First Day Coffee: Aug 28 2017

When: August 28th from 8:30am to 9:30am.
What: A quick coffee and social on the first morning of school!
Where: In the school garden (NE corner of school property)
Who: Parents, Grandparents, little siblings, and any other members of your first day drop-off crew (aside from the kids that are starting school!) are invited.

Details: Join your fellow Rattlesnakers in a short and fun coffee and mingle after the bell rings (8:25am) on the first morning of school! The PTA will be providing coffee and a few donut holes in our beautiful school garden. You might be sad, you might be nervous, you might have mixed emotions… or you might be exuberant! Doesn’t matter, we just want you to join us if you’d like a cup of coffee and some company.

NOTE: If you drive, DO NOT PARK ON MOUNTAINVIEW (road to the N of school property). We suggest, if possible, you instead drive down Pineview Drive and park by Pineview Park in that longer open lot at the bottom of the hill. This will create a safer dropoff space for your fellow parents. For more information on parking, visit our School Map.

THANK YOU to Hygge Coffee for the beverage donation!

School Garden Cooking Class: July 26 2017

The Rattlesnake Garden Committee and Garden City Harvest will be hosting a garden cooking class on July 26th 2017 from 5:30-7:30pm. Join us for this free, fun, and family-friendly cooking class in the garden. Together we will make a number of delicious recipes, enjoy the garden in the height of summer, and eat together as a community.

Please help us spread the word to your friends, family, and neighbors!

For general information on the garden, as well as other summer events in the garden, visit our School Garden page.

Kindergarten Roundup 2017 FAQ

During the four kindergarten roundup sessions in May 2017, members of the PTA took notes on the most frequently asked questions as heard from parents of incoming kindergartners. We used those notes to create this list of short topics and details – and we hope it proves helpful to everyone! Many thanks to Jen Jencso and Principal Wright for helping gather and edit these answers.

Class assignments, teacher assignments, and sizes

  • Kindergarten classes up to 20 have 1 teacher, if 21 or 22 students are in a class then assistants are in the classroom.
  • Kindergarten families received their corrected class placement letters by email and voice mail on Tuesday, June 20 2017. If you did not receive a message, please email Pam Wright. After that letter, you will receive additional communication from the teacher throughout the summer.
  • 2017-2018 Kindergarten class is expected at or near 88 students (i.e. 4 classes). If by the start of the year, enrollment exceeds 88, then decisions on differing enrollment will be made by Superintendent’s office. This process is referred to as leveling.
  • Grades 1 through 5 class/teacher assignments are expected to be emailed out in mid August.

First week Kindergarten schedule

  • M 8:25 – 11:45 (before lunch) – K only busing available *
  • T 8:25 – 12:30 (after lunch) – K only busing available *
  • W 8:25 – 12:30 (after lunch) – K only busing available *
  • Th 8:25 – 2:00 – regular Thursday time with regular on time K – 3rd busing
  • F 8:25 – 3:00 – regular Friday time with regular on time K – 3rd busing
  • * See Bus Schedule First Week Note below *

Bus Schedule

  • Standard schedule and stops can be found at
  • * Bus Schedule First Week Note * For the first week only, the half-day dismissal Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday Kindergarten only buses take longer and will bus to more than one route. This extended route can prove stressful to kids that are not very excited about being on the bus. If you think your kid might be upset by this, the PTA suggests sending them on the morning buses all week (those are the consistent and regular route), picking up your child at the school for the half days M/Tu/W, and then having them ride the bus on Thursday and Friday afternoons. This allows them to get used to the normal bus routes while skipping the possible stress of the extended bus routes.

Prep for the first day

  • It is best to try to stick to talking about drop off and pick up only the night before- don’t build it up too big or with too many fine details.
  • Do your best to get your child to bed at a consistent time for at least a few nights before school starts. Sleep is so important at this age!
  • Kindergarteners get summer home visits to meet their teachers – these will take place in late August or early September. Look for letter from your teacher about this, later in the summer.

