Posted on: Feb 25 2014 By: Alvin Buerkle
Due to conflicts in schedules, the regular monthly meetings for the Sweet Grass County High School Board of Trustees has been adjusted for the months of March and April. Those meetings will be held on Tuesday, March 18, and Tuesday, April 15. The meetings will still be at the regular time of 6:00 PM and will be in the SGHS library.
Posted on: Feb 25 2014 By: Alvin Buerkle
NOTICE OF SCHOOL BOND ELECTION - In accordance with state law, the following notice is placed by SGHS
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by the Board of Trustees (the “Board”) of High School
District No. CO (Big Timber), Sweet Grass County, Montana (the “District”), that pursuant to a
certain resolution duly adopted at a meeting of the Board on January 14, 2014, a special election
of the registered voters of the District will be held by mail ballot election on March 27, 2014 for
the purpose of voting on the question of whether the Board may issue and sell general obligation
school building bonds of the District in one or more series in the total aggregate principal amount
of up to One Million Five Hundred Thousand and No/100 Dollars ($1,500,000) for the purpose
of paying the costs of improving the high school campus in accordance with the District’s
facility plan, to include the design and construction costs of paving the parking facilities on high
school grounds, designing and constructing a bus barn, landscaping and planning related to such
improvements and the District facility plan; and paying costs associated with the sale and
issuance of the bonds. The bonds shall bear interest at a rate or rates to be determined by the
Board at the time of sale, and be payable semiannually during a term of not more than fifteen
(15) years as to each series of bonds.
The election will be conducted solely by mail ballot. Ballots will be mailed to all eligible
registered voters in the District on March 5, 2014, and must be returned by each voter, by mail to
the Sweet Grass County Election Administrator, Sweet Grass County, P.O. Box 888, Big
Timber, MT 59011-0888, or in person to the Sweet Grass County Election Administrator, Sweet
Grass County, 200 West 1st Avenue, Big Timber, Montana, during regular business hours (8:00
a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), weekdays (exclusive of holidays), March 6, 2014 through March 26, 2014.
On Election Day, March 27, 2014, the only place for deposit of voted ballots will be the
office of the Sweet Grass County Election Administrator, Sweet Grass County, 200 West 1st
Avenue, Big Timber, Montana, which will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and all ballots
must be in that office by 8:00 p.m. in order to be counted. All ballots will be tallied in the office
of the Sweet Grass County Election Administrator in accordance with law on March 27, 2014.
A qualified voter who will be absent from the District during the time the election is
being conducted may:
(a) vote in person in the office of the Sweet Grass County Election
Administrator as soon as the ballots are available and until noon on March 4, 2014; or
(b) make a written request prior to noon on March 4, 2014, signed by the
applicant and addressed to the office of the Sweet Grass County Election Administrator
requesting the ballot be mailed to an address other than that which appears on the
registration records. All ballots to be mailed will be mailed no later than March 5, 2014.
An elector may obtain a replacement ballot if his ballot is destroyed, spoiled, lost, or not
received by the elector by personally appearing at the office of the Sweet Grass County Election
Administrator and by:
(a) signing an affidavit form stating the reason for the request for
(b) if the reason given for replacement is “spoiled ballot,” by returning the
spoiled ballot to the office of the Sweet Grass County Election Administrator.
DATED this 14th day of January, 2014.
Sweet Grass County Election
Publish: February 27, March 6, and March 13, 2014
Posted on: Feb 18 2014 By: SGHS Admin
Click on the Resources tab (above) to see the Weekly Notes.
