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Pioneer Paw Prints Newsletter January

Pioneer School Billings

We hope you had a wonderful Holiday Break and look forward to a Happy New Year!

Upcoming Events:

January 2: Welcome Back and Happy New Year! School Resumes!

  • January 5: PTA Meeting 6:00 AND PTA Reflections Deadline
  • January 9: School Board Meeting 6:00 AND Grades K – 3 to Alberta Bair
  • January 11 & 25: HOT LUNCHES
  • January 20: Taste of Pioneer – 6:00 pm (YVEC building)
  • January 27: 100th Day of School
  • February 7: Spring & Class Pictures
  • February 24: Pancake Breakfast
  • March 23: Science Fair (Never too early to start thinking about your project!!)

Pioneer School Board Trustee: Open Seat

There will be one seat open on the Pioneer School Board. 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.

Billings Fireworks ImageGrades 4 & 5 – Ms. Ticknor

As 2016 comes to an end, I would like to thank my students and their families for a wonderful year.  We have already learned so much this year.  Thank you for giving me such wonderful children to work with every day.  They are truly delightful.

Music: In the month of December, we have enjoyed polishing our harmonica skills and performing in the holiday program.  Our hard work paid off, and the concert went off without a hitch!

Math: We have just finished our lengthy multiplication section and will be moving on to division in 2017.

Reading: Our reading groups have finished many short stories, focusing mainly on non-fiction news articles.  In the New Year we will be reading and writing more fiction.

Science: Students are investigating the solar system.  We are looking forward to exploring each planet in the coming year.

Social Studies: Students have been learning about the southern United States.  This month we have learned about the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement.

Thank you for a lovely 2016.  Have a safe and happy holiday season.  See you in the New Year!

—Miss Ticknor

Kindergarten – Mrs. Burns

Kindergarten Happenings:

Whew!! We’ve been very busy practicing for our Christmas program and decorating to bring Christmas cheer! (Plus, trying to fit some learning in—ha)!
Panda Bear Pioneer SchoolReading:

  • Understand that no matter where or how they grow, plants need the same things
  • Realism and fantasy
  • More practice of initial and medial sound for i
  • Understand that as a panda gets older it changes in size, can do new things , and has new experiences just like they do
  • Letter sounds for n and b
  • Plot
  • Adjectives
  • Non fiction


  • Counting, reading, and writing numbers 1-100
  • Use logical reasoning


  • Landforms
  • Water cycle
  • Body systems

Social Studies:

  • Needs and wants


Santa Claus cartoonFirst Grade – Miss Gordon

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but first grade is so delightful!

Hopefully you and your family have been keeping warm and safe in this winter craziness. In our classroom, students have been working hard across the board, especially preparing for our Christmas Program! We have such a musical class, they’ve had a blast practicing our songs and can’t wait to share them with you! Please join us at the Lincoln Center this Wednesday at 7:00pm.

We have also been working hard on our writing skills, including handwriting and friendly letters. We’ll continue this throughout January, but in December, we had a lot of fun brainstorming what we would do if we found Santa Claus stuck in our chimney. Some of the students’ responses included giving him a big jolly hug, tying a rope around his legs and pulling him out, baking cookies with him, and getting to ride in his sleigh. Don’t you just love the creativity?!

In January, keep your eyes peeled for information regarding Pizza Hut’s BookIt Program. This is an awesome opportunity which lets your student earn free pizza for reading at home with you! Free pizza AND reading practice, what could be better? As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to message me on Class Dojo!

From everyone at Pioneer, we wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season!

—Miss Gordon

Mrs. Fanus – 2nd/3rd Grades

December Writing Prompts by 2nd & 3rd Grade:

Kara-What would you do if there was someone was stuck in your chimney? “If someone was stuck in my chimney, I would check to see who it is first before I call the fire department for help. They would pull up a ladder and inside they would find Jenna.”

Jozie- Imagine you are on a hike in the woods and to stumble upon a gingerbread house, what would you do? “If I walked up to a gingerbread house and turned the handle, I would see if anyone was inside, and if not I would EAT THE HOUSE and then take the candy that I could not eat and run back home. Then I would hide it in a secret place in my bedroom and not tell anyone what happened. Every morning, I would put some candy in my lunchbox for lunch.”

