Montana Grantees

Below are descriptions and information for all grants awarded in the state of Montana. 

National Museum of Forest Service History

National Museum of Forest Service History‌‌Contact: Cheryl Hughes, Director of Education and David Stack, Curator & Historian 
Email: and

Grant awarded May 26, 2016

The history of the U.S. Forest Service offers a central point of reference for the history of forest and grassland conservation intersecting with the history of democracy, federalism, and the public good. U.S. This TPS regional grant provided the foundation for developing and piloting all future educational outreach for the National Museum of Forest Service History located in Missoula, MT. In May 2017, approximately 20 educational leaders from Montana and five other states convened at a mountain retreat center near Yellowstone National Park to participate in a TPS workshop. Over a period of three days, the educators explored primary source materials from the Library of Congress and the archives of the National Museum of Forest Service History, learned how to use these sources in their classrooms, and prepared to become Ambassadors for the Museum’s educational programs. This cadre of teachers also created lesson plans for K-12 teachers which will housed on the museum’s website and become the foundation of future education outreach by the museum. 

According to one participant, “The thing I like best about teaching with primary sources is that it fosters enthusiasm for learning. When students generate the questions, search for clues, compare documents, and interpret events, they are much more involved than reading someone else’s interpretation and summary of events. Our time at base camp opened the doors to many more sources of primary documents and tools for students and teachers.”

It is estimated that initially, 600 K-12 students will be impacted by the teacher workshop. This number is likely to grow as the Ambassador’s Program is piloted in regional schools.

Montana Center for Inclusive Education

Contacts: John Keener – Project CoordinatorMontana Center for Inclusive Education




Grant awarded June 26, 2017

The rationale for this regional grant is to create a statewide professional learning community in Montana focusing on underserved rural communities. This project is a partnership between the Montana Center for Inclusive Education (MCIE) and the Montana Regional Education Service areas, which will allow direct access to their existing teacher networks throughout the state. The regional grant is also in collaboration with the Indian Education for All initiative, supporting the mandated requirement to teach about the distinct cultural heritage of Montana Native peoples. Project leadership will conduct two workshop in the fall of 2017 in Miles City and Great Falls, reaching approximately 50 rural Montana teachers. Following the initial workshops, teachers will participate in a series of online activities, including the TPS Teachers Network, EdChats, and webinars, to support their efforts in the classroom and share the outcomes of the grant with a wider audience. A final gathering will be held in Lewiston at the end of project to review and reflect on participant work. Participating teachers will share their experiences and materials in a formal presentation to their peers to build sustainability and connectedness within the professional learning community.

Billings Public Schools

Contact: Susan Plath, Project Coordinator, Ruth Ferris and Kathi Hoyt, Teacher Leaders


Grant awarded October 3, 2013

Billings School District #2 provided content-rich, primary source-based professional development for K-12 teachers and librarians over the course of two academic years. The overall goal was to strengthen the classroom use of primary sources available from the Library of Congress and local Montana archives. Professional development workshops introduced or expanded upon teacher and librarian knowledge in using primary source documents to support the inquiry model and integrate Common Core Standards. Building on the success of previous Montana grants, the Billings coordinators recruited teacher/librarian teams who agreed to share what they learned at the building level through in-service presentations. 

The initial training workshop was presented on December 2-3, 2013 to an enthusiastic group of 34 teachers and librarians. Following the workshop, teacher and librarian teams developed and disseminated lesson plans using primary sources throughout the school district. Due to the heightened interest, project coordinators requested a grant extension to provide another full day of training and to increase the number of TPS-related lessons available to teachers and librarians. In the words of one teacher,

“After seeing the level of student engagement I plan on incorporating primary sources into more of my lessons. It really was amazing what a difference it made. Other teachers in my school heard my students talking about the lesson taught using primary sources.”

By the end of the grant, 93% of participants had developed two lessons plans. 100% of the educators responded positively about increased student engagement, excitement that extended beyond the classroom, and a deeper level of conversation in the classroom. Teacher leaders continued to collaborate with the TPS regional grant at the Montana Regional Education Service Area 3, illustrating how combined efforts in one state can result in quality professional development for teachers and enhanced learning for students. As a final highlight to the grant, librarian Ruth Ferris was named 2015 Montana History Teacher of the Year because of her thoughtful and creative teaching of US history by effectively using primary sources to engage students. 