Posted on: Feb 11 2014 By: SGHS Admin
On January 30th, the Big Timber Speech and Drama team left for Glasgow, MT to compete in the MHSA State Speech and Drama meet. Qualifying members who competed are as follows:
Impromptu- Erin Dringman and Greta Sanders
Original Oratory- Carlie Brownlee and Honey Cranston
Serious Solo- Sara Lewis and Nikia Reynolds
Serious Duo- Ashton O’Connor and Kacin Perret
Humorous Solo- Jakob Ronneberg and Lauryn Yuzeitis
Pantomime- Wyatt MacKubbin, Lindsey Mason, and Ethan Peterson
After two days of rigorous competition and countless hours of waiting between rounds and waiting for awards - broken by the occasional dance party - the awards and placements for the competitors were announced:
Impromptu-4th Greta Sanders and 5th Erin Dringman
Orignal Oratory - 1st Carlie Brownlee
Serious Solo - 2nd Nikia Reynolds and 5th Sara Lewis
Serious Duo - 3rd Ashton O'Connor and Kacin Perret
Pantomime - 3rd Ethan Peterson and 6th Lindsey Mason
Overall, SGHS placed 2nd in the state Class B Drama category. Only Baker received more points. With only five acts and six competitors, this is an impressive feat. Great job team!
Thank you to all students and parents who made this possible.
Thank you bus drivers for lending us buses and driving them.
And a HUGE thank-you to Ms. Blaylock and Ms. Perkins for making this whole event happen!
Posted on: Feb 07 2014 By: Alvin Buerkle
SGHS Board Passes Grounds/Facility Improvement Resolution For Bond Election
At their January 14, 2014 meeting, the Board of Trustees of the SGHS District passed a resolution calling for a bond election to support improvements to the SGHS Grounds and Facilities. In particular the $1,500,000 bond would cover the design and construction costs for paving the school parking lot and parking areas around the building, design and construction costs for a bus barn, and landscaping or improvements related to those projects and the district facility improvement plan. The bonds to finance this project would have a term of 15 years term. This resolution will now go to the electorate of the district for a vote in an election arranged by the County Clerk through mail ballots. The election date is now set at March 27 to allow for requirements of state law.
The action culminated years of work on the facility/grounds plan. Last January, the board received information regarding bond sales and options that has helped with the financial planning of this project. In April of 2013, the board hired Great West Engineering to assist with the basic grounds concepts and plans to help visualize aspects and potential costs of projects. The Board also held a community information night on November 26th to present ideas to the public. Numerous community members have attended recent board meeting to express their opinions or concerns as well. The Board has appreciated these comments.
The impact of the bond on a house of $200,000 value would be approximately $26.62 in taxes per year. To determine the impact of taxes for a particular property, take the taxable value of the property times .00512 times 1.5. The Board has reviewed the proposed costs of the projects repeatedly and is determined to pursue the most cost effective solutions using local options as much as possible. In addition, other funds have been utilized as needed in the planning stages and may be used again as the project develops.
Be sure to watch this web site for further information and check out the displays at SGHS during basketball games. Feel free to contact the high school administration or visit with board members regarding your questions about this process.
Posted on: Jan 16 2014 By: Alvin Buerkle
Cookie Agnew has decided to step down from her position on the SGHS Board of Trustees. She submitted here letter of resignation to the Board at their meeting on January 14th. She has served as a board member for over 15 years in two different terms starting in 1998. Her influence on decisions, policies, programs, or committees will be missed. The following excerpt from her letter probably describes her experiences best :
“It actually is with regret that I’m submitting my resignation from the Board! And while my tenure hasn’t been unmitigated fun, over all it has been tremendously rewarding. I think we have evolved as a board to the point where we can, with discussion and with respect, coalesce seven different personalities and points of view into one consensus opinion, which is gratifying. I’ve tried to always think in terms of putting children first; and believed that the best way to do that is to have the best staff possible….
Now it’s time for a new, and younger, perspective; and I feel comfortable leaving knowing that there is someone who wants to take my place with no agenda other than, also, wanting the best for our kids. I’ve really enjoyed working with the other board members, and Al and Kip, our students, and especially all of our amazing staff. The kids in this district are truly fortunate to have such talented and compassionate people taking them into their future!
I plan to keep my commitment to SGHS through the SGHS PIE Fund; and again, thanks to all of you for the opportunity to serve these many years; I will miss it!”
