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.

Montana Youth Transitions Conference

Workshops will be offered on topics including:

  • Modeling and practicing self-advocacy
  • Developing high-quality transition IEPs as a team
  • Transition best practices
  • Healthcare transitions
  • Alternatives to guardianship
  • Assistive technology lab and classes
  • Identifying transition resources and partners
  • Employment and Pre-ETS ideas
  • Parent resources

How to Enroll: Visit the Montana Youth Transitions conference website

Meaningful Participation in Statewide Assessments

This training focuses on increasing educator knowledge about federal requirements and options for participation in statewide assessments through the lens of ensuring that students with disabilities are able to meaningfully participate in the assessments required under ESSA. This training will cover how meaningful participation can be accomplished through ensuring that students have appropriate accessibility supports and accommodations and that those supports are selected systematically, based on student need. This training would be suitable for districts and schools to improve participation rates and performance of students with disabilities in statewide assessments.

Audience: Special education teachers, special education directors, system test coordinators, principals, and superintendents


  • Describe the purpose of statewide assessments for federal accountability under ESSA.
  • Describe participation requirements for statewide assessments.
  • Describe participation options for students with disabilities in statewide assessments.
  • Identify the appropriate usage of data from statewide assessments.
  • Understand shifts in thinking about accessibility for statewide assessments from accommodation based to universal design for learning and supports for all students with accessibility needs.
  • Implement a systematic data-based decision-making process in the selection of accessibility supports for statewide assessments.
  • Identify supports and accommodations for statewide assessments that meet individual student needs and reflect the supports and accommodations provided to students in classroom instruction and assessments.
  • Ensure accessibility of instruction and assessments by aligning the implications, supplemental aids and services, and statewide assessment accommodations and supports sections of the IEP.
  • Describe accessibility supports for each statewide assessment (ACT, Smarter Balanced, MSAA, Science, ACCESSfor ELLs)
  • Describe and implement a process to ensure that the accommodations and supports documented in the IEP are provided to students on statewide assessments.
  • Describe and implement standardized administration of accommodated testing sessions including following test specific accommodation protocols (scribing, read aloud).

Presenter Info:

Yvonne Field is the Assessment and Accountability Specialist in the Student Support Services Division at the Office ofPublic Instruction. She has worked at the OPI for almost 7 years; first as the assessment specialist for the MontCASspecial population assessments (ACCESS for ELLs and the Multi State Alternate Assessment) and currently as the assessment and accessibility specialist. She has a background in post-secondary special education and taught special education in grades 3-5 in Charlotte Mecklenberg Schools in Charlotte, North Carolina.

How to Enroll: Visit the Meaningful Participation in Statewide Assessments registration website

Webinar – Updates to the Statewide Assessment Editor in the IEP in AIM

In August AIM was updated with a significant change to the statewide assessment editor in the IEP.  Yvonne Field, Assessment and Accountability Specialist, will be providing a webinar to review the changes and ask questions.

Audience:  Special education teachers, special education directors.

Webinar Information:

IEP in AIM: Update to the Statewide Assessment Editor Thu, Sep 12, 2019 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM MDT

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

You can also dial in using your phone.

Access Code: 553-764-901

Special Education Law and 504

Elizabeth Kaleva will address special education law and 504. She pays particular attention to emerging trends, recent 9th Circuit rulings, and Montana cases. Her high involvement in recent cases across the state allows her to provide pragmatic guidance to the practitioner. Her advice will benefit anyone who sits in a decision-making role at an ER or IEP table. Topics may include but will not be limited to parenting plans, graduation, Prior Written Notice, and discipline.

