January 2, 2018
Hello Montana parents, students, educators, and community members,
Happy New Year! I look forward to even greater opportunities for Montana students in 2018 and it is my honor to continue to serve you as Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction.
This past year brought new and expanded partnerships at the Office of Public Instruction, as well as a fresh set of goals and vision for putting Montana students first. I am accomplishing these goals through four key initiatives: Montana Hope, Montana Teach, Montana Learn, and Montana Ready. Learn more by checking out my 2017 year-end review.
The OPI received formal feedback from the Department of Education on Montana’s ESSA plan on December 13th. The OPI submitted a revised plan to the DOE on December 21, 2017. The plan was required to be resubmitted by December 28, 2017 or the OPI would have had to file for an extension which would negate the Department of Education’s responsibility to approve the plan within 120 days.
The letter from the DOE asked for details, clarifications, and consistency in terminology. OPI staff worked together to provide the requested clarifications and add further detail to strengthen the Montana plan. The plan will continue to evolve and the OPI will include our partners in education in this ongoing effort.
Montana Land Board:
In 2017 we had robust Land Board meetings with three out of the five commissioners being recently elected in 2016. The Land Board Commissioners serve as the stewards of Montana’s Trust Lands to maximize their benefit to our local schools. In 2017, Montana Trust Lands generated $43 million for Montana schools. You can learn more about the Land Board here.
In spite of the state budgetary challenges that our schools were certainly not immune to, we achieved success in the Digital Academy. We advocated for and preserved the Digital Academy budget. Now students in our rural communities will continue to have access to the same educational opportunities as students in our larger cities.