Dylan- Describe how you would design your own gingerbread house. “My house would be made out of every candy in the world.”

Carson- Do you think the holidays should only be about buying toys? “I think it should be about spending time with your family. I think family is more important than presents. It’s about playing with friends and family.”

Kylan-Imagine your are an elf that secretly boarded Santa’s sleigh and you were left at someone’s house. “If I were an elf and I snuck on Santa’s sleigh and got left at someone’s house, I would be there elf on the shelf. I would trash their house. They would think it was their dog who did it, so they would be mad at him.”

Audie- What is your favorite holiday movie? “One of my favorite Christmas movies is Home Alone. It takes place in a boy’s house. His mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, brother, sister, and cousins leave for Christmas. He is left at the house. Two bad guys try to break into the house and steal precious stuff and jewelry. The boy makes lots of traps like feathers, zip line, tar, nails, ice, a hat catch on fire, hot door handles, and he calls the police.

Jacoby- How would you decorate a gingerbread house? “I would put a yellow gum drops on it and use chocolate for the windows.”

Izak- If you could give a present to anyone, who would it be? “I would give my mom a cross. She is the BEST mom and she loves Jesus.

Rylee- If you could give a present to anyone, who would it be and what would you give them? “I would give a present to Brooklyn. I would give her a dog, because she always wanted a dog. She is the best sister in the world.”

Roni-Describe the best gift you have ever received. “On Christmas, I got a big Barbie house from Saint Nick. It was the best gift.”

Tanner- What would you do if you had to spend Christmas break with your principal? “I would write so I wouldn’t have to stay at school with my principal all Christmas break. I would write, write, write, write! Then I would be free. It would be a good Christmas break, because I will spend time with my family and be with my grandma and help her around the house. Then I will go back to school and have fun with my friends and Mrs. Fanus.”


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.

This month’s focuses:

Math: (second grade) Finishing up our unit on subtracting two digit numbers.  We will continue math centers that practice addition and subtraction fact fluency.

Reading: Comparing and contrasting different genres and types of text.

Writing: Finishing informative writing about an animal by using facts.

**We are also starting to practice cursive writing when writing our names and during handwriting activities.
I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Christmas break with friends and family!

—Mrs. Fanus 🙂

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

Hello.  I hope as you’re reading this you’re enjoying a warm beverage and sitting cozy wrapped in a blanket.  Snow falling outside.  Furnace ablaze.  That’s the scenario as I write this.  Tis’ the season.  And what a start to the season it’s been.

6th Grade has been walking in a fraction wonderland, lately.  They’ve been learning how to add, subtract, multiply and divide working with mixed numbers and improper/proper fractions.  Numerators hung over denominators with care.  Decimals have been in the wintery mix, as well.  Don’t be surprised if you’re child accuses you of eating 0.43 percent of the fruit cake this Christmas.  As we move into January, we’ll start talking integers, ratios, rates and proportions.  Hopefully, they’ll be able to calculate the proportion of days with temperatures above zero to days with temperatures below zero.  I’m hoping for more days in the positive, less in the negative.

3rd Grade has devoted most of December to learning division.  As there are only three 3rd Grade students, and what bright minds they are, we’ve been able to work at a rather accelerated pace.  Our classroom has been a crash course for division lately.  With my students dividing everything into thirds.  From the area of our classroom, to the amount of time Mr. Wallace spends working individually with each student.  January will introduce fractions to these students.  And since fractions are really just division in themselves, I’m looking forward to more dividing.  Maybe they’ll realize I’m part of the class as well and thus we should split everything into fourths.

Physical Education and Health classes lately have been covering nutrition topics.  Students have been learning about the five food groups and what having a balanced diet looks and feels like.  This Christmas, I’ll be disappointed if at least one of my students doesn’t comment at dinner time on the 25th about the food group structure of their family meal.  And on the 24th, remember, Santa may love cookies, but he needs some protein to repair his muscles after lugging that bag of toys around.  In addition to a glass of milk, maybe leave Ol’ Saint Nick a turkey sandwich as well.

