At your service...

Contact us via email or call us in-state toll-free between 9:00am and 5:00pm MT at 1.888.231.9393, Local 406.444.3095


Questions or concerns about this webpage?
Please contact the OPI Help Desk at or 406.444.0087


Summary of OPI Activities for April 2017

Office of the Superintendent

Superintendent's Update

With the legislative session ending, OPI will begin working to best serve schools over this new biennium. I will also be focusing additional attention on updating and building upon Montana’s ESSA plan for the U.S. Department of Education and visiting communities around the state. Below are some highlights from the legislative session and updates on Montana’s ESSA plan:
Legislative Wrap-Up:
The legislature is expected to adjourn sine die on April 28, 2017:

  • HB 2: The state budget bill allocates $1,599,515,855 in General Fund money to schools in the 2019 biennium. HB 191 provides inflationary increases of 0.5% in FY 2018 and 1.86% in FY 2019 for the basic and per-ANB (Average Number Belonging).
  • Special Education: I advocated for a $1.4 million OTO inflationary increase for special education over the biennium. The legislature increased K-12 Base Aid for special education by $1.44 million for the 2019 biennium.
  • Data for Achievement: The legislature restored Data for Achievement payments which will help schools offset the costs associated with data reporting.
  • Natural Resource Development (NRD) Payments: NRD payments for the biennium have been eliminated which will result in tax shifts to local property taxpayers. I have always advocated for the state to uphold its responsibility for education funding and not shift taxes to local communities.

Other Education-Related Legislation: These included important issues such as suicide prevention, mental health awareness, safety, Native American education, facilities, and college and career readiness. For a full list of legislation and session outcomes, you can view my legislative wrap-up here:
ESSA Update:

  • We are having robust meetings with stakeholders and community leaders across the state. These meeting are with smaller focus groups as we move through each topic and new requirement to build on the work that has already been done.
  • We will provide the public with a draft plan in July so that we have time to utilize the feedback and make changes before we give a revised draft to the governor. We will have documents coming out as we complete work on each section or item number so that we are continually sharing and receiving feedback and input.
  • We will submit our plan using the revised template for the September 18th submission window.

For updates and suggestions, check out the ESSA section of OPI’s website:
Website and Social Media:

  • Website: OPI is in the process of developing a new website which will be more user friendly, easy to navigate, mobile friendly, and contain relevant and up-to-date information. It will be complete before the beginning of the next school year.
  • Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook:

In closing, please do not hesitate to get in touch if the Office of Public Instruction can be of service to your communities.
Thank you for Putting Montana Students First,
Elsie Arntzen
Superintendent of Public Instruction

For more information, contact Dylan Klapmeier, 406.444.3559

Back to Top


Assessment Activities

English language proficiency assessment

The results reports for the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 assessment will be available on the 21st of April.  There will be a webinar on the results reports on April 20th for system test coordinators and other educators who work with ELs and use the data from the assessments to plan EL programming.  See the JUMP newsletter for more details. April 2017 JUMP

OPI contact:  Yvonne Field, 406-444-0748,

Multi-state alternate assessment

The MSAA assessment is underway.  The window opened on March 27 and will close on May 12.  This assessment is the alternate assessment for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.  The assessment covers English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics content.  As of April 17, with three weeks left in the test window the state completion rate is 28%.

Item reviews are underway for field test items that will be tested in the 2018 school year.  This phase of the review process takes place online with state leads and content specialist reviewing items in ELA and mathematics.  The process began with an initial bias, sensitivity, and accessibility review.  This review focuses on the content and item specification alignment.  There will be a final face to face item review in late June.  Seven educators and administrators from Montana have been selected to participate.

Trainings and resources for the field

The assessment division provided a presentation on MontCAS and the role of the System Test Coordinator (STC) in managing assessments.  The presentation focused on the resources and tools that are available from OPI to help counselors who may be assigned the role of test coordinator.

The assessment division presented on the interim assessments at the Title I conference in Helena on the Smarter Balanced interim assessments and had a table in the conference lobby to connect with teachers and administrators and provide access to assessment information.


The initial ACT testing date took place on April 19.  The accommodated student window extends for two weeks through May 3rd. May 3rd is also the make-up test date.

