GTCC Golden Apple News
"Golden" Apple  

                        By Diana Knudson        February, 2017


I had the honor of attending the Governor’s Humanities Awards for 2017 in the rotunda of the Montana State Capitol.  One of the seven recipients of this year’s awards was Dottie Susag, a Montana teacher and presenter and friend to many of you.  Dottie received this high award because she has been “critical to successful implementation of the Indian Education for All Initiative for Montana students.”  Many of you have attended our Summer Institute classes that Dottie has taught, and many of you have welcomed her into your schools to do her presentations.  I do not know anyone who has worked so hard to make IEFA come alive for teachers and students.  Her passion has been to teach literacy through IEFA books and articles, and she has been responsible for writing many of the Office of Public Instruction’s Native American materials.  I have always felt honored to have Dottie as a friend because I just like her but also because of her intelligence, sensitivity, and ability to truly teach what makes a difference in our students’ lives.  Congratulations, Dottie.


The Assessment Conference sponsored by OPI each year took place in Billings this last week.  Our new State Assessment Director is Jessica Eilertson(  who has stepped into the shoes of Judy Snow.  Jessica organized a great conference with information that will be important to all of us.  Since this is an assessment conference, the focus is on the Smarter Balanced Assessment System and what it can do for our schools.  The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is committed to ensuring that all students leave high school prepared for postsecondary success. To do this, this organization has given all schools in Montana three major tools FREE:  Digital Library, Interim Assessments, and the year-end Summative Assessment.  Every school needs to use all three of these vital parts of a good assessment system.


·     Digital Library—free to all Montana teachers, the Digital Library is an online collection of thousands of educator-created classroom tools and resources.  These resources are aligned to the Montana Standards and help educators implement the formative assessment process to improve teaching and learning.  If you have a school e-mail, you can sign up individually to use this collection.  If that does not work, you can contact Pam Birkeland.  Her e-mail is

·     Interim Assessments—free to all Montana schools, the interim assessments are optional and flexible tests given throughout the year to help teachers monitor student progress.  There are two types of interim tests.  The ICA Interim is like the end-of-year Summative test we now give but can be given during the school year to identify the strengths and weaknesses of students.  The IAB Interim tests are shorter assessments, focusing on fewer assessment targets. 

·     Summative Assessments—these are the end-of-year tests we are now giving our students.  Most of us know more about them than the Digital Library and Interim Tests.  But these last two pieces of our state assessment plan can really be the greatest help to teachers.

Congratulations to Shandel Fouts of Chinook Schools! Shandel was the winner of last month’s GTCC gift card drawing.  Keep reading the Golden Apple to find out when the next drawing will be announced.




Are you tired of being left out of the loop? Need reminding about those Committee meetings? Want to know more about Summer Institutes and other Professional Development? Then subscribe to the GTCC Headline enews. Every month you'll receive headlines from the GTCC enews in your mailbox. Just send an email to gtcc_enews-subscribe@yahoogroups.comBe sure to tell your co-teachers too!


Upcoming Committee Meetings & Events... 


Click here for the printable GTCC 2016-17 Meeting Calendar


April 2017
Reading Committee Meeting 3D International Great Falls
Mathematics Committee Meeting 3D International Great Falls
New Teacher Institute/ GTCC Orientation Meeting 3 3D International Great Falls
Spring Leadership Meeting Hampton Inn Great Falls



Web Resources, Grants and Other News...


Check out News ELA Nonfiction Literacy and Current Events.  Free leveled news, primary sources, and more, with standards-aligned formative assessments. 

Subscribe to OPI's 3 Big Ideas Newsletter.

Ideas for Coding
Computer science and how to teach it are hot topics in education recently. Finding the right resources and tools to teach coding for each grade is even more challenging. Read the article about ideas for teaching coding from kindergarten to high school. Some of the ideas do not require a computer.…/15-ways-teaching-students-coding… 

Technovation Montana 2017
Montana Code Girls and Big Sky Code Academy are looking for girls interested in coding to register for their January 2017 session. Registration is open now and classes takes place online or in person at various locations across the state. Classes will start January 16th or January 23rd depending on the location. Visit Montana Code Girls' website for registration information and location details.

VESI Courses

Continuing Education for K-12 Educators using VESI, Virtual Education Software.

Reading Like a Historian

Smithsonian Education


back to the GTCC  Home page