District approved to open schools in fall; new administrators, staff hired

Chris Mcconnell
Thursday, June 25, 2020

On Tuesday, Superintendent Linda Filpula met the Laurel School District teachers to announce the district has received new guidance from RiverStone Health that will allow the schools to open in the fall with a maximum of 30 students per class, in which the classroom qualifies as a family unit.

District administrators will be working with RiverStone Health in the coming weeks to finalize the plans. Filpula said they will enact three different plans to cover all bases depending on what is to come regarding COVID–19 restrictions.

One plan will involve no restrictions and all students will attend school as normal. The second plan will involve half the students attending class on “A” and “B” days and the third plan will involve remote learning like this past spring.

“We will have more information after the 4th of July but we are excited to plan and talk about having all our students back in class this fall. We have a lot of question we need to address including rotating recesses, lunch schedule and getting the kids in and out of the buildings. We also should be able to run our normal bus routes with the requirement that students wear masks. There are a lot of questions yet to answer but this is good news for students, families and staff,” she said.

At the June 18 special board meeting and the June 22 regularly scheduled meeting, the trustees approved several new hires including a West School principal and a new boy’s basketball coach.

Karla Miller was hired as new West School Principal to replace Kelly Anderson who retired this summer. The hiring committee stated Miller has 16 years of teaching experience at the elementary level and has a degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She was the Curriculum Director for the Northwest Montana Educational Cooperative serving 25 different school districts. Miller was also on the Helena School District Literacy Leadership Team; Technology, Science and Technology Integration Committee and Professional Learning Committee, as well as having extensive training in MBI and MTSS.

The trustees approved Anthony “Tony” Trudnowski as the LHS boy’s basketball coach out of nine applicants. The hiring committee was the Middle School principal, Superintendent, High School principal, Activities Director and Board Chair who chose Trudnowski out of the three candidates they interviewed.

Trudnowski was most recently the assistant men’s basketball coach at Rocky Mountain College and came highly recommended by current RMC Head Coach Bill Dreikosen. He has also coached at the high school level at Harrison High School in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Kallie Giese was hired as a 4th grade teacher at Graff School. Giese is a recent grad from MSU–Billings with a degree in Elementary Education and an Art Teaching minor. Graff Principal Lynne Peterson said she has experience working as a camp counselor at the Billings Family YMCA and values teamwork and flexibility in the workplace. The Laurel School board

The Laurel School board approved Jami Reynolds as PE/Health Enhancement teacher at LHS. The hiring committee stated Reynolds was a highly qualified teacher with 19 years of experience at the secondary level. She has taught PE/Health from California to Georgia and served as Athletic Director of a large school district with 50 coaches and 22 sports. Reynolds is also a Navy Veteran who served in Desert Storm.


Upcoming Events

Monday, July 6, 2020
Mondays, 1:30 p.m., 201 1/2 E Main St.
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
1st and 3rd Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., Council Chambers
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
2nd Wednesday, 5:35 p.m., Council Chambers
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Wednesdays, 7 p.m., 201 1/2 E. Main St., Laurel
Thursday, July 9, 2020
2nd Thursday, 6 p.m., Council Chambers
Monday, July 13, 2020
2nd Mondays, 6:30 p.m., at Wood's Powr-Grip, 908 West Main St., use the west entrance, open to the public. 


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