Office of the Superintendent

State Budget:
Superintendent Arntzen presented the OPI’s proposed budget reductions to the Legislative Finance Committee on October 4th. The Governor requested a 9.57% reduction to the Education budget. There are two Programs in the Education Budget: Program 6, which is state-level activities at the OPI and Program 9, which is distribution to schools. Superintendent Arntzen has found that of the entire Program 9 budget, only the $500,000 Gifted and Talented budget is eligible for the 9.57% reduction. The rest of school funding is tied to statute. Therefore, Superintendent Arntzen reluctantly offered the $50,000 reduction to Program 9 from Gifted and Talented. The Governor has not yet called for these reductions to be enacted. We will keep you updated as we hear more on the state budget.



With Montana’s ESSA plan submitted, we are waiting to hear from the U.S. Department of Education on whether they would like to see changes or need any clarification. We expect to have a phone conversation and receive written feedback from them in November. We will continue to update you throughout this process and you can find up-to-date information on our website:


Events in Montana Education:

Construction Week- Superintendent Arntzen joined with the Montana Contractors’ Association and East Helena Schools on October 5th to promote careers in Montana’s construction industry.

Educator Conferences- Superintendent Arntzen spoke to teachers in Poplar, Sidney, and Glendive while other OPI staff presented at educator conferences in Missoula, Billings, and Fairmont on October 19th and 20th.

Red Ribbon Week- Superintendent Arntzen and Attorney General Fox encouraged students to stay drug-free and make healthy choices during Red Ribbon Week on October 23rd. Superintendent Arntzen also spoke with students in Shelby and Conrad about the importance of staying drug-free.

LEAD Montana Conference- Superintendent Arntzen, along with the Governor’s office, spoke with JMG students attending a leadership conference in Helena.

The Land Board and Library Commission- Superintendent Arntzen carried out her other roles as Vice-Chair of the Montana Board of Land Commissioners and as a member of the Montana State Library Commission during their meetings in October.

For more information, contact or 406-444-3559


Celebrating Innovative Learning

Are you considering establishing an Alternative School?  Personalized Learning?  School within a school?  Public Charter?  How to implement the provisions of Senate Bill 103?  Or would you like to just hear from others about how to do something other than the traditional setting?  Then plan on attending the “Celebrating Innovative Learning” Conference at the Radisson Colonial in Helena on November 30-December 1.  This used to be the Alternative Education conference, but has been greatly expanded to embrace a wide variety of topics surrounding innovative instruction.

Click here for the conference brochure, here for the pre-registration form (closes on November 22), and here for the block of rooms set aside at the Radisson

If you have any questions, please contact Tim Tharp, Deputy State Superintendent at 406-444-7325.



Educational Opportunity and Equity Division

2018 OPI Title I Conference Presenters Needed

The Title I Unit needs presenters for the 2018 Title I Conference which will be held in Helena, MT, March 27-28, 2018.  Sessions are needed for all grade levels in all subject areas.  Accepted presenters receive two free nights at the conference hotel and a paid registration to the conference which includes two breakfasts and two lunches.

For more information, contact Shawna Pieske at  or 406-444-5660


2017-18 E-grant Consolidated Applications

2017-18 E-grant Consolidated Applications were originally due October 31, 2017.  Since the OPI did not received Title IV and V allocations from the United States Department of Education until late September, the OPI has extended the deadline for submissions until November 10, 2017.  After this time, the E-grants system will lock out all applications that have not been submitted.  To get these late applications submitted, the district board chairperson will need to email Tim Tharp, Deputy Superintendent, and request that it be reopened.

For more information, contact Shawna Pieske at  or 406-444-5660


2018 OPI Title I Conference

The 2018 OPI Title I Conference will be held March 27-28, 2018, at the Radisson Colonial Hotel in Helena, MT.  This year’s keynote speaker is Katie Garner, an internationally known educator, author, and literacy consultant.  The cost to attend the conference is $150.  This includes two light breakfasts and two full lunches.  Registration will open December 1, 2017.

