SMS Newsletter

November/December 2022

November Core Value: Ready

The Sacajawea community is committed to ensure high levels of learning for all students.

Principal's Corner

As our fall begins to slip away, we continue to focus our learning built on the foundation of expectations established earlier this year.

Sacajawea has established a new mission statement: The Sacajawea community is committed to ensure high levels of learning for all students. At first glance, this may appear to be a basic statement typical of many schools. However, at closer observation, a few key words jump out. Ensure indicates our purpose to do everything we can to create high quality learning experiences. Learning places the focus on evidence of student understanding. A contrast to just providing instruction, we will be focusing on students demonstrating their learning. All speaks to every student. We will focus on the challenges, needs, and supports of each individual.

The intentions of the mission statement requires a system and commitment. Our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) reflects on the needs of every student through weekly Student Meetings on each team. Additionally, our teachers are learning even more effective ways to collaborate–knowing that we are more successful working together than independently.

Bottom line…we are committed to providing the best possible learning experience for every Sacajawea student. Thank you for your partnership in their success.

Gordon Grissom


One of the most important aspects of your child's success is their attendance at school. We are here to support you and your child as we navigate their time at Sacajawea Middle School. We have a variety of resources to share with families, including strategies to support attendance and engagement along with personnel to work with you in support of your child’s education.

Our staff would be pleased to assist you to ensure your student has the greatest opportunity at Sacajawea Middle School. If you have concerns or questions regarding attendance please contact:

Ashley Henigman (406) 522-6470 Assistant Principal

Ashley Mares-Jones (406) 813-1617 Thrive Parent Liaison

Attendance Facts

  • Students should miss no more than 9 days of school each year to stay engaged, successful, and on track to graduation.
  • Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, or dealing with social conflict, along with other potentially serious difficulties.
  • By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
  • By 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.
  • Missing 10 percent, or about 18 days, of the school year can drastically affect a student’s academic success.
  • Students can be chronically absent even if they only miss a day or two every few weeks.
  • Attendance is an important life skill that will help your child graduate from college and keep a job.

Attendance Tips

  • Make school attendance a priority.
  • Talk about the importance of showing up to school everyday, and make that the expectation.
  • Help your child maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Try not to schedule dental and medical appointments during the school day.
  • Don’t let your child stay home unless truly sick. Complaints of headaches or stomach aches may be signs of anxiety.
  • Have an awareness of your child's use of technology (gaming and cell phones) that could be impacting sleep, social connections, and other healthy habits.

Please communicate with the Sacajawea Middle School front office in regards to your child's absences. If your child will not be present at school, please call our attendance hotline at 522-6410 to excuse your child.

Counseling Connection

Who are our school counselors:

Meghan Powell- Assigned teams: All 8th-grade teams, 6th-grade Mountain Team

Leah Kreitinger- Assigned teams: All 7th-grade teams, 6th-grade Prairie Team

Clodagh Shortt- Counseling Intern, working across all grade levels

Natasha Fraker- School counselor, Natasha is at SMS two mornings a week

Kace Doornbos- SAFE-TI Program counselor

School Counselors at Sacajawea help all students:

  • Apply academic achievement strategies

  • Manage emotions and apply interpersonal skills

  • Develop awareness of postsecondary options (higher education, work force, etc.)

We do this by providing:

  • Classroom-based lessons (i.e. school-wide Tuesday morning advisory counseling lessons, SOS curriculum for 6th and 8th grade, Organizational Skills Bootcamp in 7th)

  • Small group interventions to support student needs

  • Short-term individual counseling with students

  • Collaboration with families/teachers/administrators/community for student success

  • Advocacy for students at student-focused meetings (IEPs, 504s, or family/team meetings)

  • Data analysis to identify student issues, needs, and challenges

  • Acting as a systems change agent to improved access, achievement, and opportunities for all students

Tuesday Morning Whole Child Character Building Lessons:

This year we will be using the curriculum Character Strong. This program focuses on the Whole Child by teaching skills and strategies to build on character and emotional regulation. This program is aligned with both ASCA and Casel standards. Please click here for more information. The topics we will cover in November/December are below:

6th Grade

  • Meeting New People

  • Getting to Know Our School

  • Values

  • Community

  • Listening Skills

  • Listening Practice

  • Perspective-Taking

7th Grade

  • Values

  • Understanding Emotions

  • Emotion Vocabulary

  • Emotion Regulation

  • Identifying Emotions

  • Understanding Stress

  • Stress Strategies

8th Grade

  • Values

  • Creating Goals

  • Making Habits

  • Happiness

  • How Emotions Work

  • Dealing with Emotions

  • Practicing Regulation

Fly Falcons, Fly!

