At your service...

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 Allyson Hagen, 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

  • Heather Denny, Education Specialist, 406.444.2036
  • Vacant , Administrative Assistant, 406.444.3694



  • Heather Denny, Education Program Specialist, 406.444.2036
  • Vacant, Title I Administrative Assistant, 406.444.5660


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


  • Effie Benoit, Program Specialist, 406.444.2417, fax: 406.444.1373



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 Technology Plan Requirement for Priority One Services Eliminated
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the Sixth Report and Order adopted September 23, 2010, has eliminated the requirement for schools and libraries seeking priority one services (telephone service and Internet access discounts).  The order states: “Because the record demonstrates that applicants  are required to or will likely perform technology planning even without the E-rate program requirements, we find that eliminating the technology planning requirement entirely for priority one funding will better service the intent of the NPRM proposal to simply the application process, while still adequately addressing concerns regarding waste, fraud and abuse.”

Technology Planning
While the technology plan requirement has been removed for priority one funding, districts are encouraged to continue with technology planning as a part of the local Continuous School Improvement Plan.  Careful planning results in cost effective, efficient and effective integration of technology to improve the teaching and learning environment.

E-Rate Technology Plan Requirement for Priority Two Services are required
District’s seeking priority two services (internal connections) are required to have an OPI certified technology plan in place.   The process for obtaining this certification will not change from the current practice.

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

Frequently Asked Questions from SLD

McKinney-Vento - Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program

Welcome to the Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program, also known as Title X, Part C of No Child Left Behind. The purpose of this program is to ensure that every homeless child and youth in the nation has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, as provided to other children and youth.

Educating homeless children and youth in Montana 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 families and youth experiencing homelessness, 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.

What does it mean to be homeless in Montana? Like most states, the majority of our homeless children and families are living with friends or relatives. Under the law, this situation is known as being "doubled up," and is considered a homeless situation if the family is sharing housing due to financial hardship. Homeless families can also be found living in hotels or motels, living 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, please 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 homeless children and youth? Students who experience one or more episodes of homelessness often face a variety of academic challenges. Identifying these children and youth 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 which can assist the family with housing, food, medical care, and other basic needs.

The OPI currently provides funding for EHCY programs in the following districts; Billings, Bozeman/Belgrade, Browning, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell/Evergreen, Missoula and Sidney.

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

The National Center for Homeless Education and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth provide a variety of information and resources regarding the EHCY Program.


Indian Communities...

Bureau of Indian Affairs – Rocky Mountain Region
Bureau of Indian Education McKinney-Vento Program
Multicultural Homeless Poster
Multicultural Homeless Brochure
Montana Indian Law
Office of Indian Affairs – State of Montana
Tribal Resources for Homeless Families and Youth - coming soon


For more information contact Heather Denny, State Homeless Education Coordinator, at 406-444-2036 or at

Neglected, Delinquent Youth

The Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk, authorized by Title I, Part D of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (20 USC 6421 et seq.) include two programs, one for State programs and another for local programs:

  1. Subpart 1 establishes the State agency Neglected or Delinquent (N or D) program, through which ED provides Federal financial assistance to State educational agencies (SEAs) to enable them to award sub grants to State agencies (SAs) that operate educational programs for children and youth in institutions or community day programs for children who are neglected, delinquent and at-risk and for children and youth in adult correctional facilities.

    Current Subpart 1 Grantees (2012 – 2013)
    State Department of Corrections:  provides services to students at Pine Hills Correctional
    Facility in Miles City, Montana and Riverside Correctional Facility in Boulder, Montana
  2. Subpart 2 authorizes ED to award grants to SEAs to enable them to award sub grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) to provide programs that serve children and youth who are in locally operated correctional facilities or are attending community day programs for delinquent children and youth.  Additionally, Subpart 2 programs may provide assistance to children and youth who are neglected or at-risk of dropping out of school.
    Current Subpart 2 Grantees (2012 – 2013)
    Anaconda Public Schools, Jefferson High School in Boulder, Great Falls Public Schools, and Missoula County Public Schools
  3. Subpart 3 of Part D requires SAs and LEAs to evaluate their programs at least once every three years to determine, by using multiple and appropriate evaluation measures, the programs’ effects on student achievement.

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

For additional information contact The National Evaluation & Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and Youth who are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk Youth (NDTAC) at  


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.

State Agency program (Subpart 1)

  • This is a Neglected and Delinquent program established by the Montana Department of Corrections, which provides educational services to eligible school-age youth in correctional facilities, as well as youth transitioning to and from correctional facilities in Montana.
  • The numbers of eligible youth are reported each October by the Department of Corrections. This count generates an allocation of funds from the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to be used in these facilities for Neglected and Delinquent youth.
  • This Subpart requires the State Agency to spend a minimum of 15 percent of it's allocation, up to a maximum of 30 percent, on transition services for youth leaving each facility.

Local Agency Program (Subpart 2)

  • This program is for local school districts to provide educational services to Neglected and Delinquent youth who reside in facilities in the local community. The local district may establish a program in a school or provide support services at the local facility or group home.
  • The numbers of eligible youth are reported each year by the local neglected or delinquent facility. This count generates an allocation of funds from USED to be used to provide educational services and support to local Neglected and Delinquent youth. See related link: Private Local Delinquent Homes 2008.
  • The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) grants these funds to the local school districts with the most need based on a state average. See related link: Local Delinquent Allocation 2008.

Neglected Services Provided Under Title I, Part A

  • Each child or youth in a local Neglected facility is counted in the numbers of Title I, Part A total. These students generate an allocation of funds under Title I, Part A and are eligible for services provided by the local district at the school or in the facility in which the students are housed.

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 $5,000 college scholarship award for undergraduate studies, subject to specific conditions and requirements.

One Week in our Nation's Capitol

The United States Senate Youth Program will be held in Washington, D.C., March 8-15, 2014. 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.

College Scholarship
Two Montana high school students and a first and second alternate.

How to Qualify

  • Be a junior or graduating senior in a Montana high school
  • Currently serving in an elected or selected capacity in any one of the following student government offices at their Montana high school for the 2013-14 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 should see their high school counselors to sign up for the qualifying exam.

Potential awardees compete for this scholarship by taking a 50-point exam on current politics, American History, and the U.S. Constitution.

The top scorers are then required to record DVD responses to a set of questions provided by the Office of Public Instruction, U.S. Senate Youth Program staff.

Two delegates and two alternates are chosen from the semifinalists.

Notification of scholarship application information is sent in September to all public and private high school counselors and student body presidents. The deadline for taking the 50-point exam is in early October.

Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship

The Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship program is a federally funded program administered by the Office of Public Instruction to recognize exceptionally able high school seniors who show promise of continued excellence in post-secondary education. On April 14, 2011, President Obama signed legislation which funds the federal government for the remainder of the federal fiscal year. Unfortunately, the legislation terminates funding for several programs, including the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship program. As a result, no scholarships will be made to new students and no new renewal funding will be available to college/university students for the 2011-12 or 2012-13 school years.

Students are encouraged to contact the college/university financial aid office for information on other financial aid opportunities such as tuition exemptions and waivers, grants and scholarships, work-study, and loans/loan repayment.

If you have questions please contact Effie Benoit, 406.444.2417.Thank you for your attention to this memorandum.

Scholarship Opportunities