Superintendent's Update


August 31, 2017

Welcome back to school! As you begin the 2017-2018 school year, the Office of Public Instruction is here to help you serve Montana’s students. Please feel free to reach out anytime if my office can be of assistance. Below are new updates on Montana’s state plan for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act and other priorities that my office has been focused on:

  • ESSA:

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the draft ESSA state plan and offered input throughout the summer. The OPI met with the Governor on August 16th to discuss our ESSA plan and deliver him a draft for his review. The plan will be finalized and ready for signatures the first week of September. It will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for peer review between September 14th and September 18th. The Department has told the OPI that it generally takes 4-6 weeks to receive feedback but could take longer as many states will be submitting at once. Currently, 17 states have submitted.  After peer review, the OPI will consult with education partners. The OPI then has 15 days to negotiate final edits to the plan with the Department.

  • New Website:

I am excited to announce that the OPI’s new website is live as of August 30th! If you have any feedback or questions as you use the new website, please reach out to Dylan Klapmeier. You should have received an email from the OPI with additional information about the website. It is important to note that previously saved links to the OPI’s website will no longer be active and some information previously stored on OPI’s website is now archived. If you are having trouble finding resources, please reach out and we will assist you in getting them.

  • Meetings/Events:
    • On August 2nd the OPI partnered with Shodair and MHA to host a statewide Heads Up Camp in Helena to prepare students to be mental health leaders in their schools. 
    • On August 4th the Montana Advisory Council on Indian Education held its quarterly meeting at Stone Child College in Box Elder.
    • On August 8th the Montana Afterschool Alliance hosted a STEM summit at MSU.
    • On August 11th representatives from the USDA’s Regional Office in Denver visited with the OPI to discuss school nutrition. The OPI promoted local control in school foods and Montana’s world-class agriculture industries.
    • On August 15th the OPI met with Navy leaders who were hosting a Navy Week in Montana. We discussed the importance of STEM education.
    • On August 16th the Montana State Library Commission met. The OPI also met with the Governor to discuss Montana’s ESSA plan and delivered a copy of the plan for his review.
    • On August 21st the Land Board held its monthly meeting. The OPI also spoke with Assistant Secretary of Education, Jason Botel regarding Montana’s ESSA plan.
    • On August 22nd the Interim Education Committee met. The OPI had presentations on ESSA, special education, and our data systems.
    • On August 23rd the OPI participated in a conference call with Ravalli County Commissioners during a public meeting to discuss federal grants. The OPI also met with representatives from Senator Tester’s office.
    • On August 25th the OPI attended “Digger Days” in Belgrade. The event teaches children the importance of STEM and CTE education, trade skills, job training, and workforce development.

I hope you had a wonderful summer! Thank you for putting Montana students first this coming school year.

Elsie Arntzen

State Superintendent

For more information, contact Dylan Klapmeier, 406-444-3559



OPI is Seeking Applicants

The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) is in need of panelists to participate in the creation of performance levels for the ACT (Montana's statewide high school assessment). Establishing categorical proficiency among Montana’s students is imperative to meet the federal statutory requirements for assessments used in the statewide accountability system and peer review as mandated by the U.S. Department of Education.

The meeting will convene for two days in Helena on September 21st and 22nd, and all participants will receive a stipend and travel reimbursement. We realize this event occurs early in the school year, but this critical work cannot commence without vested Montana stakeholders. Panelists will review historical ACT performance data and consider possible cut scores for establishing three or more performance levels. The OPI will convene a diverse representation of Montana stakeholders for this panel, including but not limited to, school administrators, teachers, higher education officials, business leaders, parents and any interested community members from across the state. This work will benefit all Montana schools. Apply now with the panelist recruitment survey.

For more information, contact Jessica Eilertson, 406-444-3656


Standards and Professional Learning

Content Standards Updates

The research and review phase for Cycle I (see table below) has already started with the development of Teacher Learning Hub courses, planning for online focus groups, and examination of the existing standards with other national, regional, and state standards.  The research and review phase is expected to continue through April 2019.  This is a less formal part of the standards revision process that includes a variety of activities.  We will share opportunities to participate in the research and review phase through the 3 Big Ideas and the OPI Professional Learning Opportunities Portal.  Please contact Colet Bartow with any questions about the content standards revision process. Watch this four-minute video for an overview of the process.

