence of Angela, you knew how genuine, supportive, and caring she was. She could make any of us feel at ease and was incredibly dedicated to ensuring all students were given the best opportunity for success at all times. 

     

    As we celebrate her life and remember all of the passion she brought to everything she did - working concessions, helping students get the Haberdashery up and running, attending every concert or game or event she could, and simply being the biggest cheerleader for our kids - let's all do our part to ensure her passion lives on! 

     

    Please keep Angela's family in your thoughts and prayers and hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight. 

     

    Memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on July 25, 2023 at Our Lady of the Valley Church, with a reception to follow at Our Lady of the Valley Church.

     

    Sports Physicals for High School Students

    Fall sports for high schoolers are just around the corner.  Information about specific teams and coach contact info can be found here.

     

    All student athletes must have their sports physical complete before participating in tryouts or practices.  We have partnered with Pureview Health this year to hold physicals onsite at EHHS to make things easier on parents and students.   The info is below:

     

    Join us at the East Helena School Sports Physical Clinic on July 31st and August 1st, from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the East Helena High School Gymnasium to support the school's sports programs and promote your child's health. Sports physicals are available for $25, payable by cash or check only. Insurance will not be accepted at these clinics. All proceeds go to the school district's sports programs!

      

    To enroll your child in the clinic, please use the online sign-up form at https://bit.ly/easthelenasports.

    East Helena Sports Physicals - You can book online!

    You can now book and manage appointments using our booking page.

    We thank Helena Orthopedics and PureView Health Center for making this event possible.

     

    We are anticipating a turnout of 200 to 300 individuals. Although walk-ins are allowed, we highly recommend booking an appointment to guarantee availability.

     

    Students need to bring their completed concussion form to their physical.  Click here for the form.

     

    Kim Aarstad Named Outstanding School Business Official

    Most parents don't get too much interaction with  the school business office, but we have a small (but awesome) crew working behind the scenes to ensure our staff and bills get paid on time.  School district finances are complicated and can be difficult to understand.  Additionally, our growth from a K-8 district to a K-12 district has added an extra burden to our financial management duties.  Managing all of this for the EHPS has been Kim Aarstad.  She has worked for the district for the past 30 years.  In addition to her responsibilities with the school district, Kim has taken leadership roles in her state organization, MASBO (MT Association of School Business Officials).  This year at their annual conference in June, Kim was names MASBO’s Outstanding Business Official for 2023.  She was nominated by Superintendent Rispens and had letters of recommendation from former Superintendent Whitmoyer and Board Chair, Scott Walter.  Here are some excerpts from her nomination letters:

    “In her role with EHPS, Kim consistently demonstrates a deep knowledge and understanding of the complexities and intricacies of school finance and funding.  Her years of experience coupled with her tenacity make her an incredible asset to our school system. “

    “For over twenty years, Kim Aarstad has steadfastly served the East Helena Public Schools in the dual roles as our business manager /District Clerk. Within those roles she has consistently demonstrated an incredible depth of knowledge, a high level of professionalism, and a keen eye for detail and accuracy.”

    “Though the demands of the job require very technical skills, and Mrs. Aarstad excels at working with numbers, she possesses eloquent interpersonal skills and a very calm demeanor which make her an extraordinarily effective communicator and distinguished clerk and business manager.”

    Here’s a photo of Kim with her husband, Rich and Mr. Rispens at the awards ceremony:

     

     

    Central Office Shuffle

    Prior to receiving the Outstanding Business Official award, Kim Aarstad had informed the board of her intent to retire at the end of August 2023.  In preparation for that transition, we have made the following adjustments to staffing and duties at Central Office:

     

    Jill Hoogerheide is our new Business Manager and Clerk.

    Jennifer Wiedbusch is now handling payroll duties as well as onboarding new employees and HR.

    Denise Linton has been hired to handle sub clerk duties and accounts payable.

    Jennifer Cordell is still the executive secretary for the district and has taken over management of our district activity accounts.

     

    Central Office is open Monday - Friday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.You can reach any of our Central Office staff at 406-227-7700.

     

    Property Tax information

    There has been a lot in the news regarding the new property tax valuations and assessments.  The school district budget is set by complicated school funding formulas in state law.  Our local levy request was turned down by voters in May prior to any property valuation notices being sent out.  So our budget will be set at the level allowed in the state finding formula.  All that is to say, if your property taxes increase, the additional funds are not being funneled to the school district’s general fund. 

     

    We do anticipate an increase in the taxable valuation of the district which actually reduces the number of mills necessary to collect to raise the same amount of money.   Property taxes and school finance can be challenging to understand.  This link to an article by the Montana Free Press may be a good way to learn more about the process: 

     

    https://montanafreepress.org/2023/06/22/property-taxes-explained-with-pictures/

     

    Pureview Health

    Pureview health notified the board in June that they had to close the East Helena Clinic due to low utilization.  It just wasn't making financial sense for them to continue. The school board is weighing its options in terms of next steps for the clinic building and whether the district should continue trying to offer some type of health service for the East Helena Community.    If you have thoughts or comments, you can send them to me, and I will relay the info along to the school board.

     

    Summer Meals

    The school district summer meals program starts June 12 and continues through August 18.  The meal site will be the PPE Cafeteria and free meals are available for kids age 18 and under.  For meal times and additional information visit our website at this link.

     

    Now Hiring - Open positions for 23-24 school year

    We have a number of open positions to fill as we prepare and plan for the 23-24 school year.  See below for more info and please spread the word:

     

    Classified (hourly) positions:

    • Classroom Paraprofessionals - Multiple positions - 7 hours/day Late August - Early June.  School schedule.  Starting pay $14.90/Hour

    • Building Custodian - Full Time with Full single insurance.  Evening Shift when school is in session. Day Shift in Summer.  Starting Pay  $15.90/Hour

    • Kitchen Aid - Variable Hours.  School schedule. Up to 4 positions available.  Starting Pay $13.65/Hour

    • Bus Drivers - Variable hours (Mornings/afternoons) -, School Schedule. We will train you!  Starting Pay $17.90/Hour

     

    You can find more information and application links here.

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • First Day of School  - August 30 - Grades 1 - 12;  August 31 for kindergarten

    • Community Meetings for Facility Master Planning Sept 14 at 7 PM at EHHS; October 16 at 7 PM at Radley Gymnasium.

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    6.7.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your weekly update from Superintendent Rispens.  

      

    Happy Last Day of School

    Students were dismissed at 1:30 this afternoon for summer break!!!!  I want to thank my staff for their hard work and dedication this year, and  I hope you are able to enjoy some fun in the sun with your kids!  Strong families are the key to student success, and summer vacation provides ample opportunity to make memories.  Enjoy!

     

    I’ll be taking a break from loading up your inbox over the summer, but will send occasional updates with important information if necessary.

     

    Please remember that our parent resource page for summer 2023 is available to assist you in finding activities for your kids this year. 

     

    Also remember that school offices will remain open to mid June and then re-open in Mid August.  The Central Office is open all summer Monday - Friday 8 - 4.  

     

    PLEASE TAKE OUR SURVEY!!!

    The district is in the process of doing some master planning for facilities.  Our partner, SMA Architects are gathering public opinions about school facilities and we need your input.  Please take our survey at the  link below  before it closes June 30.  

     

    Got 5 minutes? Your feedback is important to East Helena Public Schools! Please complete this short survey as part of the initial feedback phase of the long-term comprehensive Facilities Master Plan of all District facilities as we proactively plan for the future of the schools: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/EHPSFacilitiesMasterPlan. Please complete the survey no later than June 30. Thank you for your time!

     

    Summer Meals

    The school district summer meals program starts June 12 and continues through August 18.  The meal site will be the PPE Cafeteria and free meals are available for kids age 18 and under.  For meal times and additional information visit our website at this link.

     

    Now Hiring - Open positions for 23-24 school year

    We have a number of open positions to fill as we prepare and plan for the 23-24 school year.  See below for more info and please spread the word:

     

    Certified teaching positions to fill (Starting Wage $44,187 and up DOQ - Excellent benefit package):

    • High School Math Teacher

    • High School Social Studies (Part time unless combined with English)

     

    Classified (hourly) positions:

    • Classroom Paraprofessionals - Multiple positions - 7 hours/day Late August - Early June.  School schedule.  Starting pay $14.90/Hour

    • Building Custodian - Full Time with Full single insurance.  Evening Shift when school is in session. Day Shift in Summer.  Starting Pay  $15.90/Hour

    • Kitchen Aid - Variable Hours.  School schedule. Up to 4 positions available.  Starting Pay $13.65/Hour

    • Bus Drivers - Variable hours (Mornings/afternoons) -, School Schedule. We will train you!  Starting Pay $17.90/Hour

     

    Coaching positions:

    • Assistant Wrestling Coach

    • Swimming Coach

     

    You can find more information and application links here.

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • June 13 - 10:00 AM - Air service meeting upstairs at Helena Regional Airport

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

     

     

    6.2.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your weekly update from Superintendent Rispens.  

