This is our school: a place of knowledge, tolerance, respect and understanding. We welcome the people who want to be here, and we invite them to share in our unique learning community.

Matthew Carey



Dara Kittelmann

Administrative Secretary

Fax: 406-324-1631

Pal Moments


I have to recognize our entire student body this week for their positive representation of PAL, themselves, and their families this week. On Wednesday, we made what was going to be a select group of students attending a college visit to the Helena College Airport location a schoolwide field trip. The reports from the college and our staff were nothing but glowing reviews as our students engaged in the trip and remained attentive, even if some of the information at hand wasn’t of interest to them. Opening up doors and opportunity for our students is a crucial piece to PAL and I’m glad our kids take those opportunities seriously. In a very similar event this week, Leadership Helena stopped by PAL for an afternoon of conversation and connection. Leadership Helena is comprised of professionals in our community with their theme day/service focused on education. We at PAL had the opportunity to talk with a variety of professionals ranging from MT FWP, lawyers, bankers, hospitality, engineers, surveyors and the list goes on. I asked our students before we met with Leadership Helena to try and pick out a person or two to talk with during the unstructured social time to try and learn about them and how they got into that field for work. I was astounded by the engagement of our kids and their willingness to strike up a conversation with the group. It is a testament to their growth as students and their preparation for life after PAL. Hopefully we’ll connect a student or two with an excited new career opportunity!

I also want to recognize Michele Zentz here at PAL who not only serves as a teacher/advisor at PAL but the district’s homeless liaison. She was highlighted in a great story this week by KTVH. It is clear to all of us at PAL what a great resource she is for kids in our community through her work here. It’s great to see the impact she’s made for other students in need in the homeless liaison role as well. Thank you, Michele!

Lastly, next week will be two quick but full days. An “A” day on Monday and a “B” day on Tuesday. Tuesday will also be our PAL Thanksgiving celebration. We will start eating around 1230pm on Tuesday and with our affirmations throughout the meal I expect we’ll finish around 2pm. The rest of the afternoon will be for Thanksgiving related activities. If you would like to attend and be your students’ “+1” please let your student’s advisor, Dara, or I know.

Thank you,

Matt Carey


From the Desk of the School Nurse: Important Medicaid Information and Helena Health Care Centers

Dear Parents,

If your family or children are on Medicaid/Healthy Montana Kids (HMK), the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) has important information for you.

DPHHS is sending out important mail regarding medical insurance coverage and Medicaid/HMK members must make sure DPHHS has their current address, phone number and email, or risk losing coverage. Updates to contact information can be made by doing any of the following:

  • Complete a change of address form online at: At, individuals can also create an online account. An online account allows individuals to update their contact information, renew their coverage when it’s time, and receive correspondence.
  • Call the Public Assistance Helpline at 1-888-706-1535
  • Mail a letter to:  DPHHS, PO Box 202925, Helena, MT 59620-2925
  • Fax a letter to 1-877-418-4533
  • Go to the local Office of Public Assistance

For more information, please go to  or contact your school nurse

Helena has two Federally Qualified Health Centers that can meet your family’s health needs:

PureView Health Center

“PureView Health Center is a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center (FQHC) with clinics in Helena and Lincoln, Montana”

1930 9TH Ave, Helena, MT 59601 Phone: 406-457-0000 Fax 406-500-2130

Sliding Fee Discount Program Available

Helena Indian Alliance

501 Euclid Ave.

Helena Montana, 59601

406-449-5796; 406-442-9244

For families without medical insurance, a sliding fee scale, based on income, is available

“We are a Federally Qualified Health Center providing primary care, mental health services and youth programs for the entire Helena Community” are a Federally Qualified Health  Center providing primary care, mental health services,

To find out how to apply for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Support Program) or other assistance benefits, including health coverage assistance, please call the Montana Public Assistance Helpline at 1-888-706-1535, apply online at, or contact a local assistance office.

