Saturday, May 21, 2022

New school year resumes as close to normal as possible

Daily Inter Lake | August 27, 2021 1:00 AM

Editor's note: This article was updated on Sept. 1 to include information on West Glacier School.

Schools are starting the 2021-20 school year at a time when Covid-19 cases are on the rise in Flathead County and the nation grapples with the highly contagious delta variant.

Schools throughout the valley, however, are opening with in-person classes and at least one significant change from last year. Wearing masks will be optional in all but three local school districts, Whitefish, West Glacier and Somers-Lakeside. The exception is on school buses. All students must wear masks while riding buses under federal law, regardless of vaccination status. Those include buses operated by public and private schools.

In the Whitefish School District, students and staff in kindergarten through sixth grade are required to mask up. In seventh through 12th grades, wearing masks is optional but strongly recommended. The school board will reconsider the mask guidelines if vaccines become available for children younger than 12, or by its Oct. 12 board meeting.

The Somers-Lakeside School District will require masks be worn for the first six weeks. The school board is set to review the requirement during a Sept. 20 meeting at Lakeside Elementary School.

West Glacier requires masks but plans to revisit the mandate on a monthly basis, according to West Glacier Lead Teacher Krista Booher.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends universal masking indoors for K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status.

For people 12 and older, the CDC recommends getting a Covid-19 vaccination, but it is not required to attend school. Currently, Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine is approved for children 12 and up.

Students and staff who test positive for Covid-19 are required to isolate for 10 days, according to the Flathead City-County Health Department.

School districts continue to have plans in place that include other health measures, such as disinfecting buildings and encouraging proper handwashing.

Here are details for each school district in the county:

Bigfork School District

  • First day: Sept. 7
  • Masks are optional.
  • New staff: Transportation Director Danny Walker and Superintendent Tom Stack. Stack joined the district from his previous position as superintendent in Clinton, where he worked for nine years.
  • Maintenance projects completed: The track, located on the football field, was resurfaced.
  • Website:

Bigfork Elementary and Middle School

  • Projected enrollment: 429 students in kindergarten through sixth grade, and 149 seventh- and eighth-graders
  • New staff: Middle school math teachers Jessica Johnson and Roxie Reed and K-4 counselor Andrea Rossman
  • An open house is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 2 for grades kindergarten through eighth.

Bigfork High School

  • Projected enrollment: 350 students
  • Freshmen and new students are invited to attend an orientation at 6 p.m. Sept. 1.

Cayuse Prairie School

  • First day: Sept. 1
  • Projected enrollment: 285 to 290 students
  • Masks are optional.
  • New staff: Part-time instructional intervention paraeducator Carol Comstock, Horticulture Director and paraeducator Marleen Probert, part-time office assistant Sarah Salmonsen and first-grade teacher Mandi Wigginton.
  • Maintenance projects completed: Fixed portions of roofing that caused leaking and window seal damage over time. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in the newest part of the school was replaced in addition. Two furnaces were also replaced. New carpeting was installed in six classrooms.
  • An open house will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. Aug. 31, with special activities planned at the soccer field from 3 to 6 p.m.

Columbia Falls School District

  • First day: Aug. 26
  • Masks are optional.
  • Website: Under construction

Glacier Gateway Elementary School

  • First day: Kindergarten students will have their first full day of school on Sept. 7.
  • Projected enrollment: 507 students
  • Breakfast is served from 7:45 to 8:15 a.m. for all students. Class begins at 8:15. Parents are asked not to drop off children before 7:45 a.m. Students and teachers will meet parents out front at the end of the day at 3:20 p.m. Wednesday is early release at 2:20 p.m.
  • New staff: Teachers Mary Chappelow, fourth grade; Lindsey Fishel, special education preschool; Melanie Home Gun, special education; Alicia Hakes, special education; Kyle Hubbard, music; Erin Libaire, fifth grade and Allie Schulz, second grade; school psychologist Trina Crowe, certified occupational therapy assistant Alyssa Drew; paraeducator Michelle Robinson and family advocate Sarah Willimas.
  • New curriculum: Second Steps Social Emotional Learning curriculum will be implemented in early primary grades.
  • Construction continues on the new Glacier Gateway building, which started in the spring. Staff and students are expected to be in the new building by fall 2022.

