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Pioneer Paw Prints Newsletter February

Pioneer School BillingsUpcoming Events

  • February 2: PTA Meeting 6:00 pm
  • February 9: Spring & Class Pictures (see school news for details)
  • February 11: (Saturday): Barnes & Noble Book Fair 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • February 8 & 22: HOT LUNCHES
  • February 20: NO SCHOOL
  • February 24: Pancake Breakfast
  • March 17: Jump Rope for Heart
  • March 23: Science Fair (Never too early to start thinking about your project!!)


There will be one 3 year term on the Pioneer School Board. There is also one 1 year term and one 2 year term open. You may pick up a nomination petition in the school office after December 8.  You must reside and be registered to vote in Pioneer School District to run for the School Board.  Nomination petitions must be turned in by March 23 by 5:00 pm.  The election will be held in May.  School Board meetings are held the 2nd Monday of each month at 6:00 pm – the public is always welcome.

Mrs. Fanus – 2nd/3rd Grades

Currently, our class is working on designing and making advertisements and commercials.


  • Kylan, Carson, Tanner, and Dylan– Shoveling Company and Moose Lodge Cabins
  • Book It Program PizzaRylee- State Farm
  • Jozie- eos Lip Balm
  • Audie and Wesely –Wireless Headphones
  • Jacoby and Izak- Pokemon Cards
  • Roni and Kara– eos Lip Balm

This month’s focuses:

  • Math: (second grade) Starting a unit on subtraction with regrouping. We will continue math centers that practice addition and subtraction fact fluency. Please continue to practice the math fact cards that were sent home at conferences.
  • Reading: Reading different genre of stories as well as finding evidence to support reasoning when answering questions about the text.
  • Writing:  Starting opinion writings. Each student will be working independently or in a group and will develop an advertisement and a book review. **We are also starting to practice cursive writing when writing our names and during handwriting activities.
  • Reminder:  Book It: Our class is participating in the Book It program. Please return your log sheet at the end of each month with the goal sheets to earn a Pizza Hut free pizza coupon.

—Mrs. Fanus 🙂

Kindergarten – Mrs. Burns

Penguin at pioneer SchoolKindergarten Happenings:

Reading: Understanding the excitement they feel when they are big enough to try new things –

  • Sequencing
  • Letter sounds for r, d, k, f, and o
  • Plot
  • Writing invitations
  • Verbs

Understanding the importance of history –

  • Arctic Seal at Pioneer SchoolGeorge Washington
  • Verbs that add –s
  • Cause and effect

Understanding that some animals change as they grow and so do they

  • Verbs for now and future
  • Plot

SealUnderstanding many things from the past have changed to make life easier and technology improved throughout the years

  • Lists
  • Drawing conclusions


  • Joining groups
  • Using the plus sign
  • Finding sums
  • Addition sentences for numbers 4 through 10


  • Snow
  • Arctic animals

Social Studies:

  • Presidents
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Penguins


First Grade – Miss Gordon

Hello First-Grade Families!

More than halfway through this year, can you believe it? We have been hard at work in first grade, exploring and learning and there’s no sign of slowing down!

This month we will be focusing on comparing and contrasting the past and the present. Black History month and President’s Day will be big points of conversation. We’ll also be pairing Social Studies with our writing and reading non-fiction. In honor of President’s Day, our lovely first graders have been thinking about the changes they’d make if they were elected:

“If I was the President, I would help people by…”

  • Camdon– getting them food.
  • Carson– making more policemen to catch robbers.
  • Jared– get more money so they could buy more food.
  • Elijah– advancing the vehicles. I would help people that way because they could get around faster.
  • Chevelle– giving them more jobs… like working at Pizza Hut!
  • Jacob– being a superhero and putting out fires.
  • Colton– giving people money so they can buy more food.
  • Paxton– giving more days off school because it would make people happier.
  • Piper– helping the homeless. Like, if they don’t have clothes, I’d help them make clothes and find shelter.
  • Holden– buying medicine.
  • Ayden– making more policemen and giving people money to buy stuff.
  • Sarah– getting stuff for kids.

Mark your calendars for the upcoming Book Fair at Barnes and Noble on February 11th, and start saving shoe boxes for a Valentine’s Box craft! Last, but not least, keep practicing those sight words and logging reading time for this month’s Bookit.

Thank you for all you do. Our school and this wonderful group of kiddos wouldn’t be nearly as great without your support!


—Miss Gordon

Grades 4 & 5 – Ms. Ticknor

The third and fourth grade class is off and running in the third quarter.  We are focusing on our value of being a friend, for the month of February.

Writing: This year we have perfected the art of writing a paragraph.  We have recently written narratives and explanatory essays.  In the month of February, we will begin celebrating poetry month and our focus will be on writing many types of poems.

