The Accreditation and Educator Preparation Division provides leadership, oversight, and support of elementary, secondary and postsecondary education in Montana. The division is committed to continuous improvement in teaching and learning ensuring all students meet today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities.
Michael Hall, Director of Professional Learning and Technology Support 406.444.4422
Teri Wing, Accreditation Compliance Specialist 406.444.4436
Heather Ferguson, Gifted and Talented Education, Regional Education Service Area Specialist 406.444.0769
Effie Benoit, Accreditation Data Specialist 406.444.2410
Kimberly Vinson, Data Control Technician 406.444.1852
Rehanna Olson, Administrative Specialist 406.444.3114
Accreditation Standards and Procedures
Montana School Accreditation Standards and Procedures Manual
Standards for School Accreditation as per 20-7-101 MCA: (1) Standards of accreditation for all schools shall be adopted by the board of public education upon the recommendations of the superintendent of public instruction.
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- Revised Chapter 55 Standards of Accreditation – Effective 7/1/2013
- Revised Chapter 55 Standards FAQ
- Complete Appendices
- Appendices Effective 7/1/2013
- Appendix A
Accreditation Status Criteria Reference Guide
Determining the Accreditation Status of Schools Elementary School Examples
Determining the Accreditation Status of Schools High School Examples
- Appendix B
Licensure Endorsement Codes
Licensure Endorsement Requirements Related to Teaching Assignments
- Appendix C
Assignment of Superintendents and School Administrators
- Appendix D
Intensive Assistance Process
Intensive Assistance Process Brochure
- Appendix E
Variances to Standards
- Appendix F
Montana Educator Performance System (EPAS) - A State Model for Principal Evaluation
Montana Educator Performance System (EPAS) - A State Model for Teacher Evaluation
- Appendix G
School Day, Week, Year
- Appendix H
Gifted and Talented Programs
- Appendix I
Student Record Summary
- Appendix J
Middle Grade App for Approval 7th and 8th Grade Program
Middle School Accreditation Approval Process
- Middle School Intent to Apply and Final Application Documentation
Middle Grades Application for Approval Middle School Program
Application of Intent to Transition to Middle School Program Accreditation Status
- Appendix K
School Facilities Information
Annual Process for Effect of Fire Inspection Reports on Accreditation Status
- Appendix A
- Chapter 53 Content Standards
- Chapter 54 Content Standards and Performance Descriptors
- Chapter 56 Assessment
- Chapter 16 Special Education
The Accreditation Unit primarily serves 828 schools and districts in the area of accreditation standards and practices and program accountability; Annual Data Collection (ADC) technical assistance; P20 on-site review criteria, protocol, follow-up technical assistance to schools, research and reporting; and continuous improvement (CSI Plan).
- 2013 Annual Accreditation Report
- Annual Accreditation Process Calendar - November 2012
- Intensive Assistance Process
- 2011-2012 Annual Montana Accreditation Report
- Accreditation Corrective Plan Form
- 2010-2011 Annual Montana Accreditation Report
- Continuous School Improvement Plan and Annual Progress Report
- Administrative Rules of Montana
- Annual Data Collection
- Blue Ribbon Schools
- Four-Day School Week Report October 2011
- Four-Day School Week List Update 2013
- US Department of Ed Clearinghouses
Teri Wing, Accreditation Compliance Specialist 406.444.4436
Effie Benoit,, Accreditation Data Specialist, 406.444.2410
Educator Evaluation Systems
As of July 1, 2013, Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) Chapter 55 Standards of Accreditation Revised are in effect. Included in Chapter 55 are the revised standards relating to the evaluation process used in Montana schools, which outline the minimum guidelines and requirements of “the evaluation system used by a school district.”
During the 2013-14 school year, every Montana school district is responsible for beginning to implement the requirements of ARM 10.55.701 (4)(a). As provided in 10.55.701 (4)(b), “model evaluation instruments” have been “developed and published” to assist school districts in meeting the state standards for evaluation.
