The Education Interim Committee met November 21-22, 2019, in Bozeman. The meeting included a number of site visits around Bozeman and a joint session with the Board of Regents of Higher Education on the Montana State University campus.

The committee started with a visit to Whittier Elementary School on Thursday, talking with teachers and paraeducators in a Running Start Kindergarten classroom (kindergarten for 4-year-olds) as well as one of the districts two classrooms serving special education preschoolers. The committee traveled to Bozeman High School to learn about efforts to implement competency-based education in the Bridger Charter Academy allowing students to move at their own pace through the curriculum. The district also provided an overview of trauma-informed approaches that it has implemented.

The committee then traveled to Zoot Enterprises, a financial tech company with 300+ employees. Zoot offers childcare and preschool education to children of its employees as well as those of neighboring businesses. The committee also heard about Zoot’s partnerships with Bozeman Public Schools and Gallatin College to provide work-based learning opportunities, like internships, to students.

After a tour of some of the construction projects on the MSU campus, the committee convened on campus to hear from various university program regarding rural educator recruitment efforts, financial literacy, mental health initiatives, and veteran services.

On Friday, the committee held a joint session with the Board of Regents to review and discuss 2-year education within the Montana University System, as well as resident student access efforts, and the state of research. This session was followed by a visit to Gallatin College where the committee learned about partnerships between the college and local industries to meet workforce needs.

The committee will hold its next meeting Thursday, January 16, 2020, in Helena during Legislative Week. For more information visit the committee’s website or contact Pad McCracken, committee staff, at or 406-444-3595.

The Legislative News.