Messages from Mr. Miller

  • Principal's Message: October 21, 2020

    Hello Hellgate Community!

    Welcome to a new week and our last rotation of classes this quarter. Today, our students arrived to periods 5 and 6. We will complete this schedule on November 6, 2020. I want to use this transition to give an update and “thanks” for a very successful COVID school year. We started our year under a number of uncertainties that persist today. We still have swirling conversations about our schedule, athletics, content delivery, and most importantly, student safety.

    We will not have answers to many of your questions about the specifics of our schedule for at least another week. Our School Board is in deep conversations right now about what our bell-schedule will look like and how we can best continue to deliver a safe educational experience to everyone. Quarter 1 will end on November 6, 2020. Next week after the board meeting, we should know what the schedule for Quarter 2 will look like. Quarter 2 will begin November 9, 2020 with periods 1 and 2.

    Despite all of our collective uncertainty: Nationally, statewide, and locally, we have had a great year so far. Our goal was to prioritize student safety while emphasizing relationships and classroom learning. Our staff has been able to quickly transition to 2-hour class periods, change delivery models, adjust to ever-changing class lists, and implement a host of building-wide cleaning / sanitation protocols. With all of your help and support, we have worked to adapt to our new COVID world and still maintain the fundamentals of what makes Hellgate so amazing.

    It has been wonderful to see many of you at our modified extra-curricular events. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing our students involved in band concerts, virtual classes, Student Government, clubs, volunteer activities, and athletics. There have been many times that have felt just like a high school should, and I value our ability to create these opportunities. When focused on the moment or particular event, I almost forget about COVID --and it is a great reprieve.

    I want to extend a huge “thank you” to all of you for working with us and our entire staff during this very unusual time. I know it is not how any of us wished the 2020 school year would go, but it is because of a giant collective effort and partnership that we have been able to provide the very best education experience possible under our altered landscape. It has been a real treat to walk around the building and see our students engaging with our staff on all sorts of things that look very “normal,” and I am grateful for the ability to be a part of it. I will pass along additional specifics as soon as I am able to do so. In the meantime, have a great week and stay safe.

    Judson Miller
    Principal

     

    Principal's Message: October 8, 2020

    Hello Knight Community, 

    Please remember that next week has another schedule change to accommodate MEA Week.

    The schedule next week is as follows: 

    Monday “Remote Learning Day” 9th-12th Grade

    Tuesday “A” Day 9th-12th Grade

    Wednesday “B” Day 9th-12th Grade

    Thursday Non-student Day

    Friday Non-student Day

    Seniors who were unable to attend the ACT test on October 6th, but would like to take the make-up exam must fill out the attached google form. The make-up test will be held on Oct 20th and will start promptly at 8am (no late arrivals will be admitted). Due to the fact that there is school on that day, we will not be able to distance testers like we did on the original test date. Seniors testing are responsible to bring an approved calculator, provide their own transportation, and wear a mask the entire time. Testing will go from 8am to approximately 1pm so you may have to make arrangements for make-up assignments in classes you miss. If you have any questions please email Ms. Bageant sbageant@mcpsmt.org.

    ACT Makeup Form

    Judson Miller 

    Principal 

    Principal's Message - August 25, 2020

    Hello Hellgate High School Community, 

    Welcome to a very strange start to the 20/21 school year! I had the privilege of meeting with every teacher in our building (by department) in the last couple of days. The energy, care, and excitement from our staff is infectious. We have worked all summer to ensure that the building is clean, our teachers are ready, and we have protocols in place that prioritize safety and classroom learning. 

    I know many of you have a number of feelings about the year. We have done our best to make things safe, welcoming, and inclusive. I know that you will have a myriad of questions and I ask for your continued patience and understanding as we work to settle the building, embrace new protocols, and get students acclimated into a schedule. This process will take a few days. This extended email will help to clarify: 

    • Freshman Only Day                                    8-26-20
    • “A”-day for all students (A-K)                     8-27-20
    • “B”-day for all students (L-Z)                      8-28-20
    • Bell Schedule 
    • September Schedule 
    • General Expectations (Masks + Handbook)  
      • All students must wear a mask that meets district standards for health and dress code. 
      • Student Handbook

     

    Student-generated Course Requests ends on 8-31-20 at 5:00.