A qr code with a bird

Description automatically generated

Block 4 Course Descriptions


News/Views + Montana World Affairs – USH, GOV, SST

In this riveting class, students will start with a full course of current events and comprehensive group discussion regarding the happenings around the World, in the US and around Montana. Additionally, students will start to explore and prepare for the annual Montana World Affairs competition, to be held in Missoula, March of 2024.

SS.G.9-12.1 use geospatial reasoning to create maps to display and explain the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics

SS.G.9-12.2 use geographic data to analyze variations in the spatial patterns of cultural and environmental characteristics at multiple scales

SS.G.9-12.3 use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions and their political, cultural, and economic dynamics

SS.G.9-12.4 analyze relationships and interactions within and between human and physical systems to explain reciprocal influences that occur among them, including American Indians

SS.G.9-12.5 evaluate the impact of human settlement activities on the environmental, political, and cultural characteristics of specific places and regions

SS.G.9-12.6 analyze the role of geography on interactions and conflicts between various cultures in Montana, the United States, and the world SS.G.9-12.7 evaluate the influence of long-term climate variability on human migration and settlement patterns, resource use, and land uses at local-to-global scales

SS.G.9-12.8 evaluate the consequences of human-driven and natural catastrophes on global trade, politics, and human migration

Bill of Rights – USH, GOV

From Free Speech, the Right to Bear Arms, to Due Process, to Rights of the Accused and MUCH MORE, students will take a block long dive into the American Bill of Rights (Amendments 1-10) and in the process, learn about the reasons behind the first 10 Amendments and the Amendment process overall.

SS.CG.9-12.1 analyze and evaluate the ideas and principles contained in the foundational documents of the United States, and explain how they establish a system of government that has powers, responsibilities, and limits

SS.CG.9-12.2 analyze the impact of constitutions, laws, treaties, and international agreements on the maintenance of domestic and international relationships

SS.CG.9-12.3 evaluate the impact of international agreements on contemporary world issues

SS.CG.9-12.4 apply civic virtues and democratic principles when working with others


Students taking PE this block can expect to spend most of their time at the YMCA, as they have generously opened up their doors to our PAL family for the winter. We will split time between the weight room and the cardio center. Students will be taught proper form and technique and be expected to utilize our time at the Y to build an appreciation for lifetime fitness and the health benefits that come with it.

  1. Refine activity-specific movement skills in one or more lifetime activities
  2. Design and implement a strength and conditioning program
  3. Evaluate the importance of stretching and flexibility in lifetime activities
  4. Accept differences between personal characteristics and the idealized body images and elite performance levels portrayed in various media
  5. Advocate for responsible behavior of self and others in a variety of physical activities
  6. Analyze the benefits of a variety of feedback techniques
  7. Examine moral and ethical conduct in specific competitive situations
  8. Assume a leadership role in a physical activity setting (i.e., coach, referee, group leader)


The Violence Continuum (w/ Brooke)

This class collaborates with Eric Parsons from The Friendship Center to learn and discuss healthy relationships, types of abuse, power and control, the cycle of violence, myths, supporting survivors, and how these issues also affect the LBGTQ+ population.

HE 1.2 a. Analyze the interrelationships of physical, mental, emotional, family, and social health on personal health, including those of American Indian cultures and practices.

HE 2.1 b. Explain how the perception of societal norms influence healthy and unhealthy behaviors, including those of American Indian cultures and practices.

The Crucible

This English class will explore the 1692 Salem Witch Trials in Salem, Massachusetts through Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible.  Miller is argued to be the 20th century’s greatest American Playwright. This play was written as a cautionary tale of the mass hysteria that occurred during the McCarthy scare in the 1950’s and is a reminder of the importance of freedom and tolerance in democracy. Students will be assigned a daily character or characters and read their parts aloud. Dramatic readings are encouraged! Upon finishing, we will view the film version of this play and compare/contrast text and film interpretations of the text.

RL.9-10.2 Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text, including those by and about American Indians; analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; and provide an objective summary of the text.

RL.9-10.7 Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), or traditional American Indian oral histories, evaluating how each version interprets the source text (include at least one play by Shakespeare and one play by an American dramatist).