Ruder Elementary School

  • Projected enrollment: 520 students in kindergarten through fifth-grade
  • New staff: Teachers Suzanne Andrews, fifth grade; Amy Caudill, part-time special education; Paige Hall, computer lab and Taylor Hoots, kindergarten; head of maintenance Little John Mac Bay; custodian Kathy Slater; kindergarten paraeducator Amy Squires; special education paraeducator Nancy Underdahl and K-8 student and family advocate Sarah Williams.
  • Remodeling work will continue for a few more months in the oldest part of the elementary building. The school has been under construction since 2020 where a new wing was built that will house fourth- and fifth-graders. New construction also includes a new kitchen, cafeteria, administrative offices, work rooms and a conference room. Staff anticipates all work will be complete by winter break.

Columbia Falls Junior High

  • Projected enrollment: 550 students
  • New staff: Sixth-grade teachers Mindi Allen and Tammi Bates; counselors Samantha Jones and Marna Pickard; seventh- and eighth-grade math teacher Patrick Johnston and Hank Donovan in maintenance.
  • New curriculum/programs: New Social Studies curriculum and a soccer program is available for seventh- and eighth-graders.
  • Maintenance projects completed: Secured front entrance and office.

Columbia Falls High School

  • Projected enrollment: 680 students
  • New staff: Special education paraeducator Jonathan Blankenship, paraeducator Kori Erekson, math teachers Tyson Hubbard and Dawn Roe and counselor Ashleigh Mason.
  • New curriculum/programs: The Building Trades program will include additional learning experiences in plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning and propane. Updated health/P.E. textbooks and online resources.
  • Maintenance projects completed: Four additional drinking fountains with automatic water bottle filling stations were installed. An academic display case was installed in the main foyer.

Creston School

  • First day: Sept. 1
  • Projected enrollment: 120 students in kindergarten through sixth grade
  • Masks are optional.
  • Schedule: Students will remain in grade-level cohorts for instruction, specials and lunch.
  • New staff: Bailey Johnson, music/art/P.E./student support services and Pam Choco, before-school care and classroom aide.
  • Maintenance projects completed: Relocation and remodeling of the main office and Title I classroom; new wheelchair-accessible restroom in the gym; expanded and remodeled second-grade classroom; remodeling of the special education room; new swings, low balance beam, low bar and gaga ball mat will be installed on the playground in September.
  • An open house is planned from 6 to 7 p.m. Aug. 30. Students are asked to bring their school supplies and gym shoes.
  • Website:

Deer Park School

  • First day: Sept. 1
  • Projected enrollment: 170 students in kindergarten through eighth grade
  • Masks are optional.
  • New staff: Teachers Paul Bruce, music and Title 1; Ellie Green, fourth grade and Tana Voeller, middle school math. New Principal Sheri Modderman joined Deer Park from her previous position as dean of students and special education teacher at Helena Flats School.
  • New Curriculum/programs: Deer Park is piloting a new English language arts curriculum and a collaborative classroom in second grade.
  • Maintenance projects completed: A new door and windows were installed in the library.
  • The community is invited to a meet-and-greet barbecue from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Aug. 30.
  • Website:

Evergreen School District

  • First day: Aug. 30 for first through eighth grades. Preschool, early kindergarten and kindergarten students start Sept. 9.
  • Projected enrollment: 670 students
  • Masks are optional.
  • New district staff: Jonell Taylor, food services.
  • Maintenance projects: Flooring removal and asbestos abatement is completed in room 213 in the administrative building with carpet tiles scheduled to be installed.
  • Website:

East Evergreen Elementary School

  • New staff: Teachers Meagan DeNio, special education; Melissa DeShaw, first grade and Lacey Igitol, special education and student support/data specialist Allyson Fraser.
  • Maintenance projects completed: Faucets are set to be replaced as part of the school's lead remediation plan. Pea gravel located under the swings on the "big" playground has been removed and replaced with wood chips. Additional shelving and cabinetry has been installed in room 227. The school is also resolving a water pressure issue in the sprinkler system.
  • An open house is planned at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16.

