Pioneer School Paw Prints Newsletter 2017 April banner

Pioneer Paw Prints Newsletter April

Pioneer School Billings

  • April 7: Carnival
  • April 11: Kindergarten Roundup 3:30-4:30
  • April 13 – 17: No School – Easter break
  • April 24 – 28: Smarter Balance Testing for Grades 3 – 6
  • May 1: No School
  • May 5: Track Meet – Grade 6

Kindergarten School Roundup Pioneer Elementary


If you are the parent of a 2017-2018 Kindergarten Student, please mark your calendar for April 11th! This is the day that we will be holding Kindergarten Roundup! Please plan to visit the classroom from 3:30 to 4:30 pm. If you know someone in our district that has a Kindergarten student for next year, please have them contact Mrs. Michael. As always, we will also accept out of district students if room is available. Out of district students must complete the application process. Please call Mrs. Michael for more information.

Smarter Balanced Testing Pioneer School Billings MontanaSMARTER BALANCE TESTING

Grades 3 – 6 will be taking the Smarter Balance testing Monday, April 24 through Friday, April 28th Please make sure your child is in school during this week. We would also ask that you make sure your child is on time (as always) so they don’t miss any of the testing and have to make it up at some other point in the day. Another thing that is helpful to the students is if they have had enough rest.  Please make sure your student is going to bed on time & getting plenty of rest. Donations of healthy snacks in grades 3 – 6 would be greatly appreciated.   Please talk to your child’s teacher if you would like to donate and need ideas.

Cake Walk at Pioneer SchoolCARNIVAL

Pioneer School Carnival will be held Friday, April 7th. There will be food, games & lots of raffles. Each classroom will be putting together a basket that will be in the raffle. The themes of the baskets are:

  • Kindergarten – Family Fun
  • 1st Grade – Art
  • 2nd/3rd Grades – Gardening Basket
  • 4th/5th Grades – Baking/Cooking
  • 6th Grade – Movie Night

We are asking all families to help fill these baskets with great items! Thank you for your support!! Also we will be needing volunteers to help each teacher. If you can help, please contact your child’s teacher! Note: Each family is asked to bring a cake (or more) for the cake walk.

Grades 4 & 5 – Ms. Ticknor

lep TrapWe had an exciting month of March. The fourth and fifth graders designed leprechaun traps during St. Patrick’s Day but weren’t able to trick the leprechaun. We also had a
fantastic visit from Trevor Krieger for National Music Week. He played the violin for us and answered a lot of questions! We are still collecting items for our baking/cooking basket. Thank you to the families who have already donated! MATH In math, we continue to expand on our knowledge of fractions. We are using number lines to compare and order fractions and turning fractions into decimals. Next, we will begin our unit on length, capacity, and time.


This month, we have written and illustrated our own short stories. As part of a collaborative group, the students created, typed, edited and published their work. Look for their stories to be published on our class website! We are continuing reading our books in small reading groups. Our focus has been on finding and interpreting figurative language.


During the month of March, the fourth grade class completed the Science Criterion Referenced Test (CRT). Students in grade 4, 8, and 10 take the CRT. To gear up for the Science Fair we conducted two classroom experiments. Through the scientific process, we concluded that organic soil grows a seed faster than sand or playground soil. We also found that a sugar-free mint dissolves faster than the same mint made with sugar.


We have discussed the journey of Lewis and Clark this month. We have also been learning to tell the difference between a primary and secondary source.

ART In March, we created ledger art and watercolor paintings. We also studied different types of lines and patterns and created images using new techniques.

—Miss Ticknor

Kindergarten – Mrs. Burns

Pionner School CloudsKindergarten Happenings:


Understanding that an adventure can be troublesome when –

  • We are not careful or considerate about what we do
  • We don’t follow rules

 Understanding that visiting a new place –

  • Can be an exciting experience
  • Is an opportunity to learn about new wildlife

April Showers bring May Flowers Billings Montana Understanding that exploring a big city –

  • Lets them see new sights
  • Lets them share the experience with a friend or relative·

Understanding that transportation –

  • Can take many forms
  • Helps people get from one place to another

 Understanding that the coast guard –

  • Provides help during a storm or in other emergencies
  • Uses emergency vehicles to assist in a rescue


  • Making 11-19
  • Parts of 11-19
  • Describing objects by more than one attribute
  • Comparing length, height, capacity, and weight
  • Sorting, classifying, and organizing data


  • Habitats
  • Planets
  • Sun
  • Weather

Social Studies:

  • U.S symbols – White House
  • Dr. Seuss


Mrs. Russell – Library/Resource/Title I

pioneer School BillingsApril is here!  Yay!  That means green growth, flowers, gardens, and all the happiness of spring is beginning to surround us!  I’m so happy!  Are you all happy?