For more information, contact Shawna Pieske at  or 406-444-5660


Potential Funding for Refugees

There is no specific method in AIM for you to collect information on the number of students who are refugees from the various federal disaster zones (Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico, and California).  However, schools who have received students relocating due to these events should develop some way in-house to be able to identify these students.  When disaster relief money is approved by Congress, there MAY be money designated for McKinney-Vento.  Some of that funding MAY go to the districts that receive these students. 

This certainly isn’t a guarantee, but we have information from the Department of Education that it might happen.

If you have students who meet the definition of ‘homeless’, then by all means they should be identified as such and indicated as so in AIM.  But we know that there are other students who have relocated due to these natural disasters who do not necessarily meet the definition.

If you have any questions, please contact Heather Denny, Title I & Homeless Education Specialist at 406-444-2036.

Accreditation & Education Preparation Division

Licensed Educators and Professional Staff

Reminder: December 1, 2017, is the date that all licensed educators and professional staff must have registered his or her license with the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI). If not registered by this date, educators are considered not licensed for accreditation purposes.

For more information, contact Patty Muir, 406-444-4317.

Application Due Date for Variances to Standards--March 5, 2018

The Board of Public Education rule, “Variances to Standards” (ARM 10.55.604), allows accredited schools to implement a variance to standards designed to meet or exceed results under established standards. Districts interested in seeking a variance to a standard, which will be implemented in September 2018, must submit an application by March 5, 2018. Click here for the application materials: Variance to Standards Application Materials.

The variance to standards rule requires local boards of trustees to produce evidence of local public participation and evidence that the trustees officially approved the variance to standards application before submission to the Variances to Standards Review Board.

For more information, contact Patty Muir, 406-444-4317 or Linda Vrooman Peterson, 406-444-5726.


November 15, 2017, is the date that post-secondary institutions must register internships with the OPI. If the internship is not registered, the new endorsement area will not be reflected on the educator’s license, and this could result in an accreditation deviation.

For more information, contact Patty Muir, 406-444-4317.

2018 Advanced Placement® Summer Institute

The OPI and its partner organizations, Southwest Montana School Services and Western Montana Professional Learning Collaborative, have begun planning the 2018 AP® Summer Institute to be held June 25 to 28 in Missoula. These four-day workshops led by College Board-endorsed consultants provide some of the best professional development available for AP® teachers and facilitators. The workshops are consistently rated highly by Montana participants. Organizers are currently surveying Montana schools’ needs to determine subject areas to be offered. High schools interested in starting a new AP® course can follow a set of well-outlined steps provided on the College Board’s website: College Board scholarship applications for teachers participating in an AP® Summer Institute are not yet available, but deadlines will be similar to 2017 outlined at:

For more information, contact Julia Cruse, 406-444-0769. 

Health Enhancement and Safety Division

The OPI’s Suicide Prevention Webpage

LOOK at all the webpage has to offer…like training guidance, trainings that fit schools, resources for schools, sample policies and procedures, and what’s next.  Additionally, did you know that the OPI can offer your district/school two of the listed evidenced based trainings at no charge?  We are proud to say we can.  The OPI is now offering At-Risk Simulations from Kognito on the Teacher Learning Hub through July 2018.  The OPI is also offering Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings to schools that request it through September of 2019.

For more information, contact 406-444-0773


School Nutrition Programs

2017-18 Verification Summary Report

October 1 – November 15

October 31

  • Record the number of Free/Reduced students as of October 31.  Check DCA for updates (record student counts in sections 1- 4 of the verification form).

November 15

  • Deadline to finalize Verification activities. 

November 1-20

  • Submit the Verification Report in the MAPS system available November 1- 20. 

Work toward a 100% response rate!

For more information please review the USDA’s Eligibility Manual.  Contact Alie Wolf at or 406-444-4413 with questions.

Apply for a $5,000 USDA School Nutrition Equipment Assistance Grant

The Office of Public Instruction will fund eleven $5,000 equipment grants to school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) across Montana. The equipment grants serve to assist school districts in providing healthier meals that meet updated meal patterns, with an emphasis on increasing fruits and vegetables in school meals, improving food safety, and expanding access.  Funding for these competitive grants is provided by the Fiscal Year 2017 Agriculture Appropriations Act.

