From the Principal’s Desk

Brett Zanto

Dear Bruin Community:

Welcome back (or welcome to) Capital High School!  Please be sure to take time to review the list of activities, schedules, and expectations contained in this guide to help ensure your success this year!

We will continue to focus on ensuring that all graduates are both college and career ready.  To help meet such a lofty goal, we will continue to use the PLC (Professional Learning Community) process where staff collaboration will equate to a focus on student learning in light of the Montana State Standards.  PLC time will occur once again each Monday afternoon this year, meaning that all students will be released early.  In our district, we have been closely tracking ACT data as it coincides with the implementation of the PLC model of professional development.  As a matter of fact, both state and national ACT leaders are also paying attention to data coming out of 100 Valley Drive in Helena, MT.   I’m pleased to say that just last year, Capital High School was selected as the 2017 Montana College and Career Transition Award recipient for the ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign.

CHS is home to a hard-working and caring staff.  Likewise, CHS is fortunate to have hard-working students who want to excel both inside and outside the confines of the classroom.  This is an exciting time to be a part of Capital High School- take advantage of all of the opportunities found here. It is a great day to be a Bruin!


Brett Zanto
Capital High School


Parent Council

The Council meets the first Thursday of each month at Capital High in the Library Conference Room at 12pm.

We welcome all CHS parents!!  Please come meet with me to connect as well as share concerns, ideas, information etc.  Please sign in as a visitor in the Main Office then proceed to the Library Conference Room, located in the back of the Library.  I hope to see you there!

12:00 – 12:30 – Lunch Meeting with Mr. Zanto – CHS Library Conference Room

Posted on January 11, 2017

CHS Supports Coach Reyant After Fire Damages Home…

reyant“HELENA – Matt Reyant gave Helena Capital fans plenty to cheer about during his high school days as a Bruinn.  The former MSU-Norther football player is currently giving back to his alma mater in the coaching ranks, but now it’s the school supporting Reyant.

Reyant and his fiance McKenzie were recently forced to evacuate their home due to a fire in their living room.  Numerous items were destroyed and many others need cleaned or repaired due to smoke and fire damage.

Helena Capital staff members, coaches and community members have set up a GoFundMe page to help Reyant and his fiance with expenses.  The couple is currently unable to live in the home until all repairs and smoke damage have been fixed.”

-R. Melby

For the whole story click here.


Posted on January 9, 2017

Weekly Update 01.08.2017

Helena ACT scores trending up (just saw this one today)

And, as published in the Billings Gazette last week:

Montana Graduation Rates 11/12 12/13 13/14 14/15 15/16
Sentinel High 92.70% 90.10% 91.55% 91.96% 90.73%
Capital High 83.48% 93.49% 89.87% 89.70% 88.68%
Glacier High 84.21% 83.11% 85.71% 88.89% 87.46%
Hellgate High 83.86% 86.38% 84.31% 88.50% 87.46%
Big Sky High 88.89% 88.39% 86.94% 86.06% 86.94%
Flathead High 81.75% 80.99% 85.49% 87.89% 86.08%
Skyview High 83.85% 80.35% 85.62% 83.20% 84.86%
C M Russell High 83.46% 85.08% 84.98% 86.79% 84.62%
Billings West 82.67% 86.34% 83.33% 83.07% 84.50%
Bozeman High 86.47% 86.39% 88.10% 86.27% 84.33%
Helena High 82.63% 81.61% 83.86% 81.73% 83.60%
Great Falls High 72.69% 74.94% 79.12% 82.16% 82.38%
Butte High 78.00% 81.97% 84.98% 83.43% 81.88%
Billings Senior High 76.99% 80.09% 81.18% 80.13% 81.55%


When combining all of this information- “thank you” for your continued focus on student learning as well as both your support and the relationships that you form with our students. The question of “are we here to educate or graduate” is sometimes asked.  When combining ACT data results with graduation rates compiled by OPI, Capital High is doing both!  Please be proud of such accomplishments.

Posted on November 14, 2016

Weekly Update 11.13.2016

In the news:

Hopefully a lot of you were able to catch one of the first two performances of the crosstown musical, “45 Minutes From Broadway.”  The following article was found in the IR last week- take a look, there are still more performances at HMS this week!

Also, Lucas Canney and Capital High School was the recipient of donated safety glasses.  Now I can find a pair when I visit the CTE area!  Click here.

Finally, I hope that some of you were able to take in some of the games at the Special Olympics basketball tournament that was held here- what a great tournament!

Posted on November 14, 2016

Cross Town Play “45 Minutes From Broadway” Opens Thursday!

An old-fashioned musical ’45 Minutes From Broadway’ is this year’s Cross Town Play, combining talents of 40 drama students from both Capital and Helena High schools.

For more details click here.

