HAMILTON — State Superintendent of Instruction, Elsie Arntzen says it will be exciting to watch the first new community college in Montana in over half a century build new opportunities for public, and home school students.
Arntzen made the observation at last week's swearing in for the trustees for the new Bitterroot Valley Community College, saying it's a chance to bridge K-12 learning into life-long learning.
"And that's what the trustees, and the community, is going to do," Arntzen told MTN News. "They're going to make sure that they visit with our K-12 partners. And it's public school, but it's also home school and private. To make sure that opportunity is there for continuity of learning."
It's been 53-years since Montana launched a new community college. And Arntzen is hoping BVCC will not only promote economic development for Ravalli County and the surrounding region, but also give K-12 students new options. She says that's especially great for high school students, who will no longer have exposure to a career linked to a single day, but an on-going path to their future.
"But if we let our children know, our young children from the time they school, really focus on that middle school, that formative year, they it's not saying that high school is easier but they know the doors open to the next step," Arntzen noted. "Which could be definitely a community college, where that local flavor, that local control, those local values in Montana that we hold so dear, are there at the heart."
Arntzen says starting Bitterroot Valley Community College is not only "rejuvenating" the economy coming out of the pandemic with "workforce development", but is also "rejuvenating people in the hope they can learn better, make their lives better and make Montana proud."