2014 – STEM:
As of 08/2014 the Pine Creek School has ten top-of-the-line, i7, all-in-one, touch screen computers with a dedicated internet connection, along with iPads and laptops, as well as a collegiate connection in educational technology. Pine Creek is co-developing curriculum and implementing Next Generation Science Standards with the current Montana Science standards with the Montana Outdoor Science School. Pine Creek is navigating into a leadership role in educating students in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM).
In 2006 the Trustees of Pine Creek School contracted Claudette Morton, Ed.D, a nationally recognized educator, and a member of the Montana Small Schools Alliance, to do a comprehensive review of the Pine Creek School, and these are some of her conclusions…
Pine Creek School is the picture postcard of a rural school from a bygone era but it is still thriving in the 21st Century America. Although, there are only three teachers, plus some part time professionals, it functions as a modern K-8 education system.
Two on-site visits, including classroom observations, were conducted in the spring of 2006. Interviews were conducted with trustees, the county superintendent of schools, the professionals teaching staff and a sample of some students. In addition, a variety of district data were examined, collected, and analyzed.
In the past years of partnering with the teachers at Pine Creek School in their curriculum and professional development work with the Montana Small Schools Alliance, it was clear that they have been very dedicated and focused on student learning. The two visits to the school, the student scores on the state tests and the examples of student work to confirm this. During both visits to the school, it was clear that the students were on task and learning was challenging, meaningful and engaging.
Small class size ? …This is not an issue at Pine Creek, but it should never be taken for granted that this is a major benefit for students who attend a school the size of Pine Creek. No one gets lost and all students get the individual attention that they should have to learn and succeed.
The educators at Pine Creek School are very aware of the Montana Student and Performance Standards. They have incorporated these standards into their curricula and have aligned their classroom instruction to the curricula, including their resources (texts, technology, etc.). Clearly, the fact that the students do well on the state assessments and classroom assessments, reflect a rich measurement of the standards in all areas.
By any measurement Pine Creek is an exemplary school and one that any parent would be pleased to have their children attend. Pine Creek has provided specialists in guidance, library, music, health enhancement and a gifted and talented program. These enrichments are not often seen in a school this size, but certainly contribute to student learning.
This review was a rare opportunity to examine the implementation of those policies on a real rural school district, which provides a quality education program to its students.