Posted on November 7, 2016

Update 11.07.2016

Congratulations to Deb Dorrance and Christina Sieminski- both are recipients of Great Ideas Grants from the HEF.  Mrs. Dorrance’s project includes funding the installation of materials that allow more artwork to be displayed on walls throughout the library.  Mrs. Sieminski received funding for a biotech integration project.

A big thank you to Michelle Adsem, April Murfitt, Sarah Urban, and Walt Chancy for selling concessions at the volleyball playoff game on Friday.  All proceeds will go to the CHS Faculty Fund.

Speaking of volleyball, congratulations to our volleyball team for qualifying for the state tournament.  Likewise, congratulations to Coach Mihelish and the football team for their playoff victory in Billings yesterday.

Please welcome Kenja Murray, a new paraprofessional in the FLS program- welcome to CHS!

Posted on October 31, 2016

Update 10.31.2016


How about the girls’ soccer team?  2nd place at state!  What a great season!

Thank you to Mrs. Kidder and the rest of the assembly planning team.  A lot of preparation went into that assembly.  There are a lot of you that contributed to this event- a big thank you for your efforts!  

The differences that you make!

Staff, please see the message found below from Michelle Christianson, the director of Talent Search.  Being able to share information such as this never gets old- the impact that you have is unbelievable!

Hi Brett, I just wanted to take the time to let you know about a student experience I had this morning.  An 11th grade student of mine that I have had in my program since 6th grade came to talk to me this morning.  She has been a straight A student as long as I have known her but this year she said she hit a wall.  Overwhelmed with life in general, she quit turning in work and went from straight A’s to straight F’s.  She went and talked to each of her teachers and asked if she could make up her work and they are ALL letting her for full credit! This makes my heart smile and kudos to these teachers who can see that sometimes THEY are the difference in the student’s life! Thank them from the bottom of my heart!

Posted on October 31, 2016

Hageman Health Hero 2016!!

Congratulations to Mr. Hageman, “Health Hero 2016,” presented by Eat Right Montana- a coalition promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles. Congratulations Reg!

Health Hero Award Press Release

 Health Hero Awards to be given to Two Recipients from Helena: First Lady Lisa Bullock and Reg Hageman

October, 2016 – Extraordinary things are happening in Montana to improve health through physical activity and nutrition programs, projects, and policies. The purpose of the Eat Right Montana and Action for Healthy Kids Health Hero award program is to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding efforts by those striving to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity to improve the well-being of all Montanans.  Eat Right Montana and MT Action for Healthy Kids will be awarding 9 outstanding Montanans with the Health Hero Award on October 24th in Bozeman.  First Lady Lisa Bullock has been chosen as one of the nine recipients for 2016.

Health Hero First Lady Lisa Bullock

First Lady Lisa Bullock is being recognized for her advocacy efforts in promoting childhood wellness throughout the state of Montana.  First Lady Bullock’s zealous passion for kids and desire to help end childhood hunger led her to work with the Montana Partnership to End Childhood Hunger (MTPECH).  After becoming Montana’s First Lady she helped organize efforts to obtain funds to support MT No Kid Hungry in hiring service members.  These service members have worked across the state to raise awareness about local childhood hunger and to help establish and support programs to alleviate the issue.  First Lady Bullock has also been a cheer leader and advocate for the School Breakfast Program.  One of the focuses of the MT No Kid Hungry program has been promoting alternative breakfast programs and summer meal programs.  Some schools have seen a rise in breakfast participation from 35% to 80%.  First Lady bullock takes the opportunity to recognize School Breakfast Champions through her annual Serve Montana Awards.  A former Americorp Service Member who worked directly with First Lady Bullock wrote,  “First Lady Bullock is committed to ending childhood hunger in Montana.  As a Montana No Kid Hungry member I quickly witnessed Lisa’s passion for the work we were doing…She wears her heart on her sleeve.  Each time the First Lady spoke, she cried, filling the crowd with her passion. ”

Health Hero Reg Hageman, Educator in Helena Public Schools and officer for SHAPE MT

As an educator in the Helena School District, Reg Hageman has taken an active role in advocating for healthy food choices for students.  Mr. Hageman has invested countless hours in researching, educating, and networking with administration to provide healthy options in vending machines.  He has reached out to the School Nutrition Program, Office of Public Instruction, collaborated with administration, and researched USDA guidelines to advocate that all vending options meet the Health Snack guidelines in Helena.  Mr. Hageman understands the impact that healthy food options can have on child’s health and ability to learn.  Reg’s impact also extends out of Helena and is affecting physical education across Montana.  As an officer for SHAPE MT, a professional organization for health enhancement and physical education providers, Reg has advocated to pilot the national “150 Initiative” in select schools across the state.  This initiative ensures 150 minutes of physical education is delivered to students on a weekly basis.  Mr. Hageman has had a key role in selecting and training schools, as well as planning data collection and reporting on the impact of the changes.  The work that Reg continues to do for students across the state of Montana demonstrates true advocacy for health and wellness.