Evergreen Junior High School

  • New staff: Teachers Josh Boling, sixth grade; Heather Bourdon, special education;
  • Brandi Boysun, sixth grade and Shawn Peltier, health/P.E.; student support and data specialist Kendra Peltier and counselor Ellen Szalay. Principal and Athletics Activities director Mike Barton joined the junior high from his previous position teaching math and science at Kila School.
  • Maintenance projects completed: The science lab was remodeled and the building retrofitted for LED lighting. Flooring will be replaced in room 204.
  • An open house is set for 6:30 p.m. Sept.14.

Flathead Crossroads Program

  • New staff: Crossroads staff welcomes kindergarten through second-grade teacher Elysian McIntyre.
  • Maintenance projects completed: Playground equipment, backboards and baskets were installed on the playgrounds.
  • Families are invited to attend an open house at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 15.

Fair-Mont-Egan School

  • First day: Sept. 1 for grades first through eighth. The first day will end at 12:30 p.m. Kindergarten students have a staggered start on Sept. 2. Parents will receive letters with start times.
  • Projected enrollment: 152 students
  • Masks are optional.
  • New staff: Teachers Angel Abbott, kindergarten; Megan FitzPatrick, special education; Jamie Jacobson, third grade; Kate Zuther, sixth- through eighth-grade and instructional coach Libby Connor.
  • New curriculum/programs: Middle school specials classes including choir, guitar, art, "fitness for the fittest," hobby games, study skills and collaborative games in addition to morning meetings.
  • An open house will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 31.

Helena Flats School

  • First day: Sep. 1 for all students except kindergartners, who will start on Sept. 7.
  • Projected enrollment: 280 students
  • New staff: Teachers Kharysa Bucher, first grade; Kristin Brown, sixth- and eighth-grade English, language arts and social studies; Cienna Degele, second grade; Jessica Hill, third grade; Sarah Lamb, special education and music; Natalie Schmidt, fifth- and seventh-grade science and math and counselor Allison Hawes.
  • An informal open house for primary students is planned from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 30.
  • Website:

Kalispell Public Schools

  • First day: First- through sixth-graders and ninth-graders start Sept. 1.
  • Early kindergarten and kindergarten students will follow an A-B schedule. "A" students will attend school on Sept. 1, 3 and 8. "B" students will attend on Sept. 2, 7 and 9. All kindergarten students will attend school starting Sept. 10.
  • Sept. 2 is the first day of school for students in grades seventh, eighth, 10th and 12th.
  • Following an early-release day scheduled on Sept. 15 for professional development, all students will be released two hours early on Wednesdays, starting Sept. 22, to address additional student support-related work during the pandemic.
  • Masks are optional.
  • Website:

Edgerton Elementary School

  • Projected enrollment: 530 students
  • New staff: Teachers Wyatt Floyd, kindergarten; Heather Hinkley, first grade; Heather Key, life skills; Alexa Lamers, second grade; Erin Mouat, early kindergarten and Kathryn Streit, fifth grade; life skills paraeducators Trish Carlon, Hannah Davis and Teresa White; psychologist Pamela Gannon; Comprehensive School Community Treatment provider Jason Heisey; and instructional paraeducator Carrie Lalor.
  • An open house will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 30.

Elrod Elementary School

  • Projected enrollment: 230 students
  • New staff: Teachers Nicole Fahnlander, early kindergarten; Julie Flynn, early kindergarten; Alissa Clackler, fifth grade; Candace Controulis, fifth grade; paraprofessional Cynthia Christianson; custodian Kaitlyn Haas and counselor Sarah Mallon.
  • Maintenance projects completed: Installed new fire doors and received new lunch tables.
  • Open houses will be scheduled for Sept. 16 with times based on grade level.

