Learn More Key Facts

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do you have a question that is not addressed yet in the FAQ? Send an email to Dan Rispens or Ron Whitmoyer to submit your question.

What classes and electives will be offered to Freshmen in 2019-2020?

The new high school will be a comprehensive high school, meaning it will offer an accredited high school experience for students. There will be a highly rigorous and quality set of required classes dictated by the State Accreditation Standards… i.e. math, science, English and social studies just like every high school in Montana. Advanced classes and core classes modeled to career and college readiness will be offered. Typically, Freshmen have a limited number of electives at high schools, but there will be electives for freshman tailored to their interests.

What sports will be available?

The district has made a commitment to offer a wide range of extracurricular activities including obvious MHSA sanctioned sports like volleyball, football, basketball, track, cross country, and other sports like softball, tennis, golf and others depending on the ability to field a complete team of athletes. Also the District plans to immediately build the fundamental government and clubs that make for a complete well rounded high school experience. Student Council will be an absolute must for the first freshmen. Also other important clubs like National Honor Society, DECA, FFA, Rodeo Club, etc. will be offered as interest of students warrant.

What schools will we play?

East Helena has already been to meetings with the Montana High School Association (MHSA) to determine a preliminary competition conference in Class A.. East Helena Athletic Director Kevin VanNice is working with the Class A Director to begin the early planning for the fall competition schedule for next year. MHSA Officials have assured us that they will have Class A games and competition ready for us next fall, but not necessarily conference teams. Most of the games for our freshman students will be against other Class A freshman students. Competition for freshman students, no matter the Class, will be appropriate for their skill level and close to their own age students. Possible Class A Conference teams include Livingston, Laurel, Billings Central, Lockwood, and Hardin under a recent proposal to MHSA.

What clubs and activities will the new high school have?

Student Council will be an absolute must for the first freshmen. Also other important clubs like National Honor Society, DECA, FFA, Rodeo Club, etc. will be offered as interest of students warrant. Staff and community members will be working hard planning and taking input from students and parents who will be paramount in planning for the many unknowns that still lie ahead in this area.

Will Cheerleading/drill team be offered?

Will there be freshmen level honors courses?

Yes, there will be classes available for honors credit. We are also working towards offering classes for AP credit for upper level students when the time comes as well as dual credit options through Helena College and classes though Carroll College.

What part of EVMS will the freshmen- classes be held in?

The new wing of the middle school has been designated as the high school wing and will operate as an independent East Helena High School. There will be an administrator and counselor assigned along with the new teaching staff and the high school students. Some portions of the facility such as the gym, band room, and cafeteria will have to be shared as will some of the staff.

How will this freshmen year be different than a 4th year of middle school?

The administration is committed to making this a high school experience. Some separation of the high school will occur because the new wing of the middle school has been designated as the high school wing and will operate independently within the building as East Helena High School. The administrative staff will work hard to establish traditions and events that will be exclusive to high school students. Some portions of the facility will unavoidably have to be shared (Gym Cafeteria, Library) , as will some of the staff, but the activities and events will be uniquely high school.

Will there be bus service available?

The School District will offer bus service to the new high school no matter whether it is located in EVMS or when it is located in the new building in 2020 at 2750 Valley Drive.

Will I have to pay tuition if my child goes to Helena High?

Probably. The Helena School District practices have been to charge tuition for out of district boundary students which will include East Helena area students. Certainly consult with the Helena District to see if East Helena students will be charged an amount similar to those charges assessed to Montana City students.

Will there be bus service available to HHS?

The East Helena School District is independent of the Helena School District so no bus service to Helena High or Capital High will be offered for freshmen next year.

Will there be school dances? Pep rallies?

Yes! The East Helena School District working cooperatively with the new administrator and East Helena high school staff will begin building traditions and events for high school students exclusive from the middle school.

Is it mandatory that students attend East Helena High School if they live within the East Helena school district?

No. The State of Montana allows students to attend schools outside of their home district through a mutually acceptable Out of District Tuition Agreement. In most school districts there is an up front payment for the cost of annual tuition. The costs for that attendance will need to be worked out between the parent and the Helena, Townsend or Boulder School District.

Will the East Helena high school at EVMS still be considered a closed campus for freshman?


Will freshman have an opportunity to take Driver’s Education?

We are making every effort to offer Driver’s Education for our students. The program should be up and running no later than summer 2020 if not sooner.

What academic support services will be available for students?

The district will offer tutoring support before and after school in much the same way we always have at the other schools. We will also have Title 1, 504, and SpEd services for our high school students as well as study hall options during the school day.

Will students have a designated “homeroom” teacher to help provide social,academic and home communication/support?

Planning is still in the works on this topic. “Homeroom” may be too “middle school” for high school students. We are, however, exploring the possibility for a robust high school advisory program to cover everything from career topics to digital citizenship to suicide prevention and social skill help.

Will there be parent/teacher conferences?

Parent teacher conferences are not common in the high school setting, so we are still looking at options in this area. Keep in mind that due to the close relationships fostered between parents and teachers as part of our East Helena Schools culture that every teacher will know your name, and of course then know your parent’s name as well!

Will there be an academic counselor to assist in assessments and college/career readiness support?

Yes, a counselor and vice principal are in the plan to start with the kids at EVMS and transition with them to East Helena High School.

What will the daily schedule look like? ie… 0-7th periods? 1st-7th periods? Will the time of day for start and ending of school be the same as EVMS?

For the 2019-20 school year, the schedule will need to somewhat resemble the middle school schedule to facilitate the sharing of staff and facilities. The new high school schedule for 2020-2021 is a work in progress.

