Let the Heart Lead the Way.

Recognizing Excellence in the Educational Setting

Heather Currie

 

Heather Currie has the spirit and heart to make every child’s day a success. Her dedication to the children she serves is outstanding. Over the years, she has found the perfect formula for encouraging, teaching, affirming, guiding, and promoting the children in her classroom. The love she has for her kiddos and their families is clear every day. Working with young children takes a special sense of purpose and the ability to embrace change. No day is the same. No hour as planned. It is about being responsive to children and their development. With so many little personalities that is a huge amount of flexibility. Heather is a wonderful part of the education community on the Flathead Reservation and for her inspiring and exemplary work she is truly a deserving Big Sky, Bright Lights Education Honoree.  



Dana Grant and Bonnie Petersen

Bonnie Peterson

 

Bonnie Petersen, a veteran educator with two decades of

service in the Polson School District, stands as a beacon of

inspiration and excellence in the field of education.

Nominated for the Big Sky Bright Lights Educator Award,

Mrs. Petersen and her unwavering dedication and her innovative approach to teaching have left an indelible mark on the lives of countless students who have been so lucky to walk into her classroom. Beyond her role in the classroom, she has served as a mentor and source of inspiration for her fellow educators, embodying the very essence of what it means to be a transformative force in education. In the school and the community, Bonnie takes action to improve the lives of families and children, serving on the Young Child Wellness Council and supporting programming to get kids moving. She shows respect for all people and offers kindness wherever she goes. Her tireless efforts and commitment to student success make her a truly deserving honoree for this esteemed recognition.

Kenzie Sargent, Special Education Teacher

 

In the vast expanse of the educational landscape, there are guiding stars that illuminate the path for students with exceptional needs, and among them shines the unparalleled dedication of Kenzie Sargent, a beacon of inspiration and compassion in the realm of special education. As an advocate for inclusivity and a champion of every learner's potential, Kenzie embodies the very essence of what it means to be a remarkable educator.

 

First and foremost, Kenzie possesses an unwavering commitment to fostering an environment of acceptance and understanding within the classroom. With boundless patience and empathy, she creates a safe space where students of all abilities feel valued and empowered to thrive. Through personalized instruction tailored to meet individual needs, Kenzie ensures that every student receives the support necessary to reach their full potential, regardless of the challenges they may face.

 

Beyond the confines of the classroom, Kenzie extends her impact into the broader community, serving as a tireless advocate for students with disabilities. Whether collaborating with families to develop comprehensive support plans or spearheading initiatives to promote accessibility and inclusion, Kenzie goes above and beyond to ensure that every student has equal opportunities to succeed.

 

In conclusion, Kenzie shines as a beacon of innovation, constantly seeking new strategies to enhance student learning. Her use of cutting-edge technologies and inclusive teaching practices sets them apart, inspiring both colleagues and students to aim higher. With unwavering dedication to inclusivity and tireless advocacy for students with disabilities, Kenzie Sargent embodies the spirit of the Big Sky Bright Lights Educator Award, serving as a shining example for educators everywhere.





Positive Postpartum Partnerships


Postpartum depression is a term many have heard before. But this is only one of several disorders that can affect birthing people during the perinatal period, meaning pregnancy and the first year postpartum. Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) can include depression, anxiety, obsessive symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar mood disorder, and psychosis. According to an article in the American Journal of Public Health, untreated PMADs cost $14 Billion USD from conception to 5 years postpartum for those who gave birth in 2017. However, this number doesn’t quantify the cost to child development.

 

So how can we impact this in our local communities? Through St Luke’s partnership with Helping Hands and Zero to Five FRLC we have been able to offer gift cards to patients when they return to the clinic for their 6 week postpartum visit. Birthing people and their support system are educated on risk factors, signs and symptoms of PMADs throughout pregnancy and following delivery. Postpartum visits allow providers to continue the conversation and screen for mood or anxiety disorders. By offering this incentive, many more birthing people are receiving proper follow up care for themselves rather than just for their infant. Here at St Luke we had 18 birthing people receive prenatal care and/or deliver during the first three months of 2024. All 18 birthing people attended at least 1 postpartum appointment.


Furthermore, 16 of 18 birthing people attended the second appointment and received their gift card. This partnership has increased the number of completed postpartum follow ups since it began last year. By being able to follow up with these families we can help them optimize their health to be their best selves. This will benefit our families and community for years to come. 


Andee Vassar, BSN, RN, CLC

Clinical Care Coordinator

St. Luke Community Healthcare



 

Celebrating our Flathead Nation Program



On Tuesday, June 11th, Indigenous leaders, program youth and families, and other community partners gathered to celebrate the launch of our Flathead Nation program and the grand opening of our Polson clubhouse. Our Flathead Nation Program Manager, Nicole Callahan, welcomed attendees and CSKT elder, Vernon Finley, said a blessing over our new space. Friends of the Children board member and Tribal elder, Loretta Hoots, conducted a smudging ceremony for participating program youth.

Pictured left to right: CSKT Elder, Vernon Finley; Friend, Lynell Rose; Tribal Elder, Loretta Hoots; Program Manager, Nicole Callahan.

For kids in need, summer camp is more than fun and games. It’s a chance to forge positive relationships, explore their favorite activities, and make memories that will last into their adult years.

 

Join us at the CSKT Project Aware Youth Cultural Camp!


Dates: July 9-14, 2024

Location: Blue Bay Campground


There will be hands-on cultural arts stations and activities for youth. All participants must register and sign a waiver. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a legal guardian at all times at the camp.


For details, contact Cristen TwoTeeth at (406) 675-2700 ext. 1368 or Cristen.TwoTeeth@cskt.org.

Register Here

At CASA's Youth Connection, we are supporting reunification with our visitation services, a vital piece of the reunification process. We also offer parenting classes to support parents as they work towards the goal of bringing their children home.

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Volunteering your time, money, or energy to help others doesn’t just make the world better—it also makes you better. Studies indicate that the very act of giving back to the community boosts your happiness, health, and sense of well-being.

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Partnerships Support to Families Through Pregnancy and Postpartum!

Providence St. Joseph Medical Center and St. Luke’s Community Hospital

recently partnered with Zero to Five Flathead Reservation – Lake County and Helping Hands of Mission

Valley. 


We will educate new mothers and families on postpartum mood disorders by providing educational materials and a $25 incentive when mothers attend their postpartum check.

Looking to volunteer? Please give us a call 406-883-0770!


                 “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Love

410 First Street East - Suite 1

PO Box 1094

Polson, MT 59860

(406) 883-0770

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