    Schedule Change Request Form 

    Please remember:

    • We are still working through the existing list  
    • We have Freshmen tomorrow 
    • We have new student appointments 8-27/28-20
    • HHS will still have to make some changes based on backlog
    • Check “Q” for updates and please understand that your request may not be possible 

     

    WELCOME, CLASS OF 2024!

    8-26-20 is for Freshmen only. The day will be divided into two groups by alphabet: Students with last names A-K in the morning (10-12), students with last names L-Z in the afternoon (1:30-3:30); ½ day each. Students will go to the Lower Gym to pick up a copy of their schedule. Once they have their schedule, students will report to their 1st period class.

    Wednesday, August 26 special bus schedules - check INFOFINDER.

    Bell Schedule for Frosh Day

    Morning Session: Last Name A-K

     

    Afternoon Session: Last Name L-Z

    10:00 - 10:15

    Check In - Lower Gym

    1:30 - 1:45

    10:15 - 10:30

    Period 1

    1:45 - 2:00

    10:35 - 10:45

    Period 2

    2:05 - 2:15

    10:50 - 11:00

    Period 3

    2:20 - 2:30

    11:05 - 11:15

    Period 4

    2:35 - 2:45

    11:20 - 11:30

    Period 5

    2:50 - 3:00

    11:35 - 11:45

    Period 6

    3:05 - 3:15

    11:45 - 12:00

    Course Change Request Help - Lower Gym

    3:15 - 3:30

    Class Schedule through September 18 (calendar attached)

    September Daily Schedule

    Daily Bell Schedule - Starting on Thursday, August 27

    10:05 - 12:15

    Period 1

    12:15 - 1:00

    ·  12:15 Senior/Junior Release

    ·  12:20  Sophomore Release 

    ·  12:25  Freshman Release 

    Lunch (released by Grade)

    1:05 - 3:15

    ·  3:15    1st Floor 

    ·  3:20    2nd Floor

    ·  3:25    3rd Floor 

    Period 2 (Released by Floor) 

     

    • Lunch Plan
      • 11th and 12th Grade Students may leave campus for lunch
      • 9th and 10th Grade Students must stay on campus and will be socially distanced
      • Grab and Go Lunches provided
      • Areas Open for Lunch - Capped at 50 Students
        • Upper Commons
        • Lower Commons
        • Lower Gym East
        • Lower Gym West
        • Courtyard
        • Upper Gym Bleachers (if needed)

    I am excited to partner our amazing staff members with our outstanding kids this week. It has been a long seven months, and seeing everyone back in the building will be a great way to end the summer. Thanks for all of your support and care.

    Judson Miller

     

    Back-to-School (August 17, 2020)

    Hello Knights, 

    Thank you for your continued patience. I understand this email is later than any of us would have preferred, but it has taken a while to ensure we have systems and information in place to deal with the crazy start to this school year. Our HHS teachers have been meeting all summer and planning in earnest this month to welcome our Knights back to the building. We are excited to see all of you and to offer a unique schedule that emphasizes student safety in this difficult time. We miss our kids and we miss our community. 

    This week we are focusing on scheduling for our already enrolled students, and have set up course request systems for our current 10th-12th grade students. We will have a process for our Freshmen on the 26th (Freshman-Only Day), and will start setting appointments with new and yet-to-be enrolled families on the 27th.

    Right now, the big decision for many of you is to choose online or in-person instruction. MCPS is currently offering one model or the other (with very few exceptions.) The link for our district online options is attached below:

    Coronavirus Information / Missoula Online Academy

    HHS may be able to accommodate limited blended options, but that information will not be available until later in the week. IB courses are not currently available in the MOA model. If you wish to continue with an IB diploma program, you should choose the in-person model. 