Smarter balanced

The smarter balanced assessment window is open.  The window opened on March 22nd and will close May 26th.   This assessment is the general population assessment required for students in grades 3-8.  The test covers English language arts and mathematics content.  As of March 18, with 5 weeks left in the test window the state completion rate is 25%

Science assessment updates

The Montana Office of Public Instruction’s assessment division, is bringing together a group of educators to get an early start in creating a balanced assessment system (i.e., formative, interim, and summative) for science. Montana adopted new science standards in September of 2016 and these new standards align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). With standards implementation starting on July 1, 2017, teachers making the transition to instruction aligned to Montana’s Science Standards, may need support with what, and how to tackle these new standards. Progress towards building a balanced assessment system for science will begin with developing formative assessments and strategies during this summer workshop. The result of this work will be to provide accessible teacher-built science resources online. The meeting will be held in Helena, MT on Wednesday, July 26 – Friday, July 28, 2017.

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

Back to Top

Measurement and Accountability

AIM End of Year Collections Begin May 8, 2017

There are two AIM Collections that begin May 8th and end June 16th, 2017.  The first End of Year Collection is all about wrapping up the current year and preparing for the New Year in AIM/Infinite Campus. This involves creating 2017-18 calendars, rolling forward students into the new calendars, ending all 2016-17 enrollments, completing 2016-17 graduate data and notifying the OPI (406-444-4401) of any planned changes for next year to grade levels, school names or school locations.  The second is the End of Year Program Participation Collection for the current school year.  This requires verification of Program Participation data, making sure all students that participated in any state reported programs are marked accordingly in AIM/Infinite Campus.

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

Back to Top

Educational Opportunity and Equity Division

Changes to Title II Part Allocations

Beginning with the 2017-17 school year, the "Hold Harmless" provision for Title II A allocations has been removed.  Hold Harmless was a safety net that prevented district allocations from being reduced by a significant amount in any one year.  The OPI has published a spreadsheet at the following link: to allow districts to see what affect this would have had on their 2016-17 Title II A allocations.  

For more information, contact Shawna Pieske, 4064445660

2017-18 Schoolwide Plan Update

Districts with schools operating a schoolwide program must update 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.

For more information, contact Shawna Pieske, 4064445660

Back to Top

Special Education

MBI Summer Institute

Check out the 2017 MBI Summer Institute Date Saver at:


For more information, contact Marcy Otten, 406-529-0774

Back to Top

Health Enhancement and Safety

Traffic Education Deadlines coming up – Summer Programs and Year-End Reports

For classes ending before or on June 30, use TEDRS to submit your TE01 District Application in the 2017 school year. If your course will end in July, August or September, it must be entered in school year 2018.  Please make sure your program is approved by the OPI before the start of your summer program. 

Submit your TE06 Year-End Report before July 10 for an estimated reimbursement of $90-$100 for each student who completed a traffic education course at your school between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. The actual reimbursement amount will be determined when all TE04 Student Lists and TE06 Year-End Reports have been received and the number of students is divided by the percentage of driver license fees allocated for reimbursement to schools. Reimbursements are issued in mid-August.

Use the Traffic Education Data & Reporting System (TEDRS) to check your school’s Student Count Report and submit the TE06 Year-End Report when all your courses have completed for the current school year. Traffic Education forms can also be downloaded from the Traffic Education Forms and Reports page. 

Contact us for more information or assistance with submitting forms and reports via TEDRS.

To receive important reminders and updates, sign up for OPI Traffic Education e-news:

For more information, contact Patti Borneman, 406-444-4432

Summer Food Service Program Reminders

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) 2017 meal agreements opened on April 17, 2016 with a new computer system. It’s called the Montana Agreement and Payment System (MAPS) and it is replacing CNPWeb.  Authorized Representatives and Claim Contacts in the SFSP agreement were sent MAPS user names and password information on April 17th. If you are a Food Service Director at a school district during the school year, you already have a username and password for MAPS.  Claim contacts must log in and complete the summer agreements before May 19, 2017.

SFSP sponsors are required to attend an OPI School Nutrition Program annual training. Join us for a webinar to fulfill this requirement.

For more information, contact OPI School Nutrition Programs, 406-444-2501

Register now for a Montana DRIVE Summer Workshop

Montana DRIVE Workshops are filling up this summer. This behind-the-wheel advanced driving workshop is popular with school bus drivers for required training hours. Teachers can take the workshop for one college credit if they stay an extra day to student teach and write a paper. Registration costs less than a crunched bumper and, in many cases, successful completion of this workshop can lower auto insurance rates.

Operated by the Office of Public Instruction and on track in Lewistown since 1979, these one-day workshops help drivers learn and practice techniques for managing and avoiding risky driving situations. Adult workshops run June 5 through August 10 and cost $330. The teen workshops scheduled on July 24, 25 and 26, are currently sold out. We are putting teens on a waiting list at this time, so please call the number below to inquire about availability.

