What Education Could Be

Imagine that you are a student. Fifth grade. You arrive at school and eat your breakfast with your classmates and your teacher. You know all of them, because it is a small school and you know everyone. Your teacher asks about your pets, your family, your hobbies because it’s a small class and your teacher knows you too.

You and your classmates get into the bus- except, it isn’t actually a bus. It’s technically a class-3 school bus, which means it’s a van. It’s cozy, has seat belts, and it’s easy to talk to the people around you.

Your teacher asks you if you know why pine trees shape their leaves like needles. And you listen, and you ask questions. Learning is a conversation, things pointed out as you drive by or when you stop to look at something more closely. Your teacher welcomes your questions and encourages your curiosity. Sometimes the answer to your question is known and sometimes it goes on the list of things to research later. The geological history of the area is written in the stones and in the shape of the mountains and now that you know what to look for, you can see it.

You see ecosystems, in a pond, in a forest, in a meadow, and even on the moss covered rocks. You take samples of water and look at them under microscopes (the kind that use mirrors for light and require no electricity). You can see the stages of ecological succession; You can see the pioneer species that move in on bare stone, a pond that will one day become meadow, and a meadow that will one day become a forest. The future of the landscape is there and you can see it now.

You see human history, too. Old fire lookouts, and the places that the roads once were, when they were traveled by wagons. You see dynamite scarring that came when roads were built, and you pass stump cultures from Christmas tree farming.

You eat lunch back at school and your afternoon teacher joins you. Your afternoon is a vocational class. This trimester it’s Building Trades, and you are learning the basics of carpentry, plumbing, wiring and masonry. Last trimester was Culinary Arts and next will be Engineering.

This could be Trego School. This is a glimpse of the future we want for the children of our community. We want them to have opportunity to learn how to do things, to ask questions, and to reach their potential as confident, capable adults.

Help us build the future. Do you have a skill or a profession that would benefit the children of our community? Consider putting in an application at Trego School and applying for a Class-4 (vocational) teaching license.


Part-Time Science Position Available at Trego School

Trego School is accepting applicants to teach a four hour science class, once a week, to the upper grades. While most teaching contracts run the entirety of the school year, that isn’t necessarily the case for this one. Trego School is operating on a trimester system, which means that an applicant could choose to teach for a single trimester. At four hours a week, and thirteen weeks in a trimester, that means a commitment of 52 hours.

Who’s qualified? Anyone licensed to teach the subject to the relevant grades. As it happens, this means anyone with an elementary license for grades k-8, as well as anyone with a secondary (high school license) for grades 5-12. In the case of the high school license, the area of endorsement must correspond to the classes taught.

Out of state license? Shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Montana’s Office of Public Instruction should be making it easier to obtain a Montana Teaching License for those licensed to teach in other states.

Retired Montana Teacher? Anyone receiving a retirement from Montana’s Teacher Retirement System can be paid up to $21,400 a year by a public school without interfering with their retirement.

What could you teach? The state of Montana provides teaching standards for Life Science, Earth and Space Science and Physical Science. It would be quite reasonable to expect a trimester devoted to each. Large districts typically divide those into a year of earth science, a year of life science and a year of physical science. Why? Those classes are taught by the same teacher each year, someone who specializes in the topic. Trego school is using the same approach- each class taught by someone who specializes. And, unlike the model of the large districts, this approach is effective in a multi-grade classroom.

Experience tells me that the same standards can be met in more than one type of class. Earth Science standards might be met in an astronomy class, which begins with the big bang and ends with the formation of planets and the processes that shape them. A class detailing earth’s geological history might meet the same standards. Life Science standards can be met with an introductory biology course, but a class on evolution will naturally include cell biology and ecology as well. The interconnected nature of life science means a variety of classes can teach those standards. Short answer? Teach the class you love to teach.

Why have a part-time teacher? We ask a lot out of elementary teachers. We license them to teach students from kindergarten up to the eighth grade- and those two age groups have considerable differences. Then, if that’s not enough, we license them to teach every subject; Art, PE, Science, Math, English, Social Studies- for every grade! Allowing teachers to focus and dive deep into a single area keeps teachers from being spread too thin and lets them teach the subjects they love.

Interested in Applying? Contact Shari Puryer ( for more details and to pick up a copy of the District Application.