OR Careers – Assessments

Students will do a variety of assessments to identify personality traits, how their brain functions, career interests, values, learning styles and life skills.

Self-Assessment – Achievement Standard:

Apply knowledge gained through individual assessment to develop a comprehensive set of goals and an individual career plan.

• List positive characteristics about yourself

• Identify personal likes and dislikes; personal, physical and mental characteristics; and individual talents and interests

• Correlate personal, physical, and mental characteristics with the requirements of various career opportunities

• Complete a variety of standardized interest and career assessments

• Compare personal skills and aptitudes with various career options

• Assess and analyze personal talents and interests to future careers

• Determine attitudes needed for career success


Career Development

I. Strategic Career Planning

II. Career Exploration & Research

III. Career Readiness Expectations


II. Interpersonal Skills

V. Employment Communication

Economics & Personal Finance – Personal Finance

I. Personal Decision Making


IV. Personal Management Skills

VI. Human Resource Management

Personal Finance – The Stock Market Challenge

Resource Material: and the Stock Market Challenge Website

Students will work in teams to research stocks, purchase stocks, and manage their purchases.  Students will also learn about the stock market, how it functions, how to understand information and data produced by companies, and what it means to invest versus trade.

Achievement Standard:

Evaluate savings and investment options to meet short-term

and long-term goals.


• Describe the importance of saving, and list the

advantages and disadvantages of different savings and

investment options; • Differentiate between savings and investing; • Identify reasons to develop a savings plan


Economics & Personal Finance – Personal Finance

I. Personal Decision Making

III. Managing Finances and Budgeting

IV. Saving and Investing

VIII. Protecting Against Risk


Economics & Personal Finance – Personal Finance

I. Personal Decision Making

III. Managing Finances and Budgeting

IV. Saving and Investing

Economics & Personal Finance – Economics

III. Economic Institutions and Incentives

VII. The Role of Government

Careers – Keyboarding through Google Docs

Students will be using; Nitrotyping; and Google Docs – BE Publishing; to learning proper keyboarding skills, improve their confidence keyboarding, and keyboarding and editing in Google Docs.

Keyboarding or Input Technology

Achievement Standard:

Use various input technologies to enter and manipulate information appropriately including but not limited

keyboarding and mouse.


• Develop touch keyboarding techniques; • Develop touch keyboarding skills at acceptable speed and

accuracy levels of 30 wpm with five (5) or fewer errors; • Proofread and edit copy for accuracy, content, correct

grammar, spelling, and punctuation; • Use pointing devices such as the mouse



I. Foundations of Communication

III. Written Communication

Information Technology

VI. Input Technologies

Thanksgiving Feast

Week 1 – Appetizers and Salads

Week 2 – Vegetables and Pies

Week 3 – Pies

Week 4 – Meat, Stuffing, and leftovers

Montana State Standards CTE.9-12 (c) attend to personal health and financial well-being:

(i) evaluate validity of health and financial information, products, and services;

(ii) analyze financial practices including budgeting, banking, savings, investments



The Pre-Algebra course is to serve as a bridge between computational mathematics and Algebra.  This course will build a foundation of algebraic concepts using technology, manipulatives, problem solving, and cooperative learning.  We will focus on building logical thinking skills, estimation, and connections between math and everyday applications.  This course is designed to prepare students for Algebra I.

Montana State Standards: 8.MP.1, 8.MP.2, 8.MP.4, 8.MP.5, 8.MP.6, 8.MP.7, 8.MP.8

Algebra 1A

In the Algebra 1A course students will be introduced to basic algebraic skills and provided the foundation for all subsequent math courses. Topics include, but are not limited to, properties of real numbers, relations, linear, quadratic, and exponential functions, graphing equations and inequalities. This course lays the foundation for mathematical literacy that will help students be successful in every subsequent course in mathematics.