Although we are in the last two months of school we need to focus on ‘gearing up’ and crossing the finish line at our all-time best!  Don’t quit now and don’t slow down!  Keep ‘rocking’ and ‘rolling’ and getting the job done!

March has been awesome but I am so glad to see April!  The school carnival will be on April 7 with oodles and oodles of wonderful raffle baskets and other items to raffle off.  There will be games galore, the cakewalk, and lots of delicious snacks and such from the PTA.  Please join us for this yearly event.

We are getting closer to our end of the year AR Store in May.  Everyone is focused on reading, testing, and earning more points to go shopping!  It will be a la-la-palooza event full of fun, treats, and lots of items to choose from as you shop!

Everyone work hard, try your best, and keep your eye on the finish line!  We can finish in a blaze of glory!

—Mrs. Russell

First Grade – Miss Gordon

Hello everyone!

Spring is here, thank goodness! This month, our kiddos will have some awesome opportunities headed their way!

In reading, we’ve been working our way through Unit 3, and our unit test is fast approaching! Recently, we’ve worked with contractions, bossy R words, and different types of verbs. Don’t forget to keep logging that nightly reading time on your child’s BookIt calendars and helping them on their way to free pizza! Woo-hoo!

Math has been moving right along as we are working our way to the end of Topic 9. Keep your eyes peeled for our hungry “Greater Than” “Less Than” crocodiles in games and worksheets coming home. But remember, they get pretty grumpy if you don’t feed them the BIGGEST number possible!

With all the holidays April brings, we are super excited to start exploring science, social studies, and art projects using the colors and themes of Spring. To get everyone in the Spring spirit, here are our very own first graders, sharing what they know about Earth Day!

  • We Care About Our PlanetPaxton: I think Earth Day is the earth’s birthday.
  • Colton: I don’t really know anything about Earth Day.
  • Elijah: I think Earth Day is a time when some people plant plants.
  • Piper: I think it’s the day Jesus created the Earth.
  • Carson: I pick up trash.
  • Jacob: I think Earth Day is all about birthdays.
  • Sarah: Earth Day is when you clean the community.
  • Camdon: I think it is when the earth rotates around the sun.
  • Holden: We keep our earth clean and clean the garbage and put it in the trash.
  • Chevelle: I think Earth Day is the earth’s bday.
  • Jared: You pick up garbage so the Earth can stay clean and healthy.
  • Ayden:  When the earth was born.

I want to give a huge shout out to all you wonderful people who helped your kiddos with the science fair this year. We had seven, AMAZING, first graders prepare and present science experiments, and I couldn’t be more proud! I know we all had a blast learning about the scientific method in class, and I hope you had an equally great time collaborating with your kiddo at home, as well.

Last but not least, please remember that our class is putting together an art basket to raffle off at the school Carnival on April 7th. If you’re able, we would really appreciate contributions to make our basket awesome! Paint, markers, crafting supplies, etc… Anything works! Also, if you’d like to help with the games in our classroom, please let me know ASAP. I’m hoping to have 20-30 minute shifts from 6:30-8:00, and I promise I’ll be there the whole time!!

As always, our school, and the learning that happens here, would not be the same without all of you incredible supporters. Thank you so much to all the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that make our school so great! Happy Spring!

—Miss Gordon

Mrs. Fanus – 2nd/3rd Grades

Happy Spring! Our class is looking forward to warmer weather. We would like to share something we look forward to doing this Spring.

  • April Showers Bring may FlowersKylan- “I look forward to wearing shorts and not having to wear a coat.”
  • Carson-”I look forward to playing with my cousins.”
  • Wesely- “I look forward to going camping.”
  • Jacoby- “I like to jump on my trampoline.”
  • Roni- “My family and I will go on vacation to Thermopolis, WY.”
  • Dylan- “I will visit Fairmont, MT with my family.”
  • Jozie- “I’m hoping to visit Florida with my family.”
  • Rylee- “I’m excited to play basketball, softball, and do cartwheels outside.”
  • Izak- “I can’t wait to go camping and play on my scooter.
  • Audie- “I’m excited to go to South Dakota.”
  • Kara- “I look forward to spending more time outside.”
  • Tanner- “I look forward to going to Rindy’s cabin.”

