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Fall 2020 High School Original Credit Briefing Page

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Fall 2020 High School Original Credit Briefing
Counselors, Administrators, and Site Facilitators

Notice to students and parents: This information is intended for distribution to schools and districts only and may contain details that do not apply to your local district’s participation in MTDA services. If you are interested in enrolling in courses with Montana Digital Academy, your first contact should be with the counseling department or administration of your local school to discuss what is available locally.  MTDA does not take enrollments directly from students or their parents.

Important note for districts: Enrollment for Fall 2020 is open NOW!   We will continue to work to efficiently manage MTDA resources to meet the needs of your students in this and future semesters.  We continue to ask you to assist us in making the best use of MTDA resources by thoughtfully and deliberately enrolling students that you believe will be successful in online classes.  The only course limitations we will enforce this fall are related to the two course areas in which we have limited staffing: Latin and German.

MTDA continues to monitor the situation regarding Covid 19 and school building closures and program adaptations.  We release this information in hopes you understand that factors may change in the comings months.  We will continue to work with districts to determine how we can best deliver services in light of the ongoing public health situation.  We also ask that districts are particularly mindful of Internet and laptop/desktop computer access when enrolling students.  MTDA remains a technology-driven learning model, and not built to be delivered in a correspondence course model.


  • Please review our student registration page for information on data collection, entrance counseling, and student registration in the site facilitator handbook.
  • Registration for Fall 2020 courses is open now.  Please prioritize getting in known enrollments for Fall before June 15, 2020, so that we may have an initial picture of our 2020-2021 staffing needs.  We will again enforce an “Initial Course Request Deadline” on Wednesday, August 26, 2020.  MTDA will finalize sections on that day and assign teachers.  We may or may not have additional slots open in any particular course after this day.  For any class with open slots, the final enrollment deadline is Friday, September 4, 2020. If you choose to enroll a student on or after the course start date on August 31, 2020, you must an active role in helping that student get in the course and catch up to pace.  Students that are enrolled after the course starts have a significantly higher drop rate and ultimately lower success rate.
  • Please use the enrollment counseling forms when enrolling students and give a copy of the form to the student after enrollment.  This form helps decrease confusion on behalf of the student and their parents and opens up communication lines.  Our enrollment counseling page is here: LINK.

Program Information

  • Our course list for 2020-2021 is here: LINK.
  • Our 2020-2021 Academic Calendar is located here: LINKPlease note: MTDA is currently reviewing our 2020-2021 original credit calendar based on consultation with schools regarding Fall Covid-19 plans. We plan to have a final decision regarding changes by August 1st.
  • Our 2020-2021 course catalog and course offering lists are located here: LINK.
  • Significant program changes (please check back here for an up-to-date list):
    • Courses with Program Notes
      • Game Design is not offered in Fall 2020.  We may offer the course again Spring 2021, depending on available resources.
      • Fashion Design is no longer offered by MTDA.  We have changed our master schedule to make Interior Design available both fall and spring.
      • For the 2020-2021 school year only, Contemporary Mathematics does not require minimum placement scores.
      • The availability of our Irish Language programming relies upon the availability of Fulbright Scholars assigned to the University of Montana Irish Studies program.  While no announcement has been made regarding the status of that program for Fall 2020, we want interested students and schools aware that availability is dependent on the availability of staffing.
    • Courses with Enrollment Caps for 2020-2021 (see notes above):
      • German I – We expect this course to be popular.  Early enrollment is advised.  We are working on additional staffing for the Fall 2020 semester and will lift caps if successful.
      • German II
      • Latin I – We expect this course to be popular.  Early enrollment is advised.
      • Latin II
    • Continued Fall 2020: MTDA continues to offer an optional original credit orientation short course.  Please visit the short course program description page for more details.
  • Dual Credit Course Information
    • Reminder: MTDA-sourced dual credit courses require that you enroll in the MTDA course FIRST, then apply for college credit with our partner institution.  College deadlines and requirements are firm.
    • Information pages (NOT AVAILABLE until final information is available from our Montana University System partners)
      • Contemporary Mathematics, 1 Semester; Partner: Helena College
      • Joy and Beauty of Computing (Dual Credit), 1 Semester; Partner: Helena College
      • Elementary Spanish I, Full Year; Partner: Helena College
      • Pre-Calculus, Full Year; Partner: Missoula College

2020-2021 Advanced Placement Information

[This information is preliminary, as we expect additional changes to be announced Summer 2020.  Please refer back to this information before Fall 2020 courses start.]

The last two years have witnessed several substantial changes to the process and procedures related to signing up to offer AP testing. The most considerable change requires ordering tests in the Fall, with deadlines for schools BEFORE November.  Below are action items that may or may not apply to your role at your local school. If others at your school should see this (principal, counselor, AP coordinator), kindly forward a link to this page to those individuals!

First and foremost, thank you for entrusting your student with MTDA for an Advanced Placement course. We are very proud of our AP program, which has experienced growth in the past four years, outpacing the rest of our program. Our exam passage rates exceed the state average, and we continue to refine our delivery and engagement models. We have had positive and constructive feedback from our students and look forward to continuing to enhance and polish the student experience in the program. We, of course, also welcome your feedback!

You must plan and take action now for students taking the Advanced Placement tests, May 2020.

Test Administration/Ordering Exams

As a distance learning provider, MTDA has no role in the administration of Advanced Placement exams. We will do our best to assist, but exam administration happens in face-to-face environments and not online.

FOR SCHOOLS THAT ARE ALREADY REGISTERED TO OFFER AP EXAMS: In addition to the early fall deadline, the process for ordering exams has changed for AP students. You need to create “exam only” sections for your MTDA AP students, and then order exams for that particular section. Otherwise, the process is the same for your local students.

FOR SCHOOLS THAT ARE NOT REGISTERED TO OFFER AP EXAMS, your options are to register to do so, or, work with a neighboring district that offers AP testing. With new, short deadlines this year, we recommend that you start the process today to determine the best setup for your MTDA AP students.

The best resource to get started is the College Board’s “Start AP” page, located here: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/start-grow-ap/start-ap

The page contains an excellent set of resources on how to get started, including a timeline and contact information for assistance at the College Board itself. The “Getting Approved to Administer Exams” page goes through that process step-by-step. Once that is complete, you will need to order exams, per the directions above.

Course Audits

As you may be aware, all schools and outside course providers must pass a rigorous “Course Audit” to qualify to appear on the College Board’s Advanced Placement Ledger.  MTDA course audits are in process for the 2020-2021 school year.  We expect this process to be complete on or before September 1, 2020.

Like past years, the College Board has asked all providers like MTDA to inform you in writing that you must take an additional step locally to have MTDA’s courses appear in the ledger associated with your school. With your local course audit account, you must explicitly choose the course and associated it with MTDA as an external provider. It is our understanding that you must complete this process by January. However, we would advise doing so as soon as possible.

Additional Assistance

We have worked with a few schools already this school year and know that the processes involved can be challenging. We suggest contacting the College Board first with questions. If you are not able to get a clear answer or if the answer conflicts what I am advising above, please contact the support desk.

We sincerely appreciate working with you to help serve students across the state by delivering programs like Advanced Placement courses. Do let our staff know if we can be of any assistance!

Montana Digital Academy
Phyllis J. Washington College of Education
The University of Montana
32 Campus Drive – Room 315
Missoula, Montana 59812
Phone: 406-203-1812
Fax: 406-203-1815

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