Assessment Conference Held in Helena: Focus on College and Career Ready Students

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
By Allyson Hagen

Educators Focus on Using Assessments and Data to Support College and Career Ready Students

HELENA, MT - Montana’s Office of Public Instruction (OPI) is holding its annual data and assessment conference January 15-17 at the Red Lion Colonial Hotel in Helena. Nearly 500 educators will gather to learn more about using assessments and data to graduate students from high school who are prepared for college and careers.

Educators will receive information about statewide ACT testing and the upcoming new state test (Smarter Balanced) that is aligned to the Montana Common Core Standards.  Participants will also learn about OPI’s data and online tools that support local efforts to improve student achievement, using data to inform instruction, and effective strategies to implement curriculum that is aligned to our state’s new English and math standards.

"Schools across the state are working hard to implement our new, higher English and math standards and prepare for the new online state test in 2015,” said Superintendent Juneau. “The high turnout for this year’s assessment conference and the number of Montana teachers we have presenting is a reflection of the excitement we see from teachers implementing the new standards in their classrooms and the interest our educators have in collaborating with each other to support student success.”

Presentation topics range from effective writing strategies to establishing school-wide teacher teams and understanding the latest technologies for assisting schools in providing individualized instruction. The three-day conference will also feature keynote addresses by Anna Baldwin (2014 Montana Teacher of the Year) and Paul Andersen (2011 Montana Teacher of the Year).

Paul Andersen
Paul Andersen has been teaching science in Montana for the last twenty years. He spent the first half of his career teaching all the science classes at a small rural school in northern Montana. Paul is currently a science teacher at Bozeman High School.

Paul uses technology and guided inquiry to differentiate instruction for his students. He has created hundreds of science podcasts that have been viewed millions of times by students around the world. Paul was the 2011 Montana Teacher of the Year, and he was a finalist for National Teacher of the Year. When he is not teaching, Paul enjoys spending time with his family skiing and hiking in the mountains around Bozeman. 

Anna Baldwin
Dr. Anna Baldwin is a high school English teacher and literacy coach at Arlee High School and has been teaching on the Flathead Indian Reservation for the past 15 years. She designed and teaches Native American Studies for the Montana Digital Academy and teaches English methods courses at the University of Montana as an adjunct instructor.

Culturally responsive teaching has been one of Baldwin’s emphases, Indian Education for All in particular. In 2008 she co-authored the book Sherman Alexie in the Classroom with Dr. Heather Bruce and Christabel Umphrey. She focused her doctoral research on providers of professional development in Indian Education for All (IEFA) and has delivered over 40 presentations and workshops on IEFA- and English-related topics. She is the subject of the film “Inside Anna’s Classroom,” an hour-long instructional DVD for teachers focusing on best practices and tribally specific material.

Dr. Baldwin is the recipient of several awards, including the Montana Association of Teachers of English Language Arts Distinguished Educator Award and the Award for Excellence in Culturally Responsive Teaching from Teaching Tolerance.

Superintendent Juneau will address the conference at 8:15 am on Thursday, January 16 and introduce keynote speaker Paul Andersen. Anna Baldwin will deliver her keynote address at 8:30 am on Friday, January 17.

To download the 2014 Assessment and Data Conference Agenda, go to:


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