This month’s focuses:

Math: (second grade) Starting a unit on Three-Digit Addition and Subtraction. We are working hard on fluently knowing our addition and subtraction facts to 20.

Reading: Exploring different genre of stories as well as finding evidence to support reasoning when answering questions about the text.

Writing:Working on a variety of narrative, informative, and opinion writings with a topic and concluding sentence.

—Mrs. Fanus 🙂

Dangers of Smoking Billings Pioneer School

From The Nurse

Dear Parent/Guardian:

In class this month, the students learned about nutrition and the importance of eating a balanced diet based on My Plate. My plate replaced the traditional nutritional pyramid that might be familiar to some folks. The students learned that about half of their daily intake should consist of fruits and vegetables, and that they should strive to eat a rainbow of colored fruits and vegetables. They also learned about various types of proteins including seafood, nuts, eggs, and even the newer Greek yogurts that are available that are high in protein content. Students learned about the nutritional contents and benefits of each food group and picked up some interesting facts about each group as well.

The fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students also had the opportunity to hear about the dangers of tobacco use from Maia Dickerson of Riverstone Health. The students heard about the ingredients in cigarettes, specifically tar, and saw the effects that these ingredients can have on a lung as demonstrated by a model of a healthy lung and a lung with emphysema and lung cancer. The students also got to participate in a simulation where they ran in place for thirty seconds, and then did it again with a straw in their mouth and their nose plugged to demonstrate breathing with lungs that have been effected by cigarette smoke.

Lastly, the students got to have smoothies made on a smoothie making bike! It was a stationary bike with a blender attached that spins when you pedal. We added berries, bananas, juice, and yogurt and a few of the students got to try out pedaling! Everyone got to have a smoothie and we all enjoyed them!

—Riley Stoudt, MSU Nursing Student and Karen Graf RN, Pioneer School Nurse

Ms. Painter – 3rd/6th Grade Math/PE/GT

Pyramids Pioneer School BillingsHappy spring to all. I’m Jennifer Painter and I have the wonderful opportunity to finish out the 2016-2017 school year with you all here at Pioneer school. I am so excited to continue the awesome work Mr. Wallace started here in the fall with 3rd and 6th grade Math, K-6th PE and the Gifted and talented program.

I am originally from this area, graduating from Harlowton High School and then attended MSU-Billings. I taught for 5 years then took a short break to pursue classes in the health and fitness area. I believe a person’s health is as important as the intellectual part of education and I am extremely excited to facilitate physical education for the remainder of this school year.

For Math, the 6th graders have been working on proportions, comparing rates and ratios. 3rd graders have been working on time and the different units used with time.

As for P.E. the Kindergarten through 3rd grade have been sharpening their basketball skills for March madness. 4th -6th graders have been participating in a unit of badminton.

As for the gifted and talented program the first week has been a let’s get to know each other and figure out what we want to learn about. So far, we have slated to start a unit on natural disasters and then we will continue with Ancient Egypt. I hope to finish off the year with a unit of recycling for Earth Day in April and finally Greek Mythology.

I look forward to meeting all those involved with Pioneer school. This is a great community and I am truly lucky to be here. Have a great April.

—Ms. Painter

Mrs. S’s Classroom News

5th Grade Math

We took a brief break from our addition and subtraction of fractions and mixed numbers with unlike denominators to explore and conquer skills in Operations in Algebraic thinking! Now that we have Order of Operations down, we’re diving back into fractions where we will master our multiplication and division of fractions and mixed numbers. From there its onto measurement, data, and geometry! We LOVE math!!

6th Grade ELA/Reading

We continue to pick apart and analyze our reading. We are becoming annotating masters and have learned to successfully identify the key details/main idea and important terms/characters
within informational and literary text. The 6th graders have wrapped up their research and are finishing their first draft of their expository piece! They will begin editing and revising and will then choose how they wish to publish their work. So exciting!

6th Grade Science

As we continue through our Ecology unit – we’re taking a break from the energy flow within ecosystems to dig deeper into the process of cellular respiration and the importance it serves in EVERY living organism. Our annual Science Fair was another HUGE success and I couldn’t be more proud of the effort our students put in! Mastering the Scientific Process
is a very important piece within our 6th grade curriculum and we’ve learned of all of the different ways to use science to think about every day life!

