Pioneer School Newsletter Banner Billings MT

Pioneer Paw Prints Newsletter October

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Upcoming Events

  • October 4 Cross Country Run (Grades 4 – 6)      (See Mr. Wallace for details)
  • October 10 K – 6 – Fire Safety Field Trip
  • October 12 & 26 HOT LUNCHES
  • October 18 4th/5th Grade to NILE Hearing Screening 1:00 pm
  • October 19 Grades K – 3 to Pumpkin Patch
  • October 20 & 21 NO SCHOOL
  • October 27 Picture Retake Day!!
  • October 28 End of 1st Quarter
  • October 29 (Saturday) Barnes & Noble Book Fair 11-3
  • October 31 Grades 4 – 6 to Alberta Bair

newsletter-kid-in-snow-pants-jacketReminder as Cold Weather Comes

Please remember as the weather turns colder, coats will be required at recess.  Please do not send your child without a coat.  We go outside everyday unless it is below 0. Remember!!  Even when the forecast for the day is 60°, it is not 60° at our first recess in the morning at 10:00.  It is a good idea to send gloves and a hat, also, as our weather can change very quickly this time of year.  Snow pants and Snow boots are required when we have snow!!

Principal’s News

principal-name-plate-pioneer-schoolAs we roll through the first few months of a new  school year, we find teachers establishing school standards and expectations. Our classroom teachers are establishing specific routines for the children to follow. This means giving the children a specific place to find and keep materials, a set schedule for classroom instruction, etc. These routines, blended with the teacher’s consistent standards, form a smooth running classroom where the children have the security of understanding their environment and are reinforced positively for their contributions.

chores-taking-out-the-garbageAt home, routines can also make completing chores easier for both children and parents! If children are consistently expected to complete routine household duties at the same time on the same day in the same place, they soon begin to develop a responsibility for their commitment and contribution to the family.

As families establish routines for the new school year, it is helpful to keep in mind that childhood is a special time of learning, exploration and growth. Children need to be provided free time to explore their world and experience the joy of discovery.

Pioneer realizes that one of the most important components of a good school is the partnership between the school and parents who work together for the best interest of children. The close partnership between home and school is incredibly important, and we work to strengthen that bond every day.

footer-image-pioneer-elementary-parent-centerRemember that throughout the year parents have the opportunity to develop that partnership in a wide variety of ways. Parents join the PTA, volunteer in the classroom, help at the carnival, read to their children and help in many other ways. It is important to your child that you are involved in some way at school. It’s a way to let your child know you think his or her school is important!


Melissa Schnitzmeier


Mrs. Schnitzmeier’s Classes

white-house-clipart5th Grade Math

We continue to power through the Numbers and Base Ten Standards. Last month we covered place value and using it to round and compare decimals to the thousandths. This month, we will move into addition and subtraction of decimals using models and strategies based on place value and properties 6th Grade:


Over the course of this past month we have reviewed what we know about text-based comprehension. We’ve discussed what we know about a story’s setting, plot, theme and characters. We’ve started to dig through different stories to see how these elements add to the complexity of the story that they belong to. Next up, we’ll work on drawing inferences and citing information from our readings.


We’ve finished up our unit on plant and animal classification. This month, we’re heading out on a journey through plant and animal cells! We’ll be learning all about their makeup and organization.

Social Studies

We spent the last month learning all about the United States Government. The kiddos learned about our three branches of government, what each is responsible for, and how they operate. Our next unit will focus on the Presidential Election! We will be taking an in-depth look at how an election functions and we’ll even be hosting our own!

Grades 4 & 5 – Ms. Ticknor

newsletter-kid-writingAs September comes to a close and the leaves begin to turn, the fourth and fifth grade class is starting to hit their stride. We have already reached our first Class Dojo goal of 1,000 points and celebrated by having ice cream sundaes.  Thank you for donating toppings to make our party a success!

We are diving into fiction and non-fiction stories offered in our Reading Street series.    Each week we are learning new and exciting vocabulary words, story elements, and becoming writers ourselves.

