Jun 20, 2019

Learn Local

FVCC’s 2+2 Program with the University of Montana Prepares Students for Careers as K-8 Educators

Did you know it’s possible to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Montana without having to leave the Flathead Valley? Thanks to a 2+2 partnership between Flathead Valley Community College and UM, students can earn an Associate of Science degree from FVCC and then apply for acceptance into UM’s Elementary Education program with junior standing.

Every fall semester, a new cohort of UM distance learning students convenes on the FVCC campus to tackle the third and fourth years of their bachelor’s program through a combination of hands-on experience in local K-8 schools and classes led by tenure-track instructors from the nationally accredited Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences. An on-campus liaison meets with the students in person to support their learning.

Lexie Strouse, a 2018 FVCC graduate, recently completed her junior year as part of the UM distance learning cohort. She credits FVCC’s classes and instructors for giving her a solid foundation for success.

“The lower-division classes at FVCC really prepared us for the upper-division classes at UM,” she said.

As part of her junior year, Lexie spent valuable time in second- and fourth-grade classrooms at Rankin Elementary School in Kalispell. During her senior year, she will have the opportunity to be part of a classroom at Kalispell Middle School.

“I have a real interest in helping students grow and connect the dots,” she said.

Being able to complete her bachelor’s degree in the Flathead Valley is important to Lexie, a native of Columbia Falls. Staying local has allowed her to save money on living expenses and continue working at a sporting goods store where she has been employed since high school. But what Lexie values most about the program is the opportunity to work in local schools and make connections with education professionals here.

“I really want to teach in the Flathead Valley,” she said. “Getting a foot in the door and having these local connections will be helpful when I apply for jobs.”

In addition to the distance learning cohort option, FVCC graduates may also choose to transfer to the UM campus to complete their degree in Missoula.

Are you interested in learning more about FVCC’s 2+2 partnership with UM’s Teacher Education program? Contact FVCC Advisor Jori Bullemer at or (406)756-3905 or visit