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Summary of OPI Activities for April 2014

Office of the Superintendent

Highlights for April 2014

This month the OPI announced the winners of the Graduation Matters Challenge Fund grants and the winners of the ACT College and Career Readiness awards.  The ACT will be given to all public high school juniors on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 during school hours and free of charge.
Read this month’s summary to find out more about:

  • The month of the Military Child
  • How to nominate a Montana Teacher of the Year
  • The Spring 2014 Testing Windows
  • The Title I Conference in Billings
  • The Traffic Education Conference in Bozeman
  • CTE Spring Data Collection


For more information, contact Terry Kendrick, 444-3449

April is Month of the Military Child

There are over 6,700 military youth in the state of Montana. A number of recognition events are happening over the next weeks to show the strength and sacrifices of our Montana military youth. Operation Military Kids and Montana National Guard Child and Youth Program are sponsoring Purple Up! Day on April 15th. People are asked to wear purple to show their support and gratitude to military children. For more information, contact Sara Cease, Lead CYP Coordinator, National Guard Child and Youth Program,, 406-324-3925 or Caroline Dettle, Operation Military Kids,, 406- 994-6241.

Superintendent Juneau chairs the Montana Council on Education Opportunity for Military Children. The purpose of this council is to remove barriers to educational success for military children and their families due to frequent moves and/or deployment of a parent. The next meeting of the Council will be Tuesday, April 29 from 1-5 p.m. at the Great Falls Public Schools District Office, 1100 4th Street South.

For more information, contact Madalyn Quinlan, Chief of Staff, 406-444-3168

Nominations are open for the Student Advisory Board

Superintendent Juneau is inviting high school administrators, guidance counselors, teachers, and community members to nominate public high school students to serve on her statewide Student Advisory Board for the 2014-15 school year. Students selected attend two annual board meetings and serve a two-year appointment. Nominations close on April 11, 2014.  For more information, please go to the Graduation Matters Montana website and click on the button to nominate a student.

For more information, contact Jen Bezanson, 444-3526

Graduation Matters Grant Awards

Thirty-six Montana schools and United Ways received Graduation Matters Challenge Fund grants in March, 2014.  These funds will support school and community efforts to increase the number of students who graduate from high school prepared for college and career.  The grants are made possible by the generous contributions of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, State Farm Insurance, Steele Reese Foundation, AT&T and the Going to the Sun Rally Foundation.  Learn more about the awardees at:

For more information, contact Deb Halliday, 444-3559

ACT College and Career Readiness Awards Announced

Congratulations to Bozeman High School, Great Falls College – MSU, and Alisa Braun, senior at Bozeman High School for receiving the 2014 ACT College and Career Readiness awards for Montana.  Eight states participated in the ACT awards campaign this year.  The Montana winners are eligible to be selected for national recognition in June.

For more information, contact Terry Kendrick, 444-3449

Nominate a teacher for 2015 Teacher of the Year

The Montana Professional Teaching Foundation annually recognizes three public school teachers through the Montana Teacher of the Year Program and chooses one to be the Montana Teacher of the Year.  If you would like to nominate a teacher: provide name, home address, school where the nominee works, phone number(s), email address, and a brief paragraph or two about the nominee. Also provide name and phone number(s) of the nominator. You can mail nomination(s) to Montana Teacher of the Year, 1232 E. 6th, Helena, MT 59601 or email  The deadline for nominations is April 30, 2014

For more information, contact Terry Kendrick, 444-3449

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Accreditation and Educator Preparation

Chapter 58 Program Standards Review

The Montana Board of Public Education has charged the Office of Public Instruction with the revision of the Administrative Rules of Montana, Chapter 58, Professional Educator Preparation Programs Standards (PEPPS). These standards identify what a teacher leaving the university program should know and be able to do in their field.

Through the use of digital on line tools, over 135 colleagues from the Montana education community are working on draft revisions. The draft revisions will be posted to the OPI web page for public comment as they are completed.

Patty Muir by email at or

Michael Hall by email at

For more information, contact Patty Muir, 444-4317

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Assessment Monthly Summary

Spring 2014 Testing Windows

February 17-March 25: CRT-Alt window for grades 3-8, and 10 in Reading and Math; Grades 4, 8, and 10 in Science

  • March 3-March 25: CRT Science window for grades 4, 8, and 10
  • March 25-May 30: Smarter Field Test window for grades 3-8, and 11 in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics


META: The Montana Educational Technologists Associates received an award for the project from OPI through a competitive process. The contract is to provide technology assistance to Montana School Districts for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Field Test during the spring of 2014. Systems and schools should contact META with technology questions regarding the SBAC Field Test. Click here to learn more about the project.

OPI SBAC Field Test Information: Visit our SBAC Field Test information page for documents, trainings, and other resources about the Smarter Field Test:

Classroom Activities: Are now available on the SBAC Field Test Portal. Use the Classroom Activity Lookup Tables to find the classroom activities assigned to your school. The codes you will need are in the Responsible School Identifier  document available on the OPI SBAC Field Test Information page. 

OPI Trainings: Recordings of OPI trainings are posted in the training section of the OPI SBAC Field Test Information Page. Currently available are the OPI TIDE Webinar: March 5, 2014 and OPI SBAC Test Administration Training. The next OPI training is an SBAC Q&A webinar on March 26 at 4:00-5:00. The link to the webinar is OPI trainings are recorded and posted online. 

Digital Blast: The Montana Digital Professional Learning Network has a series of Digital Blasts, which are 20-minute webinars to help you get ready for the field test. The schedule and login information is available on the OPI SBAC Field Test Information page. 


ACCESS for ELLs results reports will be shipped to schools, arriving mid-April. Exit decisions should be made within 60 days of receiving the results reports from the ACCESS for ELLs assessments. If it is determined that a student will be re-designated as former LEP, the re-designation in AIM must occur by June 30th.

For guidance on making exit decision see pages 18-19 of Montana’s English Language Learners:  Guidance For School Districts

A detailed, Montana specific, recorded webinar training on understanding and interpreting score reports is available for districts on the WIDA Download Library/Montana Webinars section of the WIDA website.  District/Test Administrator Log in is required to access the training.

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

NCSC Alternate Assessment Update

From April 14-May18, 54 students in 18 of Montana’s schools will be participating a pilot of the new alternate assessment.  The new alternate assessment aligned to the Common Core State Standards will be operational in Spring of 2015 with one more full form pilot taking place in the fall of 2014.  For more information visit the NCSC Alternate Assessment hub on the OPI website: 

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


Montana public high school students in grades 9-12 will be able to access ACT Online Prep in February as part of the Gear Up ACT grant. ACT Test supervisors should have administrator passwords to set up users and student accounts. An ACT Online Prep Training for Administrators webinar is available here:

For more information, contact Judy Snow, 444.3656

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Career Technical and Adult Education

Perkins Remaining Funds for 2013-2014

FRIENDLY REMINDER to all high school districts with an outstanding or remaining 2013-2014 Perkins allocation to please obligate your remaining funds before the end of this current school year.  If you have questions regarding your Perkins balance or any submitted cash requests, please contact Charlotte McMilin, Perkins Accountant.  If you have questions about obligating your Perkins funds, please contact either Brad King or Renee Harris.  Brad can be reached at: 406.444.4451 or by email at:  Renee can be reached at: 406.994.6986 or by email at:

For more information, contact Charlotte McMilin, 406.444.4403

CTE Spring Data Collection in AIM Continues

REMINDER:  The CTE Spring Data Collection began March 1 and ends April 30.  This AIM collection asks schools to identify all 12th grade high school students who meet the definition of a CTE Concentrator be identified as such in the AIM/Infinite Campus data system.  High schools who receive funding from the Carl D. Perkins federal grant program must complete this CTE data collection.  Instructions for completing the CTE Spring Data Collection can be found here:

For more information, contact Diana Fiedler, 406.444.9019

Perkins 'Intent to Apply' AND State VoEd Funding Application NOW AVAILABLE

The OPI has, again, combined both the federal Carl D. Perkins 'Intent to Apply' AND the State CTE/State VoEd Funding Application for districts convenience.  Districts may apply for one or both funding programs using this one electronic form.  The online link to access the application is now available and listed below.  Authorized Representatives of LEAs will use the online link to complete and submit the brief funding application for the 2014-2015 E-Grants cycle.  All public high schools and K-12 districts with qualifying Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are eligible to apply for funding.  Elementary districts are not eligible for Perkins or State VoEd monies.  Districts must apply online on or before the deadline to receive an allocation.  These designations are binding and cannot be changed once allocations are downloaded into the E-Grants system. 

The online link is located here:

The combined Perkins 'Intent to Apply' AND State CTE/State VoEd funding application is DUE to the OPI on or before April 21, 2014.

For more information, contact Diana Fiedler, 406.444.9019

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Content Standards and Instruction

Professional Learning Planning with the MCCS Liaisons

CSI and the OPI MCCS Liaisons invite superintendents to take advantage of their support for 2014-15 professional learning (PL) planning.  Liaisons are knowledgeable about MCCSS professional learning resources and are prepared to help superintendents identify resources that will meet the needs of their schools. In collaboration with the OPI and the Montana Providers of Professional Learning Network (for more about this group see, a catalog and calendar of PL offerings specific to MCCS implementation has been created.  This catalog will be updated periodically over the coming year with additional offerings from a variety of PL providers.   The calendar is continuously updated with offerings from each region of the state. The MCCS Liaisons can visit with you about the catalog and calendar, but you can also access them at

If you are interested in meeting with a Liaison to receive this support during your 2014-2015 PL planning, please contact Colet Bartow,, 406-444-3583.  Colet will connect you with the MCCS Liaison who is closest to your district.  Please feel free to contact your regional MCCS Liaison directly if you have already met.

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

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Educational Opportunity and Equity Division

Teacher Cancellation Loan

The Teacher Cancellation Loan Program assists teachers with up to $17, 500.00 in forgiveness on Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans as well as Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans.  The program was started with the intentions of encouraging educators to stay in the teaching profession. 

Qualifying teachers must have taught five consecutive years in a qualifying school district.  Also, the teacher must be  highly qualified in a qualifying subject in order to apply.  To be considered a highly qualified teacher, you must obtain full state certification along with passing rigorous testing in the teaching field in which the applicant has a degree. 

In order for the school to qualify, the school must have over 30 percent poverty or free and reduced lunch rates.  The school must also be a Title I School.  Each school year, the qualifying school list is updated by the state in order for the applicants and lenders to determine eligibility.

To learn more, click on the Teacher Cancellation Loan link:  You may also contact Shawna Pieske at or (406)444-5660.


For more information, contact Shawna Pieske, 406-444-5660

Changes to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Grant application in E-grants

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Grant application has been updated to streamline the process to apply for the grant. The grant application has been simplified and many of the text fields have been decreased or eliminated. The program description has been updated to reflect a tiered approach that is more familiar to schools implementing RtI and MBI. The new application will open at the same time as the ESEA/NCLB Consolidated Application. Districts and Consortia that have identified a minimum of 50 homeless students in AIM during the current school year are encouraged to apply. Please direct questions regarding the grant or the application process to Heather Denny at or (406) 444-2036.


For more information, contact Heather Denny, (406) 444-3026

2014 Title I Conference

Registration is now open for the 2014 OPI Title I Conference. This year's conference will be held in Billings, MT, at the Holiday Inn Grand hotel. The dates are April 23-24, 2014. Registration for the conference is $125 which includes a light, continental breakfast and full lunch each day. This year's keynote address will be by Aric Bostick, nationally known motivational and educational speaker. Registration for the conference will close April 16, 2014. A block of rooms has been set aside at the hotel for the conference. If you have further questions, please contact the Title I unit at the OPI.

For more information, contact Shawna Pieske, 4064445660

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Health Enhancement and Safety

Montana DRIVE Workshops are filling up! Register now.

The 2014 Montana DRIVE  summer workshops are quickly filling up.  If you are planning to come to Lewistown this summer for advanced driver training, visit the Montana DRIVE website, download the calendar and choose your first and second choice dates.  We will sign you up and send you an invoice. 

Every year we train between 450-500 drivers on a closed driving track in Lewistown to practice safe driving maneuvers that will make you more confident and skilled behind the wheel. Learn how to control a vehicle in critical driving situations and recover safely when a wheel drifts off road.

