By Michael Howell
The Stevensville School Board received two major awards at this year’s Montana Conference of Educational Leaders (MCEL) in Great Falls. This included the highest award given to a board by the Montana Association of School Superintendents (MASS) and a workplace safety award from the Montana Schools Group Insurance Authority. (MSGIA)
School District Superintendent Kent Kultgen, who submitted the application for the MASS award on behalf of the school board, had high praise for the Stevensville Board of Trustees. Kultgen’s accolades for the board of trustees included praise for their “total immersion” in policy studies and their constant involvement in reviewing and revising policy in a regular fashion.
Kultgen also had great praise for the huge infrastructure project the board undertook when it decided to replace the junior high building and the grades 4-6 building. It was a $10 million project that consumed many hours of the volunteer board members’ time. Kultgen notes that the number of board meetings exploded way above normal. Since January of 2010 the Facilities Committee, which consists of three board members, met weekly and has had 86 meetings so far. The board was also commended for pursuing and obtaining the funds through the Qualified Construction School Bonds program, saving the district taxpayers close to $7 million on the deal.
Aside from the immense building project, Kultgen said the board was still able to introduce and implement some very innovative educational programs including a major curriculum to be adopted in the district’s history, a K-12 vertically aligned math program and a new advisory program in the junior high and high school designed to provide mentoring and development of life skills.
“These trustees have taken the Stevensville School District to another level,” wrote Kultgen in his award application.
Kultgen is also very proud of the MSGIA award. After identifying a rising trend in their workers compensation claims, the district worked closely with MSGIA to develop a comprehensive approach to turning that around and succeeded in doing so.
“To demolish four buildings and reconstruct on the same site without a single workers compensation injury is extremely impressive,” said Kultgen.