Might I say, what a joy it’s been to work with each of your children on a daily basis this year.  Pioneer is a special place, made so by the young minds that inhabit its halls and bring noise to otherwise silent classrooms.  As I reflect on 2016, and look to the future, I count each one of our students as a blessing.  May your holiday season, and turn of the year, be filled with as much solace as mine.  As they say, good tidings we bring, to you and your kin.  See you in 2017, Panthers.

Happy Holidays,

—Mr. Wallace

Mrs. Russell – Library/Resource/Title I

Ooh, “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” has never been so applicable as it is tonight!  I’m spending our unexpected day off wearing warm fuzzy slippers and watching the storm from inside my cozy home!  I hope everyone stayed warm and took advantage of the extra time for baking, soup making, and enjoying time with families and friends!

The month of December is always one of excitement, anticipation, joy, and delight!  I love the magic of the season, the glowing lights on the trees, the brightly wrapped packages, and fruitcake!  Yep, I’m one of those weird ones that love fruitcake, especially with a cold glass of milk!  Yummy!

My hopes and wishes are that all of you have a most blessed, loving, and wonderful Christmas break filled with warm memories!

—Mrs. Russell

Sick Children in Billings

5th Grade Math with Mrs. Schnitzmeier

We continue to work our way through the seven standards in Numbers Base Ten. The fifth graders CONQUERED  multiplication of whole numbers with one digit, two digit, and multi-digit factors and we have moved onto division! We’ve discussed how to divide using the standard method, area model method, and learned how to explain our thinking while solving each equation. Next up, we’ll be moving onto larger whole number division and diving back into operations with decimals!

—Mrs. Schnitzmeier’s Classroom News

6th Grade ELA with Mrs. Schnitzmeier

We have started our third unit in Reading Street. Our focus in this unit will be literature as well as informational text. We’ll look at cause & effect, plot, character, and drawing conclusions.  In writing, we’re continuing with our informative/explanatory unit.  In this unit, we’re learning to examine different topics while analyzing and expressing ideas presented within our research.

6th Grade Science & Social Studies with Mrs. Schnitzmeier

The sixth graders have spent the last two quarters taking a more in-depth look at cells and life systems and functions. They have learned about our United States Government and are experts at the election process. These next two quarters, we will begin to focus our sights on Earth and Physical Science.  In social studies we will begin to explore other countries, continents and cultures!

Principal’s News

Pioneer School billings New YearPioneer Families,

Happy New Year! It has been fun seeing everyone back, and hearing about all of the fun each of your families had over break. Classrooms have gotten right back into learning and have spent time reviewing our expectations to get back into our routine. Over the course of the year we have been explicitly teaching our students what our school expectations look and sound like in all parts of our campus. We are also building the mindset of DO YOUR BEST! January is the time when we see our students take giant leaps in their learning. Students who might have struggled with being “tuned into” learning are starting to take off. Students who struggled with reading fluently are beginning to sound like pros. Students who have fought with their addition and subtraction facts are finding that things are starting to click. This is a true testament to all of the work being done at school and at home since the start of the school year.

In order to keep the positive growth going it will take a coordinated  effort between home and school. Remember, you can/should read with your child each night. Students need to read with you for 1) a fluent model of what reading sounds like, 2) seeing that you value the practice needed to grow as a reader, 3) continued practice of strategies and skills learned at school, and 4) quality time for you and your child/children.

Thank you for your continued support at home!

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.

January’s Value is being a good LEARNER

A Good Learner will keep on growing despite hardship. Being able to push through and stay until the end and use the knowledge that they learned is a good learner. Good learners never stop thinking about their responsibilities from school work until their goal is reached

Ways you  can  be a good learner  include:

  • Be curious – Good learners wonder about all sorts of things, often about things way beyond their areas of expertise.
  • Recognize that not all learning is fun, but it is worth it!
  • Recognize that failure is NOT fatal – it is part of the learning process!
  • Share the things you learn with others.
  • Be responsible and accountable for your learning.
  • Participate and have fun doing it!

