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 Social Studies Position Available at Trego School

Trego School is looking for a part-time social studies teacher.

Who Qualifies? Anyone licensed in the state of Montana to teach social studies for grades 5-8. That is, anyone with an elementary k-8 endorsement, or an appropriate secondary 5-12 license.

Part-time? Yes. Trego School is looking for someone (or several someones) to teach four hours of social studies one day a week for at least one thirteen week trimester. Fifty-two hours. With three trimesters, this position could be filled with as many as three teachers or as few as one.

Why Work Part-Time? There are plenty of reasons people choose to work part-time. Part-time employment is a good answer for anyone with a reason to stay home most of the time. It has the benefit of allowing time in the rest of the week for errands and appointments. And, for those that are unable to work full-time for health reasons, part-time employment can be an answer.

Additionally, working for a partial school year leaves more time for travel, or to not travel. Don’t want to drive in the worst of winter? Don’t work that trimester!

Would this still count for TRS? If you’ve already paid into Montana TRS, definitely! This would be an easy way to add some extra years (if not highly paid years, part-time being rather less income than full-time) to a retirement.

Four hour blocks? Core classes, such as social studies, will be taught in four hour blocks, meaning the teacher will only be expected on campus once a week.

Why teach on a block schedule? Having taught on both, I’ve personally found the block schedule to be superior. Transition times between classes present a major loss of instructional time. Additionally, short classes prevent students spending much time being deeply involved and engaged in activities. Longer classes allow for instruction and work-time both, which gives students the benefit of practice supported by their teacher.

One of the major perks of a block schedule is the potential for lengthy activities. In a science classroom, this is typically labs. In a history class, it might well be field trips. Ultimately, the classroom we must prepare children for is the world. Four hours is plenty of time to visit old buildings, to learn the local parts of Montana History through experience instead of through pictures.

What classes? A teacher could apply to teach each social studies class for the school year (three trimesters), or for only a single trimester (13 weeks). Montana divides its social studies standards into four categories: Civics and Government, Economics, Geography, and History. Classes could easily be fit into those categories (with care to include the relevant standards from other categories), but a Montana History Class could easily include elements of geography, civics and government as well as economics. The categories of social studies are highly interconnected, so there is considerable freedom for class design. In other words, teach the class you always wanted to teach. Share the topic you love.

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


On Graduation Day

This article is the board chairman’s speech for Trego’s graduation.  It comes after a year of strife and the board’s decision to move to a new model of education that recognizes the level of expertise and education that is present within our community.  The era of the single-classroom generalist teacher has passed.  We’ve recognized that our school will be better integrated into the community by accepting the 21st Century and hiring adjunct faculty to teach the specialized classes our students need as they move from 5th through 8th grades.  Call Shari at 882-4713 if you’re interested in being part of the team – you may have a great idea that hasn’t crossed our minds.

Fifty-nine years ago, I graduated from Trego’s eighth grade.  The graduation speaker was a forester, who seemed to be directing his remarks to Marvin Osler, explaining that Osler Brothers Mill wouldn’t be there for his career.  He was right – as I drive by the old mill site, I see a Koocanusa Brewery building and sign where the Osler brothers once supplied dimension lumber to the nation.

I graduated from a different building, with 3 classrooms down where the outside basketball hoops grow from the asphalt.  This school building came along three years later, as Trego became a boom town for the tunnel and railroad relocation projects. 

I think of the sawmills that are gone – Ksanka, Osler Brothers, Tobacco River, Stevens, Owens & Hurst – and how the timber industry powered the economy in the valley.   Now, the Economic Research Service classifies us as recreational, government dependent and retirement destinations for the economic drivers. Trego school remains.

A century ago, my mother was finishing the first grade at Trego.  I don’t know how much she learned, but I recall two stories.  The first was seeing a bear as she walked to school, and how her teacher didn’t believe her.  “There aren’t any bears in Trego.”  The second was a tale of technology – you see, toilet paper was a new technology in 1922, and that same teacher was teaching students to use that new technology.  One square per trip to the outhouse.  I don’t recall the teacher’s name – but I do recall the lesson that my mother didn’t accept.  I guess we could say that the teacher was preparing her students for the great covid toilet paper shortage of 2020.

A century ago, Trego’s main industry was transportation – specifically transporting logs to Eureka from the old dam on the Dickinson place.  Picture if you can – the gates of the dam blasted open with a dynamite charge, and a crew riding that small flood filled with logs for the 20 mile trip to Eureka.  The dam was last used around 1954 – that industry is gone.  The one-room log school of the twenties burned.  Trego school remains.