  • Complete the 2017-18 School Nutrition Equipment Assistance Grant application to apply.
  • Applications are due by November 10, 2017.
  • Application must be mailed; no faxes will be accepted.

Contact Camille McGoven at or 406-444-4415 with questions.


Regional School Wellness Policy Workshops

Three regional workshops (Missoula, Havre, and Billings) are being hosted by Montana Team Nutrition this fall to review the benefits of a school wellness policy and showcase best practices and available tools for implementation, assessment, and compliance. Each workshop will include inspiring presentations, resources, networking, roundtable discussion, and goal setting to help all attendees get involved.  We recommend bringing a team (2-3) people from your school community, like an administrator, food service, educator, health or community member. They will be held in Missoula on November 7; in Havre on November 30; and in Billings on December 7, 2017. Each workshop is from 1 to 4 pm. This workshop will be repeated in Butte, Kalispell and Miles City in the fall 2018.   If these dates don’t work for you or you would like to host a school wellness workshop for your area, we are happy to provide the training and/or technical assistance.  Register at: 

For more information, contact Katie Bark, Montana Team Nutrition, at or 406-994-5641.


New Webpage for Child Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

While most Montanans wouldn’t believe that child sex trafficking is an issue in our state, the data tells us otherwise.  It is happening right in front of us, and often times these victims are enrolled in our public schools.

With the Montana Legislature’s 2017 passage of SB 197 and HB 298, the Montana Office of Public Instruction has created a new webpage with resources, contacts, and curriculum materials to support schools in their efforts to prevent and intervene with child sex trafficking and child sexual abuse.   This website was designed with the help of many experts in this field including law enforcement, victim advocates, task forces, former school counselors, and those professionals working in our state to prevent and intervene in sex trafficking and sexual abuse crimes.  Please visit to learn more about these new laws and resources within our state that your school can use to help prevent and intervene in these crimes. 

For more information, contact Tracy Moseman 406-444-3000


TB Testing

The State Health Department no longer requires school personnel to undergo a TB test.  This decision is through the direction of the CDC’s review of the prevalence of TB in Montana.  We fall below the prevalence rate to require the test.

If you have any questions please feel free to call Karin Billings, Administrator of the Health Enhancement and Safety Division, OPI at 406-444-0829 or the Montana Department of Health, Public Health and Safety Division, Jim Murphy, 406-444-4067.

Measurement & Accountability

AIM Announcements November 2017

FALL CTE COLLECTION - due December 31, 2017

Follow the OPI Fall CTE Collection Guide to enter the CTE (Career and Technical Education) Post Grad Status and Date Contacted for each graduate identified as a CTE Concentrator the previous year; Verify data using State Published Ad Hoc Reports; and Resync enrollment data after entering data/and or uploading files.


Follow the OPI Assessment Registration Collection Guide to populate "Sort By" field, if applicable; Modify enrollments to reflect semester grade level changes; and Resync enrollment data after entering data and/or uploading files.

AIM Links:

For more information, contact Candi Standall at or 406-444-3495.

Career Technical and Adult Education

Fall 2017 CTE Data Collection BEGINS

The Fall 2017 CTE Data Collection begins on October 1 and ends December 31, 2017.  The Fall CTE Data Collection is a follow up to last year's Spring CTE Data Collection.  Students identified as CTE Concentrators last year (2016-2017) and graduated in the spring of 2017 should be contacted between October 1 and December 31 and asked their current post-graduation status. After contact, the appropriate post-graduation status code must be entered into the AIM/Infinite Campus data system for each CTE Concentrator.  All high schools that received funding from the Carl D. Perkins federal grant program in 2016-2017 are required to complete this fall follow up collection to maintain their eligibility to receive Perkins funding.

Instructions for completing the Fall CTE Data Collection--called the 'Quick Reference Guide' for the Fall CTE Data Collection--are located in two places on the OPI website:  on the AIM web page under the AIM User Guides button and also on the CTE web page under the 'Data Collections' button.  

PLEASE NOTE:  Be sure to verify the list of CTE Concentrators from what your district submitted last spring.  Any additions, corrections, or changes to the list of CTE Concentrators must be made no later than November 15, 2017, to be accurately reflected in federal reporting and used to compute Perkins Performance Indicators for your school.  

