SMS Newsletter

February 2023

February Core Value: Empathy

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

January 20 was the midpoint of the school year. This date always seems to come quickly, but it allows us to recognize the good progress we have made as well as look forward to what is still to be accomplished.

As you have likely learned, the district is seeking the best possible means to address the budgetary shortfall we are facing in the coming year. The budget consensus group has provided recommendations to the Superintendent and Board of Trustees to reduce costs. Having served on the consensus group, I can attest to the difficulty of the task but must also share that each consideration was given careful thought through the vetting process. We all recognized that none of the choices were desirable, but difficult decisions had to be made.

For Sacajawea, the most significant impact of the shortfall will be a reduction of staff. The final number is still to be determined but we are hopeful the reduction can be achieved through attrition – resignations and retirements.

A group of teachers and administrators from both middle schools are currently developing a new master schedule that maintains the core values we hold while innovatively adapting to the necessary changes. We are committed to preserving an educational structure based on the developmental needs of young adolescents, broad opportunities for the students, intentional and responsive supports and extensions, and collaborative time for teachers to learn and refine their practice.

The challenge is significant, but our district is approaching the task in a manner that focuses on what is best for your students and our staff. We intend to continue providing the best education possible for our community. Thank you, as always, for your support of our work.



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

A Message from Practicum Student Lexi Phelps:

Hello! My name is Lexi Phelps. I am a school counselor in training at & will be doing my practicum at Sacajawea Middle School. I have lived in Montana since 2008. I absolutely love it here & want to foster my own roots for the long haul in this beautiful state. I attended this middle school & am excited to be back operating under a whole new lens! I am excited to spend this time with you all & feel extremely grateful to be able to watch students grow and express themselves. I am committed to supporting the growth of every student in all areas: academic, social, and emotional.

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 February/March are below:

6th Grade

  • Understanding and Naming Emotions

  • Values and Conflict

  • Conflict Resolution

  • Developing and Strengthening Friendships

7th Grade

  • Choosing to Care

  • Acting and Practicing Empathy

  • Well-Being Habits

8th Grade

  • Practicing Emotional Regulation

  • Emotions Toolbox and Values

  • Overcoming Obstacles

  • Teamwork

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 – 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 – 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 Policy Reminder

Please remember to send your kids to school with winter gear every day: layers, coats, hats, gloves, boots, etc.

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.

Attention Parents of all 6th Grade Students:

Prior to attending school, ALL incoming 7th grade students must provide documentation of the Tdap booster (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccination OR a notarized religious exemption form. Incoming 7th graders cannot attend without providing documentation.

Vaccination appointments can be scheduled with Well Child Visits with your doctors. Alternatively, The Gallatin County Health Department has walk-in clinics. They can be reached at (406) 582-3100 for more information.

Documentation may be shared through email with our registrar, Kayla Fortier (, faxed to the school (406-522-6474), or dropped off at the main office.

SMS Talent Show

The SMS Talent Show - March 8th - Willson Auditorium!

Calling all Musicians, Performers, Magicians, Dancers, Bands, etc.!

Talent Show Try-Outs!

Who: Any SMS Falcon (6th - 8th grade) with a talent best viewed from a stage!

When: February 15th - 16th from 3:45 - 5:00 pm.

Where: SMS Cafeteria

How: Be ready with your costume, performance dress, instruments, music, group members (if applicable), props, etc., and show us your prepared performance!

PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD and show us what your performance will look like the day of!

Just for 8th graders!

The Talent Show needs some Hosts to open the show and add some fun between acts!

Who: 8th grade only! A small group of 2-4 people.

What: This group needs to create small skits, some lighthearted comedy, and some thoughtful introductions to acts.

How: Sign up your MC (Master of Ceremonies) group for an audition slot at the Talent Show Try-Outs!

Have fun, and enjoy the show!

Geography Bee Prep & Qualifying Test

Is your student interested in Geography?

They can join Mrs. Spyke in room F11 during Advisory on Thursdays in February, for GeoBee preparation!

