ESSA Update

October 11, 2019

OPI Seeking Public Input on Amendments to Montana’s State Plan under ESSA


Dear Partners in Education,

The OPI is seeking input on two (2) proposed amendments to the Montana State Plan under ESSA.

Proposed red-lined amendments to the Montana State Plan are posted for public comment at the below links. The public is invited to provide comments via email at Comments will be accepted until November 18th.  Also, a feedback and input discussion with Education Advocates is scheduled for November 18th and a Q & A Conference Call for November 19th.  Please see the timeline below for details about the amendment process.

The two (2) proposed amendments to the Montana ESSA plan include:

1.  Updating the proficiency and exit criteria for English Learners as measured by the WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 Assessment and adding exit criteria for the WIDA Alternate Assessment. 

Purpose: To update English Learner proficiency and exit criteria to align with more rigorous academic English language proficiency expectations recommended by WIDA in 2016.

Process:  In August 2019, the OPI convened stakeholders to review the exit criteria for Montana ELs.  The OPI selected participants from a diverse group of Montana stakeholders, including (but not limited to): School administrators, school Title coordinators (e.g., Title III), English learner specialists, Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) teachers, cultural experts (i.e., persons with heritage language expertise with immigrant, indigenous and colony students), community, and parents. The purpose of the OPI WIDA Standard Validation Workshop was to establish meaningful proficiency criteria for Montana’s ELs and meet the federal statutory requirement for assessments used in the statewide accountability system and Peer Review as mandated by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE). 

2.  Amending the allocation process of Title IVA, Part A, funding to follow the revised federal funding formula for Title 1 districts. 

Purpose:  To update the allocation process for awarding subgrants under Title IV, Part A, funding now that  Montana is funded at a level that allows the distribution of a minimum of $10,000.

Below is a timeline outlining the amendment process with stakeholder involvement:


  • October 8- Introductory discussion with Education Advocates
  • October 17- ESSA Update and posting of the red lined amendments for public comment period on the OPI website-also an email was sent to the ESSA stakeholder list
  • October 30- Notification to district leaders via the OPI monthly summary
  • November 7- Presentation to the Board of Public Education
  • November 12- Consultation with the Governor’s office
  • November 19- Feedback and input discussion with Education Advocates and OPI Leadership; deadline for public comment
  • November 20- at 11:00 am Q & A Conference Call: (712)-770-3665 code: 514145
  • November 21- Discussion with the Board of Regents
  • November 22, Further discussion with the Governor’s office and State Board of Education
  • November 26, Final Draft prepared and submitted to the DOE


Please send feedback, input and questions to