GREAT FALLS — Great Falls Public Schools will be conducting driver education courses in June. Registration will open at 8:00 am on Tuesday, May 25, and run until 4:00 pm on Thursday, May 27. There are 30 in person seats at GFHS and 30 in person seats at CMR. Priority will be given to students according to birthdate (oldest to youngest). Click here for the registration site.
GFPS driving instructor Jerry Olson: “Each student gets a 30 minute drive. They get six hours of driving so we break that into twelve lessons. So my first two are just orientation. The third one is reference points and backing up, parking, and then we go into one ways and lane changes. Rural interstate downtown, 10th Ave and then we prepare them for the final drive.”
He added, “Every teacher's philosophy is a little bit different but I think we’re all on the same page when we’re trying to teach patience and responsibility. Making sure that they’re not taking chances. The risks are high and the distractions are enormous so we're trying to get them to focus and be safe drivers.”
DRIVER EDUCATION PROGRAM
SUMMER June 2021
GFH – 30 in-person – June 21, 2021
CMR – 30 in-person – July 6, 2021
The following is information regarding our upcoming driver education classes for students who have not already taken driver education and wish to do so, and qualify for the age requirements (see below*):
Students are eligible to enroll in a Driver’s Ed class at 14 ½ years of age. Acceptance into the program is based on available space, with priority given to the oldest birthdate. If a student is not placed into the session for which they applied, they will need to re-apply for subsequent sessions as application periods become available.
*Please note: a student must have been born on or before December 21, 2006 to be eligible for the June 21, 2021 class and born on or before January 6, 2007 for the July 6, 2021 class. The date of birth will be verified.
Classes will begin on Monday, June 21, 2021 at Great Falls High and on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 at CMR depending upon instructor schedule – (which will be communicated to parents after registration) and will generally conclude by the end of July for the first session and mid-August for the July session. This course cost $150.00 and payment will need to be made in the finance office no later than 3:00 pm June 7th. There will be no refund after the first day of class.
In addition to the in-person classroom portion of our Driver Education Program, each student will be scheduled for twelve (12), in-person, ninety-minute (90) driving sessions between 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM, Monday through Saturday.
*Parent/Guardian must attend a MANDATORY INFORMATIVE meeting for the driver education class session that will be scheduled by the class instructor either prior to class starting or within the first week of class. Two forms of student’s proof of ID will be needed: Certified copy or original Birth Certificate and Social Security Card.
This advance information about our Summer Driver Education Program is being provided for your information to help you plan your student’s activities. Activities such as all sports camps, music, or other activities should be taken into consideration before registering for Driver Education. (It is not usually possible to do both at the same time.)
Students are now under the Graduated Driver License Program (GDL) in Montana. They should obtain a Learner’s license in class by passing the written test, if they meet the requirements, or from the DMV. If they do not obtain a Learner’s license by the end of Driver Education class the 6 month GDL first phase of the license clock starts over. Not having a Learner’s license does not mean you automatically fail Driver Education.
The requirements for the Driver Education Course, as approved by the State of Montana, must include a minimum of sixty (60) hours of learning experience. Our course is structured as follows:
42 hours of classroom (approx. 6-7 consecutive weeks, 28 days)
6 hours of driving (scheduled by the teacher or student sign-up)
12 hours of observation (scheduled in conjunction with the driving)
60 hours of instruction
Our program provides only the minimum required hours. Therefore, it is vital that students meet all classroom, driving and observation requirements. Make up work must be completed for ALL classroom, driving and observation absences. Please notify the instructor at least 24 hours in advance if a scheduled driving time cannot be met. In keeping with the high school attendance rules, a maximum of 4.5 hours of classroom absences are allowed to be made up. A maximum of two (2) scheduled driving absences are allowed to be made up. The student will be dropped if more absences occur. Also be aware if, at the end of the training sessions, a student is missing driving times and/or observation times and the instructor is out of time slots, the program will not be extended and the student will fail the course. THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THESE ATTENDANCE AND COMPLETION REQUIREMENTS.
NOTE: A STUDENT MUST HAVE TWENTY-FIVE (25) DIFFERENT DAYS OF ACTUAL CONTACT WITH THEIR INSTRUCTOR TO MEET STATE REQUIREMENTS. ABSENCES DO NOT COUNT IN THE TWENTY-FIVE (25) TOTAL, EVEN WITH MAKE UP WORK COMPLETE.
As a reminder to all potential Driver Education students, please be aware that in order for a student to legally drive on a public roadway without a trained and certified instructor, the student must have a Traffic Education Learners License in their possession and must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or anyone over the age of 18 who has a valid driver’s license and is authorized by the parent or guardian occupying the passenger front seat at all times.
If the student receives any moving violations or vehicle related citations from any law enforcement agency while enrolled in the GFPS driver’s education program, he/she will be immediately suspended from drivers training. The student and parent may petition the school district for reinstatement in driver’s education during the next regularly scheduled session.
A written State of Montana Test for the Learner’s license will be given by the classroom instructor soon after the first week of class. If a student does not pass the test (82% or better), the test can be retaken at the Department of Motor Vehicles when records of class participation is submitted as indicated by the instructor. The State Driver’s License fee includes the opportunity to retake the test. Our Driver Education Program also includes the State of Montana Behind the Wheel Driving Test during the final weeks of our program (usually if the written test was passed). NOTE: On the State portion of the driving test the student may make up to eight ( simple mistakes and pass. If the student does not pass this driving test, the test must be retaken at the Department of Motor Vehicles, but not before all of the requirements for the first phase of the GDL are complete (6 months and 50 hours of supervised practice).
Please note: Ten percent (10%) of the students who are waived on their road test by instructors may be chosen randomly to retest by the State of Montana.
A list of students who have satisfactorily completed the Driver Education Class will be submitted to the Driver Examination Office approximately ONE (1) WEEK after ALL STUDENTS have completed the class. Students should have a Tell permit by then or the 6 month time clock for the first phase of the GDL will have to start over when they obtain the permit.
No one may proceed with the licensing procedure until 6 months and 50 hours are completed for the GDL by the student and parent. THEREFORE, NO ONE SHOULD GO TO THE LICENSING STATION BEFORE 6 MONTHS PAST THE STARTING DATE OF YOUR DRIVER EDUCATION CLASS AT THE EARLIEST UNLESS THEY DO NOT HAVE A LEARNERS LICENSE (THESE ARE GOOD FOR (1) ONE YEAR) OR HAVE NOT COMPLETED THE APPLICATION IN CLASS!