Cycle I:  August 2017 - July 2021

Content Standards:  Social Studies, Career and Technical Education, Digital Literacy/Computer Science/Technology/Library Media

Research and Review:  August 2017 - April 2019

Revision:  May - October 2019

Negotiated Rulemaking: November 2019 - March 2020

Adoption: September 2020

Begin Implementation:  July 1, 2021


Arts Education Leadership Summit

Please join the Montana Arts Council and the Montana Office of Public Instruction as we shine a spotlight on the new Montana Arts Standards while celebrating integrated art learning as a critical component of a well-rounded education. Held in the lovely Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, this event features a pre-conference workshop on Arts Integration, an opening reception, and day-long workshops presented by Montana Teacher Leader in the Arts. Open and free for all teachers! Renewal units will be available.

Friday, September 29, 2017

  • 2-5 Pre-conference workshop with Jenny Bevill, Arts Integration
  • 5-7 Opening Reception

Saturday, September 30, 2017

  • Montana Teacher Leader in the Arts Workshops

Register here to attend the Summit or submit a proposal to present at the Summit.

Questions? Email Christy Mock-Stutz

Update for Science Standards Implementation

New and “Coming Soon” Teacher Learning Hub Courses                         


Contact Michelle McCarthy 406.444.3537 for any questions about Science.

Don’t Forget!

For more information, contact Colet Bartow, 406.444.3583


Educator Licensure

"Navigating the Other Side of Teaching" Teacher Learning Hub Course

We are excited to announce this new training opportunity on the Teacher Learning Hub!  “Navigating the Other Side of Teaching” is an educator ethics-based program.  Initially designed as a prevention and correction overview course, we saw this, instead, as a great opportunity to be proactive rather than reactive.  To this effort, we secured a contract to make this training available for all of our Montana educators.

This course emphasizes the environmental, educational and social demands that influence an educator's daily decisions.  Many of these decisions conflict with personal, organizational, technological, and social factors.  Poor decisions -- no matter how well intentioned -- may result in adverse consequences that not only negatively impact the educator, but also the schools, students and the community.

The course consists of three separate multidisciplinary designed modules:  (1) Overview of Educator Ethics, (2) Educator Relationships and Boundaries, and (3) Cybertraps for Educators. Each module is "locked down" which prevents by-passing any content.  There are a series of assessment checks for knowledge and understanding before permitting advancement to the next module. 

Our Montana Code of Ethics for Educators has been added as a fourth and final module.  The minimum time it takes to complete the course is approximately 4.5 hours. 

There are 3-5 survey questions following each module.  This information is being collected only as aggregate data to assist with assessing the impact of each module and the overall perceived value of this training.

We have high hopes that this will be a great preventative training tool for all educators – both new and experienced, classroom and administrative.  Our expectation is that this is found to be not only informational, but powerful and helpful to our professional careers

FYI:  This is a product of a small company called Ethics Consortium.  They are considered as a team of national leaders in the area of educator ethics.  The Ethics Consortium company consists of:  Troy Hutchings, Ed.D., a key thought leader in the field of educator ethics; Glenn Lipson, Ph.D., a forensic psychologist who evaluates and testifies in the civil matters and specializes in building supportive programs for educators; and, Fred Lane, J.D., an author, public speaker, forensic investigator, and former school board member, who specializes in illuminating the new challenges posed for professional educators in a rapidly evolving, digitally-connected society.

For more information, contact Kristine Thatcher, 406.444.3150

Praxis Exam - Free Study Companions

Please share the following link with anyone that is looking for additional resources to prepare for their Praxis Exam:

The resources found at the above link are all free and are available for all subject areas.  

A reminder that there are specific Praxis exams that Montana requires.  Please make sure to take the correct exam. The following link connects directly to the list of tests required and accepted by Montana:

For more information, contact Kristine Thatcher, 406.444.2805


Indian Education

American Indian Heritage Day - September 22, 2017

The fourth Friday of September was designated by the 1997 Legislature as American Indian Heritage Day, in recognition of Montana’s constitutional commitment to preserve the cultural integrity of American Indians. The definition of a quality education in Montana includes specific language for the integration of Indian Education for All throughout the curriculum. MCA 20-9-309.

Activities that celebrate American Indian Heritage Day can create sustained interest in learning about the distinct and unique cultural heritage of American Indians, setting the tone and creating connections for a year of integrating Indian Education for All.

