Office of School Turnaround-Focused Monitoring

Date: February 23, 2012

The Honorable Denise Juneau
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Montana Office of Public Instruction
PO Box 202501
Helena, MT 59620 – 2501

Dear Superintendent Juneau:

During the week on September 13-15, 2011, a team from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) reviewed the Montana Office of Public Instruction’s (OPI) administration of Title I, section 1003(g) (School Improvement Grant (SIG)) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) as amended. As part of its review, the ED team interviewed staff at the State educational agency (SEA) and two local education agencies (LEAs). The ED team also conducted site visits to two schools implementing the SIG intervention models, where they visited classes and interviewed school leadership, teachers, parents, and students. Enclosed you will find the monitoring report based upon this review.

In February 2011, ED began its first year of monitoring of the SIG program. The primary purpose of monitoring is to ensure that the SEA carries out the SIG program consistent with the final requirements. Additionally, ED is using its monitoring reviews to observe how LEAs and schools are implementing the selected intervention models and identify areas where technical assistance may be needed and to support effective program implementation.

In line with these aims, the enclosed monitoring report is organized into three sections. The Summary and Observations section describes the SIG implementation occurring in the schools and districts visited, initial indicators of success, and outstanding challenges relating to implementation. The Technical Assistance Recommendations section contains strategies and resources for addressing technical assistance needs identified during ED’s visit. Finally the Monitoring Findings section identifies any compliance issues within the six indicator areas reviewed and corrective actions that the SEA is required to take.

With regards to the Technical Assistance Recommendations provided, we encourage you to employ these strategies to further support the effective implementation of the SIG program. ED staff will continue to follow up with your staff to see how OPI is working to address these issues and make use of this technical assistance.

Please be aware that the observations reports, issues identified, and findings made in the enclosed report are based on written documentation or information provided to ED by the SEA, LEA, or school staff during interviews. They also reflect the status of compliance in Montana at the time and location of ED’s onsite review. The OPI may receive further communication from ED that will require it to address noncompliance occurring prior or subsequent to the onsite visit.

The ED team would like to thank the OPI staff responsible for the SIG program for the assistance provided prior to and during the review in gathering materials and providing access to information in a timely manner

We look forward to working further with your staff to address the issues contained in this report and to improve the quality of the SIG program in Montana.


Carlas L. McCauley, Ed.D.
U.S. Department of Education
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education/
Office of School Turnaround
400 Maryland Ave, SW, 3W222
Washington, DC 20202
(202) 260-0824

BJ Granbery, Division Administrator and Title I Director
Mandy Smoker-Broaddus, SIG School Transformation Director