Hedges Elementary School

  • Projected enrollment: 320 students
  • New staff: Psychologist Pamela Gannon and instructional paraeducator Taylor Spencer.
  • Open house are set for Aug. 30. Students whose last names start with the letters A-L are invited to attend with their families from 5 to 7 p.m. Students whose last names start with M-Z may attend from 6 to 7 p.m.

Peterson Elementary School

  • Projected enrollment: 342 students
  • New staff: Office manager Jeannie Appelt, counselor Alyson Jones, paraprofessionals Jenna Oilar and Kimberly Riech and third-grade teacher Deidre Thompson.
  • Open houses will be held on Aug. 30. Students whose last names start with A-I may stop by from 4 to 4:40 p.m. Students whose last names begin with J-R may attend from 4:40 to 5:20 p.m and names beginning with S-Z, from 5:20 to 6 p.m.

Rankin Elementary School

  • Projected enrollment: 430 students
  • New staff: Teachers Allison Boling, third grade; Katie Hankinson, first grade and Melissa Smith, fourth grade; paraprofessionals Cynthia Christensen, Heidi Harrod and Lena Warren.
  • A meet-and-greet is planned for Aug. 31. Students are invited to meet teachers and drop off supplies from 1 to 4 p.m.

Russell Elementary School

  • Projected enrollment: 240 students
  • New staff: Instructional coach Nicole Capser, third-grade teacher McKayle Dennehy, school nurse Lilly Adams-Custer and instructional paraeducator Rachel Schmitt.
  • An open house will be held Sept. 16.

Kalispell Middle School

  • Projected enrollment: 1,100 students in sixth through eighth grade
  • New staff: Teachers Vickie Buck, math; Jennifer Hachmann, resource; Samantha Engel-Ruck, health enhancement; Kristi Sanders, seventh-grade English language arts; Erin Walz, English language arts and Sara Wilson, math; Aspire Program staff Sara Bigelow, Dev Haegele and Amanda Johnson; reading room paraeducator Kristine Crenshaw; math tutor Royanna Gorton; custodian Michael Johnson; paraeducator January Melendez; school nurse Katie Oyler; administrative assistant Tanya Reynolds; life skills paraeducator Kim Taylor and speech language pathologist Kaitee Vegter. Bob Macauley will serve as the assistant principal/activities director for the school year.
  • New curriculum/programs: Math 180 program
  • An open house is planned from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 9.

Flathead High School

  • Projected enrollment: 1,550 students
  • New staff: Teachers Alex Cummings and Kevin Ebert, both English; Collin Buck and Josh Gubits, both science; Kalee Knust, agriculture education; Nick Luoma, health/P.E.; Briana McGrath, family and consumer sciences; Lachelle Davis-Monnett, French; Jenna Nichols, math; Steve Qunell, business; and Beau Servo, woods/vocational. The school also welcomes two new assistant principals to its staff Matt Allison and Andrew Stiger. Allison joined Flathead from his previous position as dean of students in a Payette, Idaho school district. Stiger joined the administrative team from his former principal position at Libby Elementary.
  • New curriculum/programs: Early Childhood 1 and 2 with the opportunity for students to earn high school and college credit in partnership with Flathead Valley Community College.
  • Maintenance projects completed: Southwest parking lot extension has been paved and striped. The project was funded through a 2016 bond issue.
  • A back-to-school event is planned for students and families from 5 to 8 p.m. Sept. 8. Dinner will be served and attendees may meet teachers and learn about clubs and activities the school offers.

Glacier High School

  • Projected enrollment: 1,400 students
  • New staff: Teachers Erik Brink, social studies; Phill Catlin, English; Brooke Gardner, Spanish; Dana Hashley, math/science; Jared Kelly, career and technical education; Kalee Knust, agriculture; Kelsey McDonough, art; Matt Upham, math and Destiny Wallace, English; custodian Samantha Hitt-Guerrero; nurse Chelsea McKoy; instructional paraeducator Kimberly Nolan and school resource officer Dennis Petersen. Principal Brad Holloway joined the Glacier staff with 20 years working at the high school level in Kalispell Public Schools in math teacher and assistant principal positions.
  • New curriculum/programs: Music Creation is a new class available to students. Student support groups have also been added this year.
  • Maintenance projects completed: The performance hall is undergoing sound and lighting upgrades.
  • An open house is set from 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 9.

