FHS Honors the Old and Embraces the New

A long standing tradition of excellence sits at the heart of the Flathead High School community. Widely recognized throughout Montana as an innovative, progressive, and highly academic school, Flathead continues to support and foster educational creativity and 21st century learning.

Well established as the premier International Baccalaureate (IB) high school in Montana, our identity as an IB school continues to evolve.  Two thirds of our juniors and seniors take at least one IB class during their tenure at FHS.  Even more impressive are our pass rates; for single IB courses, our pass rate is 88%, and our Full Diploma candidates enjoy a 93% pass rate.  These rates are well above international pass rates and demonstrate the commitment, quality of instruction, support, and expertise provided by our IB staff.  

There are many ways for students to experience the International Baccalaureate Programme.  The highest achievement in IB is the Full Diploma, which consists of internationally benchmarked, rigorous course offerings in six academic areas, an extended essay, and Community, Action, and Service (CAS) components.  As an alternative to the full diploma, students may also choose to take individual IB courses in their areas of passion.  Multiple offerings per department ensure a broad menu of choices for all students who wish to challenge themselves with some of the best college prep coursework around. 

The depth of our fine arts offerings is exceptional. We offer a rich variety of fine arts - music, theatre, art, writing, and graphic design.  FHS publication The Flathead Arrow received 8 Class AA awards last year at the University of Montana School of Journalism competition, and our students have been featured in prestigious literary publications such as the Whitefish Review.   

We are also proud of our course offerings in Career and Technical Education. These courses develop real world skills — welding, automotive, construction, culinary arts, and woodworking—and aim to build skills to prepare for success in the workplace. Whether students enter the workforce immediately after high school or go on to a two-year technical degree, our courses build job ready skills.

The FHS House Construction program recently finished its second year and second home. A collaborative effort between Flathead High School and its community based partners, this program trains students in the construction trades, filling a need in the Flathead Valley for skilled construction workers to take the place of a near retirement age workforce. 

Computer coding classes provide educational offerings in computer science and engineering, and our Bio Med program connects traditional science education with career exploration in the fields of biological sciences and medicine.  These hands on STEM classes dovetail with our IB offerings in math and science, creating a unique college and career preparation program for students interested in the STEM fields. 

New to the repertoire of FHS program offerings last year was Community School.  Thirty students logged 2,229 hours in the community doing focused internships in career field areas of interest, earning high school credit along the way.  Community School expands the learning space of Flathead High School to encompass the entire Kalispell community, giving students new ways to “learn by doing.”  It also forges partnerships between school, career areas, and community. 

Our broad based, student-centered approach means that every student can find their niche and experience excellence at Flathead High School.  Athletics, activities, and clubs round out the Flathead school community.  Our wrestling team earned a state championship last year, and other teams enjoyed success at many levels, due in part to highly trained, positive coaches.  Our goal is to provide activities and clubs that meet a wide range of interests. Whether they serve as student leaders on Student Council, perform at the Poetry Slam or Speech & Debate competition, participate in Alpine Club ski trips, or any of the wide range of student clubs and activities, students learn to follow their passions and build life skills along the way. 

The Flathead High School culture is steeped in school spirit that runs deep in the community.  Positivity, support, and inclusiveness thread their way through every fiber of the school.  The FHS Homecoming parade can rival most other parades in Kalispell throughout the year, and students wear their black and orange with pride. 

Our theme for the 2017-2018 school year is “Old School and Proud!”  We are excited to honor the old and embrace the new as we move into the future.  Kalispell voters approved funds for the renovation of Flathead High School last fall, and we have been busy working with the architectural team of L’Heureux Page Werner on new spaces and configurations.

In the center of our campus footprint, our oldest classrooms and small gym, built in 1936, will see their final days with students and staff in January of 2018.  The demolition process begins in February, and students, teachers, and staff will be rerouted around it.  We are excited to hold onto a part of that 1936 history of the school, as the FHS auditorium will remain a fully functioning part of the school. 

The walls of FHS have served us faithfully for many years, and we will respectfully move forward with our new vision for a 21st century learning facility to educate Kalispell high school students into the future. 

Michele Paine, Principal