Visit the Montana DRIVE web page for registration details and to view the workshop calendar.  Sign up for the Montana DRIVE E-News for registration reminders and periodic updates throughout the workshop season.

For more information, contact Patti Borneman, 406-444-4432

Montana School Nutrition Association Conference for Food Service Professionals

The Montana School Nutrition Association Conference Healthy Schools, Healthy You will be held June 19-21, 2017 in Billings, MT. See a schedule at a glance and register online.

Conference costs are posted on the MTSNA webpage. If conference expenses are keeping you from attending, please apply for one of two $500 scholarships available for SNA members! Become a member if you're not already for big savings.

For more information, contact Tara Ray, 406.431.2920

School Food Service Director Hiring Standards

Professional standards established hiring requirements for new food service directors based on school enrollment.  School districts with less than 500 students may request approval to hire a food service director candidate who does not meet education or work experience requirements. OPI School Nutrition Programs will work with school districts to meet these hiring requirements.

For more information, contact OPI School Nutrition Programs, 406.444.2501

Montana Harvest of the Month workshop

Montana Team Nutrition Program is hosting a Montana Harvest of the Month workshop for school and afterschool food service staff on May 12 from 1:30pm – 4:00pm in Great Falls. Montana Harvest of the Month is an exciting new program that features a different Montana food in schools each month through meals and snacks, taste tests, and educational activities. It provides an easy framework for starting or growing farm to school programs and supporting school wellness initiatives. Participants are encouraged to bring their favorite recipes that feature Harvest of the Month foods. 

While this workshop is designed for school food service, anyone interested in Montana Harvest of the Month is welcome to attend. Participants can register during the session to receive the Harvest of the Month toolkit including posters and handouts!

Registration closes on May 5. 

Learn more about Montana Harvest of the Month.

For more information, contact Aubree Roth, 406.994.5996

Standardized Recipes Workshop with Montana Team Nutrition

Montana Team Nutrition is hosting regional workshops in May.  Join us for a Serving Up Success- Standardized Recipes Guarantee It workshop in Havre, Butte, Dillon or Great Falls.

Using standardized recipes can save time and money in school and child care programs.  This free workshop will teach the basics of creating and working with standardized recipes.  Learn to size recipes to specific yields and how to modify recipes with simple calculations.  This workshop provides 2 hours of continuing education for schools (Professional Standards).

Use the registration link to get more information on dates, times and locations.

For more information, contact Molly Stenberg, 406.994.7217

Netflix's TV Series ‘13 Reasons Why’ Carries Concerns for Our Students

The new TV series found on Netflix called 13 Reasons Why is causing concerns for several mental health experts around the country and state as the series could carry dangers for our teens.  It is believed that this show could increase the risk of suicide contagion in our schools and does not address one of the most common causes of suicide; mental illness.  Experts in Montana want schools, communties, and parents to be aware and understand concerns.  NBC News recently put together a comprehensive article on the dangers involved with the series, which can be found at  Additional, put together 13 Reasons Why Talking Points, which can be found at

For more information, contact Holly Mook, 406-444-0773

2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results Available

In early May, school-specific results from the recently completed 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) will be available.  Upon their availability, an e-mail will be sent to the district superintendent and YRBS coordinator at each participating school.  In the meantime, please ensure that you have access to the YRBS Data Retrieval System; a password-secure OPI application used by designated school district staff for the purpose of accessing all years of YRBS school-specific results.  Montana (statewide) results are expected to be released in June by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  These reports and more are available online at Montana YRBS

For more information, contact Susan Court, 406-444-3178

Back to Top

Content Standards and Instruction

Teacher Learning Hub - Monthly Data Snapshot

Course Completions

  • 398 in March
  • Over the average of 255 completions per month
  • Brings the total up to 2,293 course completions this year (July 2016 to present)

Renewal Units

  • 2,201 were earned in March
  • Over the average of 1,250 renewal units/month
  • Brings the total up to 11, 249 renewal units issued this year (July 2016 to present)



  • 355 new users in March
  • Over the average of 250 new users/month
  • Brings the total up to 5, 172 users on the Hub

New Courses

  • Writing Across the Disciplines in Grades 5-12
  • 69 additional courses in development


"Loved looking at the website and discovering so many IEFA resources and lessons for every subject." Jesse C. on An Introduction to Indian Education for All in Montana

"This has been my favorite class so far!" Courtney C. on Introduction to Gifted Students


Visit the Teacher Learning Hub today!

For more information, contact Colet Bartow, 406-444-3583

Back to Top

School Finance

2017 MAPT Bus Driver's Conference

The Montana Association of Pupil Transportation (MAPT) Bus Driver's Conference will be held in Great Falls on June 21st-23rd at the Heritage Inn, 1700 Fox Farm Rd.

Beneficial trainings, as well as fun activities, are scheduled this year.  The trainings give drivers the opportunity to acquire their required training hours.

Please Note:  Drivers will no longer be able to receive credit hours for observing at the Bus Driver's Road-E-O.  In order to receive credit hours, they must participate in the driver's course.

The registration has been posted at:

The award applications have also been posted to the website.  The award applications include:

  • 25 Year Service Award
  • MHP Driver of the Year Award
  • MHP Aide of the Year Award
  • You Make a Difference Award

Please take advantage of submitting applications for your drivers

For more information, contact Donell Rosenthal, (406) 444-3024

Upcoming School Elections

  • Monday, May 1st at Noon:  Deadline for absentee ballot requests.  After noon, the elector must come in on election day to receive a ballot. 
  • Monday, May 1st, Noon to 5:00 pm:  Late registration closed.  Late registration continues on election day at the office of the county election administrator.
  • Monday, May 1st:  Certified copies of lists of registered electors are delivered to each voting location. 
  • Tuesday, May 2nd:  Election Day!
  • Monday, May 8th, 3:00 pm:  The first date that provisional ballots may be counted.  An election cannot be canvassed until all votes have been counted.
  • By Wednesday, May 17th:  Trustees canvass the vote, issue certificates of election, and publish results.
  • Wednesday, May 17th:  Deadline for trustees to hold organizational meeting.
  • Thursday, June 1st:  Deadline for trustees to submit a request to the county election administrator to conduct elections for the next fiscal year (requires a board resolution).

For more information, contact Nicole Thuotte, (406) 444-4524

Back to Top

Accreditation and Educator Preparation

Montana New Teacher Induction Project

The OPI and New Teacher Center is offering an online toolbox of strategies and tools that have proven effective in supporting new teachers. The first module focuses on key mentor practices that best support new teacher effectiveness. Through a series of activities and videos, participants will be introduced and have opportunities to practice the foundational components of mentoring.

Each module will take approximately two hours to complete. The OPI renewal units are provided upon completion of the toolkit survey.

The URL link to the courses:

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

TEAMS Work Sessions

The 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 TEAMS with face-to-face assistance from OPI staff.  Look for dates and registration information to come soon.

For more information, contact OPI TEAMS, 406-444-9444

Montana Small School Alliance (MSSA) Users

ARM 10.55.710(3) states, “Districts with fewer than 126 students may employ or contract with a licensed, endorsed school counselor or Class 6 specialist or utilize a consortium, multidistrict agreement, or interlocal cooperative to secure these services.”

ARM 10.55.709(2) states, “Schools of fewer than 126 students shall employ or contract with a licensed and endorsed school library media specialist. (3) If a district has fewer than 126 students, the district may utilize a consortium, multidistrict agreement, or interlocal cooperative to secure these services.”

The MSSA serves over 100 school districts across Montana and provides an excellent resource for school counselors and library media specialists. This program is governed by two half-time employees and two licensed specialists that provide the training and consultation for any school belonging to MSSA. If a school district is eligible to participate in MSSA, the services of counselor and library media specialist must be administered by a licensed educator. These educators need not be licensed in the areas of counseling or library but do need to be a properly licensed educator in the State of Montana. 

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

Digital Content Providers Registered in Montana Annual Reporting

Pursuant to Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) 10.55.907(5)(b), registered digital content providers serving Montana schools are required to provide an annual report to the Montana Office of Public Instruction by June 1, 2017.

ARM 10.55.907(5) – Distance, Online, and Technology Delivered Learning:

“(5) Digital content providers serving Montana schools accredited by the Board of Public Education shall:

(a)  annually, by the first Monday in August, register with the Office of Public Instruction;

(b)  annually, by the first Monday in June, identify the Montana school districts served in the current school year by the digital content provider, including the courses and student enrollments for each school district served; and

(c)  document the professional qualifications, including Montana teacher licensure and endorsement, of their teachers of distance, online, and technology-delivered programs and/or courses by providing names and credentials of other licensing entities, when not licensed and endorsed in Montana.”

Email the report to Patty Muir at

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

Corrective Plans

If a school is in Advice or Deficiency accreditation status for 2016-2017, a corrective plan will be due by June 1, 2017. ALL assurance and student performance deviations must be addressed.
The online Corrective Plan form is at
Please contact Patty Muir at 406-444-4317, if you have questions.

For more information, contact Nathan Miller, 406-444-2410

Back to Top