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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

Have a Media Inquiry?
Contact, Communications Director, 406.444.3160



  • Michael Hall, Director of Professional Learning and Technology Support, 406.444.4422
  • Kimberly Vinson, Program Assistant, 406.444.1852

McKinney-Vento - Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program




  • Donell Rosenthal, Pupil Transportation Director, 406.444.3024,
    fax: 406.444.0509


  • Tobie Liedes, Program Coordinator, 406.444.2417, fax: 406.444.1373

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


School Programs

The Montana Office of Public Instruction's School Programs are designed and managed to support student success in a variety of ways.  No matter the situation or needs, OPI school program staff make available events, training and resources, district and school progress monitoring, telecommunication discounts, homeless education, pupil transportation, prevention and intervention programs, student scholarships, nutrition information and services, and support for Montana's Title I schools.  These programs help Montana's students, families, educators, and community members take steps toward guaranteeing a quality education for all students and building a better future for Montana.

E-Rate Modernization

The Federal Communications Commission has reviewed the E-Rate program and has issued new rules.

Technology Plans are no longer required to receive E-Rate funding, however, systemic planning and/or technology planning is encouraged.

The E-Rate program is administered by the Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), a not-for-profit corporation overseen by the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that the benefits of universal service reach communities across the country.

Visit the Schools and Libraries Divisionweb page for complete E-Rate application information and resources.

  • Frequently Asked Questions;
  • Helpful Guides & Videos;
  • Relevant News Briefs; and
  • FCC Forms.

McKinney-Vento - Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program

Welcome to the Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program, also known as Title IX, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (as amended in 2015). The purpose of this program is to ensure that every child and youth experiencing homelessness has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education as provided to their peers living in stable housing.

Educating children and youth in Montana who are experiencing homelessness presents many unique challenges due to the nature of our state. Most of our school districts are small and rural, with dedicated staff members filling multiple roles. Our communities have few resources or services designed to meet the needs of these families and youth, such as emergency shelters, transitional housing, or soup kitchens.  Despite these challenges, our educators and communities work tirelessly to meet the needs of Montana's most vulnerable children.

Families and Students in Transition

Many school districts and communities use the term “families in transition” when referring to students who meet the federal definition of homelessness. What does it mean to be “in transition” in Montana? Like most states, the majority of our eligible students and families are living with friends or relatives. Under the law, this situation is known as being "doubled up" and is considered an eligible situation if the family is sharing housing due to financial hardship. Eligible families can also be found living in hotels or motels, in a variety of shelter situations, and even camping out or sleeping in cars. If you or someone you know is living in one of these situations, contact your local school district for assistance with services in your school and your community.

Why is it important to identify and provide services to children and youth living in transitional housing situations? Students who experience one or more episodes of transitional living situations and high mobility often face a variety of academic challenges. Identifying these children and youths helps schools and teachers to provide the best level of support through school nutrition programs, Title I assistance programs, transportation, and connections to community agencies that can assist the family or student with housing, food, medical care, and other basic needs.

For a current list of programs receiving funding under Title IX, Part A (McKinney-Vento), select the ESEA Title IX, Part A Final Allocations for the current year located on the ESEA Act Allocation Bulletins page.

Data on the number of homeless students identified by Montana school districts is available through the Montana longitudinal student data warehouse (GEMS). This information is updated at the end of each school year. For current information contact the individual district homeless liaisons.

Please click on the appropriate tab below for more information and resources regarding the EHCY program here in Montana.


Federal Laws
USED - ESEA Title X, Part C
Title IX, Part A - Every Student Succeeds Act (2015) (ESSA)
Migrant Education Program
Public Law No: 108-96 – Runaway, Homeless, and Missing Children Protection Act
The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (P.L. 110-378)
U.S. Supreme Court, Plyler v. Doe - Education of Undocumented Students

State Laws
MCA 20-5-101. Enrollment of Homeless Children and Youth
MCA 20-5-503. Enrollment by Caretaker Relatives
MCA 20-1-213. Transfer of School Records
MCA 41-1-402. Consent of Minor for Health Services

Federal Guidance
USDA Disaster Response for School Nutrition Programs
USDA Rules and Regulations - Direct Certification of Homeless Children for Free School Meals
USED Factsheet: Educational Services for Immigrant Children
USED Non-Regulatory Guidance for the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program (Updated March 2017)
USED Homeless Student Guidance Fact Sheet
Homeless Student Notice of Rights and Protections
Use of Title I Funds for Homeless Students
National Center for Homeless Education – Federal Technical Assistance Provider

State Guidance
Montana State Homeless Education Plan
Montana School Boards Association Guidance for Schools
OPI Guidance for Enrolling Homeless Unaccompanied Youth
OPI Guidance for Coding Montana Children as Homeless in AIM
OPI Guidance for the Use of and Access to GEMS Homeless Data
OPI Guidance for Working with Military and Veteran Families
OPI Letter for Homeless Students Eligibility for Free School Meals
DPHHS Reporting Guidelines for Child Abuse and Neglect

All of the links on this tab are related to changes being implemented under the new requirements of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Please read through each document carefully as there are a wide range of time lines for the implementation of various portions of both the McKinney-Vento Act and related portions of Title I and other federal programs impacted by ESSA. As information is published by the U.S. Department of Education (USED), the various federal technical assistance centers, and the Office of Public Instruction we will make those documents available at this location.
As of December 10, 2016 the definition of homeless children and youths will no longer include “awaiting foster care placement.” Further information on this item is located at the link below for the Federal Register. Implementation of this portion of ESSA is independent of other implementation dates issued by USED.
All other amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act under the ESSA will take effect on October 1, 2016.

U.S. Department of Education – ESSA Documents
USED – Non-Regulatory Guidance: Ensuring Educational Stability for Children in Foster Care
USED – Identifying and Supporting Students Experiencing Homelessness from Pre-School to Post-Secondary Ages
Federal Register – McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program
ESSA related questions should be directed to You may also include USED’s EHCY Program staff members at

National Center for Homeless Education
Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015
NCHE Implementation Timeline Notice

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 – Information and Guidance
Transportation for Children in Foster Care



For more information contact Heather Denny, State Homeless Education Coordinator, at 406.444.2036 or at

Neglected, Delinquent Youth

The purposes of Title I, Part D are to: (1) improve educational services for children and youth in local and State institutions for neglected or delinquent children and youth so that they have the opportunity to meet the same challenging State academic content and State student achievement standards that all children in the State are expected to meet; (2) provide these children with services to enable them to transition successfully from institutionalization to further schooling or employment; and (3) prevent at-risk youth from dropping out of school as well as to provide dropouts and children and youth returning from correctional facilities or institutions for neglected or delinquent children and youth, with a support system to ensure their continued education.

Subpart 1
The Subpart 1 program provides funding to State agencies for the purposes of improving educational services to students up to the age of 21 who are incarcerated in adult or juvenile facilities. The OPI provides funding to the Montana Department of Corrections (DOC) for programs located in the Montana State Prison, Pine Hills Correctional Facility and Riverside Correctional Facility. Funding for this program is determined by a federal formula based on the number of eligible students residing at the facility during the count period in October. Subgrant funds are awarded to the DOC which determines the amounts allotted to each of the three programs.

Subpart 2
The Subpart 2 program provides funding to LEAs for the purposes of improving the educational services to students up to age 18 who are living in residential facilities for children who are in the foster care system or the juvenile justice system, are returning from placement in state or local correctional facilities, or who may meet other federal guidelines for being "at-risk" of failing to successfully complete their education. Funding for this program is determined by a federal formula based on the number of eligible students residing at facilities licensed by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services during the count period in October. The OPI then determines which districts are eligible based on the October student count and disburses funds through a subgrant process.

For more information contact Heather Denny, State Coordinator for Neglected & Delinquent Education, at 406.444.2036 or at


Department of Corrections Families and Students

Scholarshipsstudent with books


The U.S. Senate Youth Scholarship Program is sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and administered by the Office of Public Instruction. The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the Advisory List of National Contests and Activities.

United States Senate Youth Scholarship

The U.S. Senate Youth Scholarship Program is sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and is administered by the Office of Public Instruction. The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the Advisory List of National Contests and Activities.

The William Randolph Hearst Foundation believes it is in the public interest to encourage outstanding young people to continue their educational development. To this end, the foundation will make available to each of the 104 delegates selected to participate in the program a $10,000 college scholarship award for undergraduate studies, subject to specific conditions and requirements.

2017 Senate Youth Scholarship winners
Jakub Mosur, USSYP Program Photographer

One Week in our Nation's Capitol

The United States Senate Youth Program will be held in Washington, D.C., March 4-11, 2017. The 104 student delegates will visit the Senate, House of Representatives, the Supreme Court, the Pentagon and other Washington sites.  The William Randolph Hearst Foundation will pay all expenses for the Washington Week, including transportation, hotel accommodations and meals.  The military services will provide specially selected men and women officers to serve as escorts for the student delegates while in Washington.

2017 Montana delegates: Allison Reinhardt, a senior at Bozeman High School in Bozeman and Mason Hutchinson, a senior at Dawson County High School in Glendive.
Allison Reinhard Mason Hutchinson

College Scholarship
Two Montana high school students.

How to Qualify

  • Be a junior or senior in a Montana public, private, or charter high school. Students need not be nominated to apply for the scholarship.
  • Currently serving in an elected or selected capacity in any one of the following student government offices at their Montana high school for the 2016-17 school year student body
    • president, vice president, secretary or treasurer
    • class president, vice president, secretary or treasurer
    • student council representative
  • Be a permanent resident of the United States
  • Be a Montana resident

Montana Requirements

Interested students may download or print an Annual United States Senate Youth Program $10,000 Scholarship Application by clicking on the link to the application that will be placed on this Web page in late August. The link to the application will be removed in late September.
The application must be completed in its entirety and returned by the deadline date in early October.

The top applicants, or semifinalists, will be invited to participate in a telephone interview with a panel of interviewers in October and November.
Two delegates and two alternates will be chosen from the semifinalists and will be notified in December.