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Funding for the PIRC program as a whole has been discontinued by the US Department of Education. Therefore, most PIRC programs are no longer in operation although several are continuing with funding from other sources. You may contact PIRCs directly to determine their status.
Montana State PIRC
Missoula, MT
2525 Palmer Street, Suite 1
Missoula, MT 59808

Web site:
Ms. Kristin Gough

Phone: 406-543-3550
Fax: 406-721-4584

Evaluator: Steffen Saifer, Ed. D.
Evaluator affiliation: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory

Logo for Montana State PIRC

State PIRC Board:

State Title I: Terry Teichrow, Parent Involvement
Office of Public Instruction: Chris Lohse, Federal Liaison
Office of Public Instruction: Nancy Coleman
Parents Let’s Unite for Kids (PLUK): Roger Holt, Co-director
Gear Up/Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education: Sandy Merdinger
Kids Management Authority: Klarrisa Jensen
State Head Start Collaboration: Mary Jane Standeart, Director
Hopa Mountain: Linda Clark
Title III: Lynn Hinch
Montana Indian Education Association: Joe Anderson
Title VII: TBA

Special Advisory Committees:

Parent Advisory Committee
Statewide American Indian Advisory Committee

The overall aim of the Montana Parent Information and Resource Center (PLEIDES) is to expand, support and provide resources to parents and schools throughout Montana, particularly in the state’s American Indian and disadvantaged communities, to implement effective polices, programs and activities that ensure the active involvement of parents in the improvement of their children’s academic achievement.

Parental Engagement Model
We will use Best Practices family involvement strategies such as Families and Schools Together, Mending the Sacred Hoop, and Links to Learning. We will use these in both direct service and as replicable models for the statewide training of trainers presented at various conferences around Montana. School-based Family Resource Centers which offer a place in the school for families and schools to interact in a safe, comfortable and supportive environment will serve as the model to expand throughout the state. Family involvement strategies are based on Joyce Epstein’s framework which explains how schools can work with families and communities to assist them to stay informed and involved in children’s learning at home and at school. Briefly the six strategies are: Helping parents to parent; communicating with families; expanding volunteer programs; strengthening learning at home; involving families in decision-making; collaborating with the community.

Early childhood model
A cornerstone of the MT PIRC is the Parents as Teachers (PAT), a research-based, prevention model for parent education and support.

Major Activities

  • Parents as Teachers (Born to Learn Curriculum)
  • Parent Group (PAT and others)
  • Child Development Workshops, led for example by Lucy Hart-Paulson
  • Additional family learning workshops such as Right Question Project
  • Family Resource Center activities and programs, such as Literacy Lunches
  • Families and Schools Together, Mending the Sacred Hoop, Links to Learning
  • Work with Office of Public Instruction on School Support Teams/Parent Involvement

In addition, MT PIRC will offer a variety of statewide options to get information to families through statewide and regional conferences, workshops, schools, community providers, libraries, and faith-based orgainzations:

  • Provide literature and information on NCLB, SES, Choice, School Report Cards
  • Toll free number and website with links to local, state and national resources and services
  • Statewide e-newsletter focusing on early learning and family-school-community partnerships
  • Host annual Families and Learning Conference
  • Present at various conferences such as Montana Indian Education Association, Montana Association for the Education of Young Children, Montana State Title 1 Conference, etc.

How the Work Plan Meets the Needs of Parents

The intended outcome is the creation of a comprehensive approach to establishing and sustaining family-school-community partnerships that support student learning:

  • Parent Capacity: Parents will understand their rights, responsibilities, and options under NCLB.
  • Parent Participation: Parents will participate more fully and frequently in their children's development and education at home, in the school, and in the community.
  • Professional, School, & Community Capacity: Service providers and school personnel will increase interaction and communication wih parents and community organizations with regard to the educational needs of children. School districts will implement effective parent involvement policies, programs, and activities.

Alignment of Work to Statewide PIRC Efforts

The MT PIRC will maximize the resources available through a wide range of community, state, and federal resources

Unique Characteristics
The Montana PIRC has a special focus area: Rural, reservation and traditionally underserved communities. The goal is targeted assistance to communities where there are significant achievement gaps, especially as demonstrated by Montana American Indian student achievement scores. Our collaborative partner Hopa Mountain supports tribal and rural community leaders in their efforts to advance education and improves educational opportunities in the rural West by strengthening the skills and resources of community leaders.

MT PIRC will convene a new statewide Board for individuals working with families and schools, including members of Office of Public Instruction, Title 1, tribal leaders, Headstart and health professionals, State PTA representatives, parents, and other community leaders. This membership organization will provide networking opportunities and build a professional learning community devoted to establishing and sustaining partnerships amongst families, schools and communities.

Free Webinar Series
The U.S. Department of Education and its partners invite you to view the archive for the webinar, Bringing it All Together: Family and Community Engagement Policies in Action, which took place on November 16, 2011.

This is the ninth and final webinar in the series, Achieving Excellence and Innovation in Family, School, and Community Engagement.
United States Department of Education Funding for this project is provided by the U.S. Department of Education, contract number ED-04-CO-0039/0001. The content herein does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Education.