Due to COVID-19, professional learning opportunities may be cancelled. OPI staff will make every attempt to keep the OPI Learning Opportunities current and accurate. Please see https://covid19.mt.gov/ for additional details impacting events.

Current Events in Indian Country: An Inquiry-based Approach (Sept. 30 – Dec. 15, 2019)

In this online Moodle course, participants will learn inquiry-based teaching and learning strategies to use in their classrooms. Each participant will apply these strategies to explore a contemporary American Indian issue as part of a class-wide inquiry, and an additional American Indian issue of his or her choosing for the free-inquiry portion. This course requires participants to be self-directed and highly motivated, a background in inquiry or American Indian issues is not necessary.

Credit: 45 OPI Renewal Units or *3 Semester Credits pending (semester credits are offered through the University of Montana and are an additional fee of $155. The course instructor will provide a separate registration form). The total cost savings is 50% by going through WMPLC to get university continuing education credits.

This course requires the participant to access a couple of texts through their school or public library or purchase said materials from booksellers such as Amazon.  The instructor may be available to assist with locating copies, if needed.

Learning Outcomes
Participants will:

  1. Develop personal background knowledge around contemporary American Indian issues.
  2. Explore the inquiry-based approach to learning and teaching by participating in Inquiry as both teachers and students.
  3. Design a structured inquiry to use in their classrooms.
  4. Reflect on ways to integrate IEFA into their content area using an inquiry-based approach.
  5. Demonstrate comprehension of the content through the completion of two student-led inquiries: One guided and one self-directed.
  6. Explore the learning process by participating in weekly forum discussions and completing readings and related assignments.
  7. Design and complete a free-inquiry, which includes a final, original product as a reflection of their learning and understanding.
  8. Create a detailed, IEFA integrated inquiry-based unit within their content area to use in their classrooms (graduate credit only).​

How to Enroll: Visit the Western Montana Professional Learning Collaborative registration website

IEFA Special Topics Course 1 (Sept. 15, 2019 – Apr. 15, 2020)

The self-paced online course is composed of five distinct units. Each unit is the equivalent of 1 University credit or 15 OPI renewal units. Upon registration, participants select which units/how many credits they wish to take. The five units included in Course One are:

  1. Who Will Tell My Brother?: The Indian Mascot Controversy
  2. Honoring Native Women’s Voices
  3. American Indian Short Stories
  4. American Indian Poetry
  5. Biographies of Native Americans: Contemporary and Historic

How to Enroll: Visit the registration page on the Western Montana Professional Learning Collaborative website

21st Annual AUGUST INSTITUTE: Teaching and Learning Through Technology and other content areas

“Better Together”
Teaching and Learning Through Technology
August 7-9, 2019 at Missoula College
The 21st Annual August Institute for educators will focus on technology integration into core content areas. Sessions may include technology, mindfulness, outdoor science, IEFA, G&T, STEAM, etc. Join us for one, two or three days of the conference. Featuring Jeff Crews and Dean Phillips of Beyond the Chalk.
Register/Apply for Scholarship at https://forms.gle/r8kMjKGXnSEAGEue9
(August 7-8th are full days and August 9th is half a day.)
Register by June 1st for a chance to win $100 iTunes card from Blackfoot.
Blackfoot Telecommunication member schools should use this registration option to receive their free registrations.
Blackfoot will be providing a limited amount of scholarships for registration to the event. Go to the registration form to see if your school utilizes Blackfoot phone, broadband or IT services.
Conference prices:
Early Bird price $185 on or before June 15, 2019
Standard Price $209 after June 15th, 2019
One day only $109
University students in the Teacher Education Program $99

If you are not a Blackfoot Telecommunications member school, we are offering, on a first come, first serve basis, some discounts/scholarships. Apply here for the scholarship.
If you have questions, please contact director@wmplc.org or call 406-529-1113.

Dates: Wednesday, August 7th, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Registration opens at 8:00 a.m.), Thursday, August 8th, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Friday, August 9th, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Where: The Missoula College, 1205 East Broadway Street, Missoula, MT 59802

Coffee will be provided each day and lunch will be provided on August 7th and 8th.

Credit Options:
August 7: 6 OPI renewal units August 8: 6 OPI renewal units August 9: 3 OPI renewal units
2-semester credits (pending through the University of Montana) at an additional charge of $155. (not part of Blackfoot’s free registration or the standard registration fee). A separate Semester Credit Registration Form will be provided at the event. The third day of the conference (August 9th) is a half-day session that is required if you choose to take the August Institute for University of Montana semester credits.

Event Number: 18570003

Register/Apply for Scholarship if you are a member school here.

IEFA/NGSS Workshop: The Bitterroot Suite

The Bitterroot Suite is an integration of Native American traditional beliefs and spirituality persisting into modern day life as tribal cultures, traditions still practiced by many American Indian people today (EU#3) with the NGSS practices of science and engineering. We begin with a Lab Report Bootcamp, a formative assessment, to identify students’ needs on writing scientific procedures while conducting a engineering investigation of materials and tools used by Native Americans in different regions in the U.S. By the end of this daylong workshop teachers will have created their own bootcamp for their students using The Bitterroot to grow in a lab setting by testing soil conditions and construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

Kim Quigley is an Independent Educational Consultant and started CSI: Creative Solutions for Instruction after teaching for 40 years. She now consults for small schools, Southwest Montana School Services (SWMSS) and writes curriculum for OPI/IEFA. Her latest adventure in this endeavor is integrating IEFA Essential Understandings with the NGSS standards. The Bitterroot Suite is one these integrated curriculums.

How to Enroll: Visit the Next Generation Science Standards/Indian Education for All workshop registration page

OPI Summer Institute 2019

Please visit the Montana Behavioral Initiative Summer Institute website to register and learn more.

