School Board Roundup

School boards meet in September

Ennis SCHOOL Submitted by School Board Chair Kyle Stone

Staff housing initiatives

Initiative 1 - The district added one additional staff housing apartment over the summer. “The school district just finished initiative #1. Initiative #1 added one staff housing unit to the district’s portfolio of housing. Completing this initiative… significantly helps the district recruit and retain staff [and] has already benefited the district in their recruitment efforts this year.”

Initiative 2 - The second initiative will add a one bedroom and one bathroom duplex on Hugel Street property owned by the school district. The school district plans to break ground on this project in the fall, with completion prior to the 2023-24 school year. Both initiatives together will increase the district’s staff housing portfolio by 60 percent.

School Bond on the November 8th ballot

The board approved a 45 million dollar bond resolution on Aug. 8. The bond resolution will now be up to the district voters. The bond focuses heavily on educational program needs, along with increased safety, more classroom space, building code improvements and addressing accessibility needs. For more information on the bond go to or attend our Oct. 5 bond presentation at 6:30 p.m. in the elementary cafeteria.

Staffing Shortage

Ennis Schools still has openings for a high school math teacher, high school science, paraprofessional and bus drivers. The district has a couple of classes being taught by Digital Academy. They have also had to cancel one bus route.

Currently Ennis Schools enrollment K-12 is 425. This is 55 kids more than 2019.

The district is looking into hiring a Licensed Mental Health Counselor to assist with a rise in mental health cases.

The district had an initial discussion about a potential 4 day school week. More discussion on this topic will occur over the next several months. planning board from A1 clarified.

 Alder SCHOOL Submitted by Madison County Superintendent of Schools Pam Birkeland

Alder Elementary, an Independent K-8 school, opened its doors on Monday, August 22nd to a group of 15 smiling and eager students. Since that day, two additional students have transferred in with another new student on their way. Students range from 4-years-old in the Running Start K program to 5th graders.

Alder has three certified teachers: Teresa Murdoch (lead teacher and grades 2 – 5), Skiela Mager-Eggers (K-1), and Savannah Rossiter (Running Start K , co-teacher K-1, and Title I). With three teachers, students at Alder School receive a lot of individualized instruction based on their identified needs and interests. Students also receive instruction once a week in Spanish by Luz Kramer, in music by Rhonda Boyd, and in art by Carol Delisi, all employed as instructional aides. This summer, with two of the staff welcoming new babies, the board of trustees authorized the county superintendent, Pam Birkeland, who fulfills the role of superintendent/administrator for the school and staff to pursue opening a licensed childcare facility at the school. The Alder Eaglets Childcare opened its doors on September 1st with Hailey Heinert as the lead childcare teacher. The childcare center can have up to 8 children. With this addition, early childhood education now spans from age 0 – age 8 at the Alder School along with the education of our 9-12 year olds. The school is further supported by two parttime aides, Shauna Mayer and Sarah Sullivan.

Students and staff are treated to nutritional and tasty breakfasts and lunches by the cook Renata Nichols. Dan Fournier is the custodian and maintenance person who does a great job of keeping the school clean and in order.

Prior to school starting, staff attended ALICE intruder training provided by the two officers from the Ennis Police Department, John and Matt. This training was very well received.

In preparation for the new year starting, the school put in a new cement slab that will eventually become the floor of a planned Outdoor Learning Space funded by ESSER funds (COVID Relief). A new student drop-off and pick-up space was added as well as a new fence.

Alder School appreciates the continued support of the Alder Community. They are especially appreciative of the Board of Trustees: Ryan Ellis, chair; Jake McDonald, Vice Chair; and Duke Gilman as well as Sarah Sullivan, Clerk.


Sheridan SCHOOL Submitted by School Board Chair Kendra Horn

Enrollment is up from last year. The board meeting for September was postponed a week. Sheridan is welcoming new 6th grade, FCS, and Music teachers this year. Two of the new teachers were a result of the previous teachers moving to other areas of the school. One of those positions was an added position and the other replaced a teacher who had retired.

The board approved the purchase of a new route bus. The district has a bus that needs to be retired. Homecoming was a busy week. There was lots of excitement and great participation from the students, staff and parents. According to Kendra Horn, “Things are rolling right along.”

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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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