Montana Office of Public Instruction's Executive Staff
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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.
Join us Sept. 23-24 in Helena for an Arts Education Leadership Summit “Imagining the Possibilities.” The event is being co-hosted by the Office of Public Instruction and Montana Arts Council. We will shine a spotlight on the new Montana arts standards while celebrating integrated learning in the arts as a critical component of a well-rounded education.
The two-day summit includes an opening reception at the Myrna Loy Center with Montana artists Phillip Aaberg and Jack Gladstone.
Come to share your ideas, and learn about some of the best teaching and learning happening in Montana’s schools.
All events are free! Click here to register and view the full schedule.