At your service...

Contact us via email or call us in-state toll-free between 9:00am and 5:00pm MT at 1.888.231.9393, Local 406.444.3095


  • Advanced Placement (Title I Part G) – Low Income Student Fee Reduction Program
  • Advanced Placement Summer Institute for Teachers
    • Julia Cruse, Regional Education Service Areas (RESAs), 406.444.0769
  • Gifted and Talented Education

Questions or concerns about this webpage?
Please contact the OPI Help Desk at or 406.444.0087


Gifted & Talented Education

Montana's constitution states that the people of Montana seek to "establish a system of education which will develop the full educational potential of each person." To assist Montana school districts and families, the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) provides guidance, structure, and  resources to support, build, and revise a program of services to consistently identify and meet the needs of high ability/high potential students, enabling each to meet his/her full potential.

We're here to help. Contact us.

Gifted Education in Montana Rule and LawAPSI

In the School Laws of Montana, MCAA 20-7-901, high ability/high potential students are defined as children with capabilities that "require differentiated educational programs beyond those normally offered in public schools in order to fully achieve their potential contribution to self and society." Montana's School Accreditation Standards require each school district to provide educational services to high ability/high potential students commensurate with their needs as outlined in a comprehensive district framework for gifted education.

Montana State Law Montana Administrative Rule
MCA 20-7-901 through 904

ARM 10.55.804

Montana's requirements for gifted education are also available in Serving Montana's High Ability/High Potential Students pages 57-58.

Gifted Planning Guide

Resources for Gifted Education Programming

Montana's approach to providing educational services to high ability/high potential students involves adapting the systems through which education is normally offered; that is, many of these services can occur in a student's regular classroom, but the services must occur through planned and targeted strategies.                                                                                                        

Educators can use the OPI's guide, "Serving Montana's High Ability/High Potential Students," to find research-based best practices in gifted education. To open the guide, click on the icon below. Refer to the table of contents for quick links throughout the guide.

Related pages in Serving Montana's High Ability/High Potential Students:

Building/revising a program in your school, arrow pages 6–7  
Identifying high ability/ high potential students arrow  pages 9–23
Delivering services arrow  pages 36-54
Professional development arrowpages 32–33

Additional Resources: Regional Education Service Areas  (RESAs)

Gifted Planning Guide



Resources for Educators of High Ability/High Potential Students

Some school districts may be able to employ a gifted education specialist, but this may not be feasible for many districts. Alternative strategies include sharing a gifted education specialist among several schools or contracting with a gifted education specialist for specific services including high quality professional development. The OPI's planning guide and strategies for gifted education outline a number of classroom strategies as part of Montana's Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). This process is useful in planning and managing instruction for high ability/high potential students. Numerous strategies for the classroom and for supplemental programs are outlined on pages 36–54 of Serving Montana's High Ability/High Potential Students.

Related pages in Serving Montana's High Ability/High Potential Students:

Identification Instruments in support of  high ability/high potential students high ability/high potential students arrow pages 16–21   and 87–88
Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)   for High Ability/High Potential Learners arrow pages 38–46
MTSS as used for serving ALL Students' Educational Needs arrowpage 39
Programming Criterion Components
(Essential Elements and Recommended Practices)
arrowpages 62–66
Sample Acceleration Policy arrowpages 83–86

Additional Resources:

Gifted Planning Guide



Resources for Families of Gifted Learners

Parents, grandparents, and other primary caregivers are commonly involved in programs for high ability/high potential learners in several ways. They:

  • offer support and are involved in meaningful ways with their children's education;
  • advocate for appropriate placement, curriculum, strategies, and for addressing social/emotional needs;
  • provide context for a learner's specific needs; and
  • volunteer to assist with school programs and classroom needs.

Related pages in Serving Montana's High Ability/High Potential Students:

Profiles of high ability/high potential students  arrowpages 10–12
Social/emotional needs of high ability/high potential students  arrowpage 13
Characteristics of high ability/high potential students  arrowpages 14–15
Family engagement with  gifted education programs    arrowpage 31
"Things My Child Likes to Do" parent assessment    arrowpages 77–78

Additional Resources:

Gifted Planning Guide

Funding Opportunities

Since 1980, the Montana State Legislature has provided funding for a grant program to assist school districts in supplementing their gifted education programs with additional services for high ability/high potential students. State funds must be matched with local funds. The biennial application process begins with an "Intent to Apply" in March of odd numbered years using the state's E-Grants system.

Additional Resources:

Advanced Placement & International Baccalaureate

Advanced Placement courses and International Baccalaureate programs offer students an opportunity to experience college-level study while still in high school. Both programs seek to help students develop college-level skills of inquiry and reasoning, statistically increasing students' success in postsecondary study. These programs foster student engagement, develop college/career ready students, and prepare students for success on nationally administered assessments.

Advanced Placement® (AP)
AP programs, offer college-level curriculum to high school students. Many Montana high schools offer the courses locally or through the Montana Digital Academy
To read more about AP visit The College Board.

Montana's AP® Summer Institute (APSI)APSI
This institute seeks to help Montana high schools and teachers implement and build quality AP programs. Teachers select an AP subject and study for four days with highly qualified, experienced, College Board endorsed teachers. The Montana Institute takes place the last week in June; registration opens in early January.

International Baccalaureate® (IB)
IB programs offer high school degree programs focused on developing the intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills to live, learn, and work in a rapidly globalizing world.  Currently, three Montana public high schools offer the IB program: Flathead High School in Kalispell; Hellgate High School, and Big Sky High School, both in Missoula.

Low Income Student Test Fee Waiver Program for AP and IB Programs
The U. S. Department of Education currently provides funding to underwrite the cost of AP and IB program test fees for low income students. The program is updated annually. For the most current information, review: 6AP and IB Exam Fee Waiver Program 2016.