- Associated Press - Thursday, July 13, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Montana’s chief school administrator is asking state schools to increase the number of students who are proficient in math and English and to graduate students who are prepared for college or a career.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen on Wednesday released her office’s draft plan for schools to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

It calls for a 4 percent increase in math and English proficiency for all students in each of the next several school years, as measured by standardized tests. It also calls for closing the achievement gap seen among the economically disadvantaged, children with disabilities, English learners and American Indians.

Schools’ overall performance would be evaluated based on academic achievement and improvement, attendance, the percentage of students who are considered college or career ready, proficiency in a statewide science assessment and school climate.

Schools will be evaluated each year, and those that consistently underperform will develop school improvement plans with the Office of Public Instruction. Those with specific shortcomings will be helped to improve those areas.

OPI supports schools using anti-bullying and mental-health awareness and suicide-prevention programs and will use federal grants to help recruit and retain effective teachers and offer them ongoing professional training.

The draft plan is open for public comment through August and must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education by Sept. 18.

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