Montana State Standards: HS.MP.1, HS.MP.2, HS.MP.3 HS.MP.4, HS.MP.5, HS.MP.6, HS.MP.7, HS.MP.8

Algebra 1B

Algebra 1B will represent the second half of algebra that introduces students to variables, algebraic expressions, equations, inequalities, functions, and all their multiple representations. In this class, students will develop the ability to explore and solve real-world application problems, demonstrate the appropriate use of graphing calculators, and communicate mathematical ideas clearly.

Montana State Standards: HS.MP.1, HS.MP.2, HS.MP.3 HS.MP.4, HS.MP.5, HS.MP.6, HS.MP.7, HS.MP.8

College Math

This course is designed to assist students enrolled in classes at Helena College.  In this class the goal will be to facilitate an environment where students feel comfortable working on their course work and asking for help whenever they need clarification or more instruction on the various topics being taught to them.  In other words, all efforts will be made to ensure students have access to all the resources and tutoring needed to be successful.

3D Printing

Students in this course will be learning how to create and print 3D objects on the MakerBot 3D printer.   We will be focusing on business mathematics and measurement.  The class will have to calculate material costs and markup to determine a sale price for objects printed.  Students will also be learning scale and measurement skills to create objects to print on 3D modeling software.

Montana Standards:  HS.MP.4, HS.MP.1, HS.MP.6


WW2 – The students in this class will study the different causes that started the second world war. They will also be looking at the propaganda that surrounded WW2 and how it changed the way people viewed war and other groups around the world.

SS.H.9-12.3 identify ways in which people and groups exercise agency in difficult historical, contemporary, and tribal contexts

SS.H.9-12.7 analyze how historical, cultural, social, political, ideological, and economic contexts shape people’s perspectives

Emily T:

Tablescapes and Centerpieces: This class will focus on design, specifically occupied and unoccupied space. The students will work collaboratively and individually to design and build table-top décor and centerpieces for PAL Thanksgiving. The remainder of the block will focus on how to write a thoughtful thank you note.

each student will:

VA1. develop plans for creating art and design works using various materials and methods from traditional and contemporary practices

VA3. complete artworks or designs incorporating relevant criteria as well as personal artistic vision

VA5. apply appropriate methods or processes to display artwork in a specific place

VA7. evaluate the effectiveness of an artwork as perceived by a variety of audiences

VA8. defend an interpretation of an artwork or collections of artworks

VA9. analyze a collection of artwork based on sets of criteria

Ceramics: This class will focus on clay hand-building skills in addition to a variety of design techniques and decoration. This class is appropriate for students who already have skills in the ceramics arts as well as those who are true beginners.  Students will have the option of taking this class as a single or double period.

Each student will:

VA1. develop plans for creating art and design works using various materials and methods from traditional and contemporary practices

VA3. complete artworks or designs incorporating relevant criteria as well as personal artistic vision

VA5. apply appropriate methods or processes to display artwork in a specific place

VA7. evaluate the effectiveness of an artwork as perceived by a variety of audiences

VA8. defend an interpretation of an artwork or collections of artworks

VA10. incorporate knowledge of personal, social, cultural, and historical life to create artworks


The Violence Continuum (w/ Michele): We’re so excited to partner with Eric Parsons from The Friendship Center to learn and discuss healthy relationships, types of abuse, power and control, the cycle of violence, myths, supporting survivors, and how these issues also affect the LBGTQ+ population.

Dude be Nice: As requested, Dude be nice will continuing into block 4! This is a class where we change the routines of our day and focus on spreading good vibes in our schools and communities. Through this class, students will initiate conversations about what being nice means, brainstorm activities that promote kindness, connection and ultimately provide an opportunity for students to take the leadin executing nice activities in our school and community. ​***Students can take this class if they we’re in it block 3 or not! 🙂

Emily P:

Immunology course Description 

Students will categorize and map out the wide range of blood cell types in the human body and identity their rolls and functions. We will investigate the role of blood in immune health. Additionally, we will discuss all types of available vaccines and how each of them work in our bodies to prevent disease.

