Karen Longhart Scholarship

Previous Recipients of the Karen Longhart Scholarship

2022 - Jake Warner, Helena

Thank you MCTM for the Karen Longhart Scholarship! I used this scholarship to pay for the Maintenance of Certification for my National Board Certification.

So what is National Board Certification anyways? The National Education Association defines National Board Certification as “a voluntary, advanced teaching credential that goes beyond state licensure. NBC has national standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. The National Board certifies teachers who successfully complete its rigorous certification process.” You can get certified in almost any content area, MCTM members are probably

interested in certifying in Early Adolescence Mathematics, Adolescence, and Young Adulthood Mathematics, or as an Early Childhood Generalist.

Why should a teacher get certified? I can honestly say getting certified made me a better teacher. The certification process covers many aspects of teaching. I was able to see where I wasn’t meeting the criteria and change my practice (for the better) to reach certification. You also stand to earn a higher salary by getting certified. Many schools offer stipends or increased salaries. The state will match the school’s stipend by $1000 or $2000 depending on your school’s rurality and poverty levels.

What does a teacher have to do to get certified? The certification process consists of 4 components covering content knowledge, differentiation, classroom environment, use of assessment data, teacher collaboration, and other topics. You must submit a video, artifacts of student work, and write about your teaching. You can get certified in as little as 1 year, or as many as 5 years. If you don’t score well on any component, you can retake that component.

How much does it cost? Each year there is a $75 registration fee, and each component costs $475. If you certify in one year the total cost is $1,975.

How do I get started? While it isn’t required, I highly recommend taking MFPE’s Jumpstart training. The instructions for applying are in PDF form and can be hard to understand. At the MFPE training, they walk you through the process and explain what is required from each component. Every year Jumpstart is offered in person and virtually.

Find more information about MFPE support here:


Find more information about National Board Certification here:


Thanks again MCTM for the support, I love being in such a great organization!

2021 - Angel Zickefoose, Billings

Thank you MCTM for the Karen Longhart Scholarship. I used the scholarship to take 3 different online professional development courses, and they were all fantastic!

The first course was Building Thinking Classrooms presented by Peter Liljedahl. I have seen Peter speak as an MCTM Keynote speaker, and I loved everything he was saying. Then I purchased and read his book, which continued to inspire me to change how I was teaching math in my classroom. I then came upon an online course that was presented in 3 parts - so I jumped at the opportunity to hear Peter speak and present again! The sessions focused on the practices that were presented in the book and how to use them in teaching curriculum content. He also talked about the four practices that help students take responsibility for their own learning. If you haven’t read or heard about Building Thinking Classrooms, I would highly recommend you make this a part of your professional reading or podcast listening! You can find podcasts here.

The next course that I took was called Mathematical Openers from Math for Love. The goal of Math for Love is to get students excited about math through rich mathematical tasks. This philosophy aligns perfectly with the Building Thinking Classroom philosophy and was a great reminder for me. The mini-course presented several different math

openers that only take 5 minutes, but get students engaged in class right away. They are fun and challenging. Some of the openers are activities I had done before, like Pico, Fermi, Bagel and Broken Calculator, but others were brand new to me.

The third course that I took was called Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler. I had read the book, but wanted to learn specific methods and approaches to use to successfully help students develop a growth mindset. I had dabbled in growth mindset activities in the past using the youcubed site, but after taking this course I was able to continue to

use growth mindset strategies throughout the year instead of only using the mindset activities during the first week of school.

Again, thank you to MCTM and the Karen Longhart Scholarship committee for the opportunity to continue developing my teaching skills.

2020 - Alison Lokey, Missoula

2019 - Becky Berg, Billings

2018 - Polly Dupuis, Polson

2017 - Lisa Scott, Billings

2015 - Angie St. Onge, Kalispell

2014 - Lee Brown, Missoula

Thank you MCTM for the Karen Longhart Scholarship. I used the scholarship to travel to Fullerton, CA where we met with other teams of university faculty and public school teachers. We shared our current preservice team teaching practices with other teams. We then refined and integrated these methods. When I returned to school, I introduced these methodologies within my classroom.

I began my teaching career in Drummond in 1985. I was the math department. Teaching six classes plus computers (in my free time), along with Adult Computer Ed in the evening. My teaching major was in Broadfield Science with a minor in Mathematics (I was an engineer in

a previous life). I was ever so grateful for the MEA/MCTM fall teacher conferences. These conferences were invaluable to me, working on an island, a class C school. Remember, the internet was not really available to the general public at that time and communicating with other teachers was challenging.

I first met Karen Longhart at the 1986 conference. Her attitude was infectious. Karen encouraged and pushed me to get involved with MCTM. Karen and others I met at these conferences suggested I work with my school(s) to apply for Eisenhower Funds. In those years Eisenhower Funds were available to help cover costs especially when traveling to national conferences. Without those funds, I am sure I would not have been going to these national conferences (NCTM Seattle ‘93, San Diego ‘96, Atlanta ‘97 and Minneapolis ‘07). These conferences gave me new ideas, built

collegial relationships and helped me become a better teacher. I brought many new concepts back to Montana where I shared them with teachers across the state.

As I approached the end of my career I reflected on my teaching experience. I realized what an impact these early opportunities had on my career. With the loss of Eisenhower Funds. sources such as the Karen Longhart Scholarship become even more valuable, especially for early career teachers.

Thank you again, these opportunities to meet with and learn from other educators I believe results in better teachers and therefore better prepared students. Your continued support of these opportunities is invaluable to improved mathematics in Montana.