New Report: SIG Promising Practices from Montana

Today, Corbett Education Consulting and the Center on Innovation & Accountability released a new promising practice case study on Montana. The report highlights how strong state oversight, the use of coaches, and an emphasis on community engagement increases capacity and the likelihood of sustainable improvement efforts in rural districts with low-performing schools.

Providing support to Frontier communities through state oversight, embedded coaching, and community engagement

Montana’s highest-need, lowest-performing schools, are predominantly located in the most remote areas of the state. Combining the influx of 2010-11 federal School Improvement Grant dollars with the geographic limitations of Montana forced the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) to significantly alter how persistently low-performing schools are supported by the state.

Montana’s revamped School Improvement system includes several key components

  •  An overall 3 year capacity building philosophy of “I Do, We Do, You Do.”
  •  Coordination and commitment within the Office of Public Instruction
  •  Indicators of Success to guide implementation
  •  Strong focus on community engagement, empowerment and improvement
  •  Clearly defined shared accountability 
  •  Embedded coaches in the field (4 full-time coaches per school/community)

Montana’s unique school improvement program could be replicated in other rural areas, as well as with any state working with limited-capacity districts. As we close the first year of the revised federal SIG program, additional promising practices will continue to be gathered, codified, and shared with other states and districts.

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