In math, we are already beginning our third unit.  The fourth grade class has shown their proficiency in analyzing patterns and multiplication.  We are now moving on to our next unit:  place value.

In science, students have been exploring weather.  We are keeping weather journals and observing temperature, air pressure, wind speed, and cloud types.

We are exploring the East Coast in Social Studies.  Students are learning about the New England states, their culture, and landforms.

—Miss Ticknor

Kindergarten – Mrs. Burns

We are off to a great start in kindergarten this year! It has been a busy few weeks as children learned classroom routines and Pioneer expectations. I am amazed at the progress each child has made as they transitioned from the summer months to a full day of school. I look forward to working with your child throughout the year.

Please look for a Take-Home folder coming home every day. This will contain homework, school notes, and will provide opportunities for written communication.


  • newsletter-kindergartenUnderstanding how children get to school
  • Understanding that children work and play together at school
  • Understanding that families and communities cooperate
  • Identifying letters of the alphabet
  • Rhyming words
  • Character, setting, sequence, classify
  • Nouns


  • Counting, reading, and writing 1-10
  • newsletter-kindergarten-mathMore, fewer, and same as
  • 1 and 2 more and fewer
  • Reading and writing 0
  • Ordering numbers 0 to 5
  • Ordinal numbers through fifth


  • How animals move
  • Apples
  • Five senses

Social Studies:

  • Rules at home, school, and community


Mrs. Russell – Library/Resource/Title I

Saturday October 28th

October, Fall, cooler nights and gorgeously colorful days!  Fall is one of my favorite seasons full of beautiful outdoor opportunities and warm memories!

Our Barnes & Noble Book Fair is going to be on Saturday, October 29th at Barnes & Noble from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will be tons of fun!  We will have contests, games, treats, and awesome prizes!  I hope to see all of you there supporting our school library as we fundraise to purchase more books for our eager readers and readers to be!  Our students are so excited and are happily submitting ideas and lists of ideas for future book purchases!  Now that is motivation and commitment!  I look forward to seeing you there!

If you received and have not returned a Title permission form for your student, please return it or school, or call me if you have any questions or need a new form.  This form allows me to work with your student during class for reading and/or math, as needed.

I truly believe reading is the gift of a lifetime; it keeps on giving throughout your child’s life, and enhances all their academic goals and achievements.  Let’s work together to help your child not only become an accomplished reader but one who reads for pure enjoyment!  See me for additional help, reading strategies, and suggestions to support your children!

—Mrs. Russell

newsletter-fall-leaf-jumpingFirst Grade – Miss Gordon

Happy Fall First-Grade Families!

Hard to believe we have more than a month under our belts already! With fall finally here, we have some great projects heading our way, as well as exciting upcoming events! In honor of October being fire safety month, we’ll have the opportunity to spend some time at Shepard’s Fire Department on October 10th. We will also be joining the kindergarteners, and second and third graders at the Pumpkin Patch later this month. Keep your eyes peeled for more information and permission slips in the upcoming weeks!

Here are some of the things our first graders are most excited about this season:

  • Sarah– Maybe jumping off my trampoline into a pile of leaves?
  • Allison– I’m most excited for jumping in the leaves, Halloween, and carving pumpkins.
  • Chevelle– All sorts of stuff! Like, my birthday and dressing up for Halloween!
  • Piper– I like to see the leaves all changing color and falling to the ground. Also, growing a pumpkin in my garden.
  • Ayden– I’m excited to put leaves on my trampoline… and Halloween.
  • Elijah– Halloween, for sure.
  • Paxton– I’m excited for jumping in leaves, Halloween, and the leaves changing colors.
  • Holden– I want to go to a jungle and see a volcano. There’s also a giant spider guarding my pumpkin at my house!
  • Colton– I’m going to be a Call of Duty guy for Halloween!
  • Camdon– I’m excited to make a huge leaf pile and jump in it.
  • Jacob– Dressing up for Halloween and getting a BIG pumpkin with my mom and brother.
  • Jared– My favorite part about fall is the corn maze my mom takes me to.
  • Kaden– Definitely jumping in the leaves!
  • Carson– My Halloween costumes!