Spark interest with these suggested activities…

  • Display information about Montana tribes – tribally specific posters, maps, and books.
  • View IEFA on-line video resources that highlight Art, Music, Poetry, and History.
  • Highlight Montana tribal histories.
  • Learn the names of all Montana reservations, tribes that live on them, and languages spoken there. Research how names of the tribes are spoken in their own language.
  • Explore nearby Montana Indian cultural and historical sites and community museums.
  • Invite cultural resource experts from Montana’s tribal nations to visit.
  • Display OPI Indian Education for All curriculum materials sent to school libraries.

Through the study of Montana Indian cultures and peoples, all students become more self-aware of their own cultures and develop a reference point to support greater understanding of others.

Visit our Indian Education homepage to access model lessons and resources for various content areas and grade levels. Check back often for upcoming events, conferences, and new curriculum resources.

For more information, contact Mike Jetty, 406.444.0720

Opportunity Grants

The Indian Education Division is pleased to announce opportunity grants to support the development and implementation of Indian Education for All (IEFA) activities and efforts, in addition to supporting similar work related to Indian student achievement and closing the achievement gap. 

Who is eligible to apply?
This K-12 opportunity grant is open to any Montana public school.  Priority will be given to schools which have not had a previous IEFA grant.

What is the amount of the grant award?
Grant awards are available for up to $1,000 for each project, depending on the scope of the proposal.  There will be a limited number of grants awarded. Notification of grant awards will be sent by the Indian Education Division staff.

What is the timeline of the project?
The proposed project must be completed by June 15, 2018.  Proposed activities should reflect this timeline.  All application materials can be submitted throughout the year, but funds are awarded on a first come, first served basis.

Grant application forms will be posted on the Indian Education website.

For more information, contact OPI Indian Ed Staff, 406.444.3694

New IEFA Curriculum Resource for Middle/High Schools featuring Eloise Cobell

100 Years: One Woman’s Fight for Justice Model Teaching Unit is an interdisciplinary unit for English language Arts, Social Studies, and Media Literacy and is intended for the middle school and high school level.  The curriculum unit is based on the award winning DVD “100 Years: One Woman’s Fight for Justice”  and it shares the story of Elouise Cobell and her 30-year fight for justice for over 300,000 Native Americans whose mineral-rich lands were grossly mismanaged by the US Government for over a century.  

In 1996, Elouise Cobell, along with the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), filed the largest class action lawsuit (commonly referred to as the Cobell case) ever filed against the federal government. For fifteen long years and through three presidential administrations, Elouise never quit. 100 Years is the compelling true story of how she prevailed and made history.

100 Years is relevant to Montana students because it addresses a complex issue of land tenure and the impacts of a specific federal Indian policy: allotment, while documenting how one person can make a difference in a system encumbered with bureaucracy and legal complexities.

The curriculum unit includes the DVD and it has been sent to all middle school and high school libraries.  The curriculum can also be accessed on-line at the Indian Education website.

For more information, contact Mike Jetty, 406.444.0720


Accreditation and Educator Preparation

2017 AP® Summer Institute

Montana recently hosted workshops to help teachers improve their teaching of two Advanced Placement® subjects: AP® English Language and Composition, and AP® United States History. The highly-rated training was attended by 25 Montana teachers from communities across the state, including Ashland, Belt, Billings, Browning, Columbia Falls, Judith Gap, Libby, Red Lodge, St. Regis, and Twin Bridges. Planning is underway for the 2018 institute. If you have requests, questions, or concerns, please let us know.

For more information, contact Julia Cruse, 406.444.0769 

Rigorous Core Updates

Fall is a great time to take a look at your school’s college prep/rigorous core pages in GEMS and contact the OPI for instructions on how to update the information. Updates are needed whenever your high school course list changes.

For more information, contact Julia Cruse, 406.444.0769 

Continuous School Improvement Plan

The Continuous School Improvement Plan (CSIP) and Title I applications opened August 1, 2017, for the 2017-2018 school year. The applications close and the plans are due by October 31, 2017. Both the district and school level Title I Improvement Planning sections have been removed from the plan..

