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Welcome Back to School!

Friday, August 26, 2016

As a kid, the end of summer usually meant the last of playing outside all day, fishing trips and endless bike rides around Browning with friends. The upside would be that I’d get new shoes and clothes and the anticipation of meeting my new teacher and classmates. Now as the leader of Montana’s public schools, I’m just as excited for students to walk into their classrooms and take on the school year because innovative programs are at the ready.

When I launched Graduation Matters Montana to ensure more students graduate from high school, it was never just about a number. The initiative, now in 58 communities, has always been about making sure students who graduate are ready for college, the military, and careers. It’s also been about making sure all students create a path forward while they’re still in high school.

I see incredible examples of this all across our state thanks to collaboration among Graduation Matters Montana communities, organizations and more than 450 local businesses.

Students in Hamilton can earn their CNAs while still in high school because of a partnership among Hamilton High, Bitterroot College and the Greater Valley Foundation. In Polson, juniors and seniors can get internships with St. Joseph’s Medical Center, rotating through clinical and administrative departments to give students a real-world taste of working at a hospital. In Great Falls, students at Paris Gibson can spend half of their day at Montana State University Great Falls working toward a certification in welding or construction. Billings and Bozeman have career centers for students. Missoula has its Health Science Academy. Libby and Troy are launching a trades-focused public charter program. In each corner of our state, innovative programs are in place to get students on the path toward meaningful careers that will provide them a bright future, and benefit Montana’s economy.

I’m proud to say that more students are graduating from high school than ever before, creating a multimillion dollar boost to Montana’s economy each year. Awesome things happen when all of us work together toward a common goal. To me, there is no greater challenge and no cause more worthy than setting up the next generation for success.

When our students proudly walk across that stage on graduation day, each will have a diploma in one hand and a plan for the future in the other.


Denise Juneau

Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction 

Spotlight On:

Montana’s Board Of Public Education Adopts New Standards In Health, Arts

Following Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau’s recommendation, the Montana Board of Public Education has adopted new content standards for health enhancement and arts.

Content standards for the two subject areas have not been updated since 1999. Standards define what all students are expected to know and be able to do by grade level or band, but standards do not define specific curriculum or materials used in the classroom.

“Since 2011, we’ve continued to raise the bar for what our students are expected to learn,” Superintendent Juneau said. “I’m pleased the Board has adopted these new, more-rigorous standards in health enhancement and physical education, and arts so that our students are better prepared for college and their careers.”

In 2011, the Board adopted Montana’s more-rigorous math and English standards.

Click here to watch a brief video explaining the changes to the health enhancement and physical education standards. Click here to watch a brief video explaining the changes to the arts standards.

The new standards in health enhancement and arts will be implemented in classrooms across Montana beginning in 2017. By this fall, educators will have access to free online learning tools and conference materials to begin preparing for the transition to the new standards.