    I have included a few Google Documents / Forms on this communication to best assist with scheduling for this year. Please know that our student “Registration” Days this year are only for the purpose of schedule changes. Pictures, lockers, payments, yearbooks, etc., will all come later in the fall. I encourage all of you to use the electronic forms (attached) from the comfort of your home. I have also included a short list below: 

    • Login and check your “Q” schedule
    • Sit with it for a few minutes 
    • All students will have up to 6 classes (due to our new format) 
    • This limits certain choices and is a byproduct of COVID planning
    • Course changes will be extremely limited (unlike previous years) 
    • Check your “Q” schedule 
    • Use the Google Form to submit requested changes 
    • Wait a few days and check “Q” again 
    • Many requests will not be possible due to dropping from 7 to 6 courses 

    Schedule Change Request Form

    Course Options (same as February's process used to schedule existing courses) 

    Seniors

    Juniors

    Sophomores

    Freshmen

    Counselors will be working on schedule change forms in order of arrival (starting this evening) and will not be available for all drop-ins. Our Administrative team and Deans will be here to help with forms and individual questions about scheduling. Please keep in mind that this year is unlike any other, and we are committed to ensuring students get the courses they need for graduation and, when possible, electives of his / her choice. If you choose to stop in tomorrow, please: 

    • Enter from the main entrance 
    • Wear a mask 
    • Be prepared to enter your information into a Chromebook 
    • Wait a couple days for follow-up 
    • Check “Q” for updates 


    Know that you can also do this from home. We will be here to help with general questions, but many of you will want courses, schedules, formats that will not be possible to offer this quarter. 

    Our schedule this week will be for students only (due to size restrictions): 

    Seniors                8-18-20     9-11 and 12-2

    Juniors                 8-19-20    9-11 and 12-2

    Sophomores        8-20-20    9-11 and 12-2

    HHS is not offering Study Halls or unstructured time in the building for the duration of COVID learning. HHS will offer: 

    • Graduation requirements
    • Electives (limited by size requirements) 
    • MTDA Credit Recovery 
    • Clubs / Activities
    • Student Government
    • Athletics (Defined by MHSA) 

    Most students who choose to attend in-person learning will have 6 periods, broken out into chunks. Each day will contain 2 periods and last for 16 days. ½ of our students will attend school on a given day separated by Alphabet. I will have the final back-to-school schedule (September) finalized and sent to our families on Friday. 

    I will have another large community update on Friday that contains all of the Week 1 information, including our schedule. This information is shifting and I want to ensure that you have information that is correct and ready to plan around. I will also post the information on our website. 

    Despite the chaotic nature of COVID education, we are both excited and ready to welcome our Knights back to the 20/21 school year. 

     

    June 17, 2020

    Hello Hellgate Community,

    Thank you all so much for your flexibility and support during the very odd and ever-changing Spring Semester. We did a lot of work around grading equity and tried to strike a balance between rewarding all of the hard work our students did with an understanding that many home routines were upended. Our report cards will be mailed out early next week, but you can always check “Q” for final grades. Our school will have an odd schedule this summer and we will get our community drop-in schedule set for July and August. For now, we are essentially closed as we work to finish out the year, set-up safety protocols, hire a few new staff members, and work on plans for next year.

    We still have open spaces available for summer school. We are here to help in person (socially distanced) and are offering credit recovery with our incredible staff at the ready. Now is a great time to make up credits and visit classes that had failing grades. Most of our students are able to recoup credit and get back on track for an on-time graduation with a few short weeks of hard work. If you are interested, please follow this link and we can help you out.  

    Our administrative team and office staff will be here working away on what will be an interesting start to the year. Because our work spaces and protocols are different, email is the absolute best way to contact any of us. Know that I will not have any answers for you about the Master Schedule, Athletics, or what school may look like in the Fall until August. These answers will be fluid and ever-changing as the Nation and State deal with next steps. We are reviewing what worked well and what needs changing based on feedback and resources as we plan for the future.

    If you need something, please reach out via email and understand our response time will be longer than normal. The school website is the best place for all information and email addresses.

    I appreciate your patience as we work to ensure the Fall can start in the best possible way for our students. I hope you are all able to take a bit of time this summer and enjoy Montana; I am very grateful that I get to share this community and our school with all of you.

    Judson Miller

    Principal


    May 26, 2020

    Hello Knights!

    Welcome to a new week and one step closer to the end of this crazy year. Most of the information in this update will be review and is specifically targeted at Seniors. I will get updates for all of our 9-11th grade students as soon as graduation is settled. This week is designated for Senior pick-up by day/time according to Alphabetical split.