Montana Regional Educational Service Area III

Contact: John Keener - Project Coordinator


Grant awarded March 29, 2013

The Montana Regional Education Service Area III (MRESA3) is the professional development arm of the Montana Center for Inclusive Education serving educators and college students in central Montana. This geographic area encompasses 11 counties serving 84 school districts. MRESA3 collaborated with Montana State University Billings (MSUB) and the Montana Office of Public Instruction, Indian Education for All (IEfA) program to implement this regional grant for "Integrating Primary Resource Documents to Study Contemporary American Indian Issues." A primary goal was to design and present an annual two-day IEfA Summer Institute to provide models of best practices using primary resources, Common Core Standards, and technology infusion. Through this grant, the MRESA3 hosted ten workshops for educators in 12 school districts, and developed a pool of trainers to share Library of Congress resources with other teachers. An unexpected outcome was the development of a mutually beneficial relationship with educators in the Billings School District who successfully applied for their own regional grant.

Through the implementation of this TPS grant, teaching has become more engaging and interactive for both teachers and students. As John Keener described,

“The impact on teaching has been remarkable for those who implemented the practices into their teaching and classrooms... Student learning has become more student-led and project based…it has allowed students to correlate the ‘past’ with their ‘present’ in understanding how the past affects events happening in their lives today.”

Western Montana CSPD (Comprehensive System of Personal Development)

Contact: Nancy Marks - Director


Grant awarded September 24, 2012

Western Montana CSPD provided professional development and on-site technical assistance to educators in the seven counties of Western Montana. Through this TPS grant, Weaving Common Core and Indian Education for All, this organization enticed teachers to investigate the resources available at the Library of Congress and use them in the classroom to encourage higher level thinking skills and inquiry. Further goals included training teachers to design authentic lesson plans in the curricular area of Indian Education for All and to develop strategies for implementing the new Montana Common Core Standards through the use of primary sources. This grant combined pre-conference activities (including the online, interactive modules at, face-to-face instruction, online asynchronous/synchronous webinars and social networking to effectively reach teachers across a vast geographic area. Western Montana CSDP is hoping to replicate this model to the four other regions in Montana.

Montana Historical Society

Contact: Martha Kohl - Education Coordinator, Monatana Historical Society and Kirby Lambert - Outreach and Interpretation Program Manager, Montana Historical Society


Grant awarded January 12, 2011

This grant enhanced previous TPS activities in Montana and was a direct result of another TPS grant funded through the Western History Association. The Montana Historical Society grant provided funding for workshops and conference presentations designed to reach teachers statewide in Montana. The first workshop presented on September 22, 2011 in conjunction with the 38th Annual Montana History Conference, included a one-day Teaching with Primary Sources Educators Workshop and a two-day session focused on "War, Resistance, and the Montana Experience". These TPS workshop reached 40 participants including teachers, museum educators, pre-service teachers, high school students and community members.

As TPS Western Region Project Coordinator, Taylor Kendal, observed,

"I think this workshop further solidified our belief that collaborative efforts are truly the most successful. The back-and-forth nature of the instruction between national LOC material and local Montana resources really seemed to resonate with the majority of participants."

The sustainability of TPS was evident at the Montana Education Association Conference on October 19-21, 2011 through TPS presentations by Martha Kohl, Montana Historical Society ("Landmarks of Montana History Do Matter") and Michelle Pearson, TPS Mentor and Colorado Teacher of the Year 2011 ("Primary Sources 2.0: Technology Meets LOC").

Grant awarded November 17, 2008

The Montana Historical Society enhanced the "Big Read" project already in operation using primary sources from the Farm Securities Administration. They disseminated copies of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and Hope in Hard Times by Mary Murphy to nine high schools throughout the state allowing students to analyze primary sources and compare depression-era photographs to current day photographs. The Enhancement Grant also enabled Montana to bring 20 teachers to Helena for a "Big Read" symposium in January, 2009.

This grant was completed during the second quarter of 2009 with a total of 142 educators reached. Based on the reports from the nine participating schools, hundreds of students and community members participated in numerous presentations and culminating events held in schools and public libraries in small Montana towns. Activities also included analysis of primary sources through historic and original photographs, collection of oral histories and simulations of Depression-era soup kitchens.

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