(The SGHS PIE Fund is the SGHS Partners In Education Fund which Cookie was instrumental in organizing with the Sweet Grass Health and Wellness Foundation. It is a fund open to public donations and supports innovations in teaching through a grant process.)
The Board of Trustees has appointed Susie Fiveash to the vacant position. The District will miss Cookie’s direct involvement but welcomes Susie to a Board position. Susie and her husband, Jack, have three sons of which two are presently attending SGHS. Susie has also assisted the district as a substitute teacher. As required by law, Susie will fill the position until the May school election.
Posted on: Dec 03 2013 By: Alvin Buerkle
Message from the Superintendent
Re: SGHS and Montana Curriculum Standards: HISTORY, NOW, CONTROVERSY, ASK
I have been following and been involved in the discussion and concern that surrounds recent work on curriculum standards that have the label of Montana Common Core Standards. I am appreciative of the attention this topic has drawn, as what our students are being taught is an important topic – and curriculum standards do influence that work. When there is a change in this area, it should be reviewed and considered carefully.
HISTORY: I have to admit that part of me is amused by this recent stir. Standards for curriculum have been a national topic since the 1970s when the nation became concerned that we were losing the “space race.” Most of the work on standards during that era was done by the professional educator associations such as the National Council of Mathematics Teachers. Those standards tended to impact only specific disciplines such as math, science, or English with little or no connection to the other disciplines. That is not to say the work done was sub-standard (no pun intended); in fact, even in the most recent work on standards elements of those concepts are still evident. You could say good teaching back then still has some impact on good teaching now.
The standards landscape did change somewhat during the 1990s as state education departments – in Montana that is the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) – became involved in standards review and writing. This was again in response to concerns that the USA was slipping behind in international testing results. OPI used a forward-thinking approach to that standard’s work. Curriculum Content Standards were developed in areas such as math, science, social studies, world languages, health, arts, career, and vocational areas, but there were also standards that were not specific to a discipline for technology, workplace competencies, and media literacy. OPI also “broke up” the Language Arts standards from the 70’s into specific areas such as speaking and listening, reading, and writing. In the early 2000s, SGHS did extensive work in these areas to develop course descriptions and learner outcomes, and then used that work to determine if the standards were being addressed in our content. We took it a step farther and included the standards for technology, workplace competencies, media literacy, and Language Arts in all discipline areas as we felt those were “life skills.” In reviewing our checklists on the standards we found we did not address every single standard in every single class. But that work did allow us to consider what we needed to do to ensure that our students were getting the best content as well as the best teaching possible. OPI continues to update these particular content standards on a rotating basis and has added Traffic Education and Guidance to the list.
NOW: So now we come to the 2010s and the Montana Core Standards. These were developed by the state education departments and representatives from governor’s offices across the nation to give a national perspective to address our highly mobile population. At SGHS, we have found that transfer students often had a much different experience in content than our students, and frankly most often were behind our students. Montana has adopted the standards that impact math and English Language Arts, which is making our staff consider once more how we address the needs of our students in this day and age. Furthermore, the new standards do reach across disciplines to impact science, social studies, arts, and vocational areas as well. The developers of the standards recognized what we did at SGHS back in 2001; that reading, writing, speaking and listening are skills needed in every classroom and vocation. So currently, we are thoughtfully reviewing what we teach once again to determine what would best serve our students. I have included the Montana Core Standards at the end of this note for your review. Check them for yourselves, and ask which of those skills you wouldn’t want your child to have when he/she graduates.