For assistance with the CSIP, contact Patty Muir, 406.444.4317 or
For assistance with Title I Planning, contact Jack O’Connor, 406.444.3083
For more information, contact Heather Denny, 406.444.2036

Montana New Teacher Induction Project

The OPI and New Teacher Center (NTC) are offering an online toolbox of strategies and tools that have proven effective in supporting new teachers through the Learning Opportunities Portal.

The first module, Mentor Practices, focuses on key mentor practices that best support new teacher effectiveness. Through a series of activities and videos, participants are introduced and have opportunities to practice the foundational components of mentoring.

The second module, Using the CAL, (Collaborative Assessment Log) is a valuable tool that, when coupled with mentor language, helps guide and support conversations that support mentor beliefs and practices. The CAL was originally developed by mentors as a way to focus mentor conversation.

The third module, Differentiated Coaching, was created at the NTC, drawing from the work of Carl Glickman. It is a conceptual framework for differentiated coaching. Mr. Glickman’s focus on development, collaborative supervision of instruction, and applying adult-learning principles provides the foundation for NTC's application of Differentiated Coaching.

Modules can be accessed at
All mentoring toolboxes are free and renewal units can be earned.
For more information, contact Patty Muir, 406-444-4317

TEAMS Security

The annual TEAMS collection opened August 15, 2017.

Use the TEAMS Security Form found on the OPI School Staffing webpage to request TEAMS user names, assign user roles, or to make changes To maintain continued data security, notify the OPI as soon as possible when user accounts are to be inactivated. The “authorized representative” is the official designation indicating the individual responsible for submitting official educational program documents and reports to the OPI. Submit only one TEAMS Security Form per educational program (i.e., district).

For more information, contact Danielle Murphy, 406.444.1625

TEAMS (Terms of Employment, Accreditation, and Master Schedule) Work Sessions

The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) is happy to announce we are providing TEAMS Work Sessions once again this fall! During these sessions, participants will bring and enter their own data into the TEAMs database with face-to-face assistance from OPI staff.

To see a schedule of work sessions and register:

For more information, contact OPI TEAMS, 406.444.9444

Licensed Educator and Professional Staff Deadline

December 1, 2017 is the date that all licensed educators and professional staff must have registered his or her license with the OPI. If not registered by this date, educators are considered not licensed for accreditation purposes.

For more information, contact Patty Muir, 406.444.4317


Career Technical and Adult Education

2017-2018 CTE Calendars Posted on the Secondary CTE Web Page

The CTE Calendar of Events and the CTE DUE DATES and DEADLINES calendars have been posted to the CTE web page located at this link:  Please feel free to print and post both of these important calendars for your reference throughout the year.  For questions about either calendar, please contact Christy Hendricks at 406.444.9019 or email her at: .  

For more information, contact Christy Hendricks, 406.444.9019


2018 Carl Perkins applications are Open

The 2017-2018 Federal Carl D. Perkins E-Grant application opens June 30 and is available for public high school districts to open and complete.  The allocations loaded into the E-Grants system are FINAL numbers. This means you can create a new application for 2017-2018 and begin working on it.

The deadline to create a new application for 2017-2018 school year is September 15.

The deadline for your application to be approved is October 31. Click here and sign into E-Grants.

For questions about the Carl D. Perkins Federal Grant program, or about your application, please contact one of the following:

RENEE ERLANDSEN, Health Science Education Specialist, email: or by phone at 406.994.6986

CHRISTY HENDRICKS, CTE/Perkins Data Control Specialist, email: or by phone at 406.444.9019

For questions about the E-Grant program, contact KARLA BEAGLES at or by phone at 406.444.0764

For more information, contact Christy Hendricks, 406.444.9019


Facts about CTE in Montana - Now Available

The 2016-2017 Facts about CTE in Montana is now available on the CTE web page and also located here.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) prepares Montana K-12 students for a wide range of careers and postsecondary education programs. CTE courses are found in Montana’s middle schools, high schools and career centers.

CTE courses provide students with life and employment skills to make them highly desirable employees in today’s modern workforce. Skills learned in K-12 CTE courses prepare students to enter the workforce or to continue their education with a much higher degree of focus and direction for their career goals.

Montana has 473 approved CTE programs and 648 certified teachers in Agriculture, Business, Marketing, Family and Consumer Sciences, Industrial, Trades and Technology, and Health Science. More than 150 Montana high schools participate in the federal Carl D. Perkins and state CTE grant programs to support and improve their CTE programs.

