Grant to provide schools extra training, support

by WHITNEY ENGLAND
Reporter | October 21, 2020 1:00 AM

The Whitefish School Board last week approved accepting a grant that will provide a follow up training for each school in the district related to the pandemic.

In the spring Bella Bikowsky, who is an educational staff associate professional school counselor appointed by the state of Montana to coach school administrative teams during the COVID-19 pandemic, conducted a “Relaunching After Covid-19” training with Whitefish Schools. The grant will provide a follow up to the previous training.

According to a document included with the grant paperwork, Bikowsky has “extensive knowledge working with school teams and districts in helping to create systematic change using the Multi-Tiered Systems approach.” The system is a framework designed to help educators implement specific strategies for academics and behavior to assist all students with various needs.

Whitefish Middle School principal Josh Branstetter said he sat in on some of the previous training sessions.

“I felt she was outstanding and we had lots of positive feedback from our middle school team,” he said.

He added that the trainings are not mundane, predetermined courses, rather the school can ask for help in a specific area and Bikowsky will cater to that need.

“We can create and give her feedback on where we want the training to go, so she can tailor it to our specific needs and direction that we’re asking for,” Branstetter said.

Muldown Elementary principal Linda Whitright agreed.

“As an example, our four hours we are asking that next she helps with our MTSS facilitation because this year we have two brand new facilitators,” she said. “Right now our need is can we get them up to speed and she’s willing to do that.”

The grant covers follow up coaching for each school that attended the original session, which was Whitefish Middle School and Muldown Elementary.