Modeling the Way

SUPERINTENDENT ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: The water damage at Frank Brattin Middle School created some very difficult dilemmas as many students, teachers and buildings were functioning in a state of limbo while services were being restored at the middle school. Students, teachers, administrators and staff members at all buildings did their very best to accommodate the emergency changes taking place. Middle school students were without a building, middle school teachers were without a classroom, central office staff were without offices and equipment. Within, a matter of 24 hours, the instructional process was restored. A building, classrooms and offices were found. Parents were equal to the task in their flexibility and support when the plan was communicated and executed. There wasn't any finger pointing or complaints. Colstrip's resilience and "can-do" environment would not yield. It is in these moments of adversity that you really get to know people and a community.

The Core Values listed in the Colstrip Public School Strategic Plan (see below) are the enduring principles that guide a school district and should be used to guide the choices and decisions we make. In the case of Jewel Davenport, Robert Whitehead and Janelle Loyning these values were authenticated and articulated by what they did and what they do and what they care about. 

Robert Whitehead met this challenge from the start, at 6:00 AM, and didn't go to bed until midnight. He was again up for the next week. Naming all of the things he did to get our middle school back on its feet would be a long and trivial task. He called in contractors. He stayed with them as they pumped 54,000 gallons of water out of the lower level of FBMS in -27 degree weather. He assisted them as they replaced and renovated electrical panels. He assisted the implementation of an independent heat source and power source to keep the building from freezing up. He addressed multiple water breaks in several different places during the cold spell.  He continued to move furniture and equipment out of the Central Office. He maintained the snow removal before and after school. He is exhausted. He is invaluable.

Janelle Loyning was equal to the task of moving equipment and materials to give our middle school teachers and students the things they needed to continue the instructional process at the high school. She also worked until the job was done. She didn't quit until the job was done.

Probably the most selfless act of kindness, consideration and compassion was modeled by Jewel Davenport, the Counselor at Colstrip High School. Central Office was without a place to continue business. Our offices were destroyed. After looking at the possibility of temporarily moving into the high school office area, Jewell Davenport moved her office and reception area without being asked. She simply said, you needed a place to work. It had to be done. I was amazed; in this act, Jewel Davenport built consensus around values, principles and standards. She walked the walk. 

These three people lived the shared values outlined in our Core Values of Colstrip Public School. They modeled the way. It is with a great deal of pride that I was able to award them the "Make Dust or Eat Dust" Buckle for their extraordinary acts demonstrated this last month in regards to the water damage at Frank Brattin Middle School.

THANK YOU: Jewel, Robert and Janelle for MAKING DUST! 

THANK YOU: Jewel, Robert and Janelle for providing the needed HCA (safety, support and belonging) to keep our school "afloat."

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Core Values of the Colstrip School District: 

  • Loyalty, Trust and RespectWe believe that mutual loyalty, trust, and respect amongst key stakeholders (students, staff, board, and community) are vital to the success of our students. 

  • Responsible CitizenshipWe believe that it is important to prepare students to be cognizant of and to be positive contributors to all levels of the democratic process.   

  • Stable, Positive, Safe and Healthy School Climate We believe that accepting, appreciating, and embracing diversity and the uniqueness of all people contributes to a positive, safe, and healthy school climate for both students and staff and the long-term values of our community. 

Shared, Ethical LeadershipWe value shared leadership with our community where there is a common understanding and philosophy that we are all responsible for the success of our students. We believe that community involvement and support are essential to the achievement of our goals and the success of our students.