Clubs & Extracurricular Activities

Sacajawea is pleased to provide a number of activities in which students can be involved outside of the classroom. Encourage your kids to be involved in ways to develop their skills and interests! We have completed our volleyball and football seasons, but have just begun boys 7th/8th grade basketball and boys 6th grade intramural basketball.

We have student councils at each of the grade levels that meet during their respective lunch times, in addition to the following clubs, most of which take place from 3:30-4:30 on the designated days, unless otherwise specified:


Yearbook – Room A24

Outdoor – Beginning in December


Knitting – Room F14 at lunchtime (11:24 - 11:57 AM)

Computer – Room C8

Art – Room C5

Archery – Beginning in January


Book Club – Library in the morning (8:20 - 8:48 AM, during Falcon Red)

Ice Rink (6th graders) – Room F22 at lunchtime (11:24 - 11:57 AM) every other Wednesday

Forensics (Speech and Debate) – Room C7


Forensics – Room C7

Robotics/3D Printing – Room C8

Archery – Beginning in January


Knitting – Room F14 at lunchtime (11:24 - 11:57 AM)

Clubs are free and students may participate when able; however, some clubs may be limited in number so students should contact the teacher, if interested.

Family and Consumer Science

Greetings from the FCS classroom!

We have a request for fabric for the sewing unit! If any families are willing to make a donation, we are in search of fabrics that are at least ½ yard in size.

All styles and colors are welcome!

If you have questions, feel free to contact me at

A huge thank you in advance!

2022 - 2023 SMS Yearbook

Yearbooks are on sale now!

Books can be purchased at:

Follow the prompts for Sacajawea Middle School Bozeman, MT.

Parents, you are welcome to share your photos of school events and activities for the SMS yearbook. To share photos, or if you have any questions regarding yearbooks, please email Kace Doornbos at

Kace Doornbos M.S.

Student Assistance Specialist



News from the Library

A huge Thank You to the PAC volunteers and those who supported the Country Bookshelf Book Fair! It was a great success and we will repeat it again next fall!

Our first ever Book Club is underway!

Every Wednesday morning during Falcon Red, students who have signed up will come to the library to read, review, and suggest books for the SMS Library, along with a variety of other things.

**As a reminder, there will be extra check outs available to students over Winter Break. Students can check out up to five books.

The library will display & promote books that support

Native American Heritage Month and Veterans Day

throughout the month of November.

A helpful article from

Common Sense Media:

How To Raise a Reader

Veterans Day Assembly

On the morning of November 11, we will acknowledge and pay our respects to the veterans in our Sacajawea community who have served in our military.

All relatives of our students who have served our country in this way are invited to join us at 8:30 that morning.

Safety Drills

Throughout the year, we will have a series of drills to practice and standardize protocols to respond to emergencies which could occur. Drills will be conducted on the following dates:

  • Fire – Nov. 9, Jan. 13, March 24, May 16

  • Earthquake – Nov. 16, Feb. 10

  • Lockdown – Dec. 12, Apr. 12

  • Direct Response (specific to situation, e.g. high winds) – Nov. 30, Jan. 25, Mar. 31.


Dear SMS Parents:

Are you tired of getting 'hooked' into an argument with your middle schooler?

Want to keep the connection strong regardless of pull from peers?

Struggling with video games or social media?

If so, the Thriving Parents: Parenting Adolescents and Teens class is here!

An innovative and fun class Taught by your SMS Thrive Parent Liaison, Ashley Mares-Jones and Betsy Puhfahl (CJMS Parent Liaison). As you know, adolescents and teens need parents now more than ever! We will reference the work of Dr. Gordon Neufeld (and his phenomenal book Hold on to your Kids), discuss parenting in the digital age, and offer a variety of tips to hold kids accountable while not getting pulled into power struggles.

Classes are FREE, held two consecutive Saturday mornings from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm (11/5 and 11/12) and will be located at Chief Joseph Middle School.

Parents can register at

Questions? Contact:

Ashley Mares-Jones

Thrive Parent Liaison

(406) 922-4230

Operation Holidays

Dear SMS Parents,

Would gifts for the holidays be helpful? Or do you want to shop for Holiday gifts for a family? Operation Holidays is here!

Operation Holidays is a local organization that helps match children with gifts during the holidays. During another difficult year, we want to make every child’s holiday season as special as possible.

If you would be interested in some assistance this season with gifts for your children, please fill out the confidential form below. Please fill out one form for each child:

*All gift requests are due by Monday, December 5th*

Gifts will be wrapped and ready for pick up (by parents) at SMS on Wednesday, December 14th and Thursday December 15th. Families with kids in multiple schools will be clustered at one school for pickup ease.

Questions? Contact the SMS main office at (406) 522-6400 or

If you would be interested in purchasing gifts for Operation Holidays or have any questions, please contact us at

Upcoming Dates and Events

  • 4th: 7th Grade Author Visit: Shannon Hale 10:30 - 11:30 AM
  • 4th: First Annual Harvest Fest 5:00 - 7:30 PM
  • 5th: Thriving Parents: Parenting Adolescents and Teens 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
  • 10th: 7th/8th Band Concert, GHS 7:30 - 8:30 PM
  • 11th: Veterans Day Assembly, SMS Gym 8:30 - 9:30 AM
  • 12th: Thriving Parents: Parenting Adolescents and Teens 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
  • 17th: Choir Dress Rehearsal, Willson Building all day
  • 18th: End of Trimester 1
  • 19th: Speech and Debate Meet, BHS 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM
  • 22nd: School Board Luncheon, SMS
  • 23rd - 25th: Thanksgiving Break, NO SCHOOL


  • 6th: 6th and Jazz Band Concert, SMS Gym 7:30 - 8:30 PM
  • 19th - 30th: Winter Break, NO SCHOOL

Harvest Fest

Friday, Nov. 4th, 5-7:30pm

3525 South 3rd Avenue

Bozeman, MT

This year we are changing things up a bit! Instead of Spirit Night at the end of January, we are setting up our first annual Harvest Fest (formerly known as Spirit Night) for the beginning of November! On the evening of Friday November 4th from 5:00-7:30, SMS will be opening its doors to SMS students and parents for the first annual Harvest Festival!

Tickets for the Raffle and carnival are 50¢ each and will be available for pre-order for students to purchase BEFORE school in the 6th, 7th and 8th grade common areas, DURING lunch and at SNACK BAR on Tuesday 11/1, Wednesday 11/2, Thursday 11/3 and Friday 11/4. Tickets will also available at the door.

Tacos from El Rodeo will be served in the cafeteria from 5:00 to 6:30. Plates include 2 tacos, beans, rice, cookie, and a water. If you were not able to pre-order your taco plates, there will be a limited quantity of tacos available for purchase at Harvest Fest for $10/plate.

Raffle drawings will be held at 7:00 PM in the gym. You need not be present to win. Winners will be posted in the main office, following the event.

Parents interested in volunteering to help with ticket sales, set up, clean up, raffle tables, dinner service, and more, please visit the Sign-Up Genuis.

We need your help to make Sacajawea's BIGGEST night of the year a huge success! Harvest Fest is a fundraising event for after-school clubs and school-sponsored activities. There will be food, games, prizes and LOTS of FUN! So come make a night of it, and help support your kids!

We hope to see you there!

Box Tops for Education

Did you know Sacajawea Middle School is part of the Box Tops for Education program?

It has changed to a mostly digital program. Traditional clip out Box Tops are being phased out but you can still send them to school (make sure it doesn’t say scan) to be turned in to the library.

The new process is so much easier!

1. Get the free new and improved Box Tops mobile app on your phone.

2. Buy your groceries and ask for the receipt.

3. Take pictures of your receipt with the app within 14 days of purchase.

4. It will find any qualifying products and give 10 cents for each one to the school!

The money adds up and is used to enhance the book selection at our library.

It’s costs you nothing but 30 seconds of your time and you can help ALL the students at your child’s school. Encourage your friends and relatives to do the same.

On the Box Tops for Education website, you can find coupons and special deals.

Thank you so much for giving back to others!

Your PAC Team & SMS Library

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