— Pioneer Principal, Mrs. Schnitzmeier

When do I keep my child home from school?

Below is a list of times your child should NOT be in school:

In most situations the school prefers children to come to school and if they become ill at school, the parents /guardian will be notified.  However, here a few guidelines to help parents in deciding when to keep a child home from school:

  1. CHICKENPOX – Your child should be kept home fro school from the time you first notice symptoms until all spots are scabbed over (approximately one week).
  1. CONJUNCTIVITIS – (Pink Eye)  If your child has symptoms of conjunctivitis (red eyes, red swollen eyelids, watery or yellow discharge resulting in crusty eyelids or eyes stuck shut especially upon arising in the morning) you should contact your health care provider.  If your child has been diagnosed with conjunctivitis and antibiotic eye drops or ointment has been prescribed, then he/she should receive the drops or ointment for 24 hours before returning to school.
  1. DIARRHEA – If your child has diarrhea he/she should not attend school until the stool can be contained by toilet use.
  1. FEVER – A temperature over 100 degrees is considered a fever.  Fever is the body’s normal response to infections and plays a role in fighting them.  It is recommended that your child be kept home until the fever is gone for 24 hours.
  1. HEAD LICE – If your child has head lice he/she must be treated with an anti-lice shampoo before attending school.  Please notify the school if your child has been treated for headlice or if you suspect head lice.  We will be happy to check your child and other siblings if you are unsure.
  1. MEDICATION – If your child has been started on a new medication please give them first dose at home and observe for adverse reactions for at least 2 hours before sending them to school.
  1. STREP THROAT – If your child has bee diagnosed with strep he/she should be kept home for 24 hours after antibiotic treatment has been started.
  1. VOMITING – If your child has vomited two or more times in the previous 24 hours they should be kept home.

Please remember these are only guidelines. If you have any questions, please contact the school.


Hello.  I hope everyone is in the midst of a wonderful holiday season.  As we reflect on all that we’re thankful for this year, I can definitely count the wonderful learning community of students, staff and parents that we have at Pioneer, at the top of my list.  Thank you parents for all that you do.  Whether you’re involved with PTA or not, your hard work counts towards ensuring the success of our students.

A few things. . . First, thank you to all of our parent volunteers who helped with Santa’s Secret Shop.  This annual event is always fun for our students.  We’re blessed to be able to provide a safe place for students to shop for gifts to give to loved ones.  Whether you helped students shop, wrap gifts or helped set up the shop, your hard work is very appreciated.

Second, Taste of Pioneer is coming up January 20th at 6:00 pm at the Yellowstone Valley Electric building in Huntley.  Families are invited to prepare a dish for others to sample and to be judged by PTA members for a possible award in several categories.  This event is an annual fundraiser for our school and a tradition we always look forward to.  Also, student artwork and writing submissions for the PTA Reflections Program are due January, 5th.  This program invites students to create artwork in any medium or submit writing of any kind to be displayed at Taste of Pioneer and judged by PTA members.  Winning recognitions will be sent to compete in the statewide competition.  For more information about any of our upcoming events, contact PTA President Jody Goddard at

That’s all for now.  Please remember to send students to school with warm clothes.  And catch us at our next PTA meeting, January 5th at Pioneer.  Happy Holidays!

-Ike Wallace, PTA VP

School News!

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.)

pta-what-is-your-storyPTA REFLECTIONS PROGRAM! Entries Due January 5th AM.

PTA is once again sponsoring a Reflections Program. Entries from all grades and abilities are welcome. Flyers were sent home with all students with information about the Reflections Program. The theme is “What is Your Story?”

Entries are due the morning of January 5, 2017.

You can learn more at PTA.ORG/REFLECTIONS or email Pioneer School PTA with questions at

Thanks for the Food Drive Support!

We would like to thank everyone for their generous donations to the Billings Food Bank. This year we had a Cat/Griz competition. The Cats won with 227 items donated. The Griz had 97 items donated. We also held 2 hat days where students could pay $1 to wear a hat all day at school. We raised $31 with our hat days. Our students did an awesome job again this year!  Thanks again for your support!

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