In addition to skills learned in CTE courses, many Montana students gain additional technical and leadership skills through participation in a Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO).  The seven CTSOs with active Montana chapters are: FFA; Business Professionals of America (BPA); DECA, An Association of Marketing Students; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA); HOSA, Future Health Professionals; SkillsUSA; and Technology Student Association (TSA).

Please forward this information to your CTE staff.

For more information, contact Christy Hendricks, 406.444.9019


Health Enhancement and Safety

Register for Montana Harvest of the Month

September kicks off the second year of the Montana Harvest of the Month program! Montana school and afterschool programs can now register for the 2017-18 school year!

The Montana Harvest of the Month program showcases Montana grown foods in Montana schools and communities. Each month, the schools participating in the program focus on promoting one locally grown item (e.g., winter squash) by serving it in a meal, offering taste tests to students, and doing educational lessons and activities surrounding both the nutritional and agricultural aspects of the food. Participating schools will receive a full packet of materials at no charge as well as guides, additional resources, and training.

To register your school or afterschool program for this free program, go to

For more information, contact Aubree Roth, 406.994.5996

Registration Open: Montana Farm to School Regional Workshops

Two Montana Farm to School Regional Workshops will showcase Montana schools that are making farm to school happen!

  • September 22, 2017 in Hinsdale, Montana
  • September 29, 2017 in Plevna, Montana

Each event will include farm to school resources, tours, networking, and roundtable discussion and goal setting to help all attendees get involved. Attendees will also learn about the Montana Harvest of the Month program ( and how it is benefiting Montana schools and communities.

Workshop hosts will also provide tours of their inspiring school gardens and provide information about local purchasing and student engagement.  

All individuals interested in supporting farm to school programs are welcome to attend these free events. Due to limited space, pre-registration is required.

Learn more and register at:

For more information, contact Aubree Roth, 406.994.5996

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP)

OPI School Nutrition Programs mailed FFVP letters to eligible elementary schools in August. In order to sign up for the FFVP, please complete the FFVP Application within the Sponsor Application Packet in MAPS. Tentative allocation funding amounts are available in MAPS in the Download Forms area of the Application section. Final allocation amounts will be available in MAPS when Sponsor Application Packets are submitted and approved by the State Agency.

For more information, contact Camille McGoven, 406.444.4415

Summer Food Service Program Sponsors

Thanks for feeding children all across Montana this summer! August claims for Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) reimbursement are due September 10th.  Please login to MAPS and submit your claims.

For more information, contact School Nutrition Programs, 406.444.2501

Operating School Nutrition Programs in SY2017-18

OPI School Nutrition Programs has opened online agreements in the Montana Agreement and Payment System (MAPS).  Login and update your online agreement before September 30.  Many of our program forms are now located within MAPS under downloadable forms.

Directly certified students are eligible to receive free meals at school. Please login to the Direct Certification Application (DCA) system to update your directly certified students. Remember students qualified for free or reduced-price meals in SY 2016-17 are eligible to receive benefits from the date of approval up to 30 operating days of the following school year.

For more information, contact School Nutrition Programs, 406.444.2501

School Nutrition Programs Continuing Education

Fall Workshops
Join OPI School Nutrition Programs Specialists for free training! Administrative and Foodservice Fall Workshops will be split into two separate 3-hour sessions. Foodservice workshops are being hosted from 9 AM-12 PM and Administrative Workshops will be hosted from 1 PM-4 PM. Lunch will not be provided this year. 

Each 3-hour workshop session counts toward professional standards training requirements.  Please use MAPS to register for classes by logging in and clicking “My Training” on the menu bar.

Billings, Sept 7,  Double Tree by Hilton 27 N 27th St, Billings, MT 59101
Great Falls, Sept 13, Holiday Inn Great Falls 1100 5th Street South, Great Falls, MT 59405
Lewistown, Sept 14, Lewistown School District Office Board Room, 215 7th Ave S, Lewistown, MT 59457
Miles City, Sept 20, Sleep Inn 1006 S Haynes Ave, Miles City, MT 59301
Sidney, Sept 21,  Wingate by Wyndam 1490 South Central Avenue, Sidney, MT 59270
Missoula, Sept 27, Courtyard by Marriott 4559 N Reserve St, Missoula, MT 59808
Whitefish, Sept 28, The Firebrand Hotel 650 E 3rd St, Whitefish, MT 59937