WIll East Helena Kids participate in the Vigilante Parade?

The Vigilante Parade is sponsored and organized by the Helena Public Schools. In the past they have only allowed HSD #1 students to participate due to supervision and liability concerns. It is too early to say whether or not EHPS students would be able to participate but both school boards are planning to work together on transition issues.

If my child chooses to attend Helena High, and then wants to transfer back to East Helena later in high school, will that be allowed?

District resident students will always be able to return to their home school. Non-resident students would have to re-apply for their non-resident status to be allowed to return back to East Helena’s high school.

What will the tuition be of out of district students at the new high school?

When will the first class graduate?

Can students who started Helena High in Fall 2018 transfer to the new high school when it opens?

Why is East Helena building a local high school?

Currently, East Helena youth travel to Helena to attend grades 9 to 12. The idea of building a local high school has been discussed for more than 20 years.

In November 2017, a majority of East Helenans voted to study the costs and benefits of building a local high school.

School officials and members of the community involved in this research concluded our youth and our community would benefit in numerous ways by building a local high school.

On May 8, 2018, East Helena voters approved a bond issue to fund construction of the new school.

Benefits of a local high school include smaller class sizes to ensure academic excellence and student well-being; more opportunities to participate in sports, student government and programs that meet or hold events outside of regular school hours, and continuity in education grades K-12.

Where will it be? When will it open?

The northern parcel of Dartman Field on Valley Drive has been selected for the new High School. The vote for the School District to purchase the property will be July 23, with ballots being mailed July 6th. If voters choose to approve this ballot issue, there will no cost associated. The cost of land will be covered by the $29.5M bond approved on May 8.

Site work may start as early as Fall 2018. The school will open to East Helena high school students on Aug. 26, 2020.

How will students benefit?

Benefits to students include:

  • Smaller class sizes with more personalized learning.
  • Stronger ties between students and their teachers.
  • Increased attention to meet the educational, emotional and social needs of every student.
  • More opportunities to participate in school groups and play team sports. This will be a Class A school with sports facilities that allow us to compete at that level statewide.
  • Easier to take part in after-school programs and meet with teachers.
  • No more drives to Helena for school, games, concerts and other activities. Safer and more convenient. No more travel over the dangerous viaduct.

Our students will attend a smaller school, closer to home, with smaller class sizes. Students will have greater opportunity to participate in student groups and school sports, such as softball and football. It will be easier for kids to get to school and attend after-school and evening activities.

Research shows that students in small schools do better academically, feel less alienated, more nurtured and more connected to caring adults.

How will the community benefit?

East Helena will benefit from the construction, jobs created and business generated by having a high school in the community.

Instead of traveling to Helena, students will remain in town for the school days and after-school and evening activities. Parents and students won’t need to drive back and forth to Helena, increasing safety and convenience.

East Helena will be able to host sports activities and cultural events that benefit the community.

Many facilities within the new school will be available to use by community members, for free and for rent.

A local school will provide a focal point to the community and add to East Helena’s identity as a community independent from Helena.

Will kids miss out on opportunities by going to a smaller high school?

No. East Helena’s high school will be a Class A high school with its own athletic team and facilities to train and host sporting events, including track and field, soccer, softball, basketball and football.

A smaller student body provides more opportunities for kids to try out for sports teams, participate in student government and other activities.

The new school will have programs, facilities and technology that benefits ALL students, including: CTE Programs (Career Technical Education) including woodshop/construction, welding, STEM, robotics, drafting, culinary arts, art, music (band & choir), and design production, plus other academic and career elective course offerings.

Having a local high school will make it easier for students to participate in after-school programs, sporting activities, concerts, plays and more.

What facilities will it include?

The high school will include technology and facilities for:

  • Team sports, track and field, soccer, softball and football.
  • Wood shop, construction, welding, STEM, robotics, drafting and culinary arts
  • Performing and visual arts, design and production, multiple bands, jazz band and choir.
  • High performing academic programs, science facilities, elective courses.

The school also will include a library, cyber café, commons areas, full and auxiliary gym, weight/fitness room, kitchen conference rooms available to community use and rental.

How many kids will attend?

Currently there are more than 1,250 elementary school students in the East Helena district and 500 high school students who must travel to Helena each day for grades 9-12.

With the new high school, those students will remain in East Helena for high school. The new school will have room for growth, accommodating up to 600 students.

What is the cost for East Helena taxpayers? Will our taxes go up?

The $29.5 million bond will fund construction of the new high school. The cost for the owner or a $200,000 home is projected at $34.21 per month. However, East Helena taxpayers will no longer pay into operations of Helena’s schools once the local high school opens. This, when coupled with the recent proposed increases to the high school levies in Helena will decrease the monthly payment by $4.86 per month, for a total of $29.35 per month.

Local taxes will go to support our own high school, not those in Helena.

East Helena school officials believe the operation of the building using the general fund and other levies will actually result in a tax reduction over time for East Helena taxpayers.

How do East Helena taxpayers currently fund the Helena High School District?

Right now, East Helena taxpayers fund the operations and maintenance of Helena High School and Capital High School. This is because East Helena is part of the Helena High School District.

East Helena has a separate elementary school district, which funds our local K-8 schools and programs.

Once the new high school opens, we will no longer pay to maintain and operate Helena’s two high schools. All our tax dollars will stay in East Helena, to maintain and operate our local schools, grades K-12.

East Helena school officials believe the operation of the building using the general fund and other levies will actually result in a tax reduction over time for East Helena taxpayers.