SMS Newsletter

January 2023

January Core Value: Generosity

The Sacajawea community is committed to

ensure high levels of learning for all students.

We are a compassionate community that honors grit

and celebrates growth in order to face the future

with a level head and a critical eye.

Principal's Corner

Happy Holidays! With one trimester completed, we are steaming headlong into our second as well as also looking forward to the upcoming holiday break.

Each year, the Bozeman schools identify goals in coordination with the Long-Range Strategic Plan. Sacajawea has determined four goals – one each in literacy, math, social/emotional, and Graduation Matters.

Our literacy goal is for 70% of our students to demonstrate grade-level proficiency in reading comprehension based on their Spring Star Assessment. To support our students in their reading skills, we are utilizing a number of action steps. All of our teachers have participated in multiple workshops to gain a better understanding of the Science of Reading. We have developed content-specific reading strategies for each subject area and prioritized vocabulary for each class.

A valuable resource we are using is Achieve 3000. All of our sixth- and seventh-grade students, and many of our eighth graders, are using Achieve to read articles related to their courses, developing comprehension skills, and learning to interact with the text. Regular use of comprehension strategies has proven to be very effective in developing reading skills.

You can help support your students as well by encouraging them to read each evening at home. Reading for twenty minutes or more every day is a great way to further develop their skills and enhance their love for reading. Talking about what they have read further increases their ability and provides a great way to connect.

Thank you for continuing to partner with us on behalf of your kids.

Enjoy your holiday break!

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 (406) 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 per 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 January/February are below:

6th Grade

  • Listening Skills

  • Listening Practice

  • Perspective-Taking

  • Understanding Emotions

  • Regulating Emotions

  • Conflict Resolution

7th Grade

  • Stress Coping Strategies

  • Community Connections

  • Social Awareness

  • Empathy

8th Grade

  • How Emotions Work

  • Dealing with Emotions

  • Practicing Regulation

  • Emotions Toolbox

  • Emotions and Values

  • Overcoming Obstacles

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 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 pm on the designated days, unless otherwise specified:


Yearbook – SMS Cafeteria

Outdoor – Room A24


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

Computer – Room C8

Art – Room C5

Archery – Beginning January 10th, B27 (No previous experience necessary)


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 January 12th, B27 (Previous experience required)


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

** Some clubs may require permission slips prior to participation. **

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.

Winter Has Come!

Surprise! It's winter in Montana! Please remember to send your kids to school with winter gear every day: layers, coats, hats, gloves, boots, etc.

Although the temperatures are dropping, our policies are not.

Unless temperatures fall below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, students are to remain outside of the building until 8:10 am. This includes students having school breakfast.

Students are also going outside after lunch, as long as temperatures are above zero, and should be reminded to bring their winter gear with them to lunch, as they are discouraged from returning to lockers outside of passing periods.

THANK YOU, and stay toasty!

Walking and Biking to School

To parents of students walking or biking to school, please remember that safety is of the highest priority. We at SMS would like to take a moment to pass along the following safety tips, as people are out walking and riding their bicycles to and from school and other areas:

  • Only cross the street at designated crossing areas and crosswalks with the crossing guard, if there is a crossing guard present.
  • Stay on sidewalks and do not use parking lots as crosswalks. Too many students are using the north parking lot to cross, which is a potential safety hazard.
  • When biking, always wear your helmet, even for short rides. Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head and brain injury in a crash by as much as 88%. Be sure the helmet fits properly.
  • For kids 15 and under, it is legal to ride on the sidewalk and often is a safer place to ride. Also remember that at pedestrian crossings, walk your bike across to help be seen and avoid collisions with vehicles.
  • Always be looking ahead of where you are riding. Don’t look at your phone or away from where you are walking/riding, as you may not see a hazard approaching.
  • While on school property, students are asked to walk their bike, as it is safer with lots of people walking around, to avoid collisions.
  • Remember to have fun, be seen, be predictable, and be cautious of your surroundings.

Nursing Station

We want to keep our school healthy, and we need your help!

How do you know when to keep your child home from school?

Below is a list of guidelines to help you decide. Keep in mind that sending an ill child to school limits their ability to learn and also puts other students at risk.

Please do NOT send your child to school with the following symptoms:

  • Fever of more than 100 degrees within the last 24 hours. Please do not give your feverish child fever reducing medication and send them to school.
  • Vomiting within the last 24 hours
  • Diarrhea within the last 24 hours
  • Cough that they cannot control
  • Body aches, headaches, ear aches, severe sore throat
  • Very tired or sudden lack of appetite

Please remember to help your children practice these positive health habits:

  • Frequent hand washing with soap and water is the BEST way to prevent the spread of germs. Hand sanitizer is a good option as well, when used correctly.
  • Get plenty of rest, 9-12 hours of sleep night each night is recommended.
  • Drink a lot of healthy fluids - water is the best! (and no, soda doesn’t count!)
  • Eat a healthy diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables.
  • Do not share cups or utensils with others.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or elbow.

**If your child is placed on antibiotics by your health care provider, please do not have them return to school until they have been treated for at least 24 hours, or follow your health care provider’s recommendations.

Please keep in mind that the school can NOT give your child medication without a written order from a health care provider and your signature. You can get these forms from the office.

Based on Parents comfort level with their student, Middle Schoolers are allowed to keep in their backpack: 1 dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen in its original container (the travel size works well) for minor issues like headaches, cramping, or muscle soreness.

Please call the office: (406) 522-6400 or the school nurse: (406) 522-6412 with questions.

Lost & Found

Lost & Found items are overflowing!!

Please remind your students to take a look and claim lost items.

Unclaimed items will be donated periodically.

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Health Enhancement

Greetings from the SMS Health Enhancement Department!

We are looking for the following winter equipment: Nordic ski gear (skis, boots, and poles), ice skates, and helmets (biking or skiing).

Please get in touch with

Justin Mollgaard (

or Holly Walker (

if you want to donate your used equipment.

A huge thank you in advance!

7th/8th Grade Girls’ Basketball Registration

Click here for registration information!

6th/7th/8th Grade Coed Wrestling Registration

Click here for registration information!

** Ski P.E. Days and Permission Slips **

During the months of January through March, students will be taking field trips to

Bridger Bowl and Big Sky for Ski P.E. days.

** Please be on the lookout for permission slips in your email! **

These must be filled out and returned in a timely manner for

all students who wish to attend.

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


(406) 522-6471

News from the Library

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.

During Winter Break the SMS Library allows students with good records (no excessive overdues or damages) to check out up to FIVE books!

We only allow one PLAYAWAY per student.

Please remember to check your email for overdue notices.

Overdues are sent out to student & family emails ONLY - no paper copies are sent.

Thank you!

There are some great new arrivals that you may be interested in reading:

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 – Jan. 13, March 24, May 16

  • Earthquake – Feb. 10

  • Lockdown – Jan. 9, Apr. 12

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

A Message from Thrive

Dear SMS parents:

Both connection and accountability are vital during the adolescent and teen years. Here are a few tips to stay connected with our kids while holding the line:

In his book Hold On to Your Kids, Dr. Gordon Neufeld states that kids need parents now more than ever.

Take a walk with your teen.

Listen when they are ready to talk.

Empathize with their hurts, even if they seem trivial.

Additionally, maintaining boundaries can be quite helpful. Love and Logic teaches that wise parents lovingly hold kids accountable: "Looks like chores were not completed this afternoon. Bummer...sounds like there will not be video game time."

For these and other parenting tips, please contact your SMS Thrive Parent Liaison:

Ashley Mares Jones

(406) 922-4230

High School Registration and GATE Screening

Attention, parents and guardians of 8th-grade students:

We are preparing for our 8th graders to begin tackling 9th-grade registration for high school in January and February of 2023. Some key dates of which to be aware:

  • Friday, January 20th: Dacia Luedtke will come to SMS at 8:25 am for an 8th-grade Town Hall meeting about BCA (Bozeman Charter Academy)
  • January 23-27: 8th-grade counselors will share pre-registration information with 8th graders
  • Monday, January 30th: BHS and GHS Parent Night beginning at 6:00 PM
  • Feb. 6-17: 8th-grade counselors will oversee the registration process

8th graders should not begin registration until February 6th.

**Deadline: All middle school registration sheets should be at the high schools by February 24th!

Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Screening:

  • Requests for screening are due by Friday, January 27

  • Monday, January 30, 4:15 PM - GHS screening date (Auditorium)

  • Tuesday, January 31, 4:15 PM - BHS screening date (South Cafeteria)

  • Wednesday, Feb. 8, 4:15 PM - Makeup screening date for both schools - GHS, Auditorium

This is only for students who are not already identified and

would like access to GATE classes in high school.

Upcoming Dates and Events

  • 12th: Holiday Spirit Week: Sports Gear / Team Colors
  • 13th: Holiday Spirit Week: Fancy Day / Holiday Mismatch
  • 14th: Holiday Spirit Week: Dress like an Elf / Crazy Socks
  • 15th: Holiday Spirit Week: Ugly Sweater / Red & Green
  • 16th: Holiday Spirit Week: Holiday Hat / Wacky Hair
  • 19th - 30th: Winter Break, NO SCHOOL


  • 2nd: Back to school!
  • 2nd: 7th/8th Girls' Basketball begins
  • 3rd: 6th Grade Ski Day - Skuntz, Fabian, Peterson - Bridger Bowl
  • 10th: PAC Meeting, 8:30 - 9:30
  • 12th: 6th/7th Orchestra & Honors Concert, BHS
  • 12th: Geography Bee, SMS Library 3:30 pm - TENTATIVE
  • 16th: Martin Luther King Jr. Day/PIR Day, NO SCHOOL
  • 20th: Trimester 2 Mid-Term
  • 23rd: 6th/7th/8th Coed Wrestling begins
  • 23rd: 8th Grade High School pre-registration begins
  • 23rd: Team Gallatin Ski Day - Big Sky
  • 26th: 6th Grade Ski Day - Cambianica, Drake, Wertman - Bridger Bowl
  • 30th: 8th Grade Parent Info Night, BHS & GHS 6:00 - 8:00 pm
  • 31st: 7th/8th Band Concert, BHS 7:30 - 8:30 pm


  • 1st: 8th grade/HS Choir Concert, BHS
  • 6th: 8th Grade High School Registration begins
  • 7th: Spelling Bee, SMS Cafeteria 3:30 pm - TENTATIVE
  • 7th: PAC Meeting, 8:30 - 9:30
  • 9th: Middle/High School Orchestra Festival, GHS
  • 10th: Team Glacier Ski Day - Big Sky
  • 13th: SMS/MSU Choir Concert, Hope Lutheran Church
  • 15th: Jazz Band Festival, BHS
  • 15th: Jazz Band Concert, BHS 7:30 - 8:30 pm
  • 16th: 5th Grade Parent Info Night, SMS 6:00 - 7:30 pm
  • 20th: President's Day, NO SCHOOL
  • 24th: Team Bridger Ski Day - Bridger Bowl
  • 24th: 8th Grade High School Registration deadline
  • 25th: County Spelling Bee
  • 28th: Team Yellowstone Ski Day - Bridger Bowl
  • 28th: 6th/7th Grade Choir Concert, BHS


  • 1st: Team Madison Ski Day - Big Sky
  • 2nd: Team Boulder Ski Day - Big Sky
  • 3rd: 6th Grade Ski Day - Amende, Spyke - Bridger Bowl
  • 3rd: End of Trimester 2

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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