      

    Graduation Livestream Link

    The 1st EVER High School Graduation will happen in East Helena tonight at 6:30 PM at EHHS.  The ceremony will be livestreamed by iFLYBIGSKY and Brett Penner Photography.  The link to the live stream is here.

     

    Due to concerns about the weather, we have decided to hold the graduation ceremony indoors in the EHHS Gym.  Due to capacity constraints, each graduate’s family was given 7 tickets to the ceremony.  Tickets are required for admission

     

    New Trail Opening Celebration

    Greetings! Prickly Pear Land Trust is pleased to invite you to the opening of 'The Grove' park in East Helena on National Trails Day, Saturday, June 3. Montana Conservation Corps, community volunteers, and the public will gather at JFK Park (near the pool) at 10:45 am and meander to The Grove at 11:00 am. Come join us to celebrate this incredible East Helena space -- walk the new trails, visit with PPLT staff, board, and community members. 

     

    This new park on the banks of Prickly Pear Creek is a proud product of partnerships between Prickly Pear Land Trust, The City of East Helena, East Helena Public Schools, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Montana Environmental Trust Group, the State of Montana, and other key community stakeholders. Please forward this to others, and we can't wait to celebrate with you. Let us know if you have any questions. 

     

    Happy Trails!

     

    School Year Wrap Up!!!

    Well, we made it.  Next week we wrap the 2022-23 school year.  I hope that all of our EHPS families have some fun family activities planned for the break, and that you get to get out and enjoy our great state with your kids a bit before fall.

     

    Just a reminder that school offices will remain open to mid June and then re-open in Mid August.  The Central Office is open all summer Monday - Friday 8 - 4.  

     

    The last day of school:

    • EHHS Seniors - Thursday, June 1 with graduation tonight at 6:30.  

    • Today (June 2) is the last day of school for kindergarten and kinderCubs. 

    • Tuesday, June 6 is the last day of school for 8th graders who will be having their 8th grade celebration that day, 

    • Next Wednesday is the last day for all other grades. 

    • Wednesday, June 7 is an early release day with dismissal at 1:30 PM for grades 1-7 and 1:20 PM for grades 9-11.

     

    Summer Meals

    The school district summer meals program starts June 12 and continues through August 18.  The meal site will be the PPE Cafeteria and free meals are available for kids age 18 and under.  For meal times and additional information visit our website at this link.

     

    Now Hiring - Open positions for 23-24 school year

    We have a number of open positions to fill as we prepare and plan for the 23-24 school year.  See below for more info and please spread the word:

     

    Certified teaching positions to fill (Starting Wage $44,187 and up DOQ - Excellent benefit package):

    • Elementary teacher(s)

    • High School Math Teacher

    • High School Social Studies (Part time unless combined with English)

    • High School English (Part time unless combined with Social Studies)

    • Special Education Teacher

     

    Classified (hourly) positions:

    • Classroom Paraprofessionals - Multiple positions - 7 hours/day Late August - Early June.  School schedule.  Starting pay $14.90/Hour

    • Building Custodian - Full Time with Full single insurance.  Evening Shift when school is in session. Day Shift in Summer.  Starting Pay  $15.90/Hour

    • Kitchen Aid - Variable Hours.  School schedule. Up to 4 positions available.  Starting Pay $13.65/Hour

    • Bus Drivers - Variable hours (Mornings/afternoons) -, School Schedule. We will train you!  Starting Pay $17.90/Hour

     

    Coaching positions:

    • Assistant Wrestling Coach

    • Swimming Coach

     

    You can find more information and application links here.

     

    Annual Title 1 Stakeholder Meeting

    The public is welcome and invited to our annual Title 1 Program meeting.  Parents of Title 1 students are encouraged to attend.  The meeting is Monday, June 5 at 4:30 PM in the EVMS LIbrary.

     

    Parent Summer Resource Center

    Summer vacation is just about upon us, and that can spell stress for working families looking for care and activities for younger students.  Are you looking for summer activities that your child can join or participate in?  The school district is trying to help families find and locate clubs, camps, and other activities for youth in our area.  We have dedicated a portion of our website under “Parent Resources” as a clearing house for parents to peruse and visit.  Be advised that we have not researched these activities and are not endorsing any of them.  This is informational only.  Parents are advised to conduct their own research and ensure that the camp or activity is something that fits your family’s values and priorities. You can find the information at the link below:

     

    https://www.ehps.k12.mt.us/domain/407

     

    Do you have a camp or activity that should be included?  Submit it to Jen Cordell at jcordell@ehps.k12.mt.us.  We’ll review and post as appropriate.

    Mark your Calendars

    • June 2 - EHHS Graduation!

    • June 7 - Last day of school

    • June 13 - 10:00 AM - Air service meeting upstairs at Helena Regional Airport

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    5.26.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your weekly update from Superintendent Rispens.  

      

    Parent Summer Resource Center

    Summer vacation is just about upon us, and that can spell stress for working families looking for care and activities for younger students.  Are you looking for summer activities that your child can join or participate in?  The school district is trying to help families find and locate clubs, camps, and other activities for youth in our area.  We have dedicated a portion of our website under “Parent Resources” as a clearing house for parents to peruse and visit.  Be advised that we have not researched these activities and are not endorsing any of them.  This is informational only.  Parents are advised to conduct their own research and ensure that the camp or activity is something that fits your family’s values and priorities. You can find the information at the link below:

     

    https://www.ehps.k12.mt.us/domain/407

     

    Do you have a camp or activity that should be included?  Submit it to Jen Cordell at jcordell@ehps.k12.mt.us.  We’ll review and post as appropriate.

     

    EHHS Graduation

    The FIRST EVER High School Graduation in East Helena will occur next Friday evening at 6:30 PM at East Helena High School.  The ceremony will be held outside at the EHHS Stadium weather permitting.  If the weather is bad,  the event moves indoors, and tickets will be required for admission.   Thanks to iFlyBigSky and Brett Penner, the grad ceremony will be Livestreamed on the web.  You can find the link at:

     

    graduation.ehpsmt.org

     

    No School Monday - Happy Memorial Day

    All of us here in the East Helena Schools are hopeful that the Memorial Day weekend provides opportunities for your family to recreate and enjoy some time together.  Let’s also remember the meaning behind this important national holiday, which is to honor the memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  

     

    Air Services Meeting information

    The Helena Regional Airport and the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce are hosting a Helena Air Services Alliance informational meeting.  If you have an interest in learning more about how air travel in and out of our area is determined, you should consider attending.  The event will be held in the upstairs meeting room at the airport on Tuesday, June 13 at 10:00 AM.  Please rsvp to info@helenachamber.com if you’re planning to attend.  

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • June 2 - EHHS Graduation!

    • June 7 - Last day of school

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    5.22.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your weekly update from Superintendent Rispens.  

      

    East Helena Soapbox

    If you’re interested in being part of a conversation to learn more about what’s going on in East Helena, drop by Confluence tonight at 6 PM.  I will be on a Soapbox panel with school board chairman, Scott Walters, East Helena Mayor, Kelly Harris, and East Helena City Councilman, Wes Feist. The topic is “What the East Helena?” and we’ll be discussing the history and future of our community from a municipal and education perspective.  There will be opportunities for audience Q and A.  

     

    Confluence is located at 40 S Last Chance Gulch in Downtown Helena (On the Walking Mall).  The event starts at 6 PM.  Hope to see you there. 

     

     

    Spring Sports Wrap up

    I was not able to send the Supt Update last Friday.  I was out and about in Western Montana attending our Division softball game against Libby and our Divisional track meet in Corvallis.  It was exciting to see our kids in action representing our town at this level.   This year our inaugural baseball team and our softball team performed well as we continue to build and develop our programs.  Our track and Tennis teams are sending a number of students on to State this weekend.  Here’s a rundown of who will be competing for EHHS:

    Track:

    • Kaeden Sager

    • Trevor Held

    • Parker Bucy

    • Jack Nelson

    • Greg Knight

    • Connor Haines

    • Sofia Moya

    • Teagen Wigen

    • Talia Wigen

    • Michaela Cary

    • Montana Pierson

    • Rori Schoenfeld

    Tennis:

    • Amber Stevenson

    • Justin Brewer

     

    Good luck to our state qualifiers and a hearty THANK YOU to all of our athletes for representing our school and community!!!

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • June 2 - EHHS Graduation!

    • June 7 - Last day of school

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    5.12.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your weekly update from Superintendent Rispens.  

      

    EHHS Accreditation

    On Thursday of this week, Principal Kessler and I attended the Montana Board of Public Education meeting in Great Falls.  On the agenda was a hearing regarding full accreditation for East Helena High School.  Until this year, we had been operating under a provisional accreditation status since we did not have all 4 grades enrolled at EHHS.  This year, the OPI staff conducted our final site visit to interview students, staff, and parents while viewing the facility and high school classes in action.  The recommendation was full accreditation with no deviations.  This achievement marks the culmination of more than 4 years of work by district leadership and teaching staff in partnership with parents, students and the entire East Helena Community to create a new high school for our kids.  Of particular special note in the site visit report was the high level of involvement and input by parents in our school’s creation, development and ongoing improvement.  That is something we can all be proud of!

