53 Montana teachers "take one"

53 “Montana Schools of Promise” teachers take one big step toward master teaching


For most teachers, isolation is one of the biggest obstacles they face when it comes to improving their teaching. 


Confined in their own classrooms every day, teachers seldom have a chance to observe other teachers at work. And they seldom have a chance for other teachers to observe them and offer feedback.


But a new pilot program called “Take One” is helping Montana teachers break the isolation in several areas across the state.


With the support of MEA-MFT (Montana’s union for teachers and public employees), the Office of Public Instruction, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, 53 teachers in Lame Deer, Lodge Grass, and Pryor are taking part in this exciting professional development opportunity.  These teachers work in schools that are part of OPI’s “Montana Schools of Promise” initiative, which is working to dramatically improve the state’s most struggling schools.


According to MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver, Take One is a new offering from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, an organization that works to promote top quality teaching in America’s public schools.


Funded by a federal School Improvement Grant, Montana’s Take One project is allowing these 53 teachers the opportunity to work together in a professional learning community that is designed to help them improve their teaching methods. 


Take One provides a standards-based approach to improving teaching practice, Feaver explained. “This program will have direct benefits to Montana’s students,” he said.


“Take One improves teaching quality by providing teachers the opportunity to reflect on their own classroom teaching practices within the context of national teaching standards. Take One also helps teachers adapt their teaching practices to the needs of individual students.”


“I applaud the teachers for taking the first step toward National Board Certification, which is the highest level of certification a U.S. teacher can achieve,” said State Superintendent Denise Juneau of the Office of Public Instruction. “Research shows that National Board Certified teachers demonstrate significant improvement in their teaching practice, and their students make higher gains on achievement tests.”


Juneau continued, “National Board Certification is an extremely rigorous process that can take a year or more for teachers to complete. Take One allows them to try just one step of the certification process before committing to the whole process.”


Teachers in the Take One program will prepare and submit a portfolio from any one of the multiple certificate areas of National Board Certification. 


These teachers can later transfer their scores if they decide to pursue full National Board candidacy within two years.


For more information on Take One, contact MEA-MFT Public Policy Director Marco Ferro: 406-442-4250 or mferro@mea-mft.org.

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