By ELSIE ARNTZEN
Welcome back to school! After teaching for 23 years, this is my second year of not opening the classroom door to new students on the first day of school. Now, as State Superintendent, it is my privilege to serve all Montana students and ensure that they have every opportunity to succeed.
A strong local partnership of families, teachers, and school leaders is important to help guide students through successful transitions in their educational paths, especially as they begin their first days of kindergarten, middle school, or high school.
As a state, we must use academic innovation to prepare the next generation of our workforce. It is vital that STEM and CTE studies begin in middle school and that every student views high school completion as just one step in their continued path of learning and success. In Montana, education is a lifelong investment in our future.
The goal of this investment is to lift up all of our communities. For too long, too many of our Native American and special education students have struggled in school. For example, only 17 percent of our Native American students and 14 percent of our special education students test as proficient in math. Montana must do better! Through our state plan for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, Montana has developed ambitious long-term goals to close student achievement gaps.
I know from personal experience that education is a challenging and rewarding career. Together, one student at a time, we are going to celebrate success and make Montana proud.
Elsie Arntzen is Montana State Superintendent.