—Miss Gordon

Mrs. Fanus – 2nd/3rd Grades

newsletter-plans-and-animalsHappy Fall!

Our class is looking forward to many fall activities this month, such as jumping in leaves, raking leaves into bags and piles, helping neighbors rake leaves, putting leaves on their trampoline, Halloween parties, and October birthdays.

Pumpkin Patch Field Trip: 2nd and 3rd grade will be going on a field trip with kindergarten and 1st grade to the pumpkin patch in Laurel on Wednesday, October 19th. We will be leaving in the morning and returning after lunch.

Book It: Our class will be participating in the Book It program. More information will be sent home soon!

This month’s focuses:

Math: (second grade) Working on addition and subtracting using different strategies to solve. Your child will be receiving flash cards for extra practice.

Reading: Studying different genres and working with the main idea and key details of the text.

Writing: Starting to explore personal narratives using graphic organizers to plan.

Science: Exploring the life cycle of plants and animals through hands-on stations and group work.

—Mrs. Fanus 🙂

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

Wow!  I can’t believe we are already done with our first month of the school year.  These past few weeks have really flown by.  They say time flies when you’re having fun and also that time flies when you’re working hard.  Well, all of our students have been working hard and having fun so no wonder we are already into October!

In my math classes, students have been reviewing number sense and working with basic operations.

My third graders are learning how to estimate the sums and differences of problems with 2 digit numbers

and are beginning to learn how to add/subtract 3 digit numbers.  We will be moving into multiplication before too long!  The 6th graders have been practicing with decimals.  We are currently working on basic operations with decimals.  Next, we will learn how to evaluate expressions that include decimals.  Keep working hard, guys and girls.  I’m very proud and impressed of all the progress we have made so far!

ptodeorncWe just wrapped up our Football unit with Pioneer’s annual Punt, Pass and Kick competition. Congratulations to Carson K, Kensey W, Ryan C, Brooklyn O, Maverick K, Brianna O and Falcon O for winning in their age competitions.  All classes practiced their Soccer skills before we moved into the Football unit.  Currently, we are getting to know each other and our movements through group games, and practicing for our annual Fall fitness testing.  On October 6th, all students need to bring comfortable clothes and tennis shoes as we will be testing to see how many push-ups, sit ups, pull ups and how fast we can run.  I look forward to seeing how students have improved from last year.  Let’s continue to bring tennis shoes and water bottles on P.E. days.  Also, October promises a mix of warm and cold weather.  We are going to try to learn outside for as long as possible, so continue to dress for the weather.  Thanks to all my students for working hard with positive attitudes.  Keep it up!

Gifted and Talented will be starting shortly.  We adopted a new referral process and testing system this year, and have had some hang ups in getting our tests ordered and implemented.  Please stay tuned for more information.  I’m doing my best to get all students tested and our program up and running as soon as possible.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

— Mr. Wallace

Pioneer PTA Billings


Hello!  Hope everyone had a great September!  We had our first PTA meeting of the year at the beginning of the month and had a great turnout.  Several things were discussed including school fundraisers, classroom/school budgets, the hot lunch program, PTA outreach and school events.  Hot lunch will continue to be served on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month.  We are still exploring options for providing hot lunch on a more regular basis, so stay tuned for that.  A big thank you to all our volunteers who prepare and/or serve hot lunch throughout the year.

We have our semi-annual Barnes and Noble book fair coming up in October on Saturday, the 29th.  Please see Mrs. Russell’s write up in the newsletter for more information.

Also, Santa’s Secret shop was discussed and the dates December 7th and 8th were set for that event.  We are still looking for volunteers to chair that event.  Please contact Skelly Adkins ( if you’re interested in volunteering.  Blue coupon books are still circulating in our first fundraiser of the year so be on the lookout for those.  And in final news, we’d like to thank Tim Critelli for donating a new playground attraction for our school.  We are hoping to have this new feature for our playground installed as soon as possible.  As always, we will need plenty of volunteers to help installing this new feature for our students.  If you are interested in joining the PTA or volunteering, please contact Skelly Adkins at her email mentioned above or our President Jody Goddard (  Thank you so much for your continued support.