Webinar Wednesdays
OPI School Nutrition Programs is hosting a series of Wednesday Webinars on a variety of topics. Go to  type your name and enter the virtual room as our guest from 1:00-2:00 pm on the following dates:

  • September 6, DCA/Free and Reduced Applications Live Q & A
  • September 27, Equipment Grants
  • October 4, Verification
  • October 11, Administrative Review Process/MAPS Compliance Overview
  • November 1, OPI Cook Fresh Awards
  • November 8, Administrative Review Process/MAPS Compliance Overview
  • November 15, Successful Beef to School Procurement Strategies
  • December 6, Menu Planning                 

Looking for more Continuing Education Hours?
The professional standards training calendar will be posted on the new OPI website and available in MAPS under downloadable forms soon!

For more information, contact School Nutrition Programs, 406.444.2501

Traffic Education District Applications are Due for New School Year

TE01 District Applications are due now for Fall programs or before your program starts. You can submit this application anytime during the year, but it MUST be approved BEFORE traffic education classes begin. 

Visit the OPI’s Traffic Education web page for helpful resources, forms, reports, and a listing of approved traffic education programs as well as the standards and requirements for running a successful traffic education program.

For more information, contact Patti Borneman, 406.444.4432

Make Plans for MT Teen Driver Safety Day, October 17, 2017

Montana Teen Driver Safety Day is the third Tuesday in October during National Teen Driver Safety Week. Proclaimed by the Montana State Legislature in 2009 at the urging of students from Belt High School, its mission is to bring Montana teens, community leaders, educators, and parents together to prevent young driver crashes, the leading cause of death for teens.

Grants up to $1,750 are available through FCCLA and applications are due November 1. The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), Ford Driving Skills and Montana Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) are partnering together to promote traffic safety by awarding grants to chapters who plan and carry out projects that help them and their peers make informed, responsible decisions.

For more information, contact Patti Borneman, 406.444.4432

Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program

Working in tandem with School Administrators of Montana and the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program, new “Welcome to our Tobacco Free Campus” signs will be available for distribution to districts recognized as “Montana Tobacco Free School Districts of Excellence” at the September 18th MASS meeting in Bozeman.  If your district is on the list of Tobacco Free School Districts of Excellence, you will help us out immensely by collecting your new signage while attending the conference in Bozeman. If you're not attending don't worry, we'll get your signs to you!

These signs will replace the old metal 12 by 18 inch signs for parking lots or school entries and will help remind everyone that electronic vapor products may not be used on school property.

Congratulations to all Montana school districts recognized for having adopted comprehensive tobacco free policy; you’re making it easier for your students to choose to stay tobacco free. With the addition of Custer K-12 Schools, Marion Elementary, Pleasant Valley Elementary, and Potomac Elementary, 78% of Montana school districts have been recognized to date. Special thanks to the Montana School Boards Association and Montana Small Schools Alliance for continuing to be great partners in this important work. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the US.Insert desired text here.

NOTE: For Best Results, type your links and content directly into this form. This will ensure a consistent look on the OPI website.

For more information, contact Kris Minard, 406.444.0785

Youth Mental Health First Aid

The Office of Public Instruction through the Project AWARE-MT SOARS grant in partnership with Youth Dynamics, Inc. is offering all school districts, schools, and communities in Montana, Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) trainings at no cost through September 30, 2019.  YMHFA reviews the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents ages 12-18.  It emphasizes the importance of early intervention and covers how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge.  The course is designed for adults who regularly interact with adolescents (teachers, school staff, coaches, youth group leaders, parents, etc.)  

For more information, contact Holly Mook, 406.444.0773

Youth Risk Behavior Survey Comparison Template Available

With the release of the 2017 Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) results this summer, a template which allows schools to compare their school-specific results with Montana results has been updated and sent to district superintendents and the YRBS Coordinators in participating districts.  The template provides easy-to-view graphs that display Montana and school-specific data side-by-side. The Montana and School Comparison template is useful for increasing awareness regarding health risk behaviors among youth with groups such as faculty and school staff, parent organizations and school boards.  If you did not receive this template via e-mail please contact Susan Court, YRBS state coordinator.

