Pioneer School Newsletter Banner Billings MT

Pioneer Paw Prints Newsletter April 2016

Kindergarten Roundup!

If you are the parent of a 2016-2017 Kindergarten Student, please mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 19th! This is the day that we will be holding Kindergarten Round-up! Please
plan to visit the classroom from 3:30 – 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. Call Mrs. Michael for information.

Resource Room/Title/Library – Mrs. Russell

April is here with Spring bringing us the promise of Summer! I love the advent of Spring with all the green growth, the anticipation of gardening, and the daydreams of warm lazy days of summer
on the horizon! We had a busy March with Science Fair, Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter Holiday; it has been a crazy jam-packed month! We are all looking forward to our school carnival on April 8th! So much fun, excitement, good food, and good friends! The last AR store will be held in May and you all know what that means! Read, Read, and Read some more! Then, test, test, and test some more to build up your AR points for one last big AR Store BLOW-OUT SALE! I encourage everyone to take a deep breath, re-focus and concentrate on the finish line for this last quarter of school! Let’s go out with the same excitement and motivation that we began the school year with back in August! April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go. ~Christopher Morley, John Mistletoe
—Mrs. Russell

Bus blog

Things are going very well on the buses. Spring has sprung and with that comes a couple safety reminders. Untied shoes are a real danger, so keep them tied tight; please don’t jump in the seats; and let’s try real hard to keep the walkway aisle clear when the bus is moving. We’re looking forward to the field trips in the next couple months, they should be fun. We appreciate the continued support from parents and school staff. The year has gone fast and gone well, so let’s keep up the good work.

—Mr. Brooks and Mr. Stevens

Mrs. Burns – Kindergarten News

Kindergarten Happenings:


Some adventures can be troublesome when we are not careful or considerate about others or we don’t follow the rules. Visiting a new place can be an exciting new experience and an opportunity to learn
about new things. Exploring a big city lets them see new sights and share the experience with a friend or relative.


  • Composing and decomposing numbers from 11 to 19 Measurement
  • Same and different
  • Sorting by one and more than one attribute
  • Sorting the same set in different ways
  • Logical reasoning
  • Real graphs and picture graphs
  • Science
  • Seasons/ March Weather patterns
  • Rainbows
  • Social Studies
  • Reading maps
  • Landforms

—Mrs. Burns

Ms. Gordon – 1st Grade News

Spring has sprung, and the first-graders are loving the nice weather and colorful projects that it brings! In reading, we’ve been working through Unit 3. Recently, our class had the opportunity to compare and contrast plays and stories. We discussed the play we saw at the Alberta Bair Theater, read a play about animals preparing for hibernation, and even made props and preformed a play for the 3rd and 4th graders! We’ve also been continuing to work on determining the author’s purpose for writing a text, and differentiating between fact and opinion. We’ve been facing some tricky skills in writing, and are learning lots because of it! Contraction Hide and Seek is one of our class’ favorite ways to practice our contractions, as well as Bossy R Go Fish for those sneaky bossy R words. In Contraction Hide and Seek, the class is split into groups and take turns hiding word cards around the room. The rest of the class then has to find the word cards and match them to the correct contraction (do + not = don’t). Bossy R Go Fish uses TONS of bossy R words instead of normal go fish cards to help us remember that a bossy R word is a word where the r sound takes over the vowel it’s
next to. Math has been moving right along as we recently worked our way through Topic 10. The fabulous firstgraders did a great job adding two-digit numbers using various methods, so we’re looking forward to finishing work with our Numbers in Base Ten Standards by learning about subtracting two-digit numbers. Up next, measuring length and telling time! Last, but not least, this has been a great science month for our class. We had one fabulous first grader enter a project into the school science fair, nice job Rylee! Our whole class has been hard at work learning about natural versus man-made resources and how we can take care of our earth. We even worked with a partner to design, test, and build incredible leprechaun traps in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day. We were
quick, but not quick enough! Maybe we’ll have better luck with those sneaky leprechauns next year. That’s all for now, folks. Please remember to continue to send your first-grader with plenty of warm clothes. The weather may be getting warmer, but it’s not summer yet! Hopefully you had a great spring break. See you next month!