     

    As we move forward to our first ever high school graduation in three weeks,  there’s time for reflection on just how far we have come from the early “We Are EH” days when the high school idea really gained momentum. The people of East Helena rallied behind the notion of having our own high school and never looked back.  Led by a visionary school board and the relentless work of our former superintendent, Mr Whitmoyer, we have done what others said was impossible.  It has been the honor of a lifetime to be able to be part of that process and help this community create a brand new high school for East Helena kids.  Congratulations everyone!!!! 

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • June 2 - EHHS Graduation!

    • June 7 - Last day of school

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    5.05.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your weekly update from Superintendent Rispens.  

      

    Vigilante Day

    The question was raised several times on social media in the past couple weeks about why East Helena Kids did not have “Vigilante Day” off for Helena’s Vigilante Parade this year.   The answer is that when the school board adopted the 2022-23 calendar back in February of 2022, they discussed the issue and concluded that since East Helena students were no longer participating in the actual parade, it was no longer necessary to take the day off school.  Prior to this year, there were still East Helena kids attending Helena High School since we did not have all 4 grades functioning in EHHS yet.  In those days it made sense to mark the day as a day off so younger siblings could attend the parade and see their older brothers’ and sisters’ floats.

     

    As to WHY our high school students are not involved in the parade, the answer is pretty simply that the parade is a Helena Schools event, created and produced entirely by Helena school students and staff.  We are now a completely separate district.  In the old days prior to EHHS we were actually part of the Helena High School district for grades 9-12.  Marian Davidson of KTVH did a pretty good story explaining the situation.  You can find it here.

     

    These are not easy transitions for any of us, including your superintendent, who graduated from HHS and has attended or participated in the Vigilante Parade for the last 50 years.  I actually served as the parade chairperson for 4 years while teaching at Helena High way back in the 1990’s.  Whether or not our students can participate in another district’s parade is not our decision.  However, setting our calendar IS our choice (next year’s calendar has already been adopted).  I am open to your thoughts, ideas, and opinions.  You can email me here.

     

    Failed Levy

    We read the election results with great disappointment this week.  Not only did our levy request fail, but it did so by a fairly wide margin (nearly 10%).  Our request for an increase in the general operating fund of $334,000 would have helped by allowing us to hire some additional teaching and maintenance staff, and it would have supported increases in health insurance and agreed upon wage increases for our hourly workers like classroom paraprofessionals, custodians, and bus drivers.  

     

    Like everyone else, the district has been impacted by inflationary increases in areas like utilities, supplies, health insurance costs, and wage pressure.  We are working to manage these inflationary pressures while still delivering the high quality educational services our community has come to expect.  We have also added nearly 165,000 sq ft of building space and 85 acres of property to take care of and manage over the last 5 years.  These new schools need to be cleaned, heated, maintained, and cared for.

     

    We’ll be working in the business office to trim expenses and balance the 23-24 budget with the least impact on services to students as possible. 

     

    If you have any questions or comments about the levy, you can shoot me a note here.

     

    Police Presence

    We have 2 full time School Resource Officers who are assigned to EHHS and EVMS, but they work to serve all of our schools.  The SRO contract with the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office will be up for renewal at Monday's Board meeting

     

    Recent headlines related to school violence have caused us to  discuss the possibility of an increased police presence at our schools.  You may notice a patrol car parked at the elementary schools more frequently, and it is not a cause for alarm, but rather just a sign of our partnership with local law enforcement to provide as much protection for our students as possible.  

     

    School Board

    The EHPS Board of Trustees meets monthly on the second Monday.  At next Monday's meeting, we‘ll say farewell to trustee Breck Scheet, who has served for 15 years.  Breck followed in his mother’s footsteps.  She also served on the East Helena School Board!  Thank you Breck for your service to the kids of East Helena!!  A little known fact is that Breck and I actually graduated from Helena High together back in the 80’s.  So it’s been fun working with an old classmate.

     

    On Monday night we will welcome new trustee Tristen Ulmer to the board.  Tristen will be sworn in for a 3 year term along with Martin Balukas and Mark Diehl who are renewing their terms for another 3 years.  

     

    Our trustees are elected officials who volunteer a significant amount of time to serve the community.  We appreciate their service.  

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • June 2 - EHHS Graduation!

    • June 7 - Last day of school

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens




     

     

     

    4.28.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your weekly update from Superintendent Rispens.  

      

    Flood Awareness -  Warmer Weather

    Well, After one heck of a winter and about 5 days of “Spring”, it looks like summer starts tomorrow based on the 10 day forecast.  We are on track to see record temps this weekend in our area.  I am looking forward to summer-like temperatures for sure.  But one concern we should remain vigilant about is flood potential.  Mountain snowpacks are at or above historical averages and a rapid warm up like this can cause rapid melting.  Our area has been prone to some flooding in past years of high snowpack and rapid melt off. 

     

    This past winter, the district participated in a tri-county table top exercise addressing flood awareness and preparedness. If flooding occurs, the district will cooperate with city, county and state disaster and emergency services to inform parents of closures and public information pertinent to the situation.  Additionally we will provide resources to assist in dealing with the situation.  During severe flood events, school closures are possible to protect public safety.

     

    Residents can help out too.  If you are new to the area, visit with old timers and locals about where flooding may occur (based on past history) and how to prepare your neighborhood.  Landowners can make sure culverts and ditches are clear and open. Lastly, paying attention to weather forecasts and reports as well as social media pages related to the Sheriff's Office and County DES will help keep you “in the know.”

     

    Valley Drive Pavement repair

    Asphalt repair work continues on Montana Street (Valley Drive) next week.  We will continue to use the messaging system to inform families about street closures to try and deal with them in a  proactive fashion.  The closures are disruptive, but the work is needed.  The City of East Helena has assured me they appreciate your patience.

     

    FREE  Car Seat Safety Check

    There is a FREE car seat check scheduled for May 4, 2023 from 2:30- 4:30 PM at the Knight of Columbus at 1867 Washington Street in Helena (Behind Pomp’s Tire off Airport Road).  Stop by for a safety check.

     

    Driver’s Education - **LAST CALL**

    The sign-up link will shut off at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 28. The link can be found on the EHHS Website, or by clicking here. Families will be notified the first week of May as to which class their child has been placed in by email.   Students need to be 14.5 years old by the time the class starts.

     

    AFSP Campus Walk April 29 * TOMORROW*

    East Helena High School will once again serve as the host for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Walk on Saturday, April 29. We know that there continues to be a need to bring awareness, hope, and support for everyone in our community to who struggles with mental illness and suicidal thoughts. We hope that by hosting these events, we continue to build a sense of community in that we are all in this together and that it is okay to ask for help when you need it. To register for the walk, either as an individual or a team, you can use the following link

     

    School Levy Election

    There is still time to mail in your ballot.  You can also drop it by Central Office and save the postage. 

     

    In other news…

    The  Helena Area Chamber of Commerce notified its membership this week that the Chamber is “officially in favor of the levies supporting the Helena and East Helena Schools.”

     

    Are you Registered to vote?

    If not, you can find the voter registration form at this link.

    https://sosmt.gov/wp-content/uploads/Montana_Voter_Registration_Application.pdf

     

    The form must be printed and physically signed.  It can be mailed in to the address for Lewis and Clark County on the back side.  Or you can scan and email it to:

    elections@lccountymt.gov

    Or fax to 406-457-8598  

     

    Questions?  Contact the county election office at 406-447-8339

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • April 22 - AFSP Campus Walk at EHHS

    • May 2 - Ballots due at L and C County elections office

    • June 2 - EHHS Graduation!

    • June 7 - Last day of school

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    4.21.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your weekly update from Superintendent Rispens.  

      

    Valley Drive Pavement repair

    We have been notified by the City of East Helena that they have a crew working on pavement repair on Montana Street, and they will be working between Main street and Lewis Street next week.  The work will require street closures on that portion of Montana Street which is heavily used by parents during pick up and drop off times.  The closures will only affect the afternoon commute.  We will send notices home via our messaging system on days the street will be closed.  You will want to select an alternative route to and from your child's school(s) on those days.  The work is weather dependent.  This will be a pretty big inconvenience for parents and school transportation but I am pretty sure we can all agree that the repairs are much needed!

     

    TIGER Program Grant Report

    Our After School TIGER Program is funded through a federal grant called 21st Century Schools.  We are in our last year of the grant and have re-applied for the funding to continue so we can keep offering a safe, after school space for our students who need it.  As part of our grant requirements, we are required to do annual reporting.  The report evaluation is to be shared with the community.  You can access the report at this link if you’d like to check it out.

     

    Driver’s Education - LAST CALL

    The sign-up link will shut off at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 28. The link can be found on the EHHS Website, or by clicking here. Families will be notified the first week of May as to which class their child has been placed in by email.   Students need to be 14.5 years old by the time the class starts.

     

    AFSP Campus Walk April 29

    East Helena High School will once again serve as the host for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Walk on Saturday, April 29. We know that there continues to be a need to bring awareness, hope, and support for everyone in our community to who struggles with mental illness and suicidal thoughts. We hope that by hosting these events, we continue to build a sense of community in that we are all in this together and that it is okay to ask for help when you need it. To register for the walk, either as an individual or a team, you can use the following link

     

    School Levy Election

    There is still time to mail in your ballot.  You can also drop it by Central Office and save the postage. 