6th Grade Social Studies

We’ve wrapped up our ‘Basics of Geography’ unit and

Principal’s News

Spring is here and excitement is in the air as we venture through our learning journey. As always, we greatly appreciate the combined efforts of all as we support our students in successfully meeting the highest of standards set before them! As we enter the month of April, our teachers and staff continue to introduce and review rigorous academic skills and content across all grade levels. With roughly 3 weeks remaining before our Smarter Balanced Testing week, it is imperative that students are present each day and eager to actively participate in applying the purposeful teaching and learning taking place. Our panther students will be testing April 24th through April 28th. It is incredibly important for students to be present during this testing window. You can support your students by having them at school, well rested and on time each morning. Breakfast will once again be served every morning prior to testing to ensure full bellies and ready minds. If you would like to donate towards their nutritious breakfast, please let your student’s teacher know! We would like to extend an invitation to April’s School Board Meeting on April 10th at 6:00 p.m. The board will be highlighting information regarding the upcoming Mill Levy. This is your opportunity to ask questions and get the most recent and factual information regarding the district’s needs. With the end of the school year quickly approaching, we want to thank each of you for your ongoing support of our students, teachers, staff, and our mission here at Pioneer. This year has been, and continues to be, a success due to the collective efforts of all in providing opportunities for our students to succeed and grow.

—Melissa Schnitzmeier – Principal, Pioneer Elementary

PAWSitive Notes

Our PAWS program is a proactive approach in creating positive behavioral supports and social culture within our school community. Each month, we select a value that is taught and demonstrated by your students to their peers. They are then tasked with ‘catching’ other students and staff exhibiting these values. April’s Focus will be Making Amends. Just saying, “I’m sorry” is pretty easy for a child, and it lets him/her off the hook without forcing him/her to think. Having a child make amends in a proactive way conveys a much stronger message. By encouraging a child to fix a situation, you emphasize the importance of treating people fairly-an essential value that will one day help him/her negotiate the complicated world of peer-group relationships.

April ShowersWays I Can Make Amends

I’m sorry is just the first step. Here are some ways to right the wrong…

  • Think about what you did wrong.
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
  • Find the best time to apologize and be sincere when you say what you are sorry for.
  • Think hard about and tell the other person how you can fix/correct what you did wrong.
    • Do you need to replace a toy or item that was broken?
    • Maybe write letter and let the other person know what they mean to you.
    • Practice making the right choice.


The Reef Waterpark fundraiser was a big success. Thank you to all who came out – it was a lot of fun!  One 2nd grader said afterwards that it was the “best day of his life”. 🙂

Congratulations to all the participants in Pioneer’s Science Fair!  The students did a great job with the scientific method and were very impressive in presenting their entries to the judges!  It was great to see so many families come to see the displays and eat ice cream.

The Spring Carnival is coming up soon – April 7th.  Lots of funs games!  The classes are gathering items for the basket raffle & so many local businesses and individuals have generously donated other great items.  Your student should’ve came home with some tickets for presale – no need to be present to win!  Great for any who can’t make it that night or just want to get their tickets in ahead of time.   Volunteers are needed to help man some booths in the classrooms.

Come to the next PTA meeting, Thursday April 6 at 6pm at the school to help with all the last minute details for the Carnival and other upcoming activities.  Contact SKelly Adkins if you’d like to attend the meeting via your computer, (  Looking for PTA officers for next school year!  Please consider helping out – we need you!

School News

Pioneer School Carnival Friday, April 7th Food – 6:00 pm –7:30 pm (Located in the basement of white building)

School Carnival pioneer School BillingsGames – 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm  (Located in each classroom)

Game Tickets              Raffle Tickets

3 for a $1.00               $1.00 each

Or                        Or              

18 for $5.00                6 for $5.00

(Games will be one ticket each)

Gift Baskets will be raffled off at the end of the night!  Take a look at each basket and all the great raffle items that have been collected! Many other items will also be raffled. We are still collecting items for the baskets!! Your donations are greatly appreciated!!

Basket themes are:

  • Kindergarten – Family Fun
  • 1st Grade – Art
  • 2nd/3rdrade – Gardening
  • 4th/5th Grade – Baking
  • 6th Grade – Movie Night
  • ** Each family is asked to bring one Cake for the Cake Walk in Mrs. Russell’s Classroom in the old building.  Thank you! **

campbells-soup-labelsBOX TOPS & CAMPBELL’S SOUP LABELS!!

Please remember to collect Box Tops & Campbell’s Soup labels throughout the school year! We appreciate all of your help in turning these in to get extra money and supplies for our school!

Thank you!!


The Pioneer School 100th Anniversary Cookbooks are still available!! The price is $15.00. They are available in the school office, or send the money with your student and we will send your cookbook home with them. (For our out of town friends – please add $3.00 for shipping.)

You can also download the Newsletter PDF here