Marvin went on to become a teacher – he completed his master’s quite a while before I got mine.  Mom went on to nursing school in Spokane – along with the invasion of Guadalcanal, the Navy put a hospital in grass huts at Milne Bay in New Guinea.  Trego’s home industries were gone – but education pushed their way into future careers. 

The eighth grade is the first big step.  When public education began, it was the step into the working world.  Now, it’s the step into high school.  Congratulations.  You are Trego’s final graduate of the old model.  It was a good system, serving the purpose of preparing young people for the working world.  Still, we probably should have made the change from the 19th century model at least 20 years ago.

The students you’re leaving behind are going to enter a different world of education – and the first change will be learning from specialized teachers instead of generalist elementary teachers for fifth grade up.

Our first goal is that our eighth grade graduates will have the opportunity to bring a credit in algebra and a foreign language credit with them as they enter high school.  Not everyone will pass high school algebra in the eighth grade – but if you do, that credit travels with you.  We’re looking at filling that fifth block with a foreign language that can travel with you to high school.

The friends you leave can expect classes based on blocks and a trimester system.  Imagine for a moment, having a professional wildlife biologist teaching life science for thirteen weeks, then getting 13 weeks of Newtonian physics, followed by 13 weeks of earth science from a geologist.  The friends you leave behind will be moving into an exciting world that takes them further into the sciences.

Social studies – this is my area . . . I became a sociologist and demographer – but next year, the friends you leave behind will move into social studies as well as history.  Think for a moment of 13 weeks specializing in Montana history . . . of 13 weeks learning enough economics that you could CLEP the first college course . . . CLEP?  College Level Examination Program – your friends might not learn enough at Trego to take the test and get credit – but I’m betting at least half of them would.  Between the blocks and the trimesters, your friends will have experts preparing them for high school.  In college, the teachers would be called adjunct faculty – coming in to teach what they are really, really good at teaching – subjects that they love.

Math?  I spent 3 years with dear Mrs. Price – and may have moved ahead 3 months.  Picture a math program that includes the real world applications of surveying, of forestry, of statistics.  Math is power, math is fun – and next year, Trego’s students will be studying math in ways that use real world applications that make math fun and relevant.

English?  Three teachers over a year let us have a teacher who loves grammar, a teacher who loves teaching speech and drama, and another who teaches writers.

I haven’t even started on the afternoon half-blocks.  Picture a two-hour block taught by a professional artist on Monday, moving to Tuesday’s music class.  When I went to High School from Trego, band wasn’t an option for me – I hadn’t taken the required classes in Junior High.  We will be correcting that long-term omission.  Picture 13 weeks of learning electrical wiring, followed by another 13 weeks emphasizing solar energy.  I could go on – 3 trimesters and 5 blocks each week will let us offer fifteen artistic,  vocational and PE classes each year.  Who knows?  We may even rebuild the greenhouse and get some horticulture going.

The 21st Century perspective offers opportunities.  We can’t out-Eureka Eureka.  Eureka has a century of experience at developing outstanding athletic teams.  We can’t out-Fortine Fortine – they still have their first school building in operation.  Our first burned down, and our second was dismantled by Tommy and LeeRoy.  We’re moving on to be the best Trego we can be.

This summer will see some additions to the playground – centered around the idea of individual, life-long sports.  A combination frisbee golf and pitch and putt course will be set up – forms of golf that don’t require a lot of travel or expense (or break windows).  We’re looking at a cross-country ski course for our students – I’ll cheerfully admit that the ability to use cross-country skis kept me employed for six or seven years.  We’re talking about adding air-rifle training – all activities that qualify as PE and can be added to the afternoon half-blocks.

Fifty-nine years between us – and we’re both examples of the old model.  That’s OK – previous graduates have shown that you can go anywhere from here.  The world will provide you a living – you just have to work every day to collect it.  Grab it with both hands – you’re the last of the old model.  From your peer, over 50 years in the past, my heartfelt “Congratulations.”  I envy the things that you will see.


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.


The Sign is Returning

Last year, we noticed the removal of the Trego School Sign. The removal occurred because the estate of Mr. Leroy Mee paid the school the remaining value of the lease in order to end the lease.

From Last Year: The Original Lease

Why is the Sign Gone?

As you may have noticed, the Reader Board for Trego School, situated between the community hall and the post office, is no longer present. So what happened? Some History: In June of 2016, Trego School entered into a lease agreement with Leroy Mee, allowing the school to place the Reader Board on Mr. Mee’s property. The term of the lease was ten years, at a rate of $100 per year. The school paid the full $1000 in 2016. Earlier this year, the Montana Department of Labor Safety and Health received an anonymous complaint about the…

Keep reading

Some time later, a new location was found and a new lease signed. There were no costs to the school for the new lease, beyond the time/materials required to put up the sign.

Last Year: About the New Lease

The Sign Will Return

Earlier this month, we reported on the removal of the Trego School reader board, and noted that the board was looking into options for a new location. Last week’s meeting included a new lease for the reader board. This time, there will be no expense to the school beyond the time and materials to put…

With spring here, the holes have been dug, and the board has arrived. Keep an eye out for the return of the sign.


Trego Excerpts from the Small School Survey

Looking at where your school ranks in comparison with others is important.  Montana’s Small School Alliance conducted a survey of small schools, and we’ve excerpted where Trego ranks in certain specific categories.  Here they are, with some explanations for abbreviations.  Many of us speak fluent English, but are not fluent in bureaucrat.

Taxable Value per ANB – $84,491 – pretty much the median.  Still, this category needs an explanation, and then the explanation needs a second explanation.  ANB is an abbreviation for Average Number Belonging.  Since that doesn’t really explain anything, consider this to be taxable value per student (it isn’t but it’s close enough).

General Fund Budget wo SPED – $190,972 – #20 out of 33.    Since the median is 16 or 17, 20 is pretty close to the center of the pack.  SPED is an abbreviation for Special Education – and for a small school, SPED can really affect the budget.  There are two ways SPED affects the budget – generally, somewhere around a sixth of the students qualify for SPED.  That’s the group statistic.  Then the individual student can qualify as needing very little, or a great deal.  It’s easy to see why the survey took SPED out of the calculation – if it were left in, the survey would be apples and oranges.

Cost per ANB to General Fund Budget wo SPED – $7,638 – right at the median.  Basically cost per student, excluding SPED.

General Fund Reserve as percentage of General Fund – 8.45% – third from bottom.   This number isn’t a great surprise – it’s only in the past couple of years Trego’s school board has even started on a building reserve fund.  Reserves are important, but need to be used at times.

2021-22 Guaranteed Tax Base – $0 – a dozen of the 33 surveyed schools tied for bottom.  I’m not sure this is a bad place to be.

Over Base Budget – $43,038 – 20th of 32 – still very close to the median.

Over Base Mills – 20.38 – median.

Transportation Budget per ANB – $1,960 – fourth from top, more than double the median.  This category shows Trego with high expenses to bring students to school.  Just the statistical placement of this category shows that it needs to be reviewed.  It may just be the remote nature of the district, but it may also mean alternatives need to be examined.

SPED personnel -17th out of 32 – another median.  Remember that SPED can be a statistical artifact – if it turns out to be 10% or 25% eligibility, opposed to 16%, the general statistic isn’t the controlling one.

Teachers Salaries as percent of General Fund – 59.81% -6th from top.  This means in the top 20% in this category. 

Teacher/Enrollment Ratio – 5.55 students per teacher – 27th lowest ratio of 31 schools.  This is probably a good thing from an education perspective.  From an economic perspective, a slightly higher ratio might be appropriate.

Base Teacher Salary – $32,000 – median.  (For 2022-23, the base salary is $33,920.

Average Teacher Salary – $36,909 –  31st of 41- a figure that is in the bottom quartile because none of our teachers have longevity – remember, it wasn’t that long ago that we only had 4 “ANB”.

School Clerk – low in survey $15, high $45.64 per hour, Trego $20 per hour.  Trego is about in the middle.

Bus Driver – low in survey $12.85, high $27.58 per hour.  Trego is $18 per hour.  Since the entire transportation program merits examination, this probably deserves a glance too – but is close enough to the median that it seems unlikely to be driving the transportation budget up.

Curious? Want more information? Barring confidentiality issues, school information is typically very public, as it is publicly funded. Contact the school clerk if you have any questions, or just want to learn more.


