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What District Leaders and Principals Should Know

The Montana Common Core Standards are higher and clearer than our previous standards and provide a grade-by-grade pathway that gives all students an opportunity for a high quality education. The new standards set an expectation that students graduating from high school will be capable of successfully completing first-year college courses.

The MCCS determine the benchmarks for student achievement but do not determine curriculum or instruction. School leaders play an important role in fostering a school culture that results in successful MCCS implementation.

School leaders should:

  • Actively drive MCCS implementation and share the benefits with parents and the community,
  • Provide time for continual professional learning that encourages deep understanding of the instructional shifts as well as collaboration throughout the school and across content areas, and
  • Focus curriculum on the essentials that students must know to be successful in college, work and life.

Montana-Based Resources

OPI Learning Opportunities Portal
As part of our service to support high quality professional learning in Montana schools, the OPI provides a calendar and catalog of professional learning workshops and trainings offered across the state on the Montana Learning Opportunities portal.

OPI English Language Arts and Mathematics Webpages
Looking for content specific information? The OPI’s Content Standards and Instruction coordinators have content specific information on standards, instruction, curriculum, assessment, and other resources. For more information, contact Mathematics Instructional Coordinator, Jake Warner at and English Language Arts Instructional Coordinator, Christy Mock-Stutz at

MCCS English Language Arts and Disciplinary Literacy Educator Professional Learning Units
Developed by the OPI’s Instructional Innovations team, each unit consists of step-by-step processes, videos, and activities that can be completed by individual teachers, teacher teams or an entire staff facilitated by a professional learning provider or principal to help educators build a deep understanding of the structure and content of the MCCS English Language Arts standards. The courses are also available on OPI’s iTunesU site and are available for renewal credits and graduate credits. For more information, contact Debbie Hunsaker at

The Teacher Learning Hub
The Teacher Learning Hub brings the Montana Common Core Standards (MCCS) to the fingertips of schools across our state, through a variety of high quality online professional development opportunities. Funded by the AFT Innovation Fund, the Teacher Learning Hub professional development offerings will continue to develop and become available based on the needs of Montana educators.

Parent/Family Communication Tools
The OPI has developed several communications tools and gathered the best national resources to help you communicate with families and your community about the Montana Common Core State Standards.

Additional Resources

Achieve the Core
This website is full of free content designed to help educators understand and implement the Common Core State Standards. It includes practical tools designed to help students and teachers see their hard work deliver results.

Learning Forward
Learning Forward, in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers, is working with the Kentucky Department of Education and several school districts within Kentucky to transform professional learning and create a framework for a statewide, comprehensive professional learning system that supports deep implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and upcoming new assessments. The initiative is providing resources and tools to assist states, districts, and schools in providing effective professional learning.

Council of Great City Schools
The Council of the Great City Schools has designed the Common Core Works website to provide districts quick access to reliable information, tools, and resources for implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics.

Success at the Core
Success at the Core is a collaborative effort, drawing on the skills, knowledge and expertise of Vulcan Productions, Education Development Center, Woody Creek Productions, six outstanding middle schools in Washington State, and a team of advisors.

The National Association of Elementary School Principals provides a collection of Common Core implementation tools and resources.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals provides a collection of Common Core implementation tools and resources.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) is a multi-state organization working together to develop next-generation assessments that accurately measure student progress toward college and career readiness. Montana will use the Smarter Balanced assessment for state and federal accountability purposes beginning in the 2014-2015 school year.