More about ERM/AFHK and the Health Hero Awards:  First Lady Bullock and Mr. Hageman are great representatives of the Health Hero Award which looks for people who have been active in the following areas:

  • Increasing access to healthy food choices and/or nutrition program participation
  • Alleviating or decreasing hunger in the community
  • Increasing access to physical activity for kids, families, or communities
  • Advocating for workplace changes to support healthy choices.

Other Health Hero Award winners across the state this year include Amanda Cahill of the American Heart Association and the Co-Chair of the Graduation Matters Nutrition Work Group in Missoula; Terry Miller of Missoula for her work in assisting hospitals to achieve Baby Friendly Designation; Donna Kruse for her promotion of health through the Food Service Department of Huntley Schools; Lacey Gallagher of Great Falls for her work promoting wellness through various community efforts; Abigail Lichliter of Great Falls for her work in the Cascade County Extension office and SNAP Ed program; Special Olympics of Montana and their president Bob Norbie; and Chris Cook of Billings, founder of the Fit Kids club program.

For more information please contact:

Erica Harp

Health Hero Awards Chairperson


Posted on September 26, 2016

Weekly News from The Principal 9.25.2016

Wow- what a busy Homecoming Week that CHS just experienced.  Plenty of school spirit could be found!  A big thank you to our student council sponsors- Hollee Goody and Taylee Schlauch.  Thank you for all of your efforts last week as well as the culminating Homecoming Dance!!!!  Likewise, thank you to all of you who participated or encouraged your students to participate.

Freshman tailgate on Friday night- a great way to continue welcoming our new freshman class of student.  Thank you to Scott Andrews, Terri Norman, Don Foucar, Derik Reed, Taylee Schlauch, and Ashten Broadhead for helping to distribute food and t shirts to the Class of 2020.  Also, thank you to Sheila Richmond, Heidi Foreman, James Irby, Ashten Broadhead, Kelley Morand, Ryan Swenson, and Whitney Wallace for spending your Friday night at the dance.

Lisa Cordingley from HEF shared the following note with me last week.  It is always nice to see your efforts being recognized by former graduates!

HEF received a generous donation today from Dr. Angeles Alvarez, with this message:

Donation in gratitude for all the wonderful science and math teachers at Capital High School. Their instructional excellence inspired and provided me with the foundation to excel and embark on a pathway to a fulfilling career.     Please utilize for STEM programs at Capital High School.

Please share with your staff Dr. Alvarez’s appreciation for the excellent work they do for Helena’s students.

The NAMI walk was yesterday – thank you to Jamie Bawden for coordinating efforts found from CHS.  It is my understand that there were many student activities that were represented at this annual walk. Thank you to all of you who had student groups participate!

Posted on September 20, 2016

Capital High in the news:

from the IR:

Applauding A.P. Programs

Statewide ACT scores up slightly; Helena outperforms Montana


This is a good one! Once again, thank you for all of your efforts.  This is due to you!!!!!!!!!!

Posted on September 14, 2016

In the News

In the IR last Sunday, the following article was found in the Business Briefs section.  It highlights a parent meeting that Jim Weber hosted on the evening of the first day of school.

Impressive work at Capital High

I was invited to attend an event at Capital High School this past week that left a lasting impression and admiration for a teacher and a program that is making a difference.

They are producing high school graduates that have not only gained work skills but also acquire college credits that enable them to get a jump start on their two-year associates degree from any Montana two-year college. Instructor Jim Weber says they are making a difference “one student at a time.” Even if college is not in their future, these students can also start a meaningful and good-paying careers in metal work/manufacturing right out of high school. Weber requests that students registered for his welding and manufacturing classes along with their parents, attend a mandatory “first day of school” barbecue and meeting.

At that meeting, he not only outlined expectations for the classes, he asked for the parental support necessary to help the student be successful. He brought in speakers from manufacturing businesses in Montana such as Spika Design & Mfg. from Lewistown, Boeing Helena, Montana Iron Workers, Montana Manufacturing Extension – MSU, Twenty-6 Products – Bozeman, Helena College and more.

Weber has incorporated a work-ethics curriculum into his classes that help the students become better workers, better citizens and even better family members. These business owners and CEOs impressed upon those attending the importance of work ethic to their businesses and opportunities they might have for the students after graduation.

With local businesses in the throes of very low unemployment rates — causing a high number of job openings that are difficult to fill — it would seem that programs such as Weber’s should be part of every curriculum in all high schools. Schooling at all levels (including high school) is truly a preparation for students to be good workers and provide for themselves and their families. What an amazing opportunity for them to have much of the work skills needed upon high school graduation. This program is a plus for the students, for the businesses and for the community.

Cathy Burwell is the president/CEO of the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce.