ESSA Update

January 5, 2024

Proposed Changes to Montana's ESSA Plan - Rigorous Action


The purpose of the amendment is to provide a differentiated approach to Rigorous Action for schools previously identified as Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and that do not make adequate progress within three years. 

Current Montana State ESSA Plan

Describe the more rigorous interventions required for schools identified for comprehensive support and improvement that fail to meet the State’s exit criteria within a State-determined number of years consistent with section.

Schools making progress will continue with the OPI’s support. Schools not making progress will receive support through additional interventions and intensive support from a three-person OPI and district-level team. The goal is to have all schools within a high-priority district out of the bottom 5 percent within seven years. The high-priority district will exit a school from comprehensive support and improvement only if an individual school meets the exit criteria identified(Page 32-33).

Below is the proposed amendment to the ESSA plan for rigorous action.

The goal is to have all schools out of the bottom five percent within seven years. Through a differentiated approach, schools making progress toward meeting exit criteria will continue with OPI’s support to maintain progress. When adequate progress toward established improvement goals is not being made, the OPI will collaborate with and build the capacity of school leaders to identify necessary actions and/or interventions. Action steps include but are not limited to:

  • Conduct a diagnostic review.
  • Develop, implement, monitor, and evaluate an integrated strategic action plan and make the plan publicly available. To align with local context and needs, the district integrated strategic action plan shall be based on a comprehensive needs assessment with meaningful stakeholder input and feedback.  
  • Direct use of resources/funds.
  • Assigned systematic coaching for operational, instructional, and leadership components.
  • Assigned targeted professional learning.

Process and timeline

August 8, 2023:  9:00 - 10:00 a.m.  - Task Force meets

August 22, 2023: 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. - Task Force defines Rigorous Action and reports on research

September 5, 2023: 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. - Finalize Rigorous Action Plan

September 12, 2023: 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. - Give feedback on Amendment for ESSA Plan

October 4, 2023: 2:45 p.m. - Share draft with MACIE

October 11, 2023: Public Comment Opens

October 11-26, 2023: Rigorous Action Feedback Form

October 23, 2023: 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. - Webinar for public comment ZOOM Link

October 26, 2023: 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. - Webinar for public comment ZOOM Link

October 30, 2023: 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. - Respond to public comment ZOOM Link

November 10, 2023: public comment closes

November 2023 to January 2024: share information with Board of Public Education, Education Advocates, Governor's Consultation

January 2024: Final Draft prepared and submitted to the Department of Education by February 1, 2024

Please send feedback, input, and questions to