Region 17, Montana OPI Project Featured in New USED Video

Video screenshots

Like many states across the country, Montana has experienced a shortage of highly qualified, effective teachers in recent years. This shortage threatens the quality and stability of education offered to students across Montana.

To address this challenge, Montana’s Office of Public Instruction (OPI) partnered with Region 17 Comprehensive Center to implement the Montana Teacher Residency Demonstration Project. This innovative residency project places college students in one-year teaching residencies in schools across Montana. Under the guidance of experienced teacher-leaders, the resident-innovators build skills to be effective teachers and connections to remain in Montana classrooms in the long term.

This month, the U.S. Department of Education’s Best Practices Clearinghouse released a new video showing the powerful impact this teacher workforce project is having on communities across Montana. The video features several participants, ranging from resident-innovators to cooperating teacher-leaders to administrators, speaking about how the project has impacted their work, their schools, and—most importantly—their students.

Another thing I love about the residency program is the fact that it’s brought so many Indigenous educators back home, on our res, teaching these kids.

“The five teachers that were teacher-residents [in our district] last year now are teachers, and they hit the ground running,” said Corrina Guardippe-Hall, superintendent of Browning Public Schools located on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. “They know the classroom management. They know everything about our district … the best pro about this whole thing is that our kids get the best teachers possible.”

Teacher-leaders, who mentor the resident-innovators in their yearlong residency, also shared how this project offers valuable experiences that they wish they had when they were new teachers.

“I just thought how amazing it would have been to have an entire year in a program with master teachers … I don’t think you can get anything better and more valuable for your education,” said teacher-leader Tayler Davison of Valley View Elementary School. “That’s why I wanted to do this: to give that teacher what I didn’t get.”

Importantly, the resident-innovators shared how the program has helped them build connections to students and develop critical skills and mindsets—essential for successful, long-term teaching careers.

Amy Grant, a kindergarten resident-innovator in Browning Public Schools, said, “We don’t say ‘I love you’ in my class. I teach my kids how to say kitsiikákomimmo, which means ‘I love you’ in Blackfeet. So, when they say ‘I love you’ to me, it’s in our language.”

This culturally relevant teaching has an impact on her entire community. She added, “Another thing I love about the residency program is the fact that it’s brought so many Indigenous educators back home, on our res, teaching these kids.”

As the project nears the end of its second year, Region 17 Comprehensive Center continues to support OPI in its work to evaluate the Montana Teacher Residency Demonstration Project using clear goals and benchmarks to measure success and improve the program for future participants.

Region 17 Comprehensive Center is excited to continue supporting Montana’s efforts to build a robust teacher workforce for future generations of students across the state.

Learn more about this work by watching the full video and read more about the Montana Teacher Residency Demonstration Project.

Connect with us!