     

    In other news…

    The  Helena Area Chamber of Commerce notified its membership this week that the Chamber is “officially in favor of the levies supporting the Helena and East Helena Schools.”

     

    Are you Registered to vote?

    If not, you can find the voter registration form at this link.

    https://sosmt.gov/wp-content/uploads/Montana_Voter_Registration_Application.pdf

     

    The form must be printed and physically signed.  It can be mailed in to the address for Lewis and Clark County on the back side.  Or you can scan and email it to:

    elections@lccountymt.gov

    Or fax to 406-457-8598  

     

    Questions?  Contact the county election office at 406-447-8339

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • April 22 - AFSP Campus Walk at EHHS

    • May 2 - Ballots due at L and C County elections office

    • June 2 - EHHS Graduation!

    • June 7 - Last day of school

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens




     

     

     

    4.14.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your weekly update from Superintendent Rispens.  

      

    Garden with us!

    Did you know East Helena has a wonderful Community Garden located next to EVMS?  And that there are plots available for this growing season?  Reserve a garden plot by clicking here!

     

    Plots are 20' x 10' and the cost is $40 for the whole season (plot fee waivers are available if needed).  Water is on an automatic timer - perfect for when you're on vacations or gone for long weekends!  

     

    Questions?  Contact Stephanie Metzger at 406-459-9292.

     

    School Levy Election

    Mail in ballots are being sent today and should arrive in your mailbox early next week.

     

    At the March School Board meeting, the Board unanimously voted to request a mill levy increase for next year’s budget.  The basis of the need for this request is ongoing growth, inflation, and a need for increased wages for hourly staff.  The Board is requesting a $334,000 levy to meet  these obligations and continue providing the high quality education East Helena families have become accustomed to.  This increase will be added to the district’s general fund which funds all basic operations of the district.  We estimate the increase will add $5-$8/month to the average tax bill in East Helena.

     

    The levy, if approved, will support the following for East Helena:

    • 2 additional full time teaching positions to meet accreditation standards and reduce class sizes,

    • 1 additional maintenance/custodial position to take care of our buildings and grounds,

    • Pay increases for classified staff (Bus drivers, Classroom paraprofessionals, Custodians, Food service workers)  to keep pace with inflationary increases.

     

    The East Helena district has not run very many mill levies in the 22 years I have worked here. Our Board has a track record of fiscal responsibility and the district does not take taxpayers for granted.  This request comes from the impacts of inflation and the need for the district to attract and keep high quality employees to work with our kids.   Anyone with questions about the levy can email me for more information:  drispens@ehps.k12.mt.us

     

    Will you support the levy? 

    I am asking for your “YES” vote for East Helena kids.  We need your support.

     

    Consider posting this sign in your car or home window to show support for our kids.  Many supporters are also positing the image on their social media as their temporary profile picture.  

     

     

     

    Are you Registered to vote?

    If not, you can find the voter registration form at this link.

    https://sosmt.gov/wp-content/uploads/Montana_Voter_Registration_Application.pdf

     

    The form must be printed and physically signed.  It can be mailed in to the address for Lewis and Clark County on the back side.  Or you can scan and email it to:

    elections@lccountymt.gov

    Or fax to 406-457-8598  

     

    Questions?  Contact the county election office at 406-447-8339

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • April 14 - Ballots Mailed to registered voters..

    • April 29 - AFSP Campus Walk at EHHS

    • May 2 - Ballots due at L and C County elections office

    • June 2 - EHHS Graduation!

    • June 7 - Last day of school

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    4.07.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Happy April!!  Here’s an update from Superintendent Rispens.  

     

    EHHS Choir Spaghetti Feed (LOCATION CHANGE - Now at EHHS)

    The EHHS Vigilante Choir is planning a trip to Seattle to participate in a regional choir festival.  The kids have been working hard to raise money to offset the cost of the trip, and their latest fundraiser is going to be a tasty one that will get you out of cooking dinner this coming Monday, April 10.  

     

    The Choir will be hosting a Spaghetti Feed at East Helena High School in the Commons from 6 - 8 PM on April 10 (doors open at 5:30).  One cool thing is that they are also offering a carry-out/pick up option for folks who cannot dine in.  The carry out is from 5 - 6 PM.  The cost is $10 for adults and $6 for kids.  For folks who choose to dine in at the High School, the choir will be offering live entertainment!  Don’t miss this fun opportunity to get out of cooking for the night and support a good cause!  For more information, call EHHS at 227-7730.

      

    American Foundation For Suicide Prevention Campus Walk

    Almost everyone has been impacted in some way by suicide.  Whether a friend, family member, neighbor, or community member, one loss is one too many.  East Helena is a community that has been impacted particularly by youth suicide.  Your local school district has taken several steps to intervene early and support students and families who may be in need.  In an effort to raise awareness about this important  public health issue that takes a heavy toll on communities, EHHS has planned a campus walk in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  The campus walk is scheduled for Saturday, April 29, 2023. More details will be coming soon, but mark your calendars now for the AFSP Campus Walk. 

     

    Voter Registration-PLEASE Register to vote

    As mentioned in previous updates, the district is asking taxpayers for a mill levy increase for our 23-24 budget to help manage increasing costs and inflation. The levy will also fund some additional teaching and maintenance positions in the district.  Ballots will be mailed to voters on April 14.  Are you registered to vote?  If not, you can find the voter registration form at this link.

     

    the form must be printed and physically signed.  It can be mailed in to the address for Lewis and Clark County on the back side.  Or you can scan and email it to:

     

    elections@lccountymt.gov

     

    Or fax to 406-457-8598

     

    Questions?  Contact the county election office at 406-447-8339

     

     

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • April 8 - Public Safety Open House at 911 Dispatch Center

      • 11 AM - 3 PM

      • At the 911 Dispatch Center, 3425 Skyway Drive in Helena

      • Free drinks

      • Exhibits by First Responders

      • Helicopters on Display

      • Police Vehicles on Display

      • Guided Tours of the 911 Center

      • Fire Trucks on Display

    • April 10 - EHHS Coir Spaghetti Feed Fundraiser at EHHS Commons:  PIck up at 5:00 PM, DIne in 6-8 PM

    • April 11 - ACT @ EHHS for Juniors 

    • June 2 - EHHS Graduation!

    • June 7 - Last day of school

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens




     

     

     

    3.30.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Happy Spring Break!!!  Here’s a short Spring Break update from Superintendent Rispens.  

     

    Voter Registration

    As mentioned in previous updates, the district is asking taxpayers for a mill levy increase for our 23-24 budget to help manage increasing costs and inflation. The levy will also fund some additional teaching and maintenance positions in the district.  Ballots will be mailed to voters on April 14.  Are you registered to vote?  If not, you can find the voter registration form at this link.

     

    The form must be printed and physically signed.  It can be mailed in to the address for Lewis and Clark County on the back side.  Or you can scan and email it to:

     

    elections@lccountymt.gov

     

    Or fax to 406-457-8598

     

    Questions?  Contact the county election office at 406-447-8339

     

    Valley Drive Letters of Support

    The (MUCH Needed) Valley Drive expansion and improvements are moving forward.  One key piece of that project is the exercise path on the east side of Valley and its possible extension to Canyon Ferry Road for better pedestrian access.  

     

    The City of East Helena is asking for support for a grant they are pursuing to extend the path.  You can help by sending a letter of support to the Dept of transportation.  You can find a sample letter of support at this link.   Letters are due by April 5 so time is of the essence. 

     

    EHHS Choir Spaghetti Feed

    The EHHS Vigilante Choir is planning a trip to Seattle to participate in a regional choir festival.  The kids have been working hard to raise money to offset the costs of the trip, and their latest fundraiser is going to be a tasty one that will get you out of cooking dinner on April 10.  

     

    The Choir will be hosting a Spaghetti Feed at Lifepoint Church on Lake Helena Drive from 6 - 8 PM on April 10.  One cool thing is that they are also offering a carry-out/pick up option for folks who cannot dine in.  The carry out starts at 5 PM.  The cost is $10 for adults and $6 for kids.  For folks who choose to dine in at Lifepoint, the choir will be offering live entertainment!  Don’t miss this fun opportunity to get out of cooking for the night and support a good cause!  For more information, call EHHS at 227-7730.

      

    School Levy Election

    The Helena IR ran a nice article in today’s paper about our upcoming Levy request.   

     

    Anyone interested in helping with advocacy to pass the levy or if you have questions, you can email me for more information:  drispens@ehps.k12.mt.us

     

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • Valley Drive Bridgework (Valley Drive Closed to through traffic) -March 25 -April 2 (Spring Break). 