Earth and Planets in Elementary SchoolReading: This month, we will continue reading The Borrowers, Summer of the Swans, and Sable in our small reading groups.  Our teacher read aloud for the month is The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Math: The fourth grade math class has just finished our unit on long division.  We will be moving on to the wonderful world of fractions for February.

Social Studies: Our class has finished our unit on the Southern United States.  We are moving into the Midwest states.  Each student is completing a research project on a state of their choice.

Science: Students completed planet projects and shared their planet expertise.  This month, we will focus on coding and the solar system.

Art: After finishing Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikelson, students chose three animals to learn lessons from.  Students then carved each animal into totem poles.  Come see their artwork displayed on our wall this month!

—Miss Ticknor

Mr. Wallace – 3rd/6th Grade Math/PE/GT

Hello.  Happy February.  I’m excited that we’re already into the second month of 2017.  Sometimes that first month of the year can drag on and on.  Happy to say that wasn’t the case this year.

Sixth grade students are currently learning about integers in our math class.  Until now, we’ve only worked with numbers that exist in the realm of positivity.  But fans of Netflix’s Stranger Things will understand my reference when I say that we’ve entered the Upside Down.  Yes, we’re beginning to work with negative integers.  Fortunately, our attitudes have been anything but negative.  From here, we’ll move into examining properties of two-dimensional figures, and then into calculating ratios, rates and proportions.  I admire these students’ tenacity as we jump around from topic to topic in this curriculum.  Everything we’re learning can be applied outside of the classroom, even if it doesn’t always seem that way.

Third grade students are beginning to work with fractions.  We’ll be devoting a couple of topics to understanding of fractions and their role in mathematics.  My sixth grade students can attest that a solid foundation in fractions will help you out in the future.  They just finished up a unit that had them adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing with numbers in fraction form.  From fractions, we’ll touch on time and then get into geometry to close out the year.  I can’t believe that I’m even mentioning the end of the school year already.  But I know that after getting through January, these next few months will really fly by.  Third grade has really been on point in our math classes recently and I want to say it’s because of their teacher, but I think all credit should go to the students.  Thank you for being such great learners lately.

As the weather’s still been too cold to have P.E. outside, our students have been covering nutrition topics during our time together.  Kindergarten students have been learning about the five food groups, while sixth graders have learned how to calculate their daily caloric intake.  It’s been a nice opportunity to touch on these topics while stuck inside.  That being said, I’m really looking forward to warmer weather and the chance to get outside and get back into the physical aspect of physical education.

Gifted and Talented students have been working with Lego Robotic kits these last couple of weeks.  I’m excited for the students to learn everything there is to know about these kits so they can teach other students across the grade levels how to learn with these wonderful gifts purchased for our school from the PTA.

That’s all I’ve got, guys.  If you have any questions/suggestions, don’t be shy.  Thanks!

—Mr. Wallace

Mrs. Russell – Library/Resource/Title I

Book Fair
February 11th is the date for our big spring Book Fair fundraiser! It will be held at Barnes & Noble from 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

January’s big event was one anticipated by nearly every student in the school!  The Accelerated Reader Store on January 27th!  Yay!  All those months of reading, testing, and saving points paid off in an exciting spending spree!  The PTA purchased candy treats for the students to enjoy while shopping or if they chose to save their hard earned points till the big May blow-out sale!  My room turns into a Pioneer Toy Store for one day and the kids shop with their AR points!  Many of the students discovered the larger ‘big-ticket’ items and are now reading and saving for the end of the year sale in May!  Keep encouraging and supporting your students in their reading endeavors!  They are doing a fantastic job!

February 11th is the date for our big spring Barnes & Noble fundraiser!  It will be held at Barnes & Noble from 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will have several great contests, activities, and of course our much anticipated raffle.  This spring we are raffling off a Samsung Nook tablet and not one, not two, but three OZOBOT starter kits! Your tickets will give you 4 chances to win!  Winner, winner, chicken dinner!  The Samsung tablet will be a fantastic way to take your reading, games, and entertainment with you this summer!  The OZOBOTs are learning experience with robotics and coding!  This is an unbelievably exciting opportunity to explore, enhance, and enjoy the world of coding!

We are also planning a SPELLING BEE with spelling lists for every grade level from K through 6 and of course prizes for our winners.  I also have a LEGO BUILDING COMPETITION with two or more tubs of LEGO pieces available for your creative endeavors.  Again, prizes for the winners!  Wonderful prizes and a great chance to help us earn money for our school library!  Your students love new books to read!  If you can’t be there on February 11th, please take advantage of the online book fair.  You can order online, put in the Pioneer code, and we will still get credit for it.  Watch for the posters on the front door and be sure and ask me if you have any questions.  Please join us for face-painting, treats, games, contests, and overall great fun!