Dropoff and pickup guidelines

  • Walk, bike, or bus is best!
  • See for the map that details car dropoff guidelines
  • Kindergartners must have an authorized adult to pick up – they will not be released alone from the school nor off the bus. Kindergartners with no authorized adult at the bus stop at afternoon dismissal will be bussed back to the school to ensure their safety. Please be on time to meet the bus!

Daily schedule, rest time, and recess

  • The basic daily schedule is here:
  • The K day includes rest time in fall for all classrooms. Rest time in winter and spring is figured out per classroom, as needed with class dynamics. Typically your teacher will permit a small blanket and a small soft toy, but this may vary depending on the classroom needs.
  • Kindergarten has three recesses per day: First Recess, Pre-Lunch Recess, and Second Recess.
  • Recess is held outdoors in nearly all weather. It is only held indoors in very specific hazardous weather conditions. Learn more here:

Afterschool care options

  • All Kindergarten students’ families will be able to indicate how they are dismissed each day in a form from their teacher, to ensure they safely and correctly follow their schedule (i.e. if your child will do Campfire Monday – Thursday, and home on the bus on Fridays, you will indicate that in writing).
  • Changes to your child’s routine must always be communicated prior to 2:30pm (1:30 on Thursdays).
  • Note that during the first week, Clark Fork School aftercare does allow kindergartners to be dropped off for their regularly registered aftercare schedule (from 3pm onwards) on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Talk to the folks at Clark Fork to learn about this helpful timesaver for these first days!
  • Learn about afterschool programs here:

Lunch and Menu

  • Lunchtime is a 25 minute period. Hot and cold purchase options are available, or students can bring their own lunch. There is a nut-free table available for students with a nut allergy.
  • Find the current menu and a few back menus for examples, at

Snacks, allergies, and related medical concerns

  • Most classrooms have food-free celebrations and birthdays – learn more about this approach at the MCPS page Smart Snack initiative
  • Some K classrooms have group snacks, others do not, your teacher will communicate these expectations in the fall.
  • There is a nut-free table available in the cafeteria for students with a nut allergy.
  • Nut-free or food free classrooms are designated as needed, per classroom.
  • If your child has allergies and you have already submitted a completed medical form, you should have already heard from our assigned nurse. If you have not heard from her, please call or email Lisa Flanagan to discuss your child’s needs and ensure the forms were received:, (406) 728-2400 ext. 4511, or (406) 239-9065

Curriculum and reading expectations

  • Highly detailed curriculum descriptions are available at
  • Kindergarten classrooms at Rattlesnake Elementary begin the year reviewing letters and their sounds, progress to two letter combinations (like “sh” and “st”), then learn to sound out short words and syllables, and finally will work on sight reading short words (such as “the” and “dog”). By the end of kindergarten, some students will have begun to read in full sentences or even books, and some will not- and that’s OK. Please speak directly with your teacher if you have concerns about reading expectations or classroom experiences.

Technology and screentime in the K classroom

  • Kindergarteners have limited use of iPads and computers with educational goals in mind. Teachers also have interactive white boards used for calendar time and story times.
  • Grades 1 through 5 incorporate technology and screentime in different ways that are age appropriate. Please speak with your assigned teacher if you have any additional questions.

In class volunteering

  • For Kindergarten, general classroom volunteering typically starts in late October. This helps the classrooms settle into their routines, prior to adding volunteers into the mix.
  • If you want to volunteer your particular knowledge for a self-led lesson or classroom experience, talk to your teacher about how to best schedule and plan. Please keep in mind that scheduling is particularly tight in September, December, just prior to Spring Break (i.e part of March), and in May and June. Planning ahead with your child’s teacher will let you work with him or her as a team to ensure your time working in the classroom is a great experience for everyone!
  • In class volunteers (called a Supervised Volunteer) must sign a district volunteer form (see Volunteers that would be working with students unsupervised are also required to sign more forms plus get a background check- this is less common and isn’t the kind of volunteering that you’d be likely to do with a Kindergarten classroom.

