CTE-Big Sky Pathways
Big Sky Pathways

Strengthening Big Sky Pathways Proposals and Grantees

Proposals and Approvals

Request for Proposal (RFP) 

For Questions to the Request for Proposal (RFP), please email bsp@montana.edu. All questions and responses will be posted to this page.

Question and Response Section

If we worked on articulation agreements with schools that we already have gap analysis and pathway contracts with whereby students could earn College credit in high school, like we do with science, math etc. through dual enrollment. Will this meet the essence of this proposal?

Continuing work with the current Big Sky Pathways process that has developed dual credit for secondary students is a great start to fulfilling the essence of the Strengthening Big Sky Pathways Initiative, Request for Proposal. The Montana University System and the Office of Public Instruction would also like to see a more concerted and strategic effort to provide additional dual credit courses offered, the use of gap analyses to work more closely with associated secondary school districts to fill educational gaps, and an assurance of transcripted credit from an associated postsecondary institution that allows a student to take their earned credit with them after high school to the postsecondary institution of their choice.

I want to clarify that this grant is worth 75,000 for this year.  It isn’t 75,000 spread over 5 years.  Is that correct?

That is correct. The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education and the Office of Public Instruction hope to renew the grants in subsequent years. This is, of course, dependent on funding from the Department of Education and the successes of the grants. Keep in mind the decrease in funding over the years to positions. This will allow more grants to be administered in subsequent years.

I’m in the process of writing a proposal for the grant and I wanted to know if there was a specific format for the narrative?  I currently have included the headings for the numbers listed on the proposal.

There is no specific format for the grant to be written. It is up to each, individual institution/district to write the grant proposal to showcase their ideas in the best way possible. Please include all sections of the RFP and ensure that the information is tied back to student success and the measurements of accountability.

Is there an example I could be given to see what other schools have done?  I'm new to education in Montana and would find this information helpful. 

Unfortunately, the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education or the Office of Public Instruction have not yet received any of the proposals from the RFP. The best way to complete the grant proposal is to follow the numbered and lettered sections, the objectives, activities, and evaluation grid, and the budget outline. This can be written in t a bulleted fashion or in a narrative fashion. It is up to you and your school district to write the proposal in a manner that best showcases the proposal for the needs of the students, the district, and Big Sky Pathways.

What is the specific intent of this grant? Do OPI and OCHE foresee the lead being taken at the secondary or post-secondary level? Would we be required to use MCIS? Will there be subsequent rounds of funding after this initial award? In other words, if we were not to apply this time, will there be other opportunities in the future?

The specific intent of the grant is to create stronger opportunities that are utilized by students with the Big Sky Pathways initiative. This could be to advise the students using Big Sky Pathways course templates, guiding them through academic programs to help their understanding of the content areas, and to better prepare students to earn transcripted dual credit to lessen the amount of time needed to complete a degree; all within the prescribed content of the Request for Proposal. OPI and OCHE do not intend to advocate if secondary or postsecondary takes the lead for the project. That decision is dependent on the necessities of the grant and the logistics of each campus(es) and/or school district(s). Student utilization of the Montana Career Information System (MCIS) is a requirement of the grant. This is where Big Sky Pathways are loaded and where usage data can be collected. Depending on funding, OPI and OCHE hope to provide subsequent rounds of funding in forthcoming grant cycles.

I am putting together information for the RFP and want to define my region (by naming high schools) but would like some clarification from OCHE on what service area is appropriate.

There is no set service area. Based on all of the proposals, once collected, service areas will be better defined. The OPI and the MUS are looking for the greatest impact with secondary and postsecondary feasible.

Two questions I had in regards to the format for proposals cover page:  

     1.  Do I need to provide an applicant or project ID number?

No, that is for the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education to complete.

     2.     The eligible Recipient is the LEA for the grant?

Correct. Each grant proposal must designate one qualified LEA to administer the grant.

Some of our local high schools have suggested taking students from their high school on a field trip to the 2yr. or 4yr college, could the Strengthening funds be used for this type of activity?

Yes, the grant funds can be used for this. This falls in line with the marketing effort request of the proposal.

Are there going to be required trainings that Pathways or Strengthening staff should attend at the State (OCHE) level that we should plan and budget for?

There will be at least one training during the grant cycle. Budgeting for it is a good idea.


The language in the BSP Initiative RFP reads like an applicant will need to address all of the purposes included in the RFP. We feel we have effectively addressed some of these issues in our community already – can we be competitive focusing on several specific “purposes” rather than the whole slate?

In collaboration with the Office of Public Instruction and the Montana University System; it is the goal of the grant to address all of the initiatives outlined. Not only do all areas in the RFP need to be addressed, but measures to meet the accountability objectives is important as well. Successful grant applications will include all targeted areas of the RFP.


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