Technical AIM questions regarding the Fall CTE Data Collection should be directed to the AIM Helpdesk at 1.877.424.6881 (toll-free) or email  Questions regarding the Carl D. Perkins federal grant program data requirements should be directed to Christy Hendricks, CTE/Perkins Data Control Specialist at 406.444.9019 or email    

For more information, contact 406-444-9019


FY2018 State CTE/VoEd Final Allocations POSTED

The FY2018 State Career and Technical Education allocation payments (i.e. State VoEd Allocations) have been finalized and will be automatically deposited with your county treasurer by November 10, 2017.

The Payment Report is posted on the CTE website under the Funding tab of the OPI web site. The following link will take you directly to the FY2018 State VoEd Payment Report:

FY2018 Final State VoEd Payment Detail Report
A few corrections and additions have been made since the Preliminary allocations were posted on October 16, 2017. You will likely see a change in your final allocation due to these corrections.

State CTE (VoEd) allocations are based on a formula that factors:
1. High School student enrollment averages in career and technical education classes;

2. Extended contracts for properly endorsed career and technical education instructors;

3. Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) high school chapters and student membership;

4. District career and technical education expenditures.

The enrollment and extended contract information comes from the ‘Career and Technical Education Student Participation Reports’ your district submits to our office each February. CTSO information comes from National Membership lists provided to the CTE Division each spring. The district expenditures are determined from financial reports sent to the Office of Public Instruction.

Only CTE programs that meet the general guidelines in the Montana Standards and Guidelines for Career and Vocational/Technical Education are included in the CTE enrollment factor. Enrollment calculations are based on Montana Accreditation Standards.

State CTE funds are intended to supplement existing district budgets in the area of career and technical education. Examples of approved use of state CTE funds include: CTE teacher salaries for extended contracts, stipends to CTE teachers for supervision of CTSO’s, instructional supplies and/or instructional equipment used in an approved program, instruction-related travel expenses for an approved CTE program or CTSO, repair, maintenance and leasing of instructional equipment for an approved CTE program.

For more information, contact 406-444-9019

Assessment Division

Technical Advisory Committee Meeting

The State Assessment Director attended the Montana TAC meeting in October. In addition to a discussion surrounding each of the state’s five statewide assessments, topics covered included an overview of the SCILLSS project, building a plan for future science assessments in line with the new Montana science standards, test security and Peer Review submissions.

Contact: Assessment Division,, 844-867-2569

Professional Learning

OPI presented a two-day institute at the MEA-MFT Conference

Day one covered school district responsibilities for identifying English learners and uses of assessment data for school systems.

Day two made connections between assessment data and instruction.  Learners practiced differentiating and scaffolding instruction for ELs. This workshop is in the process for being developed as a virtually guided course for the Teacher Learning Hub.

Assessment and Data PLC

This month’s webinar covered topics around implementing the Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments and best practices in using interim assessment data

Next month’s meeting will provide an overview of the Smarter Balanced Digital Library formative assessment resources.  

Monthly Webinars

The Assessment Division presents two webinar series, a monthly webinar and an accessibility webinar series. The monthly webinars are intended to assist system test coordinators with timely tasks for the coming month.  The accessibility series presentation this month was on the ACT accommodations.  These webinars are recorded and links are posted to the OPI website.

Contact Yvonne Field, include contact information

For more information, contact,  844-867-2569

School Finance Division

Reporting American Indian Students

Students identified as American Indian in the AIM system at the time the data is imported into the MAEFAIRS fall count will generate funding for the Student Achievement Gap (SAG) payment in the ensuing year.

School district business managers/clerks should verify that the Students Imported From AIM In SAG Report located in the MAEFAIRS application accurately reports the number of American Indian students enrolled in the district. If the report is not correct, please contact Nica Merala at 406-444-4401 or to make the necessary changes.

Pursuant to ARM 10.21.205, changes to this designation will not be accepted after December 31, 2017.

For more information, contact Nica Merala, 406-444-4401


Changes to the FY 2017 Trustees Financial Summary

If you find a material coding error on your FY 2017 Trustees Financial Summary (TFS), you may submit a revision to Mari Haefka in the School Finance Division.  