Join us in celebrating over 20 years of excellence! This year’s institute promises to be one of the best!

Featured Presentations:

  • K-12 School Security Guide
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid
  • Setting Up Positive Behavioral and Academic Supports in Early Childhood and K-12
  • Supporting the Whole Student : Considering Student’s Academic, Behavioral and Social Emotional Needs
  • Progress Monitoring
  • Family Engagement
  • Social Learning Networks
  • Creativity in the Classroom
  • Implementing Indian Education for All
  • Restorative Practices
  • Anxiety and the Impact on Student Learning
  • Current Teen Drug Trends
  • Understanding Statewide Assessment
  • Content area sessions in Literacy, Math, and Science!

Join us for special events!

  • June 17th, 8:30 – 11:30AM., Join us for the opening keynote Best Day, Best Play, Best Life with Monte Selby and Kevin Honeycutt.
  • June 17th, 4:30 – 5:30PM, It’s Movie Night with a special showing of the Arlee Warriors.
  • June 18th, 4:30-6PM, Best Practices Expo and Awards Recognition featuring hors d’oeuvres, networking, and showcasing Montana MBI schools with music by Monte Selby
  • June 19, 8:30 – 11:30AM, Keynote session When Less is More: How Simplifying MTSS Can Improve Outcomes & Your Budget with Tessie Rose Bailey

Prairies, Peace Pipes and Paleontology

Prairie Ecology – The grassland ecosystem in North America provides a wealth of educational opportunities at all grade levels. This portion of the class will provide an educational program to help teacher inspire students to think critically about the ecosystem they live in.
Peace Pipes – Montana’s vast history includes the Native American culture and this workshop will delve into the local history through a trip to a buffalo jump, wandering through a tipi ring site, learning the native uses of range plants and exploring the OPI Indian Education for All lesson plans.
Paleontology –Paleontology is a rich field, imbued with a long and interesting past. It is a study of what fossils tell us about the ecologies of the past and our place as humans in the world. Paleontology incorporates knowledge from biology, geology, ecology, anthropology, archaeology, and even computer science to understand the processes that have led to the origination and eventual destruction of the different types of organisms since life arose.

This is a two-day event held in Hinsdale, MT on June 11 and Fort Peck, MT on June 12.

Worlds Apart But Not Strangers: Holocaust Education and Indian Education for All

Worlds Apart But Not Strangers: Holocaust Education and Indian Education for All is designed for individuals and teams interested in finding relevance for today in Holocaust Education and Montana-mandated Indian Education for All. In this experiential, inquiry-based seminar, participating educators will discover ways to find connections between these two topics. Sponsored by The Olga Lengyel Institute (TOLI), the seminar will explore the past, including the impact of policies issued during the Holocaust and U.S. policies that have affected Native peoples in this country. The seminar will also focus on the present, as participants consider the roles – perpetrator, ally, bystander – individuals choose for themselves in their daily interactions with one another, as well as stereotypes and biases that influence interactions in local schools and communities today. Educators will be asked to envision the world they hope their children will live in and design an action plan to help their classroom, school and/or community move toward that ideal. Program highlights include field experiences from the Billings Jewish community and the Native peoples of Montana.

How to Enroll: Visit Worlds Apart But Not Strangers on The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI) website 

Science-Indian Education for All Symposium

This is a day filled with workshop based on the new science standards and Indian Education for All.  These workshops are designed to implement the Next Generation Science Standards and Indian Education for all into the classroom.  This is an excellent opportunity to be on the cutting edge while earning some great professional development.

How to Enroll: Visit Science-Indian Education for All Symposium on the Billings Schools website

American Indian Literature (for use in grades 9-12) Indian Education for All Online Book Club Course (May 13 – July 7, 2019)

Indian Education for All Online Book Club Course American Indian Literature (for use in grades 9-12)

This online Moodle course serves as an opportunity for participants to explore OPI developed instructional units based on literature sent to all Montana high school libraries alongside additional fiction and nonfiction texts for use in grades 9-12. Most resources are place-based, either focused on Montana tribes or created by Montana Indian authors. Participants will read extensively in a variety of genres, engage in discussions, complete instructional activities, and examine accurate and authentic Native American fiction and nonfiction texts. Ultimately, participants will select texts and instructional units for immediate integration of IEFA into their classrooms. This course is rigorous and requires the participant to access a number of texts through their school or public library or purchase said materials from WMPLC or booksellers.

Event Number: 18521015
Instructor: Michele McGuire writersmandala@gmail.com
Dates: May 13 – July 7, 2019

Registration fee: $175
Credit: 30 OPI Renewal Units or 2 Semester Credits (semester credit is offered through the University of Montana and is an additional fee of $155. The course instructor will provide a separate registration form).

Obtaining a copy of the book: Check your school /district or local library. Amazon and other online booksellers often have used copies available. The instructor is available to assist with locating copies if needed.

Register at: https://forms.gle/UZ8bjzWK1NveXr988

IEFA Spring Institute 2019

Join us at the Museum of the Rockies for a full day of professional learning with educators from across the region. Facilitated by IEFA specialists Kim Quigley and Shane Doyle, this day of learning is FREE for all Montana school districts.

Why Attend?

  • Learn ways to engage students through IEFA integration. NEW topics and strategies!
  • Gain new ideas and resources with TIME to review and discuss implementation with other educators and IEFA specialists.
  • Enjoy a Planetarium show, learning ways to incorporate IEFA and Montana Skies
  • Receive 7 OPI Renewal Units for attending the institute.
  • It’s FREE, paid for by the SWMSS IEFA OPI grant. We also have a limited amount of funds to cover the costs of substitute teachers.

Space is limited!  Register now to reserve your spot.