    • April 8 - Public Safety Open House at 911 Dispatch Center

      • 11 AM - 3 PM

      • At the 911 Dispatch Center, 3425 Skyway Drive in Helena

      • Free drinks

      • Exhibits by First Responders

      • Helicopters on Display

      • Police Vehicles on Display

      • Guided Tours of the 911 Center

      • Fire Trucks on Display

    • April 10 - EHHS CHoir Spaghetti Feed Fundraiser at Lifepoint Church 6-8 PM

    • April 11 - ACT @ EHHS for Juniors 

    • June 2 - EHHS Graduation!

    • June 7 - Last day of school

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

     

     

    3.24.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Happy Spring Break!!!  Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.  

     

    Spring Break

    I just want to wish all of our staff and students (and families) a safe and happy (and restful) Spring Break!  School resumes April 3, 2023.  We’ll see you then (No Supt update next week).

     

    Spring Testing

    After Spring break, we’ll start our mandatory state assessments for grades 3-8 and 11. Students in grades 3-8 will be taking the Smarter Balanced Assessments for Reading and Math.  Grades 4 and 8 also take a science assessment.   Students at EHHS in 11th grade will be taking the ACT as their mandatory assessment.  Testing schedules will be distributed by the schools, so parents know when the tests are coming up. 

     

    We want to set our kids up for success, and teachers have been preparing kids for the upcoming assessments so they are conformable with the format and style of the tests.  Parents can help by:

    • Encouraging kids to do their best on the tests,

    • Ensuring kids are in attendance on test days and arrive to school on time,

    • Making sure kids get a good night’s sleep before test days and have a good breakfast,

    • Reminding kids that it is just one test and all we can ask for is that they try their best.  We don’t want to apply too much pressure on our kiddos in this time of already heightened anxiety. 

    If you have questions about the testing, please contact your child’s teacher or school counselor for more information.

     

    EHHS Choir Spaghetti Feed

    The EHHS Vigilante Choir is planning a trip to Seattle to participate in a regional choir festival.  The kids have been working hard to raise money to offset the costs of the trip, and their latest fundraiser is going to be a tasty one that will get you out of cooking dinner on April 10.  

     

    The Choir will be hosting a Spaghetti Feed at Lifepoint Church on Lake Helena Drive from 6 - 8 PM on April 10.  One cool thing is that they are also offering a carry-out/pick up option for folks who cannot dine in.  The carry out starts at 5 PM.  The cost is $10 for adults and $6 for kids.  For folks who choose to dine in at Lifepoint, the choir will be offering live entertainment!  Don’t miss this fun opportunity to get out of cooking for the night and support a good cause!  For more information, call EHHS at 227-7730.

      

    School Levy Election

    The Helena IR ran a nice article in today’s paper about our upcoming Levy request.   

     

    Anyone interested in helping with advocacy to pass the levy or if you have questions, you can email me for more information:  drispens@ehps.k12.mt.us

     

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • Valley Drive Bridgework (Valley Drive Closed to through traffic) -March 25 -April 2 (Spring Break). 

    • April 8 - Public Safety Open House at 911 Dispatch Center

      • 11 AM - 3 PM

      • At the 911 Dispatch Center, 3425 Skyway Drive in Helena

      • Free drinks

      • Exhibits by First Responders

      • Helicopters on Display

      • Police Vehicles on Display

      • Guided Tours of the 911 Center

      • Fire Trucks on Display

    • April 10 - EHHS CHoir Spaghetti Feed Fundraiser at Lifepoint Church 6-8 PM

    • April 11 - ACT @ EHHS for Juniors 

    • June 2 - EHHS Graduation!

    • June 7 - Last day of school

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens




     

     

     

    3.17.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!  Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.  

     

    EHHS Senior Prom and Grand March

    The Vigilantes will hold their Senior Prom Saturday night at EHHS.  Our tradition will include a Grand March at 7 PM in the EHHS Gym.  See below for more details.

     







    Public Safety Open House

    The City County public safety Open House is a neat opportunity for kids (and parents) to learn more about our first responders. This year marks the 5th anniversary of the event which will be held on April 8, 2023.  Here are some additional important details:

    • Saturday, April 8, 2023

    • 11 AM - 3 PM

    • At the 911 Dispatch Center, 3425 Skyway Drive in Helena

    • Free drinks

    • Exhibits by First Responders

    • Helicopters on Display

    • Police Vehicles on Display

    • Guided Tours of the 911 Center

    • Fire Trucks on Display

     

    School Levy Election

    At Monday’s School Board meeting, the board unanimously voted to request a mill levy increase from taxpayers for next year’s budget.  The basis of the need for this request is ongoing growth, inflation, and a need for increased wages for hourly staff.  The board is requesting a $334,000 mill levy to meet  these obligations and continue providing the high quality education East Helena families have become accustomed to.   

     

    The East Helena district has not run very many mill levies in the 22 years I have worked here. Our board has a track record of fiscal responsibility and the district does not take taxpayers for granted.  This request comes from the impacts of inflation and the need for the district to attract and keep high quality employees to work with our kids.   Anyone interested in helping with advocacy to pass the levy can email me for more information:  drispens@ehps.k12.mt.us

     

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • March 18 - EHHS Prom “Hollywood Night” - Grand March at 7 PM

    • Valley Drive Bridgework (Valley Drive Closed to through traffic) -March 25 -April 2 (Spring Break). 

    • April 8 - Public Safety Open House at 911 Dispatch Center

    • April 11 - ACT @ EHHS for juniors 

    • June 2 - EHHS Graduation!

    • June 7 - Last day of school

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens




     

     

     

    3.10.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Happy Friday!!!  Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.  

     

    Daylight Savings Time!  Spring Forward Sunday!

    Don’t forget to SPRING those clocks ahead 1 hour Saturday night/Sunday morning.  We will now have a little more daylight in the evenings, but the mornings will be dark for a while.  The dark mornings cause me to remind all parents to be extra cautious and vigilant when driving.   Please keep an eye out for students.   

     

    This time change can be a challenge for our students (especially the littlest ones) as their bodies adjust.  Please keep an eye on your child to watch for signs of fatigue etc.  If you have concerns, do not hesitate to communicate with your child’s teacher or our school nurses.

     

    Early Release Monday

    On Monday, 3/13 we will have an early release.  Students are dismissed at 1:30 PM to allow for staff training.

     

    School Board meeting and district budgets

    In East Helena, we are fortunate to have a School Board that is invested in kids and in making our schools the best they can be.  Our next school board meeting is coming up Monday, March 13 at 5:30 PM in the EVMS library.  This month the school board will be taking up some important topics such as curriculum adoptions, facility studies, and budget planning.  

     

    You find the school board agenda packet at this link

     

    You can access all school board  documents at this link

     

    Regarding the school budget, we are struggling with the realities of high (10%)  inflation and wage pressures against the state increase of 2.7% for next year’s base budget.  Clearly this is not going to add up to being able to continue to provide a high quality experience for our kids.  The school board and district is trying hard to be fair with our staff and offer wages that attract and retain high quality people while being good stewards of the tax dollars we have been entrusted with.  Monday evening I will present information to the board and recommend the possibility of requesting a modest mill levy increase to be put on the May Ballot.  If the board agrees and approves, we will be asking for your support by sending in your mail ballot and supporting our mill levy request.  

     

    I will be providing more information in coming weeks, such as actual dollar amount and tax impacts as well as how the funds will be used.  In the meantime, check out the board documents and don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions or comments.

     

    Repeated items below in case you missed it….

     

    Kindergarten Registration

    This is a reminder to all families with children who will be 5 years old by September 10 that kindergarten registration is open.  Please spread the word.  You can find the registration page at this link.

     

    Registration for the 2023-24 school year is underway. 

    Our district is migrating to a new student information system next year and we're taking the opportunity to update the contact information we have for families around our district. We'll be able to use this information to link your students and build household and contact information accordingly. 

     

    Thank you to the 700+ families that have submitted applications with updated information for your child(ren) and household. If you haven't had the chance to register your household, you can click on the link below, follow the OLR link on our homepage, or navigate to registration.ehpsmt.org to begin your online registration process. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our support team via support@ehps.k12.mt.us.

     

    EHPS Online Registration

     

    Quick Tips:

    • Enable pop ups. The application windows will not launch if they aren't turned on.

    • Ensure that all parents/guardians are listed in the Parent/Guardian section and not listed as an emergency contact.

    • If the student is a member of a split household, please ensure that contact information is included for both parents and addresses.

    • Uploading documents (proof of residency, birth certificate, and immunizations) is only required for students enrolling in the district for the first time.

     

    (Repeated item) EHHS Prom - Tickets Available

    The East Helena High School Junior/Senior Prom will be held March 18 at EHHS.  This year’s theme is Hollywood Nights.  Tickets are available online at this link via Go Fan.  

     

    It is important to  note that any students needing assistance finding formal wear for prom can access the Vigilante Attic to borrow attire.  Students can make an appointment to visit the Vigilante Attic in their Jr/Sr Google Classrooms starting next week.  Anyone wishing to donate items for the Vigilante Attic, should contact the school at 227-7730 or email Mrs. Schoenfeld.  

     

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • March 13 - EHHS Spring Sports begin

    • March 18 - EHHS Prom “Hollywood Night”

    • Valley Drive Bridgework (Valley Drive Closed to through traffic) -March 25 -April 2 (Spring Break). 