School Maintenance and “Out of the Box” Thinking

Time on the school board has brought building maintenance and neglect thereof to my mind.  Unfortunately, the only school that has done a respectable job is Fortine.  Here at Trego, we received a new school at Federal expense in the mid-sixties so that the community would be capable of serving the many kids who came in with parents working on the tunnel and railroad relocation.  Fifty years went by without establishing a building reserve fund or a maintenance schedule.  A new building doesn’t need much maintenance – but planning for maintenance, scheduling maintenance, and having a building reserve to pay for maintenance keeps from having to call for a special levy and passing a bond.  We have started the building reserve fund – but it should have been started at least 25 years earlier.

It’s easy to defer maintenance.  There is always someone who needs money for a different purpose – and the building stands quietly when it is short-changed.  I have a lot of respect for the school boards that stay conscious of the fact that it’s cheaper (in the long run) to maintain the school than go to the voters to authorize a bond to build a new one. 

So I’m reading the Tobacco Valley News, and I notice that we’re not alone – Rebecca Nelson’s article (p5, V62, I42) tells of Eureka’s woes:

“Mepham said he believed the bond wouldn’t have passed, but that the district absolutely needs new buildings.  “To put all our money into one K-4 building with the idea that someday we’re gonna get some more money and put it into the junior high, that’s good in theory, but the bottom line is, that means the junior high would have to make 20 more years in the condition it’s in.” he said.

Mepham reminded the board of a 2007 facilities report which he said essentially put the junior high as the worst facility in Montana, with the elementary close behind.  Now the most urgent needs are for a boiler at the junior high and a roof for the high school, each with a price tag of at least a quarter of a million dollars.  “We’re going to nickel and dime this district to death.” he said.”

Tobacco Valley News, article by Rebecca Nelson

That’s an interesting choice of words – the purpose of a building reserve fund is to accumulate nickels and dimes so that the school can have the funds to pay for maintenance projects as they are needed – without passing special levies.

Mepham acknowledged the restrictions of the elementary district’s bonding capacity and rising construction costs, and suggested it might be good to think outside the box and make use of the higher bonding capacity of the high school district, to build a new high school and junior high and remodel the current high school as an elementary.”

Tobacco Valley News, article by Rebecca Nelson

I’m not sure that turning Lincoln County High School into an elementary is out of the box thinking. There was a boiler in the building when I attended LCHS, and I have a strong suspicion that folks thought outside the box and made use of the higher bonding capacity of the high school district then remodeled my old school into Eureka Middle School.  If I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, Superintendent Mepham wants to get the taxpayers of Trego and Fortine to help pay for a new high school so that the old one can go to replace the unmaintained buildings in Eureka.  Sweet Jesus, Mepham, can’t you even bring a box of chocolates first? 

Darris Flanagan’s book: Eureka Montana Standing the Tests of Time, on p.20 tells of the origins of this “outside the box” scheme: “In 1955 a new grade school was built.  A major administration change occurred in when a joint board with LCHS and Roosevelt Grade School operating together just as they still do today.  Voting is complicated with Trego and Fortine board members voting only when an item concerns the high school.”

I think that translates something like “The LCHS board members from Eureka can outvote the two from Trego and Fortine.”  It’s good to get a little bit of a heads-up before they come to us with a tax levy for a bigger bond. 

Flanagan also pointed out “In 1955 a new grade school was built.”  That’s less than a dozen years older than Trego.  I’m not sure that we shouldn’t be looking at building a high school in Fortine – they have a record of maintaining their buildings.


Trego’s 99-Year Lease

Part of Trego School’s playground was leased to the school in 1960 in return for water.  It makes a lot more sense if we go back in time and figure out what was going on in the fifties.

Electricity was new, and the closest telephone was at Osler Brothers sawmill, just north of Mud Creek.  The general land price at the time was $30 per acre . . . less if you weren’t looking at the more desirable downtown Trego locations.

From the documents, it looks like the school got electricity, drilled a well, added wiring and plumbing to the school, and then thought “a bigger playground would be nice.” The neighbors to the north, Bill and Madeline Opelt thought “Water would be nice.”  So a trade was made – in return for a 99 year lease for an acre of playground – relatively flat – the school would provide water for 99 years to the Opelt family, their heirs and assigns. 

Trego School is on a 4.64 acre (rectangular) parcel. The area the school leases (highlighted yellow) is about .9 acres. The playground is located behind the school and includes swings, a slide, monkey-bars and several large tires, painted and partially buried

Originally, the water went to the horse trough, not the house.  Bill had three elderly work horses that he called appaloosas – while they had the spots, they were definitely draft horses, and I didn’t realize the history that they represented for years – until I took a job at Chinook, near the Bear’s Paw Battlefield, and learned of the glorious military efforts of the Montana State militia at that location.  As near as I recall the story, the militia was tasked with running off the Nez Perce horse herd . . . and once they got them moving, drove them southeast to Billings or some such location, and sent them through the auction.  The Nez Perce mares were crossed with draft stallions, and provided work horses across Montana.  Bill may not have known the whole story, but he was right – his horses were descendents of the Nez Perce Appaloosas.

