The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Elsie Arntzen
Serving Students 

The Glasgow 'Example'

 


In my campaign to serve as our next Superintendent of Public Instruction, I’ve made it a priority to regularly visit all corners of our state – a commitment that will continue once I am elected. All too often, politicians travel to the vote-rich urban centers of Montana, cruising up and down I-90 and neglecting the more rural parts of the state that are the very heart and soul of Montana.

In contrast, I believe our more rural school districts are just as important as those with tens of thousands of students. It was great to be back in Glasgow last week, visiting with students, parents, and teachers about both the educational challenges and opportunities in the community.

Participating in the Homecoming Parade was a great treat for me. It’s evident that Glasgow Scotties’ pride is strong throughout this area. That sense of community pride is a great building block for educational success, but we have much more to do to ensure that our students are reaching their full potential.

As I travel around Montana, I use Glasgow as an example of what can be done with community-led efforts to make local schools even better. On a previous visit, I got the chance to tour Glasgow Middle School’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) lab. Folks in the area spearheaded the effort to get a STEM lab in the middle school, knowing that students can thrive in high school if a strong foundational background in STEM subjects exists before they even begin their freshman year.

Unfortunately, many other communities essentially neglect the importance of middle school education, which is when so many of our students fall behind. As educators, it’s important to realize a one size fits all model doesn’t work for every middle school student and that what works in a more urban school might not necessarily be the best fit for schools along the Hi-Line.

That’s why I will continue to advocate for more local control and input in educational decision-making. Glasgow parents and teachers have a much better idea than Helena bureaucrats about what’s best for their schools. Whether a student enters the workforce, goes to a trades school, or attends a four year university, our schools need to equip them with the tools necessary to succeed.

For nearly thirty years, one political party has been in control of the Office of Public Instruction, often ignoring the needs of our rural schools. It’s time for a change in leadership. As Superintendent, it is my goal to be a champion for all of our Montana schools, not just a select few. One of the best ways to do this is by empowering local communities instead of dictating decisions from Helena.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Glasgow this past week and I look forward to coming back again next month to continue listening to your community and sharing my goals for our Montana schools.

Elsie Arntzen is a 23 year public school teacher who served 8 years in the Montana House of Representatives and is currently a Montana state Senator. She lives in Billings with her husband, Steve. They have two daughters and four grandchildren.

 

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