January 4, 2020
HELENA- Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen held a virtual panel discussion regarding Safely Reopening our Montana Schools. Her priority remains supporting students, families, and teacher leaders through COVID-19. Participating in today’s meeting was northeast Montana school Superintendent Renee Rasmussen of Bainville, Principal Shawnda Zahara-Harris of Laurel High School, Montana’s 2020 Teacher of the Year, Linda Rost, a science teacher at Baker High School, and Abby Hutton, a freshman at Conrad High School.
“I want to thank today’s participants for the opportunity to listen to their experiences and identify areas of need for Montana students, families, and educators. Our schools have been one of the most impacted sectors by COVID-19. It is imperative that our conversations continue in earnest on best practices to keep our precious children safe,” said Superintendent Arntzen. “It was no surprise to hear from Mr. Fasbender and Mrs. Rost that our children continue to face social and emotional challenges during this pandemic. With the spring semester upon us, I will continue to ensure that local communities have the resources and flexibility required to provide educational services to students. My Montana Hope initiative does this by focusing on family, student, and community engagement with an added emphasis on safety, mental health, and suicide prevention.”
Ms. Abby Hutton’s voice on behalf of Montana students was clear and strong regarding the uncertainty that exists for students when transitioning between in-person and remote learning delivery, access to quality rural broadband connectivity, and added flexibilities for self-paced learning.
The panel discussion can be viewed here.
The OPI’s Reopening Montana Schools webpage will be updated with information throughout the winter and coming spring semester. The Office of Public Instruction continues to ensure that the focus remains on teachers being able to teach and students being able to learn in safe environments.
Sarah Swanson, 406-444-3160 (office) 406-475-2307(cell)
Chief of Staff