I could end the story there – Bill wasn’t interested in putting the water indoors.  He explained how he had a deep hole under his outhouse, with even deeper poles under each corner, and nobody could tip it over.  It wasn’t an argument that I would have used – but I was raised around flush toilets and kind of bigoted.  Bill later lost his vision – as I recall he took a fall after cataract surgery.  He was one of our last veterans of World War I.

It looks to me that on January 22, 2059, much of the school’s playground will go back to the assigns of the Opelts. 


Prioritizing School Decisions

I’ve noticed articles about school board activities in different parts of the nation.  As I have thought about things, I’m tempted to alter Clauswitz’ quote – “Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult”

I came on to Trego’s school board when we had 4 ANB – that’s an abbreviation for Average Number Belonging.  It’s defined in 20-9-311 in Montana Codes Annotated.  It means we were just about out of business.  A couple years later, we have the school back in business, but even the simplest thing is difficult.  Here’s where you learn to count students and figure out funding.

Deciding what to do as a school board member is very simple – but the way a school functions makes the simplest of things difficult.  I’ve developed a priority list to help make decisions.

  1. Is this decision in the student’s best interest?
  2. Is this decision in the school’s best interest?
  3. Is this decision in the community’s best interest?
  4. Is this decision in the employees’ best interest?
  5. Is this decision in the board and board members’ best interest?

The students’ best interests come first.  My own priorities are that learning needs to be enjoyable and that academics comes first among student activities.  I see room for athletics and special events – but those are secondary.  A simple thing, made difficult by conflicting or undecided priorities.

The school, as a local institution, and building comes second.  Our school at Trego was built in the mid-sixties, to Corps of Engineers standards.  It has lasted a half-century without a fund dedicated to a planned maintenance schedule.  I’ve seen century-old schools in good shape in their second century, and 50 year-old buildings demolished due to poor maintenance.   Our facility was built by an earlier generation, and needs to be maintained for the future.  A simple thing – but the building has no voice and maintenance can always be put off until later.

The Trego community and residents who fund the school come third. Don’t take this out of context because the staff comes fourth.  If they aren’t working for those first three priorities, we have a problem.  Teachers, janitor, cook, clerk, bus driver are all needed.  This is the personnel management spot, where conflict and strife combine to make even the simple things difficult.

Board members individually and as a group have the lowest priority.  We are unpaid and ideally the positions should be sought as a civic responsibility. 

Everything that comes before your school board is very simple – but even the simplest thing is difficult. 


Trego School Adopted New Salary Schedule

The Trego School board adopted a new salary schedule during the meeting on Wednesday, January twelfth. The new salary schedule will be applicable starting in the fall of the upcoming school year.

The schedule is split into three sections, by number of teaching endorsements.

Single Endorsement
Experience yrs$33,920$34,598$35,290$35,996$36,716
Dual Endorsement
Experience yrs$37,450$38,387$39,346$40,330$41,338
Third Endorsement
Experience yrs$42,372$43,643$44,734$45,852$46,999

Trego’s Salary Schedule is unusual in a few ways. While most salary schedules increase with the number of years of teaching experience, few consider the number of teaching endorsements. Though some offer fixed bonuses for coaching.

A teaching endorsement is granted by Montana’s Office of Public Instruction. These can include K-8 endorsements, which allow the teacher to teach any subject to students from kindergarten to 8th grade, as well as music and art. High school teachers are typically licensed for their specific subject areas -in my case, a Broadfield Science license allows me to teach science for grades 5-12. Special Education, Counseling, and Administrative Endorsements can also be found in public schools.

For comparison, Eureka’s Salary Schedule can be found on their website.

In comparison, this salary schedule has far more years of teaching experience included, and considers twenty further credits beyond a master’s degree.

The base salary for a teacher fresh out of school, without any credits past a bachelors degree would be slightly lower in Eureka, except that the district starts new teachers at step three on the schedule. Trego’s schedule is similar, but adding endorsements (this varies in difficulty, but typically involves some coursework and passing a praxis test) provides teachers with the more significant pay increase than additional coursework does alone.