Montana has 9 post-secondary campuses offering teacher education programs that have been approved by the Montana Board of Education for teacher, administrator, specialist certification in Montana. Each institution offers its own combination of programs. Both historical and current combinations of programs can be accessed through this site.
- Select the institution.
- Current approved programs will have a "yes" in the "if still approved" column and/or a date of last on-site review.
- Historical (discontinued) programs will have the last year of approval in the "if still approved" column and may or may not have a date of last on-site review.
- If a program is still current as a major but not as a minor (and vice versa), "minor 19--" will be in the "if still approved" column (the last year it was approved as a minor) and a date will be in the last on-site review column (last review of the current major program.)
- If you have specific questions regarding the institutions' education programs, please contact the certification official for the respective institution(s). Contact information is provided.
- On-site reviews occur on a rotating schedule with every campus being reviewed every five years. Provisional approval may be awarded by the Board of Public Education on recommendation from the Teacher Education Division of the Office of Public Instruction for programs instituted between on-site reviews.
Sec. 207. ACCOUNTABILITY FOR PROGRAMS THAT PREPARE TEACHERS
This legislation calls for a State Report Card on the Quality of Teacher Preparation. It requests states to provide a description of the teacher certification and licensure assessments, and any other certification and licensure requirements, used by the State. It asks for the percentage of teaching candidates who passed each of the assessments used by the State for teacher certification and licensure, disaggregated and ranked, by the teacher preparation program in that State from which the teacher candidate received the candidate's most recent degree, which shall be made available widely and publicly. It asks for information on the extent to which teachers in the State are given waivers of State certification or licensure requirements, including the proportion of such teachers distributed across high- and low-poverty school districts and across subject areas.
An initial report was due April 7, 1999, giving basic information about the state's certification, which in Montana includes the only state mandated testing requirement. Following this, the state was to establish (with the cooperation of appropriate institutions) a procedures report which was due October 7, 2000.
An unexpected complication with the law was the absence of definitions and the unanticipated variety of state rules, laws and assessments (varying from none to many). It took nearly a year of meetings to determine how the desired goal of the legislation might be collected. A set of guidelines for implementing Title II was not available until January 2000.
The act includes penalties for states and institution for failure to comply. "Fines.--In addition to the actions authorized in section 487(c), the Secretary may impose a fine not to exceed $25,000 on an institution of higher education for failure to provide the information described in this subsection in a timely or accurate manner."
'In order to receive funds under this Act, a State, not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, shall have in place a procedure to identify, and assist, through the provision of technical assistance, low-performing programs of teacher preparation within institutions of higher education..." This is the context for the attached report, dated October 5, 2000.
Comprehensive Family Engagement
As of July 1, 2013, the revised Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM) Chapter 55 Standards of Accreditation are in effect. Included in the standards of accreditation in ARM 10.55.701(2)(m)(i-vi) is the requirement to establish and maintain a comprehensive family engagement policy.
While not new to educators, family engagement research has been advancing and new resources for districts have become available. The Title I, Part A Division at the Office of Public Instruction has created a web page rich with resources. The Title I Family and Community Engagement (FACE) web page provides resources for parents, teachers and schools.
Variances to Standards
Variances to Standards, Effective July 1, 2013
The revised ARM 10.55.604 Variances to Standards rule allows a local board of trustees to apply… for a variance to a standard or a section of standards, excluding standards stating statutory criteria, standards pertaining to educator licensure or endorsement, and content standards.
The intent of the revised Variance to Standards is to 1) provide options and innovation to school districts to help ensure educational quality and accountability, and 2) create a pre-appointed review board that will make recommendations to the Superintendent of Public Instruction for approval, modification, or rejection of all variance to standard applications.
2013 Applications and Recommendations
- Variances to Standards Application Process
- ARM 10.55.604 - Variances to Standards
- Variances to Standards – Implementation Timeline 2013-15
- Review Board
- March 3, 2014 Application
- Rubric Considerations
- Final Rubric