For more information, contact Susan Court, 406.444.3178


Educational Opportunity and Equity Division

Wildfires and Homeless Students

Many families across the state continue to be impacted by wildfires. Families who have been forced to evacuate areas impacted by wildfires for a short period of time are not considered homeless. Any family, regardless of financial circumstances, who has lost their home due to wildfire qualifies as homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act. These students have a right to remain in their school of origin and receive transportation to school. For more information, please refer to guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education, or contact the OPI's State Coordinator for Homeless Education.

For more information, contact Heather Denny, 406.444.2036

ESSA and Students in Foster Care

As of Dec. 10, 2016, the Every Student Succeeds Act extended protections and rights to students under the care of state and tribal governments. Sec. 1111, under Title I, Part A, focuses on the educational stability of children in foster care, including the right to remain in their school of origin, and the right to transportation. For more information on how to support the education of children placed in foster care  refer to the guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education or contact the OPI's Foster Care Liaison.

For more information, contact Heather Denny, 406.444.2036

2017-18 Schoolwide Plan Update

Districts with schools operating a schoolwide program should have updated those plans no later than July 31, 2017.  The schoolwide plans are located under the Continuous School Improvement Plan (CSIP) which can be accessed on the OPI website at:  The plans are at the school level, and a plan must be completed for each school in the district operating a schoolwide program.  Use the first day of school for SY17-18 as the start date, and make sure to select REVISED for the plan status.  The OPI will not be able to approve 2017-18 Egrant Consolidated Applications until all schools in a district that are operating a schoolwide plan have completed the update.

For more information, contact Shawna Pieske, 406.444.5660

2017-18 Egrant Consolidated Applications

2017-18 Egrant Consolidated Applications for those districts which are receiving Title I, II, III, IV, and/or V funds must open/create an application no later than September 15, 2017.  Districts must also have an approved 2017-18 Egrant Consolidated Application no later than October 31, 2017.  Districts that do not meet the deadlines will not be able to open/create (after September 15), nor submit (after October 31) without approval from Tim Tharp, Deputy Superintendent. The letter to request to open/create or submit a late application must come from the district's board chairperson.

For more information, contact Shawna Pieske, 406.444.5660


Measurement and Accountability

Release of 2017 SBAC data

This year, the staff at M&A have been working on the public release of this year’s assessment data including:

  • SBAC
  • MSAA Alt
  • ACT data

The timeline for assessment has been as follows for 2017:

  • SBAC opens March 22, 2017
  • MSAA Alt testing opens March 27, 2017
  • SBAC closes May 26, 2017
  • Alt testing closes May 12, 2017
  • ACT initial test on April 19, 2017
  • ACT makeup test May 3, 2017

With online testing extending late into May, the time needed for cleaning and making the data publicly available must be extended into the summer.

OPI has a process in place to ensure that the data is properly reviewed and verified prior to public display.

This year, OPI plans to make the 2016 and 2017 SBAC data available by the first week of September.

Stay tuned for an announcement by the OPI later this month.

For more information, contact Sue Mohr, 406.461.8818

AIM Announcements

Upcoming OPI Regional AIM Montana Edition NEW USER Training

September 18-25, 2017:

This training is intended for those districts that DO NOT use Infinite Campus as their primary local Student Information System (SIS). There will NOT be any special education component to this training. The training will run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

To register, click HERE.

Monday, September 18th: 
Helena Department of Transportation - Limited to 18
Training Room
2701 Prospect Avenue 

Tuesday, September 19th: 
Glendive School District - Limited to 30
Dawson High School
900 N Merrill Avenue

Wednesday, September 20th:
Billings Public Schools - Limited to 16
Lincoln Center
415 North 30th Street
Monday, September 25th:
Missoula School District - Limited to 30
Big Sky High School
3100 South Avenue West 

We'd like to extend our greatest appreciation to all of the above School Districts for hosting the trainings!

AIM Data Collections-Fall 2017:

  • 08/14/17 – 10/6/17:  Beginning of Year Verification
  • 09/05/17 – 10/13/17:  Previous Year Dropout, Graduate and Cohort Verification and Certification
  • 09/15/17 – 11/17/17:  Special Education Child Count Collection
  • 10/01/17 – 12/31/17:  Fall CTE (Career and Technical Education Collection
  • 10/2/17 – 10/13/17:  Fall Count: Enrollment, Aggregate Hours and Count Date Absences

User guides are continually being updated and made available on the OPI AIM Website.

For more information, contact Candi Standall, 406-444-3495