HELENA — The Montana Office of Public Instruction and Superintendent Elsie Arntzen marked the launch of a new teacher licensing system Wednesday.
They held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the first day of Teach Montana.
“Already we’re hearing from educators that they are applying, they’re able to get licensed efficiently,” said Crystal Andrews, OPI’s director of educator licensure. “There’s just so many stories coming from all of this effort. We couldn’t be happier.”
Leaders say the new system is more powerful, with a wider variety of functions. Teachers will be able to submit all necessary documents and get their certificates printed off immediately, instead of having to wait for the state to process their application.
Andrews said the previous licensing system – called MSEIS – didn’t work as smoothly as it should have, and they had been forced to do some licensing by paper forms.
Teach Montana was developed in conjunction with RANDA, a company in Tennessee. Andrews said states like Colorado and Kentucky are already using RANDA systems very similar to this one.
Arntzen said this change is part of a larger data modernization plan at OPI, funded partially through COVID-19 relief money allocated by the Montana Legislature. She said they plan to keep adding more features to Teach Montana in the coming years.
“The new system is in town, but we’re still about people,” said Arntzen. “We’re making sure that our teachers have everything that they need to be able to teach in our classrooms across our state.”