Pancake Breakfast Billings MTOur next big event is the upcoming Pancake Breakfast on Friday, February 24th here at Pioneer School.  Stop by the school between 7:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. for hot fresh pancakes, coffee, orange juice, and milk!  Mr. Maddox and Mr. Seavy will be my dedicated pancake flippers and I will be serving the juice, milk, or coffee.  It’s always great to come in out of the cool (or cold) morning to a warm room filled with laughter, friends, and good food!  What is your favorite?  Blueberry pancakes or plain pancakes?  We will have both so please plan on joining us for a ‘flipping’ good time!

Mrs. Russell

Mrs. Schnitzmeier ’s Classroom News

5th Grade Math

This month we are focusing on mastering our multiplication/division of decimal skills. From there, we will move from the Numbers & Base Ten Standards and venture into a new domain, Operations & Algebraic Thinking!

6th Grade ELA

We have finished our third unit in Reading Street and are entering into our fourth unit. In the fourth unit, we shift our focus and begin to dig deeper when evaluating different genres of text.  We will begin comparing and contrasting texts in different forms in relation to their approaches toward topics and themes. We’ll be evaluating the author’s point of view as well as their purpose for writing. This will flow into our new writing unit in which the sixth graders are beginning to evaluate the structure of

expository writing and will begin to draft their own informational piece.

6th Grade Social Studies & Science

We’ve dove into our economics unit and are learning all about the characteristics of money, the different forms of currencies and the ways that people use their money. We’ve discussed scarcity and limited resources and the effects of supply and demand. Next up, trading!

In science we’ve started our ecology unit. The students have learned about the different ‘spheres’ of earth and that the term biosphere describes them all. We’ve dug into our atmosphere and talked about its importance. Now, we’re onto ecosystems which brings us to our second big lab project – Sustainable Ecosystems Bottle-Lab!

—Mrs. Schnitzmeier

Principal’s News

Pioneer Families,

It is difficult to believe that we are halfway through the school year! Since we’ve returned from Winter Break, students have been engaged in new learning,  assessments and activities. One of our major goals is to foster independent  learners. As educators, we demonstrate the expected behavior or skill; facilitating guided practice, followed by independent practice. To aid us in promoting your child’s independence, you can demonstrate, guide practice, and promote practice at home by allowing students to pack their own healthy lunches, chipping in on daily chores such as dishes, putting away clean laundry, and cleaning up after oneself. Panther parents and caregivers, you deserve praise for the fabulous job you are doing maintaining the positive growth that happens when strong relationships and expectations exist between home and school. Your support is greatly appreciated as we teach your kiddos to be independent citizens of Pioneer Elementary.

During February  we have a few different areas of focus. We will explore  special events such as Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, and Valentine’s Day with a variety of fun activities that will teach us all about the history and customs of these special days. February is also Black history month and we remember all the men and women of various ethnicities and cultures who sacrificed themselves to secure equality for all.

Our annual Barnes & Noble Book Fair is fast approaching. This is such an important event and a Pioneer favorite. Not only does it promote reading across grade levels, but it plays a large part in helping our school library grow by supplying the latest, most sought after books for our avid readers in every grade level. It will be oodles of fun and we look forward to seeing our Pioneer families there!

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.

February’s Value is Friendship

Everybody needs friends. You can feel very sad and lonely if you don’t have someone to play with and be with – it happens to everybody

sometimes. Here are some ideas to help you in making friends and keeping friends. Having friends is also about how to be a friend and how to be a friend to yourself !

Paw Print ImageFriendship looks like:

  • * Spending time together.
  • * Sharing ideas and treats.
  • * Having fun.
  • * Respecting each other’s differences.
  • * Loyalty, sticking up for each other.
  • * Caring for each other’s safety and wellbeing.

Ways to be a good friend include:

  • * Talk
  • * Share – the conversation,  so that you each get a chance to be listeners and talkers.
  • * Listen – to what your friends are saying and ask questions about it.
  • * Praise – our friends when they do something well.
  • * Use your manners – say please and thank you. Friends like to be pleasant to each other.
  • * Be helpful – do things for your friends without keeping a score on who’s done the most favors.


Hello.  Greetings from the PTA.

Thank you to everyone who turned out at Taste of Pioneer back in January.  It was wonderful to have continued strong attendance at this ever-evolving event rooted in Pioneer tradition.  There were many decadent dishes on display and although we could only have a few winners in each category, everyone who made the drive out to Huntley on that frigid Friday was a winner with taste buds in mind.  Congratulations to Darcy Ostermiller for bringing home the coveted Golden Ladle.  Her Cowgirl Chili was a big hit.  Other winners included Kevin Adkins in the Chili competition, Renee Berg in the Soup and Such category and Mary Barton in Desserts.