—Ms. Gordon

Ms. Nalewaja – 2nd Grade News

It’s hard to believe that spring is already here and we have fully entered the fourth quarter. The second graders are working extremely hard to wrap up the year.
In math we have finished place value to a 1,000 which included comparing and ordering numbers, skip counting, and reading/writing number to 1,000. The students worked very hard to master these standards. We have moved into adding and subtracting 3 digit numbers. There are several different ways they are learning to find the solutions to these problems. In reading we have worked on fact and opinion, and comparing different story types. In writing we are still focusing on creating projects with multiple paragraphs. The students have even been typing some of their work onto computers. They are becoming quite the little typers! I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter break!

—Ms. Nalewaja

Ms. Ticknor – 3rd/4th Grade News

The third and fourth grade class has been busy in the month of March! We have begun writing poems to kick off poetry month in April. We would like to share a haiku (a Japanese poem that follows a syllable pattern of 3-5-3 or 5-7-5) about springtime with you!

—Miss Ticknor\

BOX TOPS & CAMPBELL’S SOUP LABELS Please remember to collect Box Tops & Campbell’s soup labels throughout the school year!
We appreciate all your help in turning these in to get extra money and supplies for our school! Thank you!!

Over these last few months we’ve had a number of monthly values to focus our attention on. We’ve covered expectations such as respect, safety, responsibility,
gratitude and most recently teamwork. As we move into April and begin to see the light at the end of this long tunnel that has encompassed our school year, we are focusing on positive responses to negative situations. What exactly is a positive response to a negative situation? What does that response look like and sound like? Well, at school and in the rest of our lives we will certainly find ourselves in negative situations. These situations might involve an argument with a classmate, a poor grade on a test, an embarrassing moment on the playground. There’s any number
of negative situations we might find ourselves in. The ways that we respond to these situations is crucial. A negative response to a negative situation is certain to make the problem worse. But if we respond positively, we’re not only recognizing the good that comes with the bad, but we’re acting on that good. Let’s say you receive a poor grade on a math assignment. Our initial response might be to get mad at ourselves or our teacher. We might be tempted to rip our assignment up or throw it away. These are examples of negative responses. A positive response would be to first take a deep breath. The ability to calm ourselves or relieve ourselves from stress just by strictly breathing is amazing. Now that we’re calm, lets recognize that we did not perform how we wanted. But as an alternative
to channeling anger, lets learn from this situation. Instead of ripping up the assignment or throwing it away, look over and identify the mistakes that you made. Consult with peers or your teacher to correct these mistakes, and next assignment strive to do better. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone finds themselves in negative situations either brought on by our own doing or bad luck. Responding positively improves the situation. Negative responses only make things worse. For more information on how to respond positively to negative situations, consult with your teachers and classmates and take a look at this article from the web We can’t control the actions of others or the cards we’re dealt in the game of life. However, we can control our actions. Take control and turn a negative situation into a positive experience!

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

Hello! As I’m writing this the sun is shining outside and the birds are chirping! Oh wait, that’s just the squabbling of students in the classroom next to mine. Thank goodness for prep time. Both third and sixth grade are continuing to work with fractions and mixed numbers. Third grade is exploring fractions names, types of fractions and how they fit into our everyday lives. Sixth grade is finishing up multiplication/division of mixed numbers and fractions, and will be working with integers next. Report cards made it home a couple of weeks ago and I’m thrilled to be able to speak to the gains that every one of my math students has made over the course of this year. The hard work and attention to detail of both classes is definitely reflected in their grades and computing these quarter grades always gives me a chance to look back and reflect on how far we’ve all come since we started together in the Fall. My P.E. classes have certainly embraced this warm weather! I’m happy for it as well. I will continue to
remind my students (and reinforcement at home would go a long way) that living in Montana we are subject to erratic weather patterns. Let’s be safe rather than sorry and make sure to continue to bring warm clothes and smart footwear choices to school. I’m excited to start our annual Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser with students so look for more details on that in the next few weeks. Gifted and Talented students! I’m thrilled with how our science fair projects turned out! Congratulations on your hard work and the success that comes with that. Both classes are beginning to work with the LEGO Robotics kits purchased for our school through the PTA. It is our goal to become masters of this new technology and to be able to share our new found knowledge with other classes before the school year is up! That’s all for now. Please never hesitate to contact me with questions/suggestions. Happy Spring!
—Mr. Wallace

