School's outreach program aimed
at helping Pyramid employees

by Karen Lyncoln
For the Pathfinder

December 21, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana

"This partnership represents the efforts of a community pulling together," said Bill Hyde, Superintendent of the Seeley Lake Elementary School, as he updated the School Board on the new program designed to help children and families impacted by the closing of Pyramid Lumber. Hyde outlined the three-part program.

First, the Montana Department of Labor through its Missoula Job Service will open four computer work stations at the elementary school. The computers will be tied to the Internet and all Job Service resources. Teachers have volunteered to help the laid-off workers write resumes and job inquiry letters, and a representative of Job Services will be on hand to help people identify new jobs or retraining opportunities.

Second, there will be a toll-free telephone line to link people to Missoula County and State offices to file unemployment claims and arrange for other public assistance programs, if needed. The center will open after the first of the year.

The third component of the program was made possible by Tim Love, the Seeley Lake District Ranger. He secured a $5,000 grant from the Forest Service to support Toni Sexton, the school counselor. Sexton is already counseling children whose parents have lost jobs at Pyramid and is also available to provide information and referrals to families. The Forest Service grant will allow her to provide this counseling throughout the school year. People who need more information about the community outreach services available at the school are encouraged to contact Sexton at the school.

"The message we want the community to hear is 'we're here to support you', said Hyde. Board member Loren Rose reaffirmed the Board's goal to open the school to the community, to give back to the community that supports the school.

Board Chair Bart Peterson presented the first readings of two new policies. The first, Policy # 4118 - School/Law Enforcement Relationship - was prompted by vandalism at the school playground in September. The Sheriff's Office interviewed several students without notifying their parents. The policy describes how the school administrators will handle this kind of interaction in the future. Policy #6002 - Use of School Property - covers use of school facilities by profit and not-for-profit groups. Board members reviewed the drafts and scheduled the second reading of the policies for the January Board meeting.

Hyde displayed the annual community Christmas gifts funded by Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg. Businesses and churches in Seeley Lake will receive blue banners embossed with children's handprints used to form snowflakes. The banners can be hung in windows or on the new light stanchions on the highway.

In other action by the Board, Dave Evans and Joe Bender were hired as basketball coaches. Hyde told the Board that the Montana Community Foundation had given the school $2,000 to buy musical instruments. Tom Larson, Principal, updated the Board on the Accelerated Math Pilot Program and announced that he has started teacher evaluations.

Members attending the December 12th meeting include Bart Peterson, Chair; Loren Rose; Vicki Jardine; Pam Pitman; and Mark Williams. The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for January 9th at 6:00 p.m. at the elementary school.

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