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Tailgating and Spirit Week Activities Kick off the New School Year in Thunderbird Country


August 21, 2019

AANIIIH Native Language Teacher Robin Black Wolf

On Wednesday, August 14, the Thunderbirds gathered for a Back-to-School Tailgate Party. Food, bouncy houses, music, and fun were on the agenda! The tailgate party was an opportunity for the community to celebrate before the routine of the upcoming school year once again took over.

With the first day of school on August 19, Thunderbirds participated in Welcome Back Spirit Week activities. Monday was Red, White, and Blue Day, so students wore patriotic clothes. Tuesday was Muscle Day, encouraging students to wear their favorite tank tops or muscle shirts, and August 21 was Wacky Wednesday, which saw students and staff wearing a variety of peculiar outfits. Tomorrow will be Throwback Thursday, and students are invited to wear anything classic-whether a retired Thunderbird jersey or some other retro-fashion. Finally, Friday will celebrate the end of summer heat, giving students the opportunity to wear their favorite summer apparel before the Popsicle days of summer melt into autumn.

In addition to their spirited and thematic dress, Hays/Lodge Pole Schools welcomed new administration and faculty for the 2019-2020 school year. Reyna Monteau will serve as both the high school and the elementary school principal, although she will be spending most of her time at the elementary school in Lodge Pole.

On the faculty side, the new kindergarten teacher will be Shelley Morgan, while Robyn Hawk will welcome first graders and Scott Chapdelain will provide instruction in the second grade classroom. To round out the new hires in Lodgepole, Twila Cochran will come on board as a junior high teacher.

At the high school in Hays, the new Business Tech teacher will be Jay Wolf, Anne Adams will teach high school math, and Natacha Doney will teach English. In addition, Thae Main will serve as the Nakoda Native Language Teacher for the school district, and Robin Black Wolf will be the Aaniiih Native Language Teacher.

Elementary School Secretary, Joshlynn Morgan also shared details about the new Attendance Matters Initiative, which outlines expectations for Thunderbirds in the coming school year. "They should not miss more than nine days," she explained.

The reason for adopting these new expectations relate to research: School attendance is a baseline factor in determining student success. It's difficult for the teacher and the class to build their skills and to make academic progress if a large number of students are frequently absent. Statistics also show that in addition to falling behind in academics, students who are not in school on a regular basis are more likely to get into trouble with the law and to cause problems in their communities.

1st Grade Teacher Robyn Hawk

Hays-Lodge Pole Schools consists of a K-8 elementary/middle school in the community of Lodge Pole and a 9-12 high school in Hays. K-12 enrollment is approximately 200 students. The communities of Hays and Lodge Pole are located nine miles apart on the southern end of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, home to the Gros Ventre and Assinniboine tribes. Both tribes' cultures and languages are integrated into students' daily activities at school. Because the communities are located in the Little Rocky Mountains, just north of the Missouri River and the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, students can enjoy fishing, hunting, gardening, skiing, gold panning, fossil hunting, and other outdoor activities when school isn't occupying their time. Close-knit families who value education provide the backbone of both the Hays and Lodge Pole communities, where school sports, rodeo clubs, powwows, and other community events keep them busy year round.


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