PTA News

The Carnival is right around the corner on April 8th. This event is so much fun for the kids and it couldn’t be done without our teachers who coordinate it or the parents who volunteer to run it (THANK YOU!) It definitely is a schoolwide function. There will be games in every classroom, face painting, raffle baskets, a mystery adventure and
affordable food. We hope to see you there. We are proud to announce that three of our Pioneer Student Reflection Program entries have earned awards at the
state level. Carson A. won a Judge’s Choice award for his photography entry, Payton R. won 2nd place for her literature entry and Tucker A. won 1st place for his photography entry. All three winners will be invited to and recognized at the State PTA Reflections Celebration in May (date and location TBA). Tucker’s Reflection entry has now advanced to the National Level where it will compete for an $800 scholarship. Want to learn more about the PTA Reflections Program? Visit Kids can start working on their entries for the 2016-2017 school year theme, “What is Your Story?” The entries can be pieces that the student has created at school, summer camp, home or with a mentor. 2016-2017 school year entries will not need to be turned into the Pioneer PTA Reflections Chair until January 2017. Do you have questions, suggestions or just want to be more involved in the PTA or volunteer at school? Please feel free to e-mail us at and we will get you connected.

Grades 5 & 6 – Mrs. Schnitzmeier

Hello April! Spring has sprung! Here’s a look at what we have been working on! 5th & 6th Grade Reading: We are powering through our 5th unit in reading. The kiddos continue to master the skill of identifying literary elements and terms in fiction and nonfiction genres. We love dissecting our literature to examine it at its roots! We’ve started researching fascinating topics ranging from famous shipwrecks to landing on the moon! 5th Grade Math: We continue to work through our Numbers and Fractions Standards. We’ve conquered adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators, and will soon be moving onto multiplication and division of fractions! We are coming close to the completion of The Diary of Anne Frank. This has truly been a
powerful read and one I’m happy I got to share with these wonderful kiddos. We’ve moved onto new units in science and social studies as well. The students are digging into the Atmosphere and Solar System in science. In social studies we are learning about the causes of the Revolution. April will again be a very busy month! Please make sure to check your calendars often! We
will be hosting the Smarter Balanced Testing April 11th -15th. As usual, I will be bringing healthy breakfast choices daily. A menu will go out closer to this week. If you would like to host or donate any breakfast items, please let me know!

5/6 Grade continues to sell pop and juice during hot lunch and pizza Fridays. Your donations are greatly appreciated and needed!
Have a wonderful month!
—Mrs. Schnitzmeier

Pioneer School Cookbooks!!

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 shipping.)

Nurse Karen

Here’s some cool facts about water. Why drinking water is the way to go!!! What do you, the trees, and a hamster have in common? Give up? You all need water. All living things must have water to survive, whether they get it from a water fountain, a rain cloud, or a little bottle attached to the side of a hamster cage. Without water, your body would stop working properly. Water makes up more than half of your body weight and a person can’t survive for more than a few days without it. Why? Your body has lots of important jobs and it needs water to do many of them. For instance, your blood, which contains a lot of water, carries oxygen to all the cells of your body. Without oxygen, those tiny cells would die and your body would stop working. Water is also in lymph (say: limf), a fluid that is part of your immune system which helps you fight off illness. You need water to digest your food and get rid of waste, too. Water is needed for digestive juices, urine(pee), and poop. And you can bet that water is the main ingredient in perspiration, also called sweat. In addition to being an important part of the fluids in your body, each cell depends on water to function normally. Your body doesn’t get water only from drinking water. Any fluid you drink will contain water, but water and milk are the best choices. Lots of foods contain water, too. Fruit contains quite a bit of water, which you could probably tell if you’ve ever bitten into a peach or plum and felt the juices dripping down your chin! Vegetables, too, contain a lot of water — think of slicing into a fat tomato from the garden or crunching into a crisp stalk of celery.

How Much Is Enough?