    Check-out is mandatory for all seniors. Seniors (or designee’s) only can come into the building to drop off materials and pick up any school items (PE, Art, caps and gowns, honor cords and stoles, graduation and celebration items, and pay fees/fines). Please keep in mind a few of the following items: 

    • Seniors are divided by time slots/Alpha splits
    • School visits are for necessities only and should be no more than 10 minutes
    • All staff will wear masks and we are encouraging students to do the same
    • Teachers will not be available
    • Social Distancing guidelines will be in place (keeping the group to 25 or less)

    Seniors can expect to receive the following:

    • A ceremony packet (2-tickets, parking information, and map for family assigned seats)
    • Get a custom student designed tee shirt (thanks to KORT/Student Government)
    • Have a yard sign available for pick up next week (thanks to KORT/District Support)
    • School will have a banner with names on it hung on the Higgins Street side
    • Virtual Senior Awards Night (sent out electronically) working on a few technical issues right now
    • Graduation Ceremony will take place June 5thor 6th depending on our (district) collaboration and planning finalizing the format

    Please take a look at our schedule and plan your visit only during your assigned day/time. Students (or designee’s) will need to sign for the tickets and should only plan to spend 10 minutes or so in the building. We will have stations set up next to the main entrance to facilitate drop-offs. Seniors will also be able to settle any remaining fees and fines during check-out (check or cash please). We encourage you to check your Q Portal tonight and check on lunch balances under Cafeteria and fees/fines under Accounts.

    5-27-20
    8:00-10:00            A-B
    10:00-12:00          C-E
    12:00-1:30            F-H
    1:30-3:00              I-K

    5-28-20 
    8:00-10:00            L-N
    10:00-12:00          O-Q
    12:00-1:30            R-T
    1:30-3:00              U-W

    5-29-20 
    8:00-10:00            X-Z

    Makeup-day
    6-2-20                    8:00-11:00

    Once the graduation ceremony is over, we (HHS) will focus communication on information, scheduling, summer programming, and set up for next year. Thank you all so much for your continued help and understanding as we navigate this alternate end to our school year. 

    Judson Miller

     

    May 20, 2020

    Hello Hellgate Community,

    It has been quite a Spring for all us. I really appreciate the help and support you have provided to finish out the year. I have a couple updates today specifically about Seniors, but it will help for everyone to have this information. First of all, I am going to have to cancel the planned KORT parent Town Hall meeting tomorrow at 12:00. We (High School Principals) are meeting with a number of other people about graduation ceremony planning. The time slot was the only one available for all parties to meet. I apologize for the last-minute change and will work with KORT to find an alternative time. As you all know, it has been very complicated and many different groups are involved. We (as a district) are working with your feedback to make the experience the best one possible. Ensuring we have the most relevant and meaningful experience takes a lot of coordination with our City, State, and Community. We will get all of the details to you as soon as we have them solidified.

    HHS has intentionally waited to celebrate our Senior Class in order to follow our traditional timeline and format. HHS has waited for new instruction to finish and facilitated a focused celebration leading up the ceremony. Your feedback has been very helpful this year and I am excited to focus on our seniors next week. Our school-wide celebration will start the week of 5/26/20 with some additional elements in recognition that our seniors have missed out on a variety of opportunities. Each Senior will:

    • Get a custom student designed tee shirt (thanks to KORT/Student Government)
    • Have a yard sign available for pick up next week (thanks to KORT/District Support)
    • School will have a banner with names on it hung on the Higgins Street side
    • Virtual Senior Awards Night (5/27/20) sent out electronically)
    • Graduation Ceremony will take place June 4th/5th/6th depending on our (district) collaboration and planning finalizing the format

    Next week, we will have an opportunity for Seniors only to come into the building to drop-off materials and pick-up any school items (PE, Art, Graduation items, celebration items, and pay fees/fines). Please keep in mind a few of the following items:

    • Seniors are divided by time slots/Alpha splits
    • School visits are for necessities only and should be no more than 10 minutes
    • All staff will wear masks and we are encouraging students to do the same
    • Teachers will not be available
    • Social Distancing guidelines will be in place (keeping the group to 25 or less)

    I will have a final email out to all of you next Tuesday at 4:00 pm with the exact specifics and physical flow of the building. In the meantime, please take a look at our schedule and plan your visit only during your assigned day/time.