Standardized Testing

  • There is no standardized testing done in Kindergarten at Rattlesnake Elementary.
  • Teachers use a variety of assessments to guide instruction, some of which are standardized in format (i.e. a consistent assessment is applied to all students). Please note these are not standardized tests, but rather they are evaluation tools to help better understand student and classroom progress.
  • Standardized testing within MCPS starts in 3rd grade. 

Many ways to communicate!

  • School District:
    • Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) website:
    • MCPS App: Search in App Store or Google Play Store for “Missoula County Public School” and you should find it!
    • Administration Building: 215 South Sixth Street West, Missoula, MT 59801, 406-728-2400
  • Rattlesnake School:
  • Your child’s teacher:
    • During the school year, teachers can be reached via email or phone (find these on Rattlesnake School Staff Listings, and will send a weekly newsletter via their school email.
    • You will get handouts and other paper format notes in your child’s “boomerang” (or “boom”) folder. The boomerang folder gets its name because it goes back and forth from school each day with your child.
  • Rattlesnake School PTA:
    • PTA website: you are on the PTA website right now!
    • PTA facebook: 
    • PTA specific email list: You MUST sign up separately for PTA emails to receive them! Sign up at any PTA event, or use the Contact Us form and simply write “please add me to the PTA email list” in your note. Thanks!
    • PTA via US Postal Service: Rattlesnake PTA, P.O. Box 7211, Missoula MT 59807

Adopt the Garden for a Week! Summer 2017

Volunteers are needed to adopt the Rattlesnake Elementary School Garden each week this summer!

Garden City Harvest is looking for Rattlesnake community members to adopt-the-garden each week of this summer. It will entail opening the garden for a couple of hours during the week, whenever it fits into the volunteer’s schedule. Light weeding, harvesting, and welcoming the community into the space are encouraged. Some perks of the job include taking home free fresh produce, enjoying the outdoors, and meeting new friends.

Sign up at:

For general information on the garden, as well as other summer events in the garden, visit our School Garden page.

Bike Rodeo: May 25 2017

The annual Rattlesnake School Bike Rodeo will be on May 25th!

When: May 25th from 5:30 to 7:30.
What: A community celebration of biking, including obstacle courses, helmets giveaways, a few small prizes, and more!
Who: All community members are invited.

Details: Bring your bike to school for a night of family bicycle fun!  This event is for all Rattlesnake community families. Activities will include an obstacle course, line ride, friend racing, and more! Missoula Bicycle Works will provide free student bike tune-ups (first come, first serve). We are also hoping to have representatives from Missoula Parks and Rec to talk about the upcoming all ages Syringa Bike Skills Park. Learn more about the planned new bike park here, or come to the Bike Rodeo!

THANK YOU to all the parents that volunteer to plan and run the Bike Rodeo. You make this happen!

THANK YOU to Missoula Bicycle Works and all other businesses and sponsors at this event!

Sponsored by the Rattlesnake PTA, the Rattlesnake Family Connection Center, and in coordination with the Rattlesnake School P.E. teacher, Ms Delaney.

Fun Run: June 6 2017

The annual PTA led Rattlesnake School Fun Run will be on Tuesday June 6th!

When: June 6th 2017, starting at 1pm for K-3rd and 1:30pm for 4th and 5th grades.
What: A Fun Run for all! Kids can choose to run or walk for 1 or 2 miles.
Theme: School Spirit! Kids are encouraged to wear green and yellow for the run!
Simple Snack Donation Request: We are asking families to send bananas and/or oranges to school Tuesday morning, if possible.