The course is designed for all types of drivers. School and transit bus drivers, heavy equipment drivers, state and federal workers, EMS and first responders, and individuals wanting to improve their driving skills take the workshop each summer. Special teen workshops are offered July 28, 29 and 30 and State Farm Insurance has again provided $200 scholarships to teens who apply and pay a $80 fee.

One college credit is available from MSU-Northern for teachers who write a short paper on the experience and stay an extra day to student teach.

Visit to select a workshop date and then email or call OPI to register. The adult workshop fee is $315 per driver. Call (406) 444-4432 or e-mail

For more information, contact Patti Borneman, 406.444.4432

Professional Development for Teachers on Nutrition Education

Montana Team Nutrition can provide regional or district level professional development workshops for teachers on nutrition education for K-8 grade students. 

Healthy eating, garden-based experiential lesson plans, and current nutrition recommendations aligned with the USDA’s Choose My Plate are the foundation of the workshops.  Participants will also receive educational standards based curriculum guides at the workshops.

For more information, contact Katie Bark, 406-994-5641

Register by April 15 - MT Traffic Education Conference - Bozeman

The 2014 OPI/Montana Traffic Education Association Conference is April 27-29, 2014 at the GranTree Inn in Bozeman. Traffic safety professionals, active and aspiring driver education teachers, and others interested in traffic safety education are welcome to attend.

Mike Tooley, director of the Montana Department of Transportation, will give the opening keynote about Montana and the Toward Zero Deaths campaign to address ways to reduce highway traffic tragedies. Judge Steve Todd from Oregon will present Teaching through Tickets: Driver Education in Traffic Court; Glen Barcus, MHP, will discuss Impaired Driving and Drug Recognition; and Blu Santee will speak on Risk Perception and Teen Drivers. The closing keynote will be given by Rich Hanson. Other topics to be presented are Teens in the Driver Seat, Rural Traffic Safety Culture, and Parent Engagement in Driver Ed. A tentative agenda is now available on

Beginning at noon on Sunday and ending at noon on Tuesday, the conference gets rolling with roundtable discussions on a variety of traffic education topics. Sessions on in-car lessons and the revised Montana Teen Driver Education curriculum will be provided by OPI and Montana traffic educators. Our friends at the Department of Justice/Motor Vehicle Division will give updates on the GDL and Cooperative Driver Testing Program (CDTP), and train educators needing the initial or refresher six-hour CDTP training.

Two pre-conference workshops by Journeys From Home begin Saturday, April 26 and end the next morning before the start of the MTEA conference. The workshops are Road Ready, Middle School Bike Workshop or Cycling Savvy. Contact Roger DiBrito (406-273-6458) for details and how to register. 

The conference agenda and registration form are available at Register soon! 

For more information, contact Patti Borneman, 406.444.4432

Summer Food Sponsors

Is your school district interested in serving meals to children this summer? The SFSP reimburses schools and organizations that prepare and serve meals to eligible children during the summer. Online application for previous sponsors will be available on April 2, 2014 and need to be completed by May 5, 2014.  New Sponsors applications are due May 19, 2014.

Learn more about summer food by attending the Summer Summit!  See the current events and training page for more information.

For more information, contact Sofia Janik, 406-444-2521

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading  cause of injury and death for young people aged 15-24. And distracted driving has been cited as the reason for many of these fatal or catastrophic crashes. But teens aren’t the only ones using handheld devices while driving. We all need to be aware of the dangers of distracted driving, and set the right example for children and teens who look up to us.

The following web sites offer excellent resources to use in the classroom and to share with your school and community during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month (and all year long).

Refer to OPI’s Distracted Driving Resources page for updated links and materials on this subject, including the revised Distracted Driving curriculum module.

For more information, contact Fran Penner-Ray, 406.444.4396

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Indian Education

Upcoming Indian Education professional development opportunity.

Montana Indian Education Association 33rd Annual Indian Education Conference April 17-20, 2014 at the Holiday Inn Down Town in Missoula, Montana. This year’s Conference theme “Education as a Way of Life” is a celebration of lifelong learning, best practices, and innovation.  Please visit the MIEA website at for conference registration and information.