Linderman Education Center

  • First day: Students will have a staggered start Sept. 1-3 based on individual orientation appointments with advisors. Students start attending their assigned schedules on Sept. 7.
  • Projected enrollment: 200 students
  • New staff : English teacher Kevin Ebert and social science teacher Brycen Ek.
  • The various programs have different hours:
  • New curriculum/programs: Students will be able to access an on-site student health center in partnership with the Greater Valley Health Center. Hours will be from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. For appointments call 607-4900. Clinic staff will be available during orientation appointments to provide more information on provided services.
  • An open house will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 2.

Kila School

  • First day: Sept. 1
  • Projected enrollment: 175 students in kindergarten through eighth grade
  • Masks are optional.
  • New daily start time will be 8:15 a.m. for grades kindergarten through eighth. Grades kindergarten through third are dismissed at 3 p.m. and grades fourth through eighth at 3:10 p.m.
  • New staff: School counselor Tarra Barrett, kitchen employee Kathy Bounville, third-grade teacher Meagan O'Leary, and paraprofessionals Kelsey Nelson and Kailey Thomas.
  • New curriculum/programs: A social emotional learning program (K-8), Altacare mental health services (K-8), Mathletes (6-8).
  • Maintenance projects completed: New lettering on outside the gym; installation of water bottle fill station; new bulletin boards, hooks and shelving put up in the K-3 area; positive message decals painted in bathrooms; classrooms updated where five staff members moved into/relocated.
  • An open house will be held from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Sept. 2.
  • Website:

Marion School

  • First day: Sept. 7
  • Projected enrollment: 150 students in kindergarten through eighth grade
  • Masks are optional.
  • New staff: Kitchen helper Sandy Engeland, sixth-grade teacher Michael Fisher, paraprofessional Sandy Mess, kitchen manager Teri Seymour, fourth-grade teacher Deborah Shinn, music and technology teacher Cameron St. James and Title 1 educator Kathleen Theis.
  • Maintenance projects completed: New playground equipment was installed.
  • Website:

Olney-Bissell School

  • First day: Students started on Aug. 23. Kindergarten students attend half-days in the first week from 7:50 to 11:45 a.m.
  • Projected enrollment: 94 students
  • Masks are optional.
  • New staff: Jenny Boreson, Title 1 and Alon Golan, counselor and P.E. and middle school electives teacher.
  • New curriculum: Eureka Math 5-8
  • An open house is scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Sept. 1.
  • Website:

Smith Valley School

  • First day: First- through eighth-graders start Sept. 1. Kindergarten students have their first day on Sept. 7.
  • Projected enrollment: 225 students in kindergarten through eighth grade
  • Masks are optional.
  • New staff: Drew Jayne, Music and Learning Loss Support; Angela Moore, school counselor; Lindsy Rasmussen, kindergarten teacher and Samuel Sussman, Physical and health education teacher.
  • New curriculum/programs: A summer school program will be put into place that incorporates learning, field trips and guest presenters. Some positions have been increased to full time to accommodate for learning loss due to Covid.
  • Maintenance projects completed: Flooring installed in some classrooms; dedicated room created for school counselor and an office/storage addition put in off the gym.
  • An open house and learning night is planned Sept. 28 at a time to be decided.
  • Website:

Somers-Lakeside School District

  • First day: Sept. 7
  • Masks are required for the first six weeks of school. The school board will revisit the guideline at a meeting scheduled at 6 p.m. Sept. 20 at Lakeside Elementary School, 255 Adams St.
  • Website:

Lakeside Elementary School

  • Projected enrollment: 350 students
  • New staff: Paraeducator Diana Body and teachers Hannah Ostrem, special education; Paul Rossi, music; Gennifer Sauter, third grade; Sarah Schroeder, kindergarten;
  • Maintenance projects completed: Some old wooden swing sets were replaced at Lakeside and the gym floor was resurfaced.
  • An open house is set from 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 2.
  • Somers Middle School
  • Projected enrollment: 260 students in fifth through eighth grade
  • New staff: Teachers Jeffrey Ort, fifth- and sixth-grade history; Rebecca Stacey, fifth-grade math and Amy Sweet, Title 1 math.
  • An open will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 1.

