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Montana Policy Profile

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Montana

Teaching Standards and Leadership Standards

Teaching Standards

Is working with students with disabilities and meeting the needs of students with disabilities addressed in state teaching standards?

Montana teaching standards (ARM 10.58.501) require preparation programs to ensure that candidates:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, behavioral health continuum, and physical areas, and individualize developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences for learners of all cognitive abilities.
  1. Use understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities, including American Indians and tribes in Montana and English Language Learners, to ensure inclusive environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.

Montana also has standards for approval of teacher education programs for educators specializing in teaching students with disabilities (ARM 10.58.510). The following are among the elements that successful candidates must demonstrate:

  1. Understand how exceptionalities may interact with development and learning and use this knowledge to provide culturally responsive, meaningful, and challenging learning experiences for individuals with exceptionalities;
  2. Understand how to create and implement personalized, safe, inclusive, and culturally responsive learning environments for all individuals with exceptionalities to become active and effective learners with positive social interactions, self-determination, and healthy well-being;
  3. Use knowledge of general and specialized curricula, including curricula used in Montana schools, to implement individualized learning opportunities that align with the needs of students with exceptionalities;
  4. Use multiple methods of assessment and data sources to identify individualized learning needs and make a variety of education decisions;
  5. Select, adapt, and use a repertoire of evidence-based instructional strategies and assistive technology to advance learning of individuals with exceptionalities;
  6. Guide professional practices by using foundational knowledge of the field along with professional ethics and standards;
  7. Collaborate and communicate in culturally responsive ways with all individuals involved in the special education process to improve programs, services, and outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities and their families;
  8. Demonstrate an understanding of the philosophical, historical, and legal foundations of special education;
  9. Demonstrate knowledge of typical and atypical language development and use systematic evidence-based instruction to enhance language development and teach communicative competence;
  10. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of special education laws and regulations, procedural safeguards, ethical concerns, evaluations/documentation, and appropriate instructional strategies and techniques to support students with social-emotional/behavioral needs (e.g., positive behavior intervention plans/supports); and
  11. Demonstrate proficiency in Montana special education procedural competencies including knowledge of state and federal laws along with the 13 legally defined categories, knowledge of the Achievement in Montana (AIM) system and state forms, special education processes, identification of social and cultural movements in special education law, and court cases which shaped special education law, understand legal resources to assist decision making, and the ability to navigate federal and Montana law.

Source: Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM), Chapter 58

School Leadership Standards

Is knowledge of working with students with disabilities included in leader standards?

The preparation program standards for school principals, supervisors, and curriculum directors (ARM 10.58.705) require candidates to “promote the development of the full educational potential of each person.” They also require candidates to “advocate, promote, and protect the social, emotional, and physical safety of students and staff with knowledge of Montana School Law and Special Education Law.”

The preparation program standards for superintendents (ARM 10.58.706) require candidates to “promote the development of the full educational potential of each person” and to “demonstrate knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individual Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).”

Sources:

ARM, 10.58.705

ARM, 10.58.706


Teacher and Principal Preparation

Teacher Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Required course work in teaching students with disabilities/diverse learners

Initial content and pedagogical content requirements contained in the state’s educator preparation programs standards seek to ensure that candidates “demonstrate an understanding of the 11 Montana teaching standards (ARM 10.58.501) within the categories “the learner and learning,” “content,” “instructional practice,” and “professional responsibility” and “demonstrate skills and commitment that afford all P-12 students access to rigorous college- and career-ready standards.” [ARM 10.58.311] Montana Professional Educator Preparation Program Standards also delineate competencies that teacher candidates for a special education endorsement must demonstrate. [MAR 10.58.510] There are no specific coursework requirements.

Source: ARM 10.58.311

Clinical time in diverse settings/teaching special populations

The state’s educator preparation program standards require “partnerships for clinical preparation” and “clinical experiences of sufficient depth, breadth, diversity, coherence, and duration to ensure that candidates demonstrate their developing effectiveness and positive impact on all studentsꞌ learning and development.” [ARM 10.58.312]

Source: ARM, 10.58.312

Teacher Preparation – Accountability

Quality of teacher preparation programs

Montana requires that its traditional preparation programs provide evidence that “data are used to evaluate student performance and modify programs.” These data include assessments at admissions, verification of content knowledge, student teaching and clinical experience assessments and follow-up studies. The state does not collect such data for its alternate route programs.

Educator preparation providers must sponsor an accreditation site review every seven years or on an adjusted schedule based upon coordination with national accreditation. Joint accreditation site reviews and cooperation with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is encouraged.

Sources:

National Council on Teacher Quality, 2014 State Teacher Policy Yearbook

ARM, 10.58.102

ARM, 10.58.103

Principal Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Require course work in leading a school/district that serves special education students/diverse learners

State standards for advanced preparation programs, including for educational administrators, require candidates to “develop a deep understanding of the critical concepts and principles of their discipline…to advance the learning of all students toward attainment of college- and career-readiness standards.” There are no specific coursework requirements.

The preparation program standards for school principals, supervisors, curriculum directors and superintendents require candidates to complete an internship/field experience that provides “at least 216 hours of significant opportunities to synthesize and apply the knowledge and practice and develop the skills” identified in preparation program standards “through substantial, sustained, standards-based work in real settings, planned and guided cooperatively by the institution and properly administratively endorsed school district personnel for graduate credit.”

Sources:

ARM, 10.58.605

ARM, 10.58.705

ARM, 10.58.706

Principal Preparation – Accountability

Are programs reviewed based on outcomes of graduates’ success? Can school principals be linked back to institutions of higher education and preparation programs?

Montana requires its preparation programs to provide evidence that “data are used to evaluate student performance and modify programs.” These data include assessments at admissions, verification of content knowledge, student teaching and clinical experience assessments and follow-up studies.

Educator preparation providers must sponsor an accreditation site review every seven years or on an adjusted schedule based upon coordination with national accreditation. Joint accreditation site reviews and cooperation with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is encouraged.


Teacher and Principal Certification/Licensure

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Structure

Is a specific certificate, license or endorsement related to special education required?

The state of Montana offers only a K-12 special education endorsement on a standard teaching certificate.

Sources:

National Council on Teacher Quality, 2014 State Teacher Policy Yearbook

Montana Board of Public Education, Chapter 57, Educator Licensure

Teacher Certification – Examination

Does the state require teachers to pass a basic skills exam for initial certification? What are the pass rates on the exams? Does the state require Praxis II or more pedagogical assessment for licensure? Does it include anything about teaching diverse learners or special populations?

Montana does not use content test scores for licensure decisions.

Source: ETS, Overview of Montana Testing Requirements

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Requirements

Is professional development around working with special populations required to move from initial to a professional license?

Montana offers two teacher licenses, a Standard and a Professional. Neither requires professional development on working with special student populations. A Standard license requires: a bachelor’s degree; verified completion of an accredited professional educator preparation program in an area approved for endorsement in Montana; and successful completion of a supervised teaching experience either as part of an accredited professional educator preparation program or successfully complete one year of teaching experience in a state accredited elementary and/or secondary school district. A Professional license requires: a Standard Educator License or meeting the qualifications of the Standard Educator License; a Master’s degree in professional education or an endorsable teaching area(s) from an accredited college or university; and verification of three years of successful K-12 teaching experience as a licensed teacher.

Sources:

Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI), Educator Licensure

University of Kentucky, 50 States’ Certification Requirements

Principal Certification/Licensure – Requirements

Is prior teaching experience required to become a principal and/or a superintendent? Is specific coursework or other evidence required around working with special populations?

Montana requires principal candidates to obtain a Master’s degree in an accredited school administration program or the equivalent, requires classroom-teaching experience, and requires completion of a state-approved preparation program.

Sources:

Montana OPI, Administrator Licensure

George W. Bush Institute, Operating in the Dark


Teacher and Principal Induction

Teacher Induction

Is mentoring required for all new teachers and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically address teaching diverse learners?

The state does not require all new teachers to receive induction support. But Montana Program Foundation Standards recommends the provision of “a well-conceived mentoring program for teachers in the first three years of teaching.” [ARM 10.55.1003]

Source: New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction

Principal Induction

Is coaching/mentoring required for all new principals/administrators/ superintendents and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically serving diverse learners?

The state does not require all new administrators to receive induction support.

Source: New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction


Teacher and Principal Professional Development Standards

Teacher Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for teacher PD?

Our policy review did not identify state standards for the on-going professional development or learning of classroom teachers.

Principal Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for leadership PD?

Our policy review did not identify state standards for the on-going professional development or learning of school administrators or principals.