About the presenter: Elizabeth A. Kaleva is an attorney in Missoula, Montana, focusing her practice on representation of public and private school districts throughout the state of Montana, as well as the Montana High School Association. Bea graduated from Boston College in 1991, and the University of Montana School of Law in 1995. After clerking for a year, Bea joined the Montana School Boards Association as a staff attorney. She rose to the General Counsel position and remained with the MTSBA until 2003, when she returned to Missoula in private practice. Bea serves as counsel for school districts in all areas of employment and school law. Specific practice areas include: contract negotiations, employee misconduct and discipline, student misconduct and discipline, special education and federal programs, and Board of Trustees practice and procedure. She provides litigation defense to school districts and their employees in federal and state courts, arbitrations, and administrative agencies relating to all aspects of school district operations.

Bea is a member of the American Bar Association, a former Board member of the National Council of School Attorneys and is the former President of the School Law Section of the Montana State Bar. She has been selected by her peers for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America since 2014 for the areas of education law and employment law, and was named the Best Employment Law Lawyer for the Missoula area in 2015 and 2019.

How to Enroll: Visit Special Education Law and 504 on the Professional Learning website

General Education Teachers – What You Need to Know about Special Education

This workshop is designed for general education teachers and focuses upon the core components of special education and the teacher’s role in all parts of the special education process. We will be discussing the history and laws behind special education, requirements in the pre-referral, referral, evaluation, and IEP processes. The purpose of this workshop is to empower general education teachers when it comes to working with students eligible for special education in their classrooms as well as be an active participant in the evaluation process. Discussion will also address accommodations, modifications, and interventions; the general education teacher as the curriculum expert; and how the general education teacher and the student are at the core of every special education program. The more general education teachers know for both general and special education—the better the overall services will be for ALL students.

How to Enroll: Visit General Education Teachers – What You Need to Know about Special Education on the Region 1 CSPD website

OPI Montana Autism Education Project Conference

This training is FREE!! from the OPI Montana Autism Education Project. OPI renewal units will be available.  See more information and register here.

Monday April 9th

(All sessions are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

The Birds and the Bees: Puberty, Hygiene, Safety and Sexuality for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Youths with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities are twice as likely as their typically developing peers to be victims of physical or sexual abuse. Information regarding puberty, hygiene, and sexuality relates to keeping children with ASD safe. Areas covered can easily become target behaviors, objectives for IEPs, or treatment goals for youth with ASD.

Topics include:  What to Expect (and what you might not expect.) // Hygiene // Clothing Matters // Personal Safety // Rethinking “The Talk” // Teaching Anatomy and more!

How To Build A Program For a Student With Autism

  • What to look for in the diagnosis report.
  • Examine programs and assessments to gather meaningful data.
  • How to conduct an ER for a child with Autism.
  • Develop an IEP with meaningful goals based on data.
  • How to create a daily schedule and integrate IEP goals.
  • Examine 4 profiles for children with autism and how their programs differ.
  • Discuss/Create visual supports that may be helpful with your students

Strengthen Your Toolbox of Strategies and Activities for Students with Autism

Upon completion, attendees will be able to:

  1. Design 3 activities using best practice techniques to target specific skills
  2. List 5 strategies that can be used to help students with ASD
  3. Explain how the Social Thinking Model can be utilized across all levels of ASD

Tuesday April 10th

How to Implement a Program for a Student with Autism

(8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

  • How to take data on goals from the IEP every day
  • How to integrate IEP goals throughout the day
  • How to help the student generalize skills
  • How to conduct a reinforcer assessment
  • How to implement a token economy
  • How to use a visual schedule
  • How to create a task analysis
  • How to use visual supports throughout the day

How to Develop and Write Measurable IEP Goals

(8:30 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.)

Learn the CBCC method for writing goals and how to choose data recording methods that are realistic and measureable.

How To Prepare Students (and Yourself) for Post-school Transition

(8:30 a.m. to 11:45 p.m.)

Reinforcer Surveys and Reinforcer Schedules – How to Increase Student Success and Your Happiness

(1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Analysis of Automatically Reinforced Behavior: Sexualized Behavior, Sensory Regulation and Stimulation

(1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

See more information and register here.

* There is a block of sleeping rooms available at state rate at the Big Horn Resort. OPI will not provide travel reimbursement.