Since water is so important, you might wonder if you’re drinking enough. There is no magic amount of water that kids need to drink every day. Usually, kids like to drink something with
meals and should definitely drink when they are thirsty. But when it’s warm out or you’re exercising, you’ll need more. Be sure to drink some extra water when you’re out in warm
weather, especially while playing sports or exercising. When you drink is also important. If you’re going to sports practice, a game, or just working out or playing hard, drink water before, during, and after playing. Don’t forget your water bottle. You can’t play your best when you’re thinking about how thirsty you are! When your body doesn’t have enough water, that’s called being dehydrated. Dehydration also can keep you from being as fast and as sharp as you’d like to be. A bad case of dehydration can make you sick. So keep that water bottle handy when the weather warms up! Not only does water fight dehydration, but it’s awfully refreshing and has no calories. Your body can help you stay properly hydrated by regulating the amount of water in your system. The body can hold on to water when you don’t have enough or get rid of it if you have too much. If your pee has ever been very light yellow, your body might have been getting rid of excess water. When your pee is very dark yellow, it’s holding on to water, so it’s probably time to drink up. You can help your body by drinking when you’re thirsty and drinking extra water when it’s warm out. Your body will be able to do all of its wonderful, waterful jobs and you’ll feel great! April we are learning about sugary drinks and nutrition.

—Karen Graf RN, Pioneer School Nurse\


Plans are under way for our annual school carnival. This year’s carnival will be held Friday, April 8th. There will be food, games and raffles. Back by popular demand, Mrs. Russell will be holding Bingo in her room. Each class will once again be building baskets for our raffles. The themes for the class baskets are:

  • Kindergarten – Art
  • 1st – Baking
  • 2nd – Family Night
  • 3rd/4th – Gardening
  • 5th/6th – Fly Fishing

Any donations you can make to these baskets will be greatly appreciated!
**The teachers will also be looking for volunteers to help run the games in their classrooms. Please
contact your child’s teacher to sign up.
**Mrs. Schnitzmeier will be heading up the cake walk this year and we are once again asking each
family to bring one cake (or more if you want to!!)
** Also, if you know of any businesses (restaurants, etc) that would be willing to make a
donation of a gift certificate or other item, we are always looking for more items to have
besides the baskets.


April 5 – SPOT presentation

April 8 – Pioneer School Carnival

April 11-15 (tentative) – Smarter Balance Testing (Grades 3 – 6)

April 13 – New Sailor Statue Dedication

April 18 – No School

April 19 – Kindergarten Round-up 3:30 – 4:30 pm

April 29 – Jump Rope for Heart

May 6 – 5th/6th to Yellowstone County Track Meet

May 11th – Bob Garritson presentation (Middle age technologies)

May 12 – Volunteer Lunch

May 13 – Tentative 6th Grade Skip Day

May 17 – K – 2 to ZooMontana

May 19 – 3 – 6 to Big Horn County Museum

May 20 – AR Store

May 20 – Talent Show

May 26 – PAWS Party – Bowling at Sunset Lanes & Picnic in Barkemeyer Park

May 27 – Last Day of School



As we transition from a traditional grading system to our new Standards-Based grading system, we are updating our honors program.
Honor Roll is being replaced with Honor Student, in which we recognize all students performing at Proficient levels in the 4 core subject areas of Math, Language, Science and Social Studies. Below is a list of the students that have accomplished this.

Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6
Jace J Abby B Jenalynn P
Arwynn M Abby M Shelby H
Jordan B Aubrey A Lliana M
Payton R Brianna O Tucker A
Grace E Hannah R
Kelcey F
Ramzie S
Blake W


The following students have Perfect Attendance for the Third Quarter!
Kindergarten Grade 1 Grade 2
Chevelle G Addison C Aiden M
Allison M Audun W Kara J
Carson K Meina S
Jared N
Grades 3/4 Grades 5 & 6
Wyatt B Blake W
Brooklyn O Aubrey A
Arwynn M Abby B
Brianna O
Ramzie S
Jaron B
John K
Brady S
Jenalynn P
Hannah R
The following students have not missed any school for the first 3 quarters:
Arwynn M Abby B Brianna O Ramzie S Jenalynn P