St. Matthew's Catholic School

  • First day: Sept. 7
  • Projected enrollment: 181 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade
  • Masks are optional.
  • New staff: Teachers Shelbey Barron, art; Seth Johnson, fifth grade; Rachel Schaffer, third grade; Denise Spiess, fourth grade; cafeteria aides Rosa Clamp and Slyvie Johnson and front office manager Michelle Ottoson.
  • St. Matthews also welcomes new Principal Susy Peterson who joined the staff from a former principal position in Volusia County Schools in Florida.
  • New curriculum/programs: Implementing "Theology of the Body," which follows the teachings of St. John Paul II in answering questions such as "Who am I?" and "Why am I here?"
  • Maintenance projects completed: Parking lots were resurfaced and classrooms and hallways repainted.
  • An ice cream social is planned from 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 2. During this time, students may drop off supplies. An open house will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 21.
  • Website:

Stillwater Christian School

  • First day: Sept. 8
  • Projected enrollment: 510 students in preschool through 12th grade
  • Masks are optional.
  • New staff: Teachers Carol Bernard, seventh-grade English language arts and history; Jeremiah Gordon, seventh and eighth-grade science and seventh-grade Bible; Alyssa Morken, second grade; Alexandra Schaefer, sixth-grade English language arts, history, and Bible; Mara Strobel, high school Spanish and development assistant; facility director Rich Strauss; information technology director Aaron Wiersma; elementary secretary Carissa Heath and secondary secretary Kate Van Kempen.
  • Former Stillwater secondary principal Michael Annis will serve as the new head of school. Katie Greenfield moves into the secondary principal position, joining the administrative team from her former head of school position at Kings Valley Christian School in Concord, California. David Sutton transitions from interim to permanent elementary principal at Stillwater.
  • Maintenance projects completed: All flooring replaced in the hallways and common areas of the elementary building and carpeting removed and replaced with Epoxy floors.
  • Website:

Swan River School

  • First day: Aug. 31
  • Projected enrollment: 189 students
  • Masks are optional.
  • New staff: Fourth-grade teacher Emily Feller, counselor Nicole Greene, paraprofessional Shyla Russell and special education director Steve Waddle.
  • Swan River also welcomes new Principal JJ Lamb, who joined the school from his former eighth-grade math, health and P.E. teaching position at C.S. Porter Middle School in Missoula.
  • New curriculum/programs: National Archery in Schools program
  • Maintenance projects completed: A new roof, carpeting and kitchen flooring were installed.

Trinity Lutheran School

  • First day: Sept. 1
  • Projected enrollment: 200 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade
  • Masks are optional.
  • New staff: Teachers Sarah Elliott, sixth-grade homeroom and humanities; Erin Johnson, first grade and Kianna Ogilvie, third grade.
  • New curriculum/programs: Science curriculum (K-8)
  • Maintenance projects completed: New playground equipment installed
  • Website:

West Glacier

  • First day: Sept. 7
  • Masks are required.