We also had the opportunity to honor students who submitted artwork and literary pieces for PTA’s Reflections Program.  This program is designed to highlight student artwork across different mediums reflective of a yearly theme.  This year’s theme asked students to tell their own story.  We’re happy to say that we doubled entries from last year and will be sending some winning submissions to the state level.  Congratulations to our Primary Visual Arts winners Rylee O and Jacoby B, Intermediate Visual Arts winners Brooklyn O and Carson A and our Intermediate Literature winner Brylinn O.  Once again, thank you to everyone for coming out and for your continued support of Pioneer Elementary.

Besides our monthly meeting, taking place this Thursday, February 3rd at 6:30pm at the school, we don’t have many other events to highlight.  Spring will be a busy time at Pioneer, but for now we’re enjoying a little downtime from the holiday season and hope you are as well.  We highly encourage parents to attend our meetings and make your voice heard.  If you are unable to attend physically, please contact Skelly Adkins ( to get set up to attend our meetings digitally from the comfort of your home.  That’s all for now.  Take care and Go Panthers!!!

—Ike Wallace (PTA VP)

From the Nurse: Human Growth & Development

 Dear Parents/Guardians:

January has been focused on our 5th and 6th graders. This month we will be discussing Human Growth and Development. Here’s a couple questions about that topic:

When can I wear deodorant?

The answer here is really whenever you start smelling stinky! This can happen even before your body starts showing signs of puberty — the body changes that turn you from a kid into an adult. Body odor happens when sweat and bacteria mix. You can cut down on bacteria by making sure you take a bath or shower once a day. It also helps to wear clean clothes and underwear each day. If you do decide to start wearing deodorant, choose a mild one. Avoid deodorants that have heavy scents. Also, deodorants that come in a stick are generally easier to use than ones that are a liquid or gel. And if your new deodorant makes your skin red, itchy, or irritated, stop using it and let your mom or dad know.

I’m 11 and haven’t started puberty. Is there something wrong with me?

Not so long ago you were seeing eye-to-eye with all your friends and classmates. And now you’re being called “shorty” while everyone else suddenly seems tall enough to play pro basketball! Don’t despair; if you’re an 11-year-old girl chances are you’re right on track. After all, puberty usually begins between the ages of 9 and 13 for girls, and ages 10 and 15 for boys. Some people start even later since everyone enters puberty on his or her body’s own schedule. It’s all part of your amazing journey toward adulthood.

Once puberty hits, fasten your seatbelts! Your body will grow faster than it will during any other time in your life. (The only other time you had a greater growth spurt was back during your very first year as a baby.) In fact, you’ll keep right on growing for another 2 to 3 years. Some people grow 4 or more inches in a single year when they’re at their peak!

As your body grows taller, it’ll be taking shape in many other ways. If you’re a boy, your shoulders will grow wider and your body will become more muscular. If you’re a girl, your body will become curvier. You’ll gain weight on your hips, and you’ll develop larger breasts. Gaining some weight is an important part of developing into a woman, so there’s no need to go on a diet. By the end of this growth spurt, you’ll be at your adult height.

If you haven’t experienced any of these changes by the time you’re 16, you may need to see a doctor. But in the meantime, don’t worry and enjoy your youth while you can; after all, you have the rest of your life to be a grown-up!

Class education throughout February will be on our teeth and oral hygiene. Welcome to Riley, MSU Nursing Student, who will be with us this spring semester.

Thank you
Karen Graf RN-BC, BSN, PHN, Pioneer School Nurse

School News from Pioneer School in Billings


Picture Day Pioneer SchoolClass & Spring pictures will be taken on Thursday, February 9th. A flyer with both class & spring picture choices was sent home on January 25th.

Class pictures must have money on Thursday, February 9th.  This is the only opportunity to purchase class pictures; you must send your envelope back on or before picture day.

  • The class pictures are $11.00.
  • All 6th graders will receive a 6th grade picture for free.

Individual Spring Pictures – You do not need to send any money for the individual spring pictures on picture day.  A pose selection area will be on the flyer that is sent home.  This needs to be returned on or before picture day.  All students will have their picture taken.

(If you do not want your student’s picture taken, you must send a note with them.)

  • The pictures will be sent home when they arrive at the school and you can look them over and decide if you would like to purchase them.  ** You may purchase all or a portion of the packet.  Prices will be in the packet.
  • Preschoolers are welcome to come at 8:30 am to be photographed.
  • Please call the school if you have any questions.

Pancake Breakfast Billings MTPancake Breakfast, Friday February 24th

Mark your calendars for the annual pancake breakfast on Friday, February 24th!!  Mrs. Russell will once again be hosting this fun event along with her pancake flippers Mr. Seavy & Mr. Maddox! Plan to come & enjoy some fresh, hot pancakes starting at 7:00 and going until 8:30 am.  Supervision will be available on the playground (or in a classroom if it is cold).

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!!


Are you looking for a great original Christmas gift? 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