Gold Stars Shine Bright for Teachers

RELEASE DATE: January 12, 2023 – In the depth of December’s deep freeze, Morningside kindergarten teacher Melody Stevens was warmed by a gesture from a former student.  Well, three former students, actually.

Mrs. Stevens was in her classroom when she received a Gold Star Award, presented by the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation.  Any parent or community member can send a Gold Star to a teacher as a token of gratitude or appreciation.  This one, however, was a bit different. …

Foundation Year-End Highlights of 2022

RELEASE DATE: December 14, 2022 – As we look back on 2022, we are proud of what has been accomplished, and we hope you are too. At the Great Falls Public Schools (GFPS) Foundation, we have the privilege of partnering with community members to enhance public education. Thanks to your financial support, teachers are empowered to offer creative learning experiences, and students continue to grow in new and exciting ways. Here are some highlights for the year: …

1995 Scholarship Recipient Pays It Forward

(Photo: Stella and Phil Palm, Palm Scholarship recipient Jose Rodriguez, his mother Maria Cardenas and brother James Schmidt)

RELEASE DATE: November 10, 2022 – As winter progresses, many high school seniors are busy applying for college scholarships. Numerous scholarships are available to local students, often created by individuals or families grateful for their own education. Some call it “paying it forward,” while others call it “giving back.”  In all cases, it’s a demonstration of generosity and commitment to the next generation.  And sometimes it ripples across the years. …

Student Dinosaur Dig Thanks to Foundation

Foundation Awards $139,720 for Classroom Grant Projects

RELEASE DATE: September 28, 2022 – “That was my best day of school ever,” gushed Lincoln Elementary student Sam Kohut after a recent science lesson.

“Not the best day in sixth grade,” he clarified later, “but my best day since preschool!”

That best day was a field trip to the Montana Dinosaur Center in Bynum, where 51 Lincoln sixth graders got a hands-on science experience in paleontology.  The trip was underwritten by a grant from the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation to Sam’s teacher, Jayci Braaten. …

$136,000 in Private Donations Benefit Libraries

Five families – three libraries – two years to completion

RELEASE DATE: September 13, 2022 – Thanks to generous donors, Chief Joseph, Lincoln, and Whittier elementary have renovated libraries. Each received significant enhancements to furniture, media, books and shelving thanks to the generosity of Dr. Robert and Jamie Marshall, Jared and Annie Brown, Tom and Cindy Duffy, Benny and Karen Brandvold, and Joni and Jeff Reicher. Read the whole story here in the Great Falls Tribune. (Photo shown above: Joni Reicher, Mrs. Blythe Brandvold and Benny Brandvold. See photos below.) …

Showcasing Student Talent and Energy

CMR Students Jaclyn Kleinsasser and Kohle Schlehr recording at Cherry Creek Media – Photo credit Bejay Lindseth Cherry Creek Media.

RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2022 – It’s Win This Truck Raffle season at the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation, and you’re likely seeing TV ads and hearing radio spots boosting our efforts to sell raffle tickets for this popular fundraiser.

The money benefits Great Falls students in many ways, from classroom grants to new equipment and supplies for student clubs and athletic teams. While students greatly benefit from this fundraiser, they are also instrumental in promoting it. …

She Inspired Him Then He inspired Her

RELEASE DATE: June 15, 2022 —Last spring, wrapping up her 18th year teaching, Billi Bergman was wrung out and wondering if it was time to retire.

“Teaching through covid was, well, just wow,” said the Meadow Lark second-grade teacher.  Even as she adjusted to remote teaching, her students struggled.  She didn’t know if she had more to give, and she considered submitting her retirement letter.

A week before the deadline, something changed. …

GFH Student Videos Tell Our Story

RELEASE DATE: May 18, 2022 — When the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation wanted to share information about recent grant-sponsored projects with our donors and supporters, we turned to Great Falls High teacher Kelly Wiles and his students.

They created videos highlighting the positive impact that innovative classroom grants have on student learning. At the same time, the video students received real-world production and editing experience, along with feedback from an outside client. …

Teacher Involvement Benefits Foundation Programs

RELEASE DATE: March 23, 2022 – Dawn Reitz (pictured here with student Piper Denno) has her hands full as a German teacher and head of the Global Languages department at Great Falls High School. Yet her commitment to public education extends beyond the school. She’s currently volunteering on a project to streamline the scholarship application process at the Foundation for graduating seniors and the teachers who help them. …

Donate A One Time Or Ongoing Scholarship For High School Graduates

Setting up an educational scholarship fund can be a meaningful way to give back to your community or to honor a loved one. There are a number of things to consider when planning a scholarship. Please contact the Foundation for assistance, we are happy to help you. Contact Stephanie Schnider at [email protected] or call (406) 268-6021.