MSSA Board and Staff

Rural Teachers of the Year,

NREA Hall of Fame 

MSSA Frontier Schools 

Dr. Jayne Downey
Dr. Jayne Downey

Education Department MSU - Bozeman. MSSA Board Chair. NREA Executive Committee.

Carolyn Hall
Carolyn Hall

Lake County Superintendent of Schools, MACSS President, MSSA Board

Dan Rask
Dan Rask

MSSA Executive Director.

Dr. Jayne Downey
Dr. Jayne Downey

Education Department MSU - Bozeman. MSSA Board Chair. NREA Executive Committee.

1/6
Debra Flynn, Molt Elementary
Debra Flynn, Molt Elementary

2021 Montana Rural Teacher of the Year, Stillwater County.

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

2020 National Rural Teacher of the Year

Jules Waber
Jules Waber

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

Debra Flynn, Molt Elementary
Debra Flynn, Molt Elementary

2021 Montana Rural Teacher of the Year, Stillwater County.

1/17
Ross School
Ross School

Garfield County

Salmon Prairie School
Salmon Prairie School

Zurich Elementary School
Zurich Elementary School

Blaine County

Ross School
Ross School

Garfield County

1/44

Greetings and thanks for taking a look at the Montana Small Schools Alliance website.  It holds a wealth of resources. The links at the top of the page are the means to navigate the site.  Members have a password for the "Consortium" page. Double click the above sets of  pictures to expand and read.  Look around and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or desire to know more about our programs.

  • Office Manager, Linda Sunderlin's Schedule:  Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Linda's email address is mssa710@gmail.com.

2021 - 2022 LETTERS OF AGREEMENT FOR ALL PROGRAMS

2021-2022 CONSORTIUM PRESENTERS AND TOPICS

● September: Kathleen McGuillen, Using Primary Source Documents in Classroom Teaching. U.S. Library of Congress.
● November: Dr. Tammy Elser, Elementary Social Studies Activities and Writing.
● February: Dr. Shane Doyle, IEFA and alignment to the recently revised Social Studies Standards.
● April: TBD
AUGUST AGENDAS FOR MAPS AND STANDARDS NOW ON REGISTRATION PAGE

MSSA BOARD HIRES LINDA MARSH AS INTERIM DIRECTOR

In a motion made at last week's MSSA Board Meeting, Linda Marsh was hired as the Interim Executive Director of the MSSA as Dan Rask retires.  Linda is the retiring Beaverhead County Superintendent and a former President of the Montana Association of County School Superintendents.  Linda also served on the MSSA Board for a period of time.  Linda will complete her tenure as county superintendent July 31st and will assume the duties of MSSA Director on August 1st.  Dan Rask will remain as director for the month of July, working from home and will provide assistance to Linda Marsh through the month of August.

 

Congratulations to Linda Marsh on her retirement from the Beaverhead County Superintendent's position and upon assuming the Directorship of the MSSA.  Linda lives right in Dillon and knows our Office Manager, Linda Sunderlin quite well.  It should be a seamless transition, given the unusual circumstances surrounding the vacancy.

 

Erin Lipkind and Dan Rask will serve the "Standards" program this year, and Linda remains as Office Manager.  Dean Phillips' position with the alliance ended on June 30, 2021.

 

The Board is a veteran board with Dr. Jayne Downey serving from MSU and chairperson of the Board.  Carolyn Hall serves from Lake County as an at-large member of MACSS, Laura Straus represents Western and Erin Lipking is the newest member and current President of the MACSS.  The MTSBA position is currently vacant.

 

Thanks for the great support over the years and the Montana Small Schools Alliance is ready to provide resources to the membership for 2021-2022.

MSSA QUARTERLY BOARD MINUTES

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. Starting in 1996, the Alliance has provided more than eight hundred day-long workshops to multi-grade school districts and small 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 over 140 school districts throughout Montana in various programs.  The MSSA developed a team of 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.

 

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 currently has 92 members for library and 102 members for counseling.

 

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, with a student body of less than 200 students, 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 as they currently are administered.


MSU-BOZEMAN 588 GRADUATE COURSE
MSSA offers graduate classes annually with our Alliance partner, the College of Education, Health and Human Development, Montana State University-Bozeman.  Instructors who attend at least three seminars during the year and complete a project over the topics presented at those seminars, receive one graduate credit from MSU-Bozeman College of Continuing Education upon successful completion.  This course is a second semester course and enrollment is generally from January until March of each year.

 

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.