In Montana, American Indian student enrollment is 12 times the national average and nearly 85 percent of the districts are rural. Technical assistance is essential to ensuring the state’s 824 public schools have what they need to serve all students equitably. The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) has identified the following high-priority areas for receiving NWCC support:
Implementing the State Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan
Montana’s ESSA plan outlines goals to close long-standing achievement gaps and provide educational opportunities for all Montana students. With the focus now on implementation, OPI has requested that NWCC provide information and advice regarding the design of comprehensive and targeted school improvement approaches, college and career readiness measures, and evidence-based practices. NWCC is also consulting with OPI leadership on roles, responsibilities, and alignment across divisions.
Closing the Achievement Gap for American Indian Students
The American Indian Achievement Task Force is a cross-agency group focused on improving how OPI supports districts and schools serving American Indian students. NWCC is providing facilitation and consultation to the task force to promote cross-divisional collaboration and problem-solving and to establish clear, measurable goals for improving outcomes for American Indian students, particularly those attending schools on reservations.
Improving Mathematics Teaching and Learning
State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen has identified improving mathematics achievement as one of her top priorities. NWCC is providing technical assistance, as requested, including supporting the development of a summary of plans, strategies, and resources schools and districts are already using, a theory of action for improving mathematics achievement statewide, and an implementation plan to guide agency actions.
Promoting Rural Innovation and Student Engagement
In 2013, NWCC and its partners at Boston College created a network designed to connect isolated rural educators as they work to implement rigorous new standards and improve outcomes and opportunities for students. The Northwest Rural Innovation and Student Engagement (NW RISE) Network currently includes schools from two districts in Montana (Dixon and Fair-Mont-Egan), along with districts in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.