Montana | Understanding ESSA



May 12, 2015

MT: Annual School Report Cards Released With Caveats

March 12, 2021

Montana has released federally required school report cards for the 2019-20 school year, while flagging that some key data points that typically rely on student test scores would be missing as assessments were canceled at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the missing data,...

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MT: State Superintendent Announces Record Low Dropout, Looks Ahead to Rising Graduation Rates

January 18, 2021

Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen announced a statewide dropout rate of less than 2%, a historic low and a possible indicator of coming increases to the graduation rate. Arntzen credited persistent actions taken under the state’s ESSA plan to increase graduation rates, engage...

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Federal Funding Cuts Delayed, Sparing Rural Montana Schools for the Time Being

March 5, 2020

As reported in the Montana Standard, “cuts to a program that provides funding to rural schools serving students from low-income families will be delayed after mounting criticism.” Previously, the U.S. Department of Education had proposed changes to the Rural Low-Income Schools program’s eligibility requirements. A...

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Changes to Low-Income Grant Qualifications Leave Questions for Montana Schools

February 27, 2020

According to an article in the Flathead Beacon, Montana education officials are raising concerns over how a proposed change by the U.S. Department of Education could impact local schools. The Department is proposing to change the way it determines qualification for rural low-income grants, basing...

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Montana Gets $50-Million Federal Literacy Grant

October 4, 2019

According to the Sydney Herald, Montana has received a five-year, $50 million literacy grant from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the Striving Readers Comprehensive State Development Program. The grant has several “outcome expectations,” including increasing “the percentage of all participating disadvantaged student...

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Montana “Punts” Definition of “Ineffective Teacher” to Districts

April 9, 2019

Matt Hoffman reports for the Billings Gazette that Montana “punted” on the state’s definition of an “ineffective teacher” under ESSA, which requires states to specifically define this term. Though the state won approval for its ESSA plan, it do so while saying it would define...

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Montana ESSA Report Cards Due in March

February 11, 2019

Corin Cates-Carney reports for MTPR that Montana public school parents “will soon have a new tool to see how their local school’s academic scores compare to others across the state.” According to a spokesperson for the Montana Office of Public Instruction, the state’s ESSA report...

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Montana Delays Release of School Report Cards

December 12, 2018

Matt Hoffman writes for the Ravalli Republic that Montana “won’t be releasing its new report cards that evaluate school performance in December as previously planned.” Pointing to “guidance from the Department of Education about the Every Student Succeeds Act,” Montana education officials announced they would not...

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Montana Passes on A-F School Ratings

June 14, 2018

Matt Hoffman reports that Montana’s new, ESSA-based “report card for telling the public how schools are performing won’t assign an overall grade,” but will instead “focus on comparing schools across individual categories.”

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Seven More States Need Specifics

December 18, 2017

The Dept. of Education sent letters to Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming enumerating federal feedback on their ESSA plans.

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State Plan Submissions and Drafts

October 17, 2017

Approved State Plans Alabama: Final Plan Approved (5/7/18) Alaska: Final Plan Approved (5/16/18) Arizona: Final Plan Approved (9/6/17) Arkansas: Final Plan Approved (1/16/18) Colorado: Final Plan Approved (5/7/18) Connecticut: Final Plan Approved (8/15/17) Delaware: Final Plan Approved (8/2/17) District of Columbia: Final Plan Approved (8/28/17) Georgia:...

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MT’s ESSA Plan Receives Gubernatorial Approval

September 6, 2017

Montana’s ESSA plan received gubernatorial approval, “but it’s still unclear if it will be accepted by the U.S. Department of Education.” The plan “calls for students who have historically scored the lowest in tests—students in poor families, English learners, kids with disabilities, and Native Americans—to...

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MT Gov. Reviews State’s Draft ESSA Plan

August 22, 2017

A draft of Montana’s ESSA plan is being reviewed by Gov. Steve Bullock. State officials plan “to have a copy in the hands of federal officials” by the September 18 deadline.

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MT Educators Meet to Draft ESSA Plan

July 24, 2017

Education groups met with Montana Office of Public Instruction to discuss the state’s draft ESSA plan. Montana officials have chosen to grade schools on college and career readiness, attendance, science proficiency and a yet to be created school survey.

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MT Releases Draft ESSA Plan for Public Comment

July 13, 2017

The Montana Office of Public Instruction released the state’s draft ESSA plan. The public comment period is open through August.

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MT Releases Draft ESSA Plan for Public Comment

July 7, 2017

Montana School Superintendent Elsie Arntzen released the state’s draft ESSA plan for public comment and review. Arntzen said she wants to “ensure the plan reflects Montana’s unique education system,” and the “plan is an opportunity to promote local control and flexibility, and to put Montana...

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MT Draft ESSA Plan to be Available July 12

June 15, 2017

The Montana Office of Public Instruction announced that the state’s draft ESSA plan will be made available by July 12. Susie Hedalen, OPI director educational services and ESSA, stated, “We’re trying to get the word out because we want to make sure we hear from...

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State Superintendent Juneau Comments on ESSA Plan

December 29, 2016

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau issued a statement on the state’s ESSA plan after formally submitting the plan to the Dept. of Education. She stated that the plan “places a strong emphasis on school climate as a way to measure the health of...

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MT Drafts 82-Page ESSA Outline

December 15, 2016

Montana drafted an 82-page ESSA plan outlining how the state will “encourage schools’ progress, close achievement gaps and turn around the worst performing schools.” The plan is available for public comment.

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MN Dept. of Ed Releases ESSA State Plan

November 19, 2016

The Montana Dept. of Education released a draft of Montana’s ESSA state plan. According to the Montana Standard, officials said “they’ll likely adjust the plan after reviewing comments from the public and the governor’s office,” and then submit the plan to the Dept. of Education...

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Superintendent Juneau’s ESSA Working Groups Scheduled to Hold First Meeting Sept. 26

September 13, 2016

Superintendent Denise Juneau’s two ESSA Consolidated State Plan Stakeholders Working Groups are scheduled to hold their first meeting on September 26th. The department indicates that it will have a plan for the public and the Governor to review by November 10th.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Releases State ESSA Primers

May 16, 2016

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s primers include individual state by state accountability system fact sheets, which detail each state’s current accountability system, what could change under ESSA, and what to be asking state leaders. See details about your state here.

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Evan Rosenberg Announces Anticipated Date for ESSA State Plan Release

April 25, 2016

Evan Rosenberg, candidate for an open seat on the Target Range School District Board of Trustees, noted that, “Montana’s Office of Public Instruction will publish in July of this year their state plan that details how they will implement ESSA.” Read more here.

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