    • April 11 - ACT @ EHHS for juniors 

    • June 2 - EHHS Graduation!

    • June 7 - Last day of school

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    3.03.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Happy Friday!!!  Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.  

     

    227 Day

    Back in the days of landlines, most if not all East Helena phone numbers started with the prefix "227"..  Over time, that number took hold as a badge of honor among the kids who grew up here and proudly told anyone who asked, they were from "The 227".    Lately, on Social Media, February 27 (2/27), has been informally observed as "227" day and as a sort of East Helena Heritage day.    And lastly, with the advent of our own high school and being an independent K-12 district, our board chair has asked us to make Feb 27 a day of school observance in which we honor the history, heritage and legacy  of East Helena and teach the kids a little bit about it.  Last Monday was our 227 day and kids across the district had the opportunity to learn about our town’s unique heritage.  Schools tried to spread the word about it with their families.  Please take a minute to chat with your children about their 227 lessons to see what they learned and to learn a bit more about East Helena’s history for yourself!

     

    Public Invited to Informational Meeting Regarding Valley Drive Upgrades

    Helena, MT – Lewis & Clark County, the City of East Helena and Stahly Engineering invite the

    public to an information meeting to discuss plans for improvements to Valley Drive, from Lewis

    Street to Canyon Ferry Road. Lewis & Clark County is responsible for the upgrades from Plant

    Road to Canyon Ferry Drive, and the City of East Helena is responsible for the upgrades from

    Lewis Street to Plant Road. At the public meeting, the elements of the project will be explained

    in detail, and interested persons will be given the opportunity to ask questions regarding the

    project.

    WHAT: Public meeting on Valley Drive Improvement Projects

    WHEN: March 8, 2023, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

    WHERE: East Helena High School

    2760 Valley Dr, East Helena, MT 59635

    FOR MORE INFORMATION:

    Dan Karlin, Lewis & Clark County (406) 447-8034

     

    Kindergarten Registration

    This is a reminder to all families with children who will be 5 years old by September 10 that kindergarten registration is open.  Please spread the word.  You can find the registration page at this link.

     

    Registration for the 2023-24 school year is underway. 

    Our district is migrating to a new student information system next year and we're taking the opportunity to update the contact information we have for families around our district. We'll be able to use this information to link your students and build household and contact information accordingly. 

     

    Thank you to the 700+ families that have submitted applications with updated information for your child(ren) and household. If you haven't had the chance to register your household, you can click on the link below, follow the OLR link on our homepage, or navigate to registration.ehpsmt.org to begin your online registration process. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our support team via support@ehps.k12.mt.us.

     

    EHPS Online Registration

     

    Quick Tips:

    • Enable pop ups. The application windows will not launch if they aren't turned on.

    • Ensure that all parents/guardians are listed in the Parent/Guardian section and not listed as an emergency contact.

    • If the student is a member of a split household, please ensure that contact information is included for both parents and addresses.

    • Uploading documents (proof of residency, birth certificate, and immunizations) is only required for students enrolling in the district for the first time.

     

    (Repeated item) EHHS Prom - Tickets Available

    The East Helena High School Junior/Senior Prom will be held March 18 at EHHS.  This year’s theme is Hollywood Nights.  Tickets are available online at this link via Go Fan.  

     

    It is important to  note that any students needing assistance finding formal wear for prom can access the Vigilante Attic to borrow attire.  Students can make an appointment to visit the Vigilante Attic in their Jr/Sr Google Classrooms starting next week.  Anyone wishing to donate items for the Vigilante Attic, should contact the school at 227-7730 or email Mrs. Schoenfeld.  

     

    (Repeated Item) Bus Issues - Drivers Needed

    We continue to struggle to maintain staffing for our transportation needs.  While we hired one new driver in the past month, two drivers have also left, leaving our crew in a  bind to keep all route and activity buses rolling.  Even your superintendent and athletic director get into the action when we are short handed taking on a  route or trip when needed.

     

    This continued shortage is creating pressure on our system and may eventually force us to consolidate down to 8 routes.  If that were to happen it could jeopardize seats for students who reside inside the 3 mile limit.  This could affect all riders in Red Fox Meadows, Canal Circle, Meadowlark, Pele Park, Mountain View Meadows, and The Valley Drive Stops.   While we're working hard to keep all routes rolling, out of an abundance of caution, I want parents to be aware that bus service for those areas could be disrupted and an alternate means of getting kids to school would be required.  I will do my best to keep you posted about this with plenty of advance notice. 


    Additionally, if you or someone you know may be interested in learning a new skill and earning your CDL to be a school bus driver, we offer paid training and assistance with passing the tests.  Our starting wage for bus drivers is $17.90/hour.   Give us a call at 406-227-7700.

     

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • March 6 - High School Baseball begins

    • March 8 - Public MTG Re: Valley Drive Improvements - EHHS 7 PM

    • March 9 - Parent College -from 5:30  - 8:00 PM at EHHS. 

    •  

    • March 13 - EHHS Spring Sports begin

    • March 18 - EHHS Prom “Hollywood Night”

    • Valley Drive Bridgework (Valley Drive Closed to through traffic) -March 25 -April 2 (Spring Break). 

    • April 11 - ACT @ EHHS for juniors 

    • June 2 - EHHS Graduation!

    • June 7 - Last day of school

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    2.24.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Happy Friday!!!  Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.  

     

    HiSET (Equivalency) Classes

    As mentioned in an earlier Supt Update, we are trying to expand our adult education offerings for the community. One area we would like to offer additional service is in completion of a high school equivalency for folks who are no longer of school age and would like to complete their certificate (Diploma equivalent).  If you or someone you know would benefit from this type of course, please ask them to complete our scheduling survey at this link to determine the best days and times to offer the HISET Course.   

     

    Kindergarten Registration

    This is a reminder to all families with children who will be 5 years old by September 10 that kindergarten registration is open.  Please spread the word.  You can find the registration page at this link.

     

    EHHS Prom - Tickets Available

    The East Helena High School Junior/Senior Prom will be held March 18 at EHHS.  This year’s theme is Hollywood Nights.  Tickets are available online at this link via Go Fan.  

     

    It is important to  note that any students needing assistance finding formal wear for prom can access the Vigilante Attic to borrow attire.  Students can make an appointment to visit the Vigilante Attic in their Jr/Sr Google Classrooms starting next week.  Anyone wishing to donate items for the Vigilante Attic, should contact the school at 227-7730 or email Mrs. Schoenfeld.  

     

    Bus Issues - Drivers Needed

    We continue to struggle to maintain staffing for our transportation needs.  While we hired one new driver in the past month, two drivers have also left, leaving our crew in a  bind to keep all route and activity buses rolling.  Even your superintendent and athletic director get into the action when we are short handed taking on a  route or trip when needed.

     

    This continued shortage is creating pressure on our system and may eventually force us to consolidate down to 8 routes.  If that were to happen it could jeopardize seats for students who reside inside the 3 mile limit.  This could affect all riders in Red Fox Meadows, Canal Circle, Meadowlark, Pele Park, Mountain View Meadows, and The Valley Drive Stops.   While we're working hard to keep all routes rolling, out of an abundance of caution, I want parents to be aware that bus service for those areas could be disrupted and an alternate means of getting kids to school would be required.  I will do my best to keep you posted about this with plenty of advance notice. 


    Additionally, if you or someone you know may be interested in learning a new skill and earning your CDL to be a school bus driver, we offer paid training and assistance with passing the tests.  Our starting wage for bus drivers is $17.90/hour.   Give us a call at 406-227-7700.

     

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • EHHS PT Conferences - February 27 and March 1 4-7 pm both days

    • EHHS Spring Sports Parent meeting - FEB 28 6:00 PM at EHHS

    • Parent College - Mar 9, 2023 from 5:30  - 8:00 PM. 

    • March 6 - High School Baseball begins

    • March 13 - EHHS Spring Sports begin

    • March 18 - EHHS Prom “Hollywood Nights”

    • Valley Drive Bridgework (Valley Drive Closed to through traffic) -March 25 -April 2 (Spring Break).  

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    2.10.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Happy Friday!!!  Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.  

     

    School Counseling Week

    Today marks the end of School Counseling Week, and I just want to give a shout out to our awesome crew here in East Helena.  Our school counselors are here to connect with kids and families and find ways for all kids to be successful in school.  The job can be stressful and challenging.  Our counselors regularly have to deal with some pretty tough situations.  We appreciate all they do to support our kids, families, and community.  Our EHPS School counselors are:

    Eastgate - Derik Chaney

    PPE - Jannice Odermann

    Radley - Michael Cloeren

    EVMS - Kevin VanNice

    EHHS - Kelli Kerpa and Ethan Hoffman

     

    Kindergarten Registration

    This is a reminder to all families with children who will be 5 years old by September 10 that kindergarten registration is open.  Please spread the word.  You can find the registration page at this link.

     

    Bus Issues - Drivers Needed

    We continue to struggle to maintain staffing for our transportation needs.  While we hired one new driver in the past month, two drivers have also left, leaving our crew in a  bind to keep all route and activity buses rolling.  Even your superintendent and athletic director get into the action when we are short handed taking on a  route or trip when needed.