Running Course: there will be a 1-mile loop for kindergartners and walkers or anyone not up for 2 miles. This loop will take you through the neighborhoods surrounding Pineview Park. There is also a 2-mile loop open to 1st-5th graders.  This loop will take you through the neighborhoods, across the creek and behind the PEAS farm.  Both the 1-mile and the 2-mile course end in Pineview Park. The finishing area at the Pineview Park Pavilion will have celebratory snacks, including popsicles, oranges, and bananas.

The fun run is a non-competitive event, and times will not be taken. If your child wishes to time themselves with a watch, they are welcome to take on that responsibility independently.

THANK YOU to our sponsors – with your support, all students will receive a Rattlesnake Fun Run reusable water bottle. Please note, this year the PTA has decided not to give away teeshirts.

THANK YOU to all the parents that volunteer to support the training runs, Fun Run, and the event as a whole. You make this happen!

THANK YOU to all the groups and businesses that sponsor or donate to this event. We couldn’t do it without your support!

Family Fun Night: May 19 2017

Please join us for a Community Dance Family Fun Night Friday May 19th in the Rattlesnake School from 5:30-7:30pm!  

  • What: Community Folk Dance!
  • Who:  All Rattlesnake Families
  • When: Friday May 19th 2017
  • Where: Rattlesnake School gym
  • Details: Community Folk Dance!
    • Back by popular demand, music teacher Mrs Gibson will be calling dances!
    • No experience necessary, open to all community members age 5 & up
    • Pizza dinner provided by the Family Connection Center.
    • Bring a dessert to share or come as you are

Sponsored by the Rattlesnake PTA and the Rattlesnake Family Connection Center

May 2017 General PTA Minutes

May 3rd, 2017 Rattlesnake Elementary School PTA Meeting minutes

Meeting attendance: Maggie Ward (P), Anne T (VP), Laura Fellin (S), Alex Stokman (T), Jen Jencso (FCC), Lisa Thomas (Teacher), Pamela Wright (Principal) + parents Eric and Leah

Items as Discussed

Principal’s Update:
Principal Wright thanked the PTA for its assistance in getting out the word of the upcoming vote. With only a 20% voter turn out, the school levy passed.  Secondly, again in 2017-2018 the PTA will provide financial support for two Rattlesnake School positions: Family Connections Center staff and the Para Educator. The PTA funds a portion of these two salaries, in conjunction with the school district.

Upcoming Events & Activities:
Fun Run – This year’s volunteer event coordinator reports that things are running smoothly to date. Volunteers have been numerous, consistent and very helpful! Outstanding in our preparations for this event is delivery of a copy of the PTA’s insurance policy. Alex Stokman agreed to deliver it to Parks and Rec this week.

Many inquiries have been made regarding the t-shirts typically purchased for the event. These have included a winning design on the front from those submitted by students. During the initial planning phase of the 2017 Fun Run the decision was made that we need to simplify the event at least this year due to the lack of volunteer capacity in the area of coordination. In lieu of t-shirts, the PTA has purchased water bottles that will be given to every child at the school in celebration of the event.

It was also reported that donors interested in sponsoring the event have approached the PTA.  Many will do so if recognition is available.  In past years, the t-shirts included local sponsor advertising on the back.  In lieu of t-shirts this year, we will develop a banner that can be hung along Rattlesnake Drive during and after the event.  It will include a thank you to this year’s sponsors.

Missoula Gives:  Rattlesnake PTA has signed up as a participating Nonprofit and is eligible to receive donations through the effort.  $50 sign up fee, approved by PTA. This is the first year of participation in this event, as an exploratory effort.

Kindergarten Roundup:  Dates for this year’s roundup include

  • Thursday 5/18 from 5-6pm
  • Friday 5/19 from 8:45 – 9:45am, 10 – 11 am and 11:15 – 12:15.

PTA reps will be present for the first 30 minutes. PTA parent sign-up sheet will be available. Reminder: Current kindergartners have no school on Friday 5/19 due to this event.

Volunteer Celebration: An event is in the works.  Janel is organizing and will update the PTA when her plans are in order.