West Valley School

  • First day: Aug. 30
  • Projected enrollment: 750 to 800 students
  • Masks are optional.
  • New staff: Teachers Lindsey Bird, first grade; Mark Fessler, middle school science; Sheri Hand, middle school band and choir; Darcey Harmon, fifth grade; Ashley Thompson, kindergarten; Jessica Mielke, fifth grade; Stacy Tadlock-, middle school special education; Sarah Tegeler, middle school math; paraprofessionals Shannon King and Nicole Suho, paraprofessional; and food service worker Jeff Nelson. Teri Dierenfield will serve as a part time curriculum director.
  • New curriculum/programs: Science and social studies curriculum is new.
  • Maintenance projects completed: Two new classrooms were built,
  • An open house will be held on Sept. 14. Grades fifth through eighth are invited to attend from 5 to 6 p.m. A time will be decided for grades kindergarten through fourth.
  • Website:

Whitefish School District

  • Masks are required for students and staff in grades kindergarten through sixth. Masks are optional, but recommended for grades seventh through 12th.
  • New staff: Muldown Elementary teacher Lisa Bloom has been named the new district curriculum and instruction director.
  • Website:

Muldown Elementary School

  • The first day of school was Aug. 25.
  • Projected enrollment: 700 students
  • New staff: Teachers Megan Burns, second grade; Daniel Freeman, music; Josie Heinrichs, first grade; Amara McDaniel, intervention/remote; Pilar Parry, special education; Mackenzie Roberts, second grade and Ashlyn Stenerson, third grade; speech language pathologists Nadine Cooper and Amber Pirie; nurse Amber Bunker, psychologist Challace Cole and paraprofessional Jenna Kavanaugh.
  • New Principal Catey Nasello joined the administrative team from a previous elementary principal position in central California.

Whitefish Middle School

  • The first day of school was Tuesday.
  • Projected enrollment: 640 students in fifth through eighth grade
  • On weeks where students attend five full school days, there will be an early 2:30 p.m.
  • New staff: Sixth-grade teacher Kassidy Fischer, intervention and remote teacher Dana Innerbichler, paraprofessional Nancy Persons and custodian Kenny Weese.

Whitefish High School

  • The first day of school was Wednesday.
  • Projected enrollment: 600 students
  • Students will be released early on Wednesday's where students attend five full days of school. If there is a short week (four or three days) there will not be an early release.
  • Daily start and dismissal times are a slight change from the previous year. School starts at 8:15 a.m. Dismissal is 3:27 p.m. on regular school days and 2:27 p.m. on early-release Wednesday's.
  • All meals are offered free of charge to students. A la carte items are also available at a cost.
  • New staff: Special education paraeducator Lisa Davis, counselor Lyndsey Marshall, science teacher Cody Olson, custodian Adam Rhode, English and academic intervention teacher Coral Schulz, school nurse Deanne Sramek and school resource officer Reese Stahlberg.
  • New curriculum/programs: Bio Technology is a new class offered as dual enrollment with Flathead Valley Community College; new textbooks and support materials have been purchased for U.S. history, World History, Geography, Government and Economics classes.
  • Maintenance projects completed: The media lab and audio and video recording studio underwent a remodel this summer. A large window and set of doors were installed to connect the two rooms. New computers with greater processing power were added to the media lab, which now serves a full classroom of students with the attached audio and video recording studio. The school phone system was upgraded and replaced.
  • Students and families are invited to attend an open house at 7 p.m. Sept. 27, coinciding with the kickoff of homecoming week.

Whitefish Christian Academy

  • First day: Sept. 7
  • Projected enrollment: 140 students in preschool through eighth grade
  • Masks are optional.
  • New staff: Teachers Luke Benson, third grade; Georgia Grube, middle school math and Russian; Jerelyn Karberg, second-grade elementary music; Sarah Nelson, kindergarten; Lisa Screeton, middle school music and theater; Jessica Sliman, fourth grade; Romina Sprunger, Spanish; Candice Stephens, P.E. and middle school art; Humanities Department assistant Shannon Allgeier and elementary aide Kayla Bond.
  • New curriculum/programs: Singapore Math in fifth grade; Into Reading in grades K-3; elementary Russian in grades K-4; English Simplified in grades 6-8 and nature study science curriculum in grades K-2.
  • Back-to-school nights are planned from 6 to 7:30 on Aug. 31 for grades first through fourth and on Sept. 2 for grades fifth through eighth.
  • Website: