May 20, 2020
Dear Ennis Families and Community Members,
We are almost there! We hope that all of you are well, being safe and looking forward to summer. This spring has definitely been challenging, but with everyone working together amongst the craziness, we have made progress and persevered with everything that has come our way.
First off, we want to thank the community for their support of Ennis Schools. Our school is so fortunate to be in such a giving and caring community. We want to thank our families for all their hard work and being able to restructure their lives to support their children with offsite learning. Your hard work and understanding is so appreciated!
Since the last correspondence a few weeks back, no new major developments related to schools have developed. We get posed with questions on how school is going to look in the fall and if we will be back to “normal.” Unfortunately at this time no one knows how that is going to look, which I know is frustrating. We would love to be back to school with a school full of staff and students. Let's continue to keep or eye on the prize with hopes of being back in school!
At this point in time the primary focus is to finish the school year strong and get our senior students graduated. Once school is out for the summer, we can have breathing room to focus our attention and time on planning for the next school year. We have been working closely with educational organizations such as the Montana School Boards Association, Montana Rural Education Association, Montana Office of Public Instruction, School Administrators of Montana, and several others. Their guidance has been most useful during this closure and we will continue to work closely with them to seek their advice and guidance on returning in the fall.
As most everyone is aware, graduation of our senior students is on May 24th at 2pm. This celebration does come with specific procedures and protocols to ensure the proper guidelines are being followed and met. The senior students will have a 4 guest maximum made up of family. The gym will not be packed and it will not be open to the public. The procedures of this graduation are fully supported by the administration, trustees, and the Madison County Health Department. We are pleased that we will celebrate our kids on their big day on meeting the graduation requirements of Ennis High School. We will be streaming graduation on the school website, so please visit the school website at www.ennisschools.org to watch the celebration.
Our school nutrition program has gained popularity and has been incredible during the closure. Our school nutrition staff has knocked it out of the park! With the school nutrition waiver we received, thousands of meals have been prepared and delivered to our families at no cost. I have been very pleased with all classifications of staff helping our lunch ladies pack and deliver meals. Please know that this school waiver will expire, so unfortunately we will not be preparing meals after the school year ends on May 29th. We were very fortunate to be able to do this and glad families were given some much needed assistance.
Unfortunately our summer camps and open gyms have been canceled for June. We will continue to keep optimism alive for July and keep you informed if there are any changes. We want to follow the guidelines and ensure that our facilities are clean and ready to go this fall.
Ennis has always had the tradition of celebrating our 8th grade class being promoted to HS. After discussion with the administration, parents, and trustees, the decision was to postpone our 8th grade graduation to August. Details of the recognition will be discussed and developed this summer. We want to thank the 8th graders and their families for their understanding.
In regards to news not related to the closure, we just recently had our yearly reorganization meeting on May 13. At this meeting we certified the school trustee election by acclamation as our incumbent, Drew Henrich, was the only one who filed for a 3 year term. We welcome Drew back to the board and appreciate his dedication to our school and community. Nominations for board chairman and vice chairman were made, with Kris Inman chosen as board chairman and Karen Ketchu as vice chairman. If you get the opportunity, please thank our board for their service and dedication. The board has been faced with some very big issues recently and have had to make difficult decisions.
At the May 13th meeting there was a lengthy discussion on Montana High School Association compliance with The Ridgeway Act and Title 9. After a review by MHSA, it was found that to be in compliance with the Ridgeway Act, we had to consider dropping a HS girl’s sport or adding a HS boy’s sport. The discussion led to the consideration of adding a boy’s sport by entering into a 3 year coop with Three Forks for wrestling. By adding this sport, we are now in compliance. To finalize this decision, we are ironing out the details with Three Forks and will report those back to the board at the June meeting.
We have started our summer cleaning and projects and are very excited about the new “welcoming” look our school will have. New flooring in our HS lobby as well as our music/band room will be installed this summer. In addition, our K-12 library will have new paint and new furniture to give it a brand new look for our kids.
In 2019, the district applied for and received an LWCF (Land Water Conservation Fund) grant to make improvements to our softball complex and school playgrounds. Plans for the softball fields are close to completion with the next phase of the grant focused on resurfacing the basketball court on the lower playground and adding wellness stations for the community to utilize and enjoy after school hours. The expected timeline for completion is the Spring of 2021. These projects would not be completed without the help of school staff and community volunteers, so on behalf of Ennis Schools we thank you!
We do have some job openings and we are still in search of a High School Science teacher. This position has been advertised since March and we continue to try to fill this position. Filling teaching positions such as Science can be difficult and now with the pandemic, even more difficult. If you know of anyone who may be qualified or want to learn more about the position, please call me at the school. We also encourage you to check the school website to learn more about the available positions.
We will continue to keep you informed as developments come our way. This closure will end eventually, so in the meantime we have to continue to work together and support each other. Things will be stressful and challenging, but we are Ennis Mustangs and will come out on top. We appreciate your understanding and your patience. Please know that we are thinking about you and your families and wish you all the best. We hope that you find time this summer to enjoy each other and enjoy the little things in life. We are here to help, so do not hesitate to contact us.
Casey Klasna - Ennis Schools Superintendent