     

    This continued shortage is creating pressure on our system and may eventually force us to consolidate down to 8 routes.  If that were to happen it could jeopardize seats for students who reside inside the 3 mile limit.  This could affect all riders in Red Fox Meadows, Canal Circle, Meadowlark, Pele Park, Mountain View Meadows, and The Valley Drive Stops.   While we're working hard to keep all routes rolling, out of an abundance of caution, I want parents to be aware that bus service for those areas could be disrupted and an alternate means of getting kids to school would be required.  I will do my best to keep you posted about this with plenty of advance notice. 


    Additionally, if you or someone you know may be interested in learning a new skill and earning your CDL to be a school bus driver, we offer paid training and assistance with passing the tests.  Our starting wage for bus drivers is $17.90/hour.   Give us a call at 406-227-7700.

     

    State Wrestling and Swimming

    EHHS Students are competing this weekend at state swimming and wrestling.  We are so proud of these students representing the Vigilantes!!!!

     

    More Drinking Water News

    As of today most of the new water filters are installed at EHHS in the bottle fill and drinking fountains.  We have asked our water specialist to conduct testing of that filtered water being dispensed as an extra measure of caution.  Additionally, it looks like the new city system will be functioning in mid to late March.  

     

    Superintendent out of Town

    There will be no Superintendent update next week.  I will be out of town in San Antonio for the national Superintendent conference.  I am very excited to go and learn how to be better at making our school district the best it can be.  And I am appreciative of the opportunity to go.

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • EHHS PT Conferences - February 27 and March 1 4-7 pm both days

    • Parent College - Mar 9, 2023 from 5:30  - 8:00 PM. 

    • March 6 - High School Baseball begins

    • March 13 - EHHS Spring Sports begin

    • Valley Drive Bridgework (Valley Drive Closed to through traffic) -March 25 -April 2 (Spring Break).  

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     



     

     

    2.03.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Happy Friday!!!  Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.  

     

    Radley Tutoring Opportunity

    Radley Elementary would like to begin offering before and after school tutoring. Right now we are in the initial planning stages. The first consideration is to gauge the interest from families. Please complete the short survey to help us with our planning.

     

    Other details:

    Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday:

    AM session: 7:30AM-8:00AM

    PM session: 3:30PM-4:30PM

     

    PLEASE COMPLETE THE QUESTIONS BELOW ONLY IF YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR CHILD TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR TUTORING PROGRAM.

     

    Radley Tutoring Program Family Survey

     

    SIck Kids

    Our school nurses report that they’ve seen a  marked increase in illness the past couple weeks.  They report numerous cases of RSV, Influenza, strep,and nausea/vomiting.  In the interest of keeping all kids and the community healthy, please try and keep kids home when they are sick.   Prior to returning to school, student must be:

    • fever free for 24 hours without medication

    • 24 hours since the last episode of vomiting/diarrhea. without medication.

     

    I realize that many families are concerned about attendance now that we have moved past Pandemic protocols and principals are once again directed to notify families about absences.  However, sending an ill child to school, simply prolongs and spreads the sickness around town.  Your school principals will work with you on the absences if notified of the medical necessity and most doctor’s offices will fax a doctor’s note right to the school for you.  

     

    Speech and Debate Shout out!

    Our Vigilante Speech and Debate team recently competed at the state tourney.  The following shout outs are warranted based on the crew’s performance:

    • Semi-finalists:

      • Ava Snyder - Original Oratory and Memorized Public Address

      • Lucy Rode - Humorous Interpretation and Duo Interpretation

      • Cassie Goulart - Duo Interpretation

      • Arianna Hrvatin - Informative and Impromptu

    • Placers

      • Dru Lindsey who took 2nd in State Class A for Extemporaneous and for Impromptu!

    • Way to go team, we are super proud of you!

     

    This weekend our Vigilante Wrestlers are competing in Polson at Class A Divisionals.  

     

    Go Vigilantes!!!

     

    East Helena City Water Update

    I wanted to provide an update regarding the ongoing city water concern.

     

    When it started looking like the situation was going to last longer than anticipated, the district hired an independent consultant to do some random testing at the four school sites on City of EH Water (PPE, Radley, EVMS, and EHHS).   The results were mixed and showed higher than recommended copper limits from at least one faucet in each school.  The good news is that our filtered bottle fill stations and the filtered water at the Radley kitchen (Where school meals are prepared) were all well below recommended limits.  This tells us that while we are waiting for the new anti corrosion systems to be installed, our filtration systems are doing their job and students and staff can continue safely refilling water bottles at the stations.  The COEH anticipates that the new system could be operational in late February/early March.

     

    As mentioned previously, we recently discovered the bottle fill stations at EHHS were installed without filtration.  Those filtration kits have been ordered and delivered and we are working on getting them installed ASAP (Anticipated next week)   For now, water is being hauled to EHHS From Eastgate (Well water) for students and staff to refill water bottles.  

     

    Mark your Calendars

    • EHHS PT Conferences - February 27 and March 1 4-7 pm both days

    • Parent College - Mar 9, 2023 from 5:30  - 8:00 PM. 

    • Valley Drive Bridgewak (Valley Drive Closed to through traffic) -March 25 -April 2.  

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens




     

    1.27.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Happy Friday!!!  Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.  

     

    Parent Teacher Conferences for EG/PPE and EVMS next week

    Winter P-T Conferences are upon us as we get rolling next week with EG/PPE and EVMS Conferences.  Parent teacher conferences are your best spot to get connected with your child’s teacher and school.  Principals, counselors, and specialty staff will be on hand on conference nights to assist with questions you may have about your child’s education.  In East Helena, our goal has always been 100% participation in P-T conferences, and we are encouraging families to plan now to attend.  If you have a question about your conference day or time, please reach out to your child’s teacher or school for assistance.  Below are the dates for all P-T conferences:



    Winter Parent-Teacher Conferences Dates (Some have changed from the school calendar)

    EG/PPE

    January 31st and February 2nd

     

    Radley

    February 7 and 9

     

    EVMS

    January 30 and February 1 

     

    EHHS

    February 27 and March 1 4-7 pm both days

     

    Families in Need

    2023 has not started out so well for some of our East Helena families. One of our 1st graders at PPE, Harper, has recently been diagnosed with auto-immune and chronic liver ailments.  Harper’s mom is a counselor at Warren School and her aunt teaches here at Radley School.  The staff and students of PPE have organized a “Hats for Harper '' Day next Wednesday, Feb 1.  On Hat days, students can donate a dollar and wear a hat all day at school.  All money received will be donated to Harper's family to help with travel expenses and medical costs. Eastgate, PPE, Radley, and EVMS are all doing Hats for Harper on Wednesday.  EHHS will also be doing a fundraiser for Harper next week with details to be announced at school.

     

    Health issues have also affected the Walsh family.  Mrs. Walsh is a 7th grade math teacher at EVMS and has taught math to  hundreds of EHPS kids over the years.  Recently her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor that is proving difficult to treat.  The family has significant expenses related to medical costs and travel.  Fellow staff members at EVMS have arranged a “Go Fund Me” for Mrs. Walsh and her family.  Anyone who would like to participate can find the details at this link. 

     

    Parent College

    Your EHPS crew is bringing back “Parent College” this year.  Parent college is a fun night for parents to come into the schools and learn about a variety of topics.  School staff and area experts will present informational sessions related to healthy living and parenting, how to plan for college, how to spot signs of suicide and depression, and signs of drug abuse to name a few.  Mark your calendars for Mar 9, 2023 from 5:30  - 8:00 PM.  More details will be shared as plans firm up. 

     

    (Repeated Item) LaCrosse Opportunity For Area Youth

    Helena Youth LaCrosse is taking registrations for the 2023 season.  Visit helenalacrosse.com for more information or to register.

     

    (Repeated Item) New Year - New Pay Rates at the EHPS

    At their regular school board meeting Monday night, the EHPS School Board approved new pay rates for several positions with the schools.  This action adjusted the starting rates of pay for several positions.  We are currently advertising for classroom paraprofessionals and bus drivers and have several positions open.  You can find the application at this link.  

     

    There are many benefits of working for the school district such as: helping kids succeed, having  a schedule similar to your kids (Holidays and weekends off), paid leave, a retirement plan,  and health benefits.  Here are the new hourly pay rates which took effect this week:

    • Kitchen Aide - $13.65

    • Paraprofessionals - $14.90

    • School Secretary - $16.65

    • Bus Drivers - $17.90 (We will train you!)

    • Custodians - $15.90

    • Tutors - $20.90

     

    (Repeated item) Soccer Camp Opportunity

    The EHHS Vigilante Soccer Program will be hosting indoor youth soccer camps in late February and early March.  The camps are open for students in grades 1-8 and the cost is $25/athlete.  For more info about the dates, times and how to sign up, go to: Vigilantesoccer.com or click here for the website.

     

    (Repeated item)  Valley Drive Bridge Work

    We have been informed by the county that the Valley Drive preliminary widening work will begin this spring break at the canal bridge on Valley Drive.  Valley Drive will be closed to through traffic the entire week of Spring Break, March 25 - April 2.  Please plan accordingly.