Science Standards: 

MS-LS1-1 conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells, either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells

MS-LS1-2 develop and use a model to describe the structure and function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function

Nutrition Course Description 

Students will identify the macro and micronutrients the human body needs to function, and quantities necessary to consume to be healthy. Students will evaluate their own nutritious habits, determine if they are consuming daily recommended amounts of various nutrients, and make a plan for positive changes. We will evaluate discrepancies in recommendations and the sources of various recommendations. Students will determine which sources and recommendations they believe are valid.

Health Standards

(5) Analyze how genetics and family history can impact personal health

(6) Compare and contrast ways to advocate for safe and healthy school and community environments to promote personal health

(14) Explain how the perception of societal norms influence healthy and unhealthy behaviors

(18) Evaluate the effect of media on personal and family health;

(20) . Explain how public health policies and governmental regulations, including tribal, can influence health promotion and disease prevention

(21) Evaluate the validity of health information, products, and services;

(35) Develop a plan to attain a personal health goal that addresses strengths, needs, and risks

(36) Assess personal health practices and overall health status

(37) Implement strategies and monitor progress in achieving a personal health goal

(38) Formulate an effective long-term personal health plan

(39) Discuss ways to advocate for a variety of healthy practices and behaviors that will maintain or improve the health of self and others

(40) Analyze the role of individual responsibility for enhancing health;

Science Standards

MS-LS1-7. develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth, release energy, or both, as this matter moves through an organism

OR Discrepant Events Course Description:  

Each student will be preparing a discrepant event to perform for 4th or 5th graders at the end of the block. A discrepant event is something that surprises, startles, puzzles, or astonishes the observer. Often, a discrepant event is one that does not appear to follow basic “rules of nature” and the outcome of a discrepant event is unexpected or contrary to what one would have predicted. The event throws the student “off balance” intellectually which most likely will motivate them to further investigate the science concept. This strategy is often used in science classes because most children feel the need to have questions answered, and there are many discrepant events that occur in the realm of scientific knowledge. This will promote problem-solving skills on part of the student. The 4th grade children will be guided while finding a solution, using guided questions and prompts from the PAL students, and the 4th grader will discover the reason for the discrepant event. My students, in their role as teachers, will each become an expert on a different discrepant event, as well as learn from their fellow classmates about multiple science concepts.

Standards and outcomes: 

HS-PS1-5 Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.

HS-PS2-4 Use a mathematical representation of Newton’s Law of Gravitation and Coulomb’s Law to explain gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects.


Guitar and its Players

This class will encompass a brief, but hopefully lasting, introduction to both the history of the guitar and its players as well as physically learning to play the guitar.

Outcomes/Objectives: To have a historical and cultural perspective on the guitar as an evolved musical instrument.  Appreciate and celebrate major influencers both musically and technically.  Have some firsthand exposure through the practice of playing the guitar to connect with the instrument aesthetically and tangibly.

Standards: Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.

-Make strategic use of media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

Holocaust Literature

This class will study a variety of writings from the holocaust as well as delve into the psychology of values (axiological psychology) to find meaning in hardship and uncertainty.


We will study Holocaust texts in historical context, encouraging students to understand how and why the Holocaust happened. We will also glean wisdom from the authors regarding the search for meaning in life’s inevitable trials and misfortune.


-Students conduct inquiries that require analysis of documents. Students use multiple sources, including both primary and secondary sources.

-Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Reading on Your Own (R.O.O.)

In this class students will establish a book of their choice and read it in class.  They will share a guided “book talk” with the class at the end of the block to evaluate their chosen book and generally critique the reading experience.


Engage with a chosen book and hopefully ignite a love of reading as a form of information and entertainment.


-Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.

-Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments, and knowledge derived culture), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.

Vocabulary Expansion (Games and Activities)

The class will be guided through texts, activities, and games, with the intent of expanding student’s existing vocabularies.


Through exploration of chosen texts and participating in word-centric activities and games, students will expand upon their understanding and use of words in their lexicon.


-Learn to approach language as a matter of craft and informed choice among alternatives.

-Focus on understanding words and phrases, their relationships, and their nuances and on acquiring new vocabulary, particularly general academic and domain-specific words and phrases.