MSSA Board and Staff

Linda Sunderlin
Linda Sunderlin

MSSA Office Manager.

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Janelle Beers
Janelle Beers

Executive Director

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Carolyn Hall, Board Chair
Carolyn Hall, Board Chair

Lake County Superintendent of Schools

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Rural Teachers of the Year,

NREA Hall of Fame 

Jules Waber
Jules Waber

Powell County Superintendent, Jules Waber, receiving his NREA "Hall of Fame" Award.

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Debra Flynn, Molt Elementary
Debra Flynn, Molt Elementary

2021 Montana Rural Teacher of the Year, Stillwater County.

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Joni Carroll - Cohagen Elementary, Garfield County, Montana
Joni Carroll - Cohagen Elementary, Garfield County, Montana

2020 National Rural Teacher of the Year

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MSSA Frontier Schools 

Zurich Elementary School
Zurich Elementary School

Blaine County

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Ross School
Ross School

Garfield County

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Salmon Prairie School
Salmon Prairie School

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Meet Lara Belice, 2022 Montana Rural Teacher of the Year

Lara is the sole licensed educator at Cooke City Schools, an isolated, K-8 rural one-room school.  Lara has taught at Cooke City for the past 4 years.  This year's enrollment spanned 6 grade levels, kindergarten through 7th grade.  Lara is known for applying her life experiences, knowledge and philosophy of teaching and learning to create and deliver effective and engaging learning experiences.  For more information on Lara and her school, click on the button below.

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Congratulations to Dr. Jayne Downey

     Dr. Jayne Downey, one of our MSSA Board Members, was honored for her "significant and lasting contributions to rural educaiton".  Dr. Downey is a professor at MSU and has been on our MSSA Board for many years.  Her award, the 2022 Career Achievement Award from the American Educational Research Association's Rural Education SIG is awarded biannually.  Congratulations and Thank You to Dr. Downey for her work with rural schools.

SAVE THE DATE
Hutterite Colony Educator Conference
Great Falls College-MSU
Thursday, August 11, 2022

(Registration link on our Conference Registration page)
NWEA/MAPS Training
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Virtual workshop, registration open now.

MSSA QUARTERLY BOARD MINUTES

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What We Do

 

MSSA Professional Development, Curriculum and Policy Consortium

The Montana Small Schools Professional Development and Curriculum Consortium is one of the major programs of the Alliance and has no enrollment limit to take advantage of the program.  Starting in 1996, the Alliance has provided more than one - thousand day-long workshops to multi-grade school districts and K-12 districts helping them create curriculum, instruction, and assessments, to meet state and federal standards. Each year the consortium has grown to serve more school districts. In 2020 the consortium is serving approximately 100 school districts throughout Montana in curriculum, professional development and rural school policy.  The MSSA contract member teachers that continually aligns MSSA curriculum to the Montana Content Standards in all disciplines.  The member section holds full K-12 curriculum, completely aligned.  The Rural Schools Policy Manual is also included in consortium membership.  Language for REAP and Title II grants are additional features of Consortium membership.  Membership in the consortium runs between $750.00 and $2500 depending on size.  MSSA reimburses one vehicle per district to conferences, provides both reimbursement credits and graduate credits for attendance.

 MSSA Standards Program

In response to a change in policy by the Montana Board of Public Education regarding the accreditation standards for guidance and libraries, MSSA offers a program for districts with under 126 students enrolled. If a school district meets the ANB requirement, joins and complies with the MSSA program, they will be fully accredited in either or both disciplines.  MSSA contracts approved, accredited specialists who provide an annual workshop and regular consultation either by email or directly. Those specialists are listed in the "Standards Members" page.  Districts are required to have a certified instructor as the contact person.  That individual need not have the certifications in guidance or library but must be a certified instructor meeting the qualifications outlined by OPI.  The MSSA charges $300.00 per school site and not per district for each program.

 

MSSA-MAP Testing Program

Knowing how difficult and expensive it is for small school districts to create a student growth model assessment system, we have teamed up with the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) of Portland, Oregon to offer school districts special rates to use NWEA’s well-known Measures of Academic Progress (MAP).  Assessments may be given up to four times in a school year (fall, winter, spring and summer).  These assessments are individualized to the student and reflect Montana’s standards and can help predict SBAC scores.  They are available in language, reading and mathematics for grades 2-12.  There is also a Kindergarten, grade 1 and English Language Learner assessment in the three areas provided orally through a computer.  In addition, there is a science assessment for grades 3–12.  Teachers will receive results back the next day.  Join now to help all your students meet the state achievement levels.    
 

NREA/NREAC

MSSA and MREA under the partnership of the Montana Rural Education Partnership (MREP) is the unified state affiliate of the National Rural Education Association. Montana students have taken top honors in the NREA Student Essay Contests. Montana Teachers have received NREA mini-grants. A Montana Rural Teacher of the Year has been awarded National Rural Teacher of the Year honors and others have been finalists. MSSA teachers, board members and the Executive Director serve on national executive committees.  The Executive Director serves on the National Rural Education Advocacy Consortium and has been instrumental in maintaining the REAP grants for our school districts as we navigated the change in application requirements.
 

RURAL SCHOOLS FINANCIAL SURVEY

MSSA annually compiles a survey of participating schools regarding tax value, base, budgeting and a host of other district financial data to assist rural schools in determining where they may lie with regard to other districts across the state financially. Districts submit their data to our office and we in turn compile and sort the data before returning it to each participating district. Other districts may request a copy of the compiled data for a small fee.  All copies are archived in the "Research" page of our website.

 

FEDERAL GRANTS (REAP, TITLE IIA) SUPPORT

MSSA assists member district in both attaining and maintaining the Rural Education Achievement Program as well as the Title IIA portion the ESEA grant process.  Acceptable language for both are provided as a member of our consortium.  Language to use for the Title IIA application and final report is located on the "Consortium Members" page.