Go Panthers!

—Ike Wallace (PTA VP)

School Nurse pioneer Elementary

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Welcome back to the start of another school year. We hope you and your family had an enjoyable and healthy summer break.

The fall months ahead are not only a time for students to resume their studies they are also a time when colds, flu, and other communicable diseases are at their peak. RiverStone Health would like to partner with you to minimize the spread of common childhood illnesses and missed school days.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure your child stays healthy and learning-ready this season:

  1. chr-washing-hands-874x1024Keep immunizations up-to-date. All states require immunizations prior to entry into school with additional vaccines required during the school age years. Vaccination against childhood diseases is one of the greatest public health achievements of the last half century. Vaccines protect your child and the school community from serious, preventable diseases. RiverStone Health Immunization Clinic No appointment necessary: Monday and Friday 1 pm – 4:30 pm OR Wednesday 11 – 6:30 pm
  1. Encourage hand-washing at home. Unwashed hands are a major source of disease transmission; scrubbing hands with soap and water before eating and after use of bathroom facilities is an important way to avoid exposure to many respiratory and stomach illnesses.
  1. Teach your child good health habits. Even very young children can be taught to “cough or sneeze in your sleeve!”
  1. Please keep your sick child home. While mild illnesses are not completely preventable when children (and their “germs”) share the same building, children with fever or signs of moderate illness should not come to school. Not only are they infectious to others but they also need the care and supervision that only a parent can provide.
  1. Although lunchtime in the cafeteria is a chance for students to socialize with friends, it can also be an opportunity for viruses and bacteria to pass from one child to another. Discourage your child from sharing their food, beverages, and eating utensils with others.
  1. Finally, while lice are not considered a “disease,” they are a nuisance that affects up to 12 million school-aged children each year. Lice don’t hop or fly but are spread by direct head-to-head contact or by using an infested brush, hat, or hair accessory. You may want to check your child’s head periodically for lice or nits and help him/her understand that some things are not to be shared, even with a sibling or best friend.

I am committed to maintaining a healthy school environment for all students. Our wellness and illness policies not only conform to accepted national standards but are designed to promote the health and well-being of all members of our school community.

If you have any questions about health issues or policies, please call me at 247-3367.

Thank you

— Karen Graf RN-BC, BSN, PHN
Pioneer School Nurse

School News

newsletter-crossed-eyes-kidsPicture Re-Takes day! October 27th

Picture Re take Day is scheduled for Thursday, October 27th If you were not happy with your pictures, please send in your full packet of pictures so we know you would like to have retakes done.  If you missed out on ordering them on the first picture day, this is your opportunity to get them taken and purchase packets. Please let Mrs. Michael know so we can be sure your child is photographed. New picture envelopes will be coming home soon. Preschoolers are welcome to come on retake day, also. Please call the office if you have any questions.


Students in Grades K & 1 will have hearing screenings conducted on them on Tuesday, October 18th at 1:00 pm.

Other students may be screened at this time also as deemed necessary by staff members of parents.  If you have a student that you feel you would like to have screened, please contact Mrs. Michael.  A permission slip is required to conduct this test on students that are not in K or 1st grade.


newsletter-atendance-tardySchools are responsible for teaching your child. But schools can’t do their job if your child is absent.  Learning builds day by day.  A child who misses a day of school, misses a day of learning. Studies also show that kids who are absent more often score lower on state tests. Being late for school hurts a child’s learning, too.

A student who is 10 minutes late every day misses 30 hours of instruction during the year. Children can copy notes or make up an assignment, but they can never get back what’s most important:  the discussion, the questions, the explanations by the teacher and the thinking that makes learning come alive.

Your child’s success depends on having a solid educational background – one that can be gained through regular school attendance. We appreciate your help in making sure your child is in attendance unless they are sick. If you are planning a family trip, please speak to the teacher well in advance of the trip so they can help to get the work they need.  Please be sure also to let Mrs. Michael know if your student is going to be absent.

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.)