P.O. Box 202501 • Helena, MT 59620-2501
Putting Montana Students First
CDC's Most Recent Changes to Operation of Schools
*Published March 19, 2021. Review the full Operational Strategy for K–12 Schools through Phased Prevention.
The 2021 Summer Learning & Enrichment: State Guidance for District and School Leaders offers support as schools plan for summer 2021 learning opportunities to meet the most pressing needs of students and teachers in this uniquely challenging school year. The resources and considerations in this document are based on leading research and evidence-based, best practices for summer learning and closing learning gaps. It also includes guidance on how to use ESSER funding to integrate school and community resources to create innovative summer learning programs.
One Page Summary of the 2021 Summer Learning & Enrichment document.
The OPI is here to support districts, schools, and educators. With thousands of resources available at educators' fingertips, we have curated a list of planning resources and documents. We hope these resources help support you in planning for academic success for all students. Educational equity for all Montana students is essential. All resources have been selected because of their attention to equitable access to a high-quality education.
Below is a collection of free resources for assessing students at the beginning of the year and throughout the year to help guide instructional priorities for all students.
View our professional learning options when developing professional learning plans for the 2021-2022 school year.
We are lucky to have many excellent partners in education. Below is a shortlist of our Montana-based partners in education. Please feel free to reach out to the partners as needed.
School districts must plan on providing students the opportunity to assess when it is safe to do so. No student is expected to be brought into in-person learning for the sole purpose of taking statewide assessments. The safety, health, and well-being of school staff and students is the number one priority. To provide flexibility to schools and students across Montana, the OPI has extended all testing windows this spring to the greatest extent practicable using a balance with reporting information to families and educators. Further, the OPI will continue to allow the shortened version of the Smarter Balanced assessment for Math and English language arts (ELA) and medical exemptions related to the effects of COVID-19.
The Assessment Team is here to help. Contact us at the Assessment Help Desk by email at email@example.com 1-844-867-2569.
Extended Stop Signal Arm Required on School Buses-Effective July 1, 2022
When a school bus route includes a bus stop that requires a school child to cross a roadway, the school bus must be equipped with an extended stop signal arm that partially obstructs the roadway. A school child may not cross a roadway to enter or exit from a school bus unless the roadway has been partially obstructed by the extended stop arm. 61-8-351(5)(a)(b)(c), MCA
The extended stop signal arm must be equipped with additional flashing red lights as specified in 61-9-402, MCA and must be capable of extending a distance of at least 54 inches from the school bus at a height of not less than 36 inches.
The board of trustees shall approve each school bus stop that requires a school child to cross a roadway.
Contact: Donell Rosenthal, 406-461-9316 State Director of Pupil Transportation
ESSER (Public) Funding Info EANS (Private) Funding Info
School Finance Questions & Concerns
The US Department of Agriculture recently announced new and extended school nutrition waivers for the 2021-2022 school year for schools participating in the OPI School Nutrition Programs. These waivers continue to offer flexibility in feeding children and meeting local needs.
Many of these flexibilities are extensions of existing waivers. For example, schools can continue to offer grab and go meals if needed, parents or guardians can pick up meals to take home to their children, and schools can establish meal service times that support streamlined access to nutritious meals. Additionally, specific meal pattern flexibilities have been extended, allowing for increased food choices to support alternative meal service options.
In addition, a waiver will allow school districts to access the new Seamless Summer Option during the school year. Typically, schools operate the National School Lunch Program during the school year. This new program removes student income eligibility requirements and will provide a higher meal reimbursement rate to schools.
To ensure Montana schools are aware of and prepared for this new program, OPI is currently working on administrative and technology changes to existing systems to accommodate the new Seamless Summer Option. These changes will allow school districts to sign up and apply for this option. OPI School Nutrition Programs staff will communicate with districts when they are prepared to accept Seamless Summer Option applications for the 2021-2022 school year.
Guidance for What School Nutrition Professionals and Volunteers at Schools Need to Know about COVID-19
CDC recently updated the guidance on the What School Nutrition Professionals and Volunteers at Schools Need to Know about COVID-19 web page.
School administrators and operators of school nutrition programs can use this information to reduce the risk of COVID-19 among employees and volunteers preparing and serving meals, and the students, families, and other school staff who support or participate in school meals programs.
Key updates include
ESEA Plan Extension for COVID - Letter from DOE
School Nutrition FAQ's
Traffic Ed Changes During COVID-19
Information on Applying for Assistance & Other Mental Health Resources
*Montana University System Admissions Guidance
Fall 2020 Enrollment Count
MT Pediatrics Presentation