CONTRORVERSY!!! As I mentioned earlier, I am somewhat amused (but impressed) that this last standards movement has drawn so much attention. With all the work we have done with standards for the last twelve years, this concern of some community members is surprising; however, it should be important to all of us. Education is a human endeavor that requires a commitment of everyone involved. How that is approached or guided by standards is an essential concern. What does insult me is that people from outside our community are given so much credibility about this topic. If you have questions about what is being done, come talk to the people who invest their lives in that area in your own community. We at SGHS do not claim to have merely one answer to the question. We consider all aspects of our work and welcome the opportunity to discuss it. Unfortunately, what has happened in Sweet Grass County (as in many communities across Montana), the topic of Common Core Standards is a political chip to be played. What better way to draw our attention to a political stance than to champion something dear to all of us – the education of our children! In my opinion, these particular opponents of the Montana Common Standards do not pay much attention to details of this matter, because these people simply want attention so their other political objectives can be introduced and claim support. For example, the most recent statement from this group I have heard is the Common Core forces pornography into classes. The fact of the matter is the reading lists in the Common Core appendices were not adopted by Montana and are not required; rather OPI decided that the materials used to teach the skills to our students are best selected by the local curriculum expert – the classroom teacher. The Core reading list has many of the respected classics and any reading list will bring out personal differences, but we agree the list needs review before any items are adopted or used.
ASK: The learning outcomes and teaching materials at SGHS are open for review at any time. Be aware that they are constantly being updated and revised. Some of that present work is influenced by the latest round of standards so we can be sure our students are prepared for college and/or their future careers. The newest standards have impacted our expectations and have caused us to reflect on what we need students to be able to do. On the other hand the new standards have not caused us to drastically change our learner goals or any significant changes in materials/books. Nor has it changed the fact that we want you to feel free to ask to see our curriculum work or the standards and to discuss them with myself or our staff. We take our work seriously and have pride in our efforts and results, but we realize not everyone is going to agree at times with what we do or expect of students. We welcome your questions and thank you for your support.
(The Standards as found at the opi.gov site under the Curriculum and Assessment tab.)
English Language Arts Montana Core Standards
Reading (Grades 6-12)
Key Ideas and Details
1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
Craft and Structure
4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
6. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
9. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
10. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
Writing (Grades 6-12)
Text Types and Purposes
1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
Production and Distribution of Writing
4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
Research to Build and Present Knowledge
7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Range of Writing
10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Speaking and Listening (Grades 6-12)
Comprehension and Collaboration
1. Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
3. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
5. Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Language (Grades 6-12)
Conventions of Standard English
1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Knowledge of Language
3. Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
6. Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
Posted on: Nov 13 2013 By: Alvin Buerkle
SGHS Community Information Night, Tuesday, November 26th
Sweet Grass County High School will be hosting a community meeting on Tuesday, November 26th to introduce items related to Strategic Plan for the district. This will be an opportunity to introduce items related to that plan and receive public input for those items. Key areas will be the (1) facility/grounds plan related to a possible bond election and (2) the Strategic Task Force looking at items that impact student learning through the structure of the school day or year. To allow time to address each topic, the evening will be split into specific times for each topic.
6:00 – 7:00 PM – Review of the Facility/Grounds improvement options as developed by the Building and Grounds committee and the Board with assistance from Great West Engineering. This will be an opportunity to review items related to the development and paving of parking areas, bus barn, football field restroom, and building entrance renovations. We value your ideas related to these projects and look forward to seeing you at the meeting in the SGHS cafeteria.
7:15 – 8:30 PM – The first meeting of the Strategic Task Force related to student/school structure will be held in the SGHS library. The Strategic Plan has been developed at a Board level and has been discussed with staff at a board work session. From those discussions, several topics have already surfaced such as 8 period day, 4 day week, adjustment of semester or trimester concepts, review of freshmen orientation processes, use of advisory groups, etc. The purpose of this meeting will be to explore any other ideas to consider as well as to develop a system of reviewing and investigating the topics. This will be the first of other meetings to continue this work that will impact how student learn at SGHS. The administration and board of SGHS hopes that interested community members will come to share ideas and discussion in this work.
This meeting will hopefully be the first of others that allow for staff, board and community members to become aware of the SGHS Strategic Plan and to help develop the plans goals and actions in the future.