Summer Camp Scholarship Ideas

Summer is just around the corner! If you need ideas for summer camps in and around Missoula, we suggest you visit our Summer Camps page. If you are looking for potential scholarships for camps, here is a list that was provided to us by our FCC coordinator!

Chess Club Fridays at Rattlesnake

Rattlesnake is proud to announce our new CHESS CLUB starts this Friday, March 23, 2018!

Open to all ages and abilities, Chess Club will be held during each Friday lunch recess in the school atrium (across from the cafeteria). Find your student’s lunch recess time on our daily schedule page.

No sign up or registration required and all materials provided.  Just come ready to learn and play chess!

Thanks to parent volunteer Gail Bourguignon for volunteering to lead Chess Club!!  Contact Jen in the FCC with questions or to volunteer to help out.  Email Jen at

Rattlesnake’s Jump Rope for Heart 2018

Did you know that in 2017 Rattlesnake Elementary students brought in $9,582 for the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart, making it the top fundraising school in Western Montana? Our amazing P.E. teacher Ms Delaney is again bringing this fun fundraiser to our school- and here at the PTA we are SO PROUD of her successes!

You can help Ms Delaney and the American Heart Association raise money related to heart health (research, training, community education, and more) if you’d like, by encouraging your child to ask family, friends, and neighbors for donations to support heart health. As Ms Delaney says, “Our Rattlesnake community makes a HUGE difference for the state of Montana!”

The packets are due back in the classroom by March 1st 2018.

Please note that all proceeds go to the American Heart Association, not to the PTA. This is just an information posting by the PTA in case you had questions about Ms. Delaney’s Jump Rope for Heart program.

October 2017 Indoor Air Quality Public Interest Meeting

Report from Community Indoor Air Quality meeting, held 10/16/2017

In attendance:

  • Alison Reintjes: Parent at Paxson, contact person (330) 806-2478,
  • Sara Coefield: Missoula Air Quality Specialist
  • Amy Cilimburg: Climate Smart Missoula
  • Ronni Flannery: American Lung Association
  • Carissa Benjamin: Parent at Rattlesnake

Summary of the meeting:

  • What: Develop a specific “ask” for a district wide initiative to improve the indoor air quality during the winter months and wildfire season to create a “safe place” for our students
  • Why: To address health concerns for sensitive groups and all children in school. Our local pediatric Pulmonologist, Paul Smith, from Community Medical Center, reported that he is continuing to work with children experiencing asthma exacerbations secondary to poor air quality this summer/fall
  • How: Initial course of action will be to discuss with Mark Thane, superintendent of schools, how best to proceed with a specific “ask”
  • When: After Amy meets with Mark Thane and a specific “ask” has been determined, we will likely approach the School board at the next scheduled meeting
  • Other:
    • If you are interested in being involved, please contact Alison at the e-mail above
    • If you know people on the school board, discuss any concerns you may have with indoor air quality
    • If you have friends/ family who are familiar with the schools current HVAC system, retrofitting, filtration systems, etc. encourage them to attend our next meeting or contact Alison
    • If you know of a group that could possibly assist with funding/grants for this type of project, speak with them and put us in touch
    • If you know of an undergraduate or graduate student who may be interested in indoor air quality as a topic of research, introduce us to them!
    • Once a specific “ask” has been designated, we will ask for letters or support and attendance at the school board meeting to show support

Notes as taken by Carissa Benjamin. The Rattlesnake School PTA is grateful for Carissa’s willingness to take notes, be involved, and share this information with our community!

Rattlesnake’s Semi-Annual Food Drive

Oct. 9-13th

From time to time, Rattlesnake families experience unexpected life events that may leave them struggling to provide enough food for their family.  In an attempt to help with their immediate basic needs, the FCC would like to have a supply of non-perishable goods to donate.

At this time, we are asking just the Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades to participate and to donate within specific categories:

  • Kindergarten: Canned Soup
  • 1st Grade: Non Perishable Protein (i.e. canned tuna/chicken, peanut butter, beans, nuts etc.)
  • 2nd Grade: Healthy Snacks (granola bars, cereal bars, applesauce, etc.).

We believe the food within these three categories has a high impact on nutritional needs, a family’s food budget, and is easy to prepare/eat.

Grades 3, 4 & 5 will participate in our spring food drive.

Please contact Jen Jencso in the FCC with questions or concerns. Donations can be sent in with your student, or dropped off either in the FCC or at the front desk.

Thank you for your generosity!


rattlesnake mural with hatching eggs

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!
  • Kindergartners 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.
  • Worried you are forgetting something? Try our Back to School short list of reminders.

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
chive flowers

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.