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens




     

    1.20.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Happy Friday!!!  Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.  

     

    Content is light in this week’s supt update, but I am including a lot of items from last week in case you missed it.  Have a great weekend everyone!

     

    LaCrosse Opportunity For Area Youth

    Helena Youth LaCrosse is taking registrations for the 2023 season.  Visit helenalacrosse.com for more information or to register.

     

    (Repeated Item) New Year - New Pay Rates at the EHPS

    At their regular school board meeting Monday night, the EHPS School Board approved new pay rates for several positions with the schools.  This action adjusted the starting rates of pay for several positions.  We are currently advertising for classroom paraprofessionals and bus drivers and have several positions open.  You can find the application at this link.  

     

    There are many benefits of working for the school district such as: helping kids succeed, having  a schedule similar to your kids (Holidays and weekends off), paid leave, a retirement plan,  and health benefits.  Here are the new hourly pay rates which took effect this week:

    • Kitchen Aide - $13.65

    • Paraprofessionals - $14.90

    • School Secretary - $16.65

    • Bus Drivers - $17.90 (We will train you!)

    • Custodians - $15.90

    • Tutors - $20.90

     

    (Repeated Item) Winter Parent-Teacher Conferences Dates (Some have changed from the school calendar)

    EG/PPE

    January 31st and February 2nd

     

    Radley

    February 7 and 9

     

    EVMS

    January 30 and February 1 

     

    EHHS

    February 27 and March 1 4-7 pm both days

     

    (Repeated item) Soccer Camp Opportunity

    The EHHS Vigilante Soccer Program will be hosting indoor youth soccer camps in late February and early March.  The camps are open for students in grades 1-8 and the cost is $25/athlete.  For more info about the dates, times and how to sign up, go to: Vigilantesoccer.com or click here for the website.

     

    (Repeated item)  Valley Drive Bridge Work

    We have been informed by the county that the Valley Drive preliminary widening work will begin this spring break at the canal bridge on Valley Drive.  Valley Drive will be closed to through traffic the entire week of Spring Break, March 25 - April 2.  Please plan accordingly.

     

    (Repeated item) EHHS GRADUATION!

    Graduation Day: Friday, June 2 - 6:30 p.m.

    Eligible to Walk: All those who have completed the EHPS graduation requirements (22 credits). This includes senior students who are remote learning for the year. 

     

    (Repeated item) Proposed 2023-24 School Calendar

    The EHPS calendar committee is nearing the end of their work on the 2023-24 academic attendance calendar for the East Helena Schools.  In most ways the proposed calendar is similar to past years with typical holiday and spring breaks.  One key difference in next year’s proposed calendar is an earlier start in August than usual and an earlier dismissal in the spring than usual.  The proposed calendar starts school on August 23, 2023 and completes the year on May 31, 2024.

     

    You can view the proposed calendar at this link.

     

    We are interested in your comments and parent input.  If you have thoughts or comments about the 23-24 calendar, please email Dan Rispens or Brian Kessler.   

     

    The 23-24 calendar is set to be considered by the EHPS school board at the February meeting.

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens

     

    1.13.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Happy Friday the 13th!!!  Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.  

     

    3 Day Weekend

    There is no school Monday, January 16.  Enjoy the 3 day weekend!!!

     

    2023 State Tax Donations to schools

    Did you know you have the option to direct your anticipated 2023 state income taxes directly to the school district as a donation for innovative programs rather than paying the money into the state?  The 2021 legislature established HB 279 to accomplish just that.  HB 279 allows you to make a donation of an amount up to your total 2023 tax bill directly to the school district and receive a dollar for dollar tax credit for the same amount from your tax bill a year from now.  The district is obligated to use the funds to benefit students through creative and innovative programs.  Here are some important details:

    • Individuals or corporations can donate up to $200,000/year 

    • The aggregate total per year for the entire state is set at a $2,000,000 cap this year.  Last year the $1,000,000 cap was met in less than 5 minutes from the time the donation portal opened, so it is important to contact the district  about your donation prior to the portal opening date of 10:00 AM on January 18.

    • Your donation will be earmarked for “innovative Educational Programs.”

    • You are required to provide:

      • Your name

      • Last 4 of your social security number or Federal Employer Identification Number

      • Mailing address, physical address, and email address

     

    Once we have the info ready we can try and enter the donation into the Dept of Revenue portal when it opens at 10 AM on Wednesday, Jan 18.  If we get it submitted prior to the statewide threshold being met and exceeded, you will receive a confirmation # and receipt for the 2023 tax filing.  If the threshold is met prior to us getting the donation entered, you will receive your donation back.

     

    Questions?  Call Dan or Kim at Central Office, 227-7700.

     

    New Year - New Pay Rates at the EHPS

    At their regular school board meeting Monday night, the EHPS School Board approved new pay rates for several positions with the schools.  This action adjusted the starting rates of pay for several positions.  We are currently advertising for classroom paraprofessionals and bus drivers and have several positions open.  You can find the application at this link.  

     

    There are many benefits of working for the school district such as: helping kids succeed, having  a schedule similar to your kids (Holidays and weekends off), paid leave, a retirement plan,  and health benefits.  Here are the new hourly pay rates which took effect this week:

    • Kitchen Aide - $13.65

    • Paraprofessionals - $14.90

    • School Secretary - $16.65

    • Bus Drivers - $17.90 (We will train you!)

    • Custodians - $15.90

    • Tutors - $20.90

     

    Amber Alert Test

    When a child is abducted under life threatening circumstances, seconds count. An AMBER Alert can be issued to alert the public to assist law enforcement in searching for and saving the child.  This year, Montana is recognizing its 20th anniversary of Montana’s AMBER Alert program.  Since 2003, Montana has launched 54 AMBER Alerts and fortunately all 76 children have been located. 

     

    We want to make sure Montana’s AMBER Alert system works well when we need it, so on Friday, January 13th, 2023 at approximately 10:00 am, a live test of Montana’s AMBER Alert system will be conducted.  During the test, a message will be broadcast on cell phones, Montana Broadcasting TV & radio stations, the National Weather Service Emergency Alert System and NOAA Weather radio, the MT Lottery, and the MT Department of Transportation road signs and 511 information line.  Action by the public during the test is not required. However, if you did NOT receive the test message on your phone, you can notify us at the following website:  https://dojmt.gov/ambertest/ [dojmt.gov]




    Winter Parent-Teacher Conferences Dates (Some have changed from the school calendar)

    EG/PPE

    January 31st and February 2nd

     

    Radley

    February 7 and 9

     

    EVMS

    January 30 and February 1 

     

    EHHS

    February 27 and March 1 4-7 pm both days

     

    Soccer Camp Opportunity

    The EHHS Vigilante Soccer Program will be hosting indoor youth soccer camps in late February and early March.  The camps are open for students in grades 1-8 and the cost is $25/athlete.  For more info about the dates, times and how to sign up, go to: Vigilantesoccer.com or click here for the website.

     

    Valley Drive Bridge Work

    We have been informed by the county that the Valley Drive preliminary widening work will begin this spring break at the canal bridge on Valley Drive.  Valley Drive will be closed to through traffic the entire week of Spring Break, March 25 - April 2.  Please plan accordingly.

     

    EHHS GRADUATION!

    Graduation Day: Friday, June 2 - 6:30 p.m.

    Eligible to Walk: All those who have completed the EHPS graduation requirements (22 credits). This includes senior students who are remote learning for the year. 

     

    Proposed 2023-24 School Calendar

    The EHPS calendar committee is nearing the end of their work on the 2023-24 academic attendance calendar for the East Helena Schools.  In most ways the proposed calendar is similar to past years with typical holiday and spring breaks.  One key difference in next year’s proposed calendar is an earlier start in August than usual and an earlier dismissal in the spring than usual.  The proposed calendar starts school on August 23, 2023 and completes the year on May 31, 2024.

     

    You can view the proposed calendar at this link.

     

    We are interested in your comments and parent input.  If you have thoughts or comments about the 23-24 calendar, please email Dan Rispens or Brian Kessler.   

     

    The 23-24 calendar is set to be considered by the EHPS school board at the February meeting.

     

    LINKS

     

                

    • 2. Click the RED Get started Button

    • 3. Follow the prompts  - you will receive and emailed response after your application has been reviewed

     

     

     

    THANKS!

     

    Mr Rispens



     

    1.6.23

     

    Dear EHPS Parents,

     

    Here’s your update from Superintendent Rispens.  

     

    Water Quality Update

    I wanted to offer a quick update regarding the ongoing water issue with the City of East Helena domestic water supply.  The City has assured us they are continuing to work through the process of installing an anti corrosion system at the Wylie Well pump site.  Their plans have been submitted to the State DEQ and are awaiting final approval to proceed.  

     

    In the meantime, the East Helena Education Association tested several random bottle fill stations in the district to check for copper and lead.  One station at the high school tested high for copper.  Further investigation discovered that the bottle stations at EHHS were ordered and installed during construction without the filtration option.  

     

    Here’s what we are doing: