Meet the MSSA Board and Staff
Rural Teachers of the Year, National Rural Hall of Fame Montana.
A NOTE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:
Greetings and thanks for taking a look at the Montana Small Schools Alliance website. It holds a wealth of resources for members and non-members alike. The links at the top of the page are the means to navigate the site. Members have a password for the "Consortium Members" page. Look around and do not hesitate to contact our office or myself with any questions or desire to know more about our programs.
Executive Director, Dan Rask's Schedule: Tuesday, December 3 - Dillon, Friday, December 6 - Helena. Please use email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or (221-6303) if I am not at the office.
Office Manager, Linda Sunderlin's Schedule: Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
2019 - 2020 LETTERS OF AGREEMENT:
DIRECTOR'S REPORT - December 3, 2019.
District and Instructor "Rural Excellence Award" Released for 2020. Amount Increased to $1500.00.
The MSSA Board has authorized an increase of $500.00 for each of the two scholarships bringing each to $1500.00 to be used between February 2020 and February 2021. The Board is quite flexible on the use of this money as long as it can be linked to core standards and MSSA curriculum. The guidelines and application are located just below in each button.
The "Rural Policy Manual" has been updated and approved by the Board as of 09/19/2019.
The Library/Media Curriculum and Fine Arts curriculum has be updated as of 09/2019.
Both are located in the "Consortium" section of this website. If you are a member, contact us for the password to access the site.
The November agenda for the Active Literacy Learning Conference is located in the "Conference Registration" section of this website.
Western Montana Professional Development Collaborative Moodle Course for Supervising Teachers: Erin Lipkind, Course Instructor.
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 2018 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.
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.
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.