    • A - B: 5/27/20 from 8:00 - 10:00 am 
    • C - E: 5/27/20 from 10:00 - 12:00 pm
    • F - H: 5/27/20 from 12:00 - 1:30 pm
    • I - K: 5/27/20 from 1:30 - 3:00 pm
    • L - N: 5/28/20 from 8:00 - 10:00 am
    • O - Q: 5/28/20 from 10:00 - 12:00 pm
    • R - T: 5/28/20 from 12:00 - 1:30 pm
    • U - W: 5/28/20 from 1:30 - 3:00 pm
    • X - Z: 5/29/2 from 8:00 - 10:00 am

    In short:

    • 5/20/20 KORT Town Hall Canceled
    • 5/22/20 Last day for new instruction (Seniors)
    • 5/27/20  Senior Visits
    • 5/28/20 Senior Visits
    • 5/29/20 Senior Visits (morning)

    Once the graduation ceremony is over, we (HHS) will focus communication on information, scheduling, summer programming, and set up for next year. Thank you all so much for your continued help and understanding as we navigate this alternate end to our school year.

    Judson


    May 4, 2020

    Hello Hellgate Community,

    As you all know, our Board authorized the continuation of remote learning for the remainder of the year. Today this has most likely generated more questions than answers. Please know that the entire district team is meeting all week to determine the best way to address some of your most pressing questions. We are also working with the City, Health Department, and looking at other districts across the state as we look to what will work best for our school and our community. I know this year and this transition have not been easy; I appreciate all of your communication, patience, and support you have provided along the way. We are working on Graduation, end of year Senior recognition, ways to access our school for collection and drop off (materials), and a few other end of year items. We will continue to deliver remote learning in the same format we have been using:

    • Google Classroom
    • 2-hours/class
    • 2 Assignments/week
    • Updated Assignments Monday at 5
    • Updated Grades from previous week Tuesday at 5

    The Missoulian will be running their Senior insert again this spring - this also includes a listing of scholarships our seniors have received. If you want your student's scholarships included, please go to the Hellgate High School Homepage and click on "Report my Scholarship Information" or go directly to the site directly.

    The deadline to report scholarships to the Missoulian is May 15th. We (MCPS) are working on a larger graduation specific update in the coming weeks.

    Today is also the beginning of Teacher Appreciation Week and we are looking for your help. I have provided a link to a Google Form below that we are using to collect positive and specific items we can give to our staff on Friday. Like for many of you, this transition has been difficult for our staff who miss our school and miss our kids. I attached the letter I wrote to them today:

    Hello Knights, 

    Happy Educator Appreciation Week! This sunny Monday and week designed to highlight gratitude for your work could not have come at a better time. I cannot say enough positive things about the effort and care you have all put into our virtual transition. I told a fellow educator in the district that I would nominate our whole staff for "Teacher of the Year"! This year has been a whirlwind in many different ways. HHS had a fantastic start and kept our momentum until the last possible moment; the moment came with many of our students, Band Members, athletes, parents, and community members in Bozeman right before Spring Break. Although Spring Break did not happen the way any of us imagined (especially the "break" part), all of you embraced the role of educator and transitioned in as seamless a way as possible. You figured out your computers in new ways, connected to entirely new platforms, started virtual classrooms, expanded your definitions of assessments and instruction, and above all else found ways to keep relationships with our kids. You did all of this while managing all of the upheaval, trauma, stress, new parenting, and sleepless nights brought on by this Pandemic. In short, you took the most stressful event many of us can remember and turned it into a new opportunity for growth, learning, patience, and grace. I cannot imagine a group of people doing it better. Every time I log into a department meeting, PLC, or individual chat, you have kept your sense of humor, student focus, and emphasis on improvement in an impressive way. Our students and our community are fortunate to have all of you educating in our classrooms (physical or virtual).

    Judson

    Please use this form to submit specific highlights for any HHS Staff Members who you might want to thank/us to pass along some nice words at the end of the week. Thanks for all of your support!