As provided in 10.10.504(6), Administrative Rules of Montana, material revision to the FY 2017 Trustees Financial Summary submitted by December 10 shall be accepted, limited to the following types of adjustments:

  • Coding revisions between revenue and expenditure line items provided no change occurs in the fund balance of the budgeted funds.
  • Revisions in the balance sheet accounts provided no change occurs in the fund balance of the budgeted funds.

Revisions should be submitted to Mari Haefka by following these procedures:

  1. Photocopy the original page of the Trustees Financial summary
  2. Strike out amounts to be revised, including subtotals and totals
  3. Hand write in the revised amount above or beside it, including subtotals and totals
  4. Sign and Date pages to be revised
  5. Scan and send as
    • Email to Mari Haefka, (406) 444-1960 (preferred method)
    • Fax to Mari Haefka @ 406-444-0509


When sending balance sheet account revisions, please also send any expenditure and revenue line item changes that correlate with such changes. The fund balance on the balance sheet should equal the ending fund balance shown on the statement of revenues, expenditures and changes in fund balance report after the revisions are made.

Changes that affect fund balance in a budgeted fund or immaterial line item coding changes must be reported as prior period adjustments in the trustees' financial summary for the current year, FY 2018. The district may need to adopt a budget amendment in the current year to record the prior period adjustment within the budget of a fund. 

Revisions must be received by the OPI by December 10, 2017.

For more information, contact Mari Haefka, 406-444-1960


Salary and Compensation Expenditure Reporting

MAEFAIRS is currently available for the salary and compensation expenditure reporting. The Salary and Compensation Expenditure Report requires that all employees who received a paycheck during 2016-17 fiscal year be entered into the district’s 2016-2017 TOE data. For many districts, the 2016-17 TOE did not include employees hired after the TEAMS application was closed. The missing employees can be entered into the compensation expenditure TOE screen in TEAMS. The Compensation Expenditure Report is due January 5, 2018.

For TEAMS/TOE information, contact Danielle Murphy, (406) 444-1625

For MAEFAIRS information, contact Mari Haefka, (406) 444-1960


State Paid Tuition

Just a reminder that all state paid tuition (FP-14) and day treatment reimbursement (FP-15) claims for the 2016-17 school year must be received by December 31, 2017. 

For more information, contact Nicole Thuotte at 406-444-4524


District Classification

County Superintendents should verify/enter district classification data for all districts in their county in the County application.  District classification data is used to determine which districts are required to report campaign finance activities to the Commissioner of Political Practices.  Instructions for completing the district classification report are found here:

Districts should verify their board composition with their county superintendent to assist with this collection.  A report will be published to the OPI Elections Webpage prior to the opening of trustee candidate filing for the May 2018 elections. 

For more information, contact Nicole Thuotte at 406-444-4524

Educator Licensure

School District Access to the NASDTEC Clearinghouse

A reminder that school districts, through membership with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), may receive access and search the Clearinghouse national database for information on professional educator certificates/licenses.  This may be a useful tool prior to offering employment.  Information contained in this database reflects action taken on an educator’s certificate/license, such as:  denied, suspended, revoked, annulled or invalidated.

View this link for more information,; or contact  406-444-2580

Information Technology Services

Important Information about the OPI Website

If your district or county computer network is provided by the State Information Technology Services Division (SITSD) with the Department of Administration, access to parts of the OPI website may be blocked.  The Google Drive area of the OPI website is the most affected.  If your computer network is not provided by SITSD, you can ignore the rest of this message.

In order to have access to Google Drive unblocked, your district or county will need to file an exception request with SITSD.  Please note, someone at your district or county (NOT someone at OPI) will need to file and authorize the exception request.  This would typically be whoever at your district or county has authority to request and purchase services from SITSD.

To get started on requesting the exception, please go to SITSD’s service desk webpage -

You may also contact the SITSD Service Desk directly via phone at 406-444-2000.

For more information or assistance with facilitating an exception, please contact Michael Sweeney ( 406-444-4411 or Tara Steinke ( 406-444-4607.

Summary Archive

September 2017