Teacher Appreciation Week, May 8- 12: The PTA will coordinate daily recognition activity for the teachers and staff.  Suggestions include the purchasing of a Keurig coffee maker for the teacher’s lounge, artwork for the teacher’s lounge, chair massages,  pictures, cards/notes, etc…  Jen Jenso will lead the effort to plan for this year.  $150 will be donated by the PTA from the Teacher Appreciation fund. In addition, the PTA will pay for the purchase of the Keurig machine.

Other Business:

The PTA has a few projects in the works for the 2017-2018 school year:
•      2017 – 2018 Fundraising and events calendar will be available online in May.
•      2017 – 2018 Meeting calendar will be available in May. New for the coming school year will be introduction of parent-focused special topics, such as school nutrition, summer camp planning, afterschool sports and activity planning, etc.  The first 30 minutes of each monthly meeting will focus on this special topic. The balance of each meeting will focus on PTA business items.
•      2017 – 2018 Parent volunteer positions will be introduced in May.  The PTA aims to create project specific volunteer leadership positions will allow parents to get involved in a more targeted way and with clear expectations for time commitment.

Funding Request: The school garden will be adding a tasting garden and requests $200 to cover this project. More information is forthcoming.  The garden team also plans to offer an opportunity for families to “adopt” the garden on a weekly basis throughout the summer.

Meeting adjourned at 7:30pm

May 2017 General PTA Agenda

Rattlesnake Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association Meeting
Agenda for May 3rd, 2017 from 6:30pm-7:30pm
Meeting will be held in Family Connections Center

Please enter through the Old Gym Doors as the Main Entrance is locked in the evenings.


6:30p Welcome (Maggie)

  • Intention of meeting

Upcoming Events & Activities in May/June

  • Fun Run (Emily/Maggie)
  • Missoula Gives (Leigh/Maggie)
  • Kindergarten Roundup (Leadership Team)
  • Celebration Night (Janel/Maggie)
  • Teacher Appreciation Week (TBD)

PTA calendar for 2017-2018 (Leadership Team)
PTA positions for 2017-2018 (Leadership Team)

  • Share position ideas & outreach

Principal Update (Pam)

FCC Update (Jen)

7:30p Adjourn

SPARK! Showcase: May 5 2017

SPARK!, Missoula’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Any Given Child Initiative, Proudly Presents the SPARK! Showcase

When: 4:30pm – 8:30pm on May 5th
Where: Wilma Theatre

Doors will open at 4:30.  Enjoy street performances and interactive visual arts projects outside.  Inside, browse the visual arts gallery, view a wide array of student-created films, jump on the dance floor for swing dancing, creative movement, and African Dance, and watch young thespians and storytellers perform.  Join us for the entire evening, or stop in for a single event.  At 8:00, the incomparable Eden Atwood performs!

Missoula County Public School students have accessed over 700 hours of additional arts education this year through SPARK! Arts Ignite Learning.  Come celebrate SPARK! Arts with us during First Friday on May 5.  Ignite your own SPARK! for the arts through interactive projects and performances, and see what MCPS K-8 students have been experiencing in classes throughout the year.  Students and SPARK! artists and organizations will be performing dance, drumming, theatre, and storytelling.  Enjoy student-created films and a gallery of visual art works made through SPARK! Residencies.  We welcome the whole community to come enjoy the arts education process that has been blossoming in Missoula.

SPARK! Arts Ignite Learning is a national partner in the John F. Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child Initiative.  We believe that the Arts have the power to ignite the imagination, spark innovation through creativity, and transform learning. SPARK! works in collaboration with artists, classroom teachers, University of Montana staff, MCPS school administration, and volunteers to ensure that the arts are an essential part of every school day.  We work to provide opportunities to students through art for art’s sake, arts enhancement, and arts integration.

The majority of the SPARK! Art program budget at Rattlesnake Elementary is funded by the Rattlesnake PTA.