  • Thursday, February 2nd
  • Thursday, February 9th
  • Thursday, February 16th

*Come with a good attitude and be ready to investigate more about World Geography!

Qualifying tests can be taken on Wednesday, February 22 at 3:30 pm in Mrs. Spyke’s Room (F16).

We will talk details about the Qualifying Test when we meet during Advisory times.

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!

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

February is I LOVE to READ Month!

The SMS Library will be celebrating with a student photo booth and teacher/staff photos with their favorite books. We will be including books that we LOVE to listen to on Playaways or other formats, too!

The Annual Used Book Sale will be coming up in May. (5/30-6/2)

If you are cleaning up/out and have quality books that our community would be interested in purchasing, please hang on to them for our big drive in April, or drop them by the school.

The sale features affordable used books for students, staff, and the community.

Thank you to everyone who is scanning their receipts and contributing to the SMS Library through BOXTOPS!!

Remember to check your email for overdue notices.

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

Overdue/fine notices are going to your students through their school emails and the emails that you have provided. Please be aware that fines will be posted in PowerSchool and will follow students through high school.

Thank you!

February is Black History Month!

We have a variety of fiction and nonfiction to celebrate:

Upcoming Safety Drills

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

  • Fire – March 24, May 16

  • Earthquake – Feb. 10

  • Lockdown – Apr. 12

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

A Message from Thrive

Dear SMS parents:

Are you struggling to parent in the Digital Age?

Are screens a constant battle at home?

If so, Thriving Parents: Parenting with Technology is for you! Join me, your SMS Thrive Parent Liaison, Ashley Mares Jones, and CJMS Thrive Parent Liaison, Betsy Pufahl, for a powerful night exploring all things tech.

We will provide a tech road map to empower you as a parent! From setting limits to strengthening the relationship with your child, there will be something for everyone. Featured speaker will be Bozeman Police Officer, Scott McCormick. Scott has spent his career protecting children online.

Join me for this engaging workshop, Tuesday, February 28th, 2023 from 6-8pm at the new Thrive building (next to the Ridge). Registration is filling up so register online at

Questions? Please contact your SMS Thrive Parent Liaison:

Ashley Mares Jones

(406) 922-4230

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Talking Points: Para comunicarse en Español

Nueva plataforma para comunicarse en Español con el personal escolar en Bozeman. ¡HAZ CLICK AQUÍ para obtener más información!

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 upcoming dates of which to be aware:

  • 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) Makeup Screening:

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

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HRDC's Healthy KidsPack

What is Healthy KidsPack?

A partnership between your school and the HRDC that provides free,

nutritious bags of snacks and simple meals to students to take home for the weekends.

Bags contain healthy, kid-friendly items that are easy to prepare. Items cycle each

week and include many local products.

How does the program work and why should I sign up?

Every Friday afternoon, your child will receive a KidsPack bag from

school in their backpack or locker. Participation is discreet and

confidential. With Healthy KidsPack, you can stretch

your family’s budget and save time and energy on meal prep!

Who can sign up?

Healthy KidsPack is for everyone! Any family with children in

grades K-12 can sign up.

Signing up is easy! Click on the corresponding button below to print out a sign-up form.

Fill out the bottom portion and return to the SMS front office.

You can unenroll at any time.

Free and Reduced School Lunch

Click this link for the online or printable application for free and reduced lunch rates OR to make a donation to assist students and families with a negative school lunch balance.

Upcoming Dates and Events


  • 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: SMS Talent Show auditions, SMS Cafeteria 3:45 - 5:00 pm
  • 15th: Jazz Band Festival, BHS
  • 15th: Jazz Band Concert, BHS 7:30 - 8:30 pm
  • 16th: SMS Talent Show auditions, SMS Cafeteria 3:45 - 5:00 pm
  • 20th: President's Day, NO SCHOOL
  • 22nd: Geography Bee Quiz, SMS Room F16 3:30 pm
  • 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
  • 4th: Speech and Debate Meet, BHS 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
  • 7th: 5th Grade Parent Info Night, SMS 6:00 - 7:30 pm
  • 8th: SMS Talent Show, Willson Auditorium

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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