     

    Judson Miller

    Principal


    April 20, 2020

    Hello Knight Community,

    Thank you so much for your patience, help, and support as we work through this complicated transition. As of today, we still do not have a clear timeline on if/when we will return to school this year. I anticipate some clarity about this question by the end of the week. In the meantime, you can expect the same basic process for this week of online work. Each teacher has a Google Classroom and is using it as the primary format for work exchange. You will be able to look on the classroom and see the assignments that are due for the week each Monday at 5:00. Grades from the previous week will be posted in “Q” by 5:00 on Tuesday. Email is by far the best avenue for reaching school staff with any questions.

    I recognize that this transition has been particularly stressful for our Seniors. I have spoken to many families and many students (virtually) about what comes next. We should have some answers by May 1st. At that point, I anticipate we will know if/when we will come back to school and what that process will look like. Either way, we have plenty of time to engage our community in a process that focuses on honoring our Senior Knights and talking about what Awards Night, Recognition, and Graduation could look like. I am intentionally waiting on planning because we have time, and planning in a vacuum without specific information often leads to increased stress and rework. We are spending a significant amount of time this week talking about the regulations, processes, and potential opportunities for student recognition. This information will help form the basis of our conversations moving forward. I also know that all of you (Senior families or not) are dealing with a lot right now. School is an important part of our community and your daily routines. I am also getting a lot of questions about building access for lockers and materials. This request is also on hold while we work on next steps this week. If we do not return to school this Spring, I will create a process that allows for building access and reengages students/families with our course request process. The same will occur if we come back and in that case, many of the questions will take care of themselves. Please know that in either event we are working to ensure that your questions are answered and the needs of our community are met.

    This entire process is very taxing for all of you. Please know we (as a HHS Staff) spend a lot of time trying to account and plan for the fact that mental and physical health should be a priority for everyone. School and everything associated with it is important, but it is all flexible and fixable. Please continue to work on healthy tools to manage this crisis. On a positive note, it is spring in Montana and finally feels like the weather is matching the season. I appreciate your continued patience and support from afar as we navigate this temporary “normal”. Have a great week.

    Judson Miller

    Principal

     

    April 10, 2020

    Hello Hellgate Community, 

    I hope this Friday finds you healthy and adjusting to this new reality. I really miss seeing all of our Knights and interacting with many of you. I have a couple quick updates today that should help in refining our systems and collaborating with all of your “at home” efforts. Moving forward for however long this lasts our staff will have a few regular update times. You can expect:

    • Grades updated in “Q” every Monday by 5:00
    • Each Google Classroom also updated every Monday by 5:00

    We are continuing to roll out a bit more complexity in a measured way each week. Each teacher is working to assign no more than 2-total hours of work each week. We understand that many of you are still balancing a number of new “at home” issues that impact a number of items. Your partnership is very important to all of us and we continue to work on making school important and relevant, but it is not the most important thing to focus on right now.

    Many of our traditional end-of-year traditions are still in flux. We talk about our Seniors on a daily basis and are working with the district and other high schools on how to best plan for graduation, awards nights, recognition and many of the other “typical” senior items this will look different this year. One item that we really need your help on right now is our Yearbook. It is crunch time and we do not have the ability to work face-to-face with our students to marshal the materials we need to meet our deadlines.

    Below is a message directly from our Yearbook staff:

    WANTED: your photos and stories to include in the 2020 yearbook!

    Photos of:

    • your best selfies
    • relaxing and having fun WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING
    • on-line learning!!! (students AND staff)
    • the Speech and Debate season
    • the boys’ and girls’ state basketball tournaments
    • the Chevies performing at the Top Hat or the Kettlehouse Amphitheater
    • recent creative work by students- poems, drawings, nature mandalas, painted rocks, other crafts, etc.
    • anecdotes, letters, quotes, etc. about your thoughts on this troubling and historic time (especially seniors)

    Please send your content to hellgateseniors@gmail.com OR https://www.instagram.com/hellgatehighyearbook/?hl=en

    And don’t forget to order your yearbook at www.yearbookforever.com!

    Thank you all so much—stay well, Hellgate!

    Many of you have asked for building access. Right now, we do not have a way to accommodate your requests safely and I am asking that you hang on until we get a better sense of how long this current reality will persist. 

    Thank you all so much for your continued communication and partnership. I am sorry that we are not able to offer the same level of service we strive for, but excited we are making the best of our situation. In true Montana fashion, it looks like winter will visit us again this weekend.

    I hope you are all staying healthy and well.

    Judson Miler 
    Principal