For more information, contact Mike Jetty, 444-0720

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Measurement and Accountability


 Upcoming AIM Version Update in June

Infinite Campus will be applying a version update to the AIM system on the weekend of June 20th. This update will include a new ‘look’ for the AIM screens with new colors and style. The functionality will be the same, but it will have a new color scheme and the navigation will be simplified. Further information will be sent to districts in the upcoming weeks.

 CTE Spring Data Collection--DUE APRIL 30

The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Spring Data Collection began March 3 and ends April 30, 2014.  High schools need to identify all students in grade 12 who were enrolled at any point during the current 2013-2014 school year and have met the definition of a CTE Concentrator.  CTE Concentrators are high school 12th graders who have earned three (3) or more credits in any CTE Area of Concentration in any combination during their entire high school career.  Currently enrolled courses count towards credits earned.  Students meeting the CTE Concentrator definition must have the Concentrator box checked and an Area of Concentration entered into the AIM/Infinite Campus data system.  If the student has a child or shares the parenting of a child, the Single Parent box should also be marked.  All schools who receive funding from the Carl D. Perkins Federal grant program must complete this CTE Spring Data Collection.

Instructions for completing the CTE Spring Data Collection can be found inside the Data Collections tab on the Secondary CTE web page located at this link:

Questions regarding this data collection should be directed to the AIM Helpdesk at 1.877.424.6681 or by email at  Questions regarding CTE programs and/or the Carl D. Perkins Federal grant program should be directed to Diana Fiedler. 

For more information, contact Diana Fiedler, 406-444-9019

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School Finance

FY2014-15 Preliminary General Fund Budget Data Sheets

The OPI School Finance Division has posted the FY2014-15 Preliminary General Fund Budget Data Sheets and updated the General Fund Budget Excel Spreadsheet to assist schools in budgeting for the FY2014-15 school year.  The budget data sheets reflect the basic and per-ANB entitlement rates shown in 20-9-308, MCA and special education instructional block grant and related services block grant rates.

The Preliminary Budget Data Sheets can be accessed at the following link:  CLICK HERE

The General Fund Budget Excel Spreadsheet can be accessed at the following link: CLICK HERE

(Note:  Please download this current version of the spreadsheet to your computer (right-click on the link and choose "Save Target As" to save it to your desktop.)  Previous versions of the spreadsheet are no longer applicable for preliminary budget purposes.

Other resources posted on the website:

  • FY2014-15 General Fund Overview and Worksheets
  • FY2014-15 Budget Limitation Summary

For more information, contact Dennis Clague, (406) 444-1960


April is a busy month for school elections!  Please pay careful attention to these upcoming election deadlines:

  • Thursday, March 27th:  Trustees must pass a resolution calling for an election.  The resolution must include the date of the election, the purpose of the election, the polling locations and the times the polls will be open.  Levy amounts may be set later (not less than 25 days prior to the election). 
  • Friday, March 28th:  The last day for trustee candidates to withdraw from an election (a statement of withdrawal must be sent to the election administrator).
  • Tuesday, April 1st:  The last day for districts to file resolutions for school election with the county election administrator.
  • Friday, April 4th:  The deadline to notify election judges of appointment.  Election judges are required to complete the training required in Title 13, must be registered voters in the county and district in which they serve, and must not have specific relationships with a candidate (see the School Election Manual for more information).
  • Sunday, April 6th through Wednesday, April 16th:  The window for posting election notice.  Notices must be published in a newspaper of general circulation, if there is one in the district, and in three public places in each ward/precinct.
  • Monday, April 7th:  Voter registration closes for school elections.
  • Monday, April 7th:  The first day to contact the county election administrator for the biennial absentee ballot list.  The list must be received by April 16th.
  • Thursday, April 10th, by 5 p.m.:  The deadline for write-in candidates to file a Declaration of Intent. 
  • Friday, April 11th:  The deadline for declaring an election by acclamation and cancellation of election if the number of candidates filing a nomination position or declaration of intent is less than or equal to the number of open trustee positions.  Notice must be given that the election will not be held.
  • Friday, April 11th:  The deadline to certify ballot(s).
  • Friday, April 11th through Monday, April 21st:  The window to send out mail ballots.  All ballots must be mailed the same day.
  • Wednesday, April 16th:  The deadline to mail absentee ballots.

The School Election Calendar and Election Manual are located on the OPI website at the following link:  CLICK HERE

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

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