Ophir Elementary School 

Academic Overview

Ophir Elementary School is an IB World School offering the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program.  IB World Schools share a common philosophy- a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education- that we believe is important for our students. 

Ophir Elementary School is located in the Gallatin Canyon about 30 minutes north of Yellowstone National Park in Southwest Montana. Ophir School first opened its doors in 1906 with five students. The State of Montana recognized Ophir as a school district (K-8) in 1912. As of July 1, 2012, the school district’s name officially changed to the Big Sky School District #72. Ophir takes its name from the fabled gold mines in the Bible. “They went to Ophir and took home gold”.  The homesteaders, who followed the unlucky prospectors, believed that they had metaphorically found gold in the Gallatin Canyon and named their school “Ophir.”

Ophir Elementary School serves students in grades K-5.  At Ophir, our teaching and learning are guided by a standards-based, inquiry-driven and constructivist approach. Utilizing Montana Content Standards for Math and Language Arts, the Next Generation Science Standards, and the 3Cs Standards (College, Career and Civic Life) for Social Studies, our study of core subjects is engaging, challenging, and interdisciplinary. In Language Arts, for example, students experience the Daily 5, an approach to instruction which allows for significant levels of differentiation, skill-building, individual and small group instruction while promoting independent learning and collaboration. 

In addition to the core subjects, students at Ophir receive a holistic education through the study of a second language – Spanish, a vibrant Music and Art program, Guidance, and a balanced Health Enhancement class.  The center of our building and our student life is the state-of-the-art Learning Commons, a research space where students have access to an extensive collection of fiction, nonfiction works, their Media Studies class, and a Maker’s Space.

To complement our curricular approach, students partake in experiential learning in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Students participate in Nordic and Downhill Skiing days, weekly outdoor expeditions,  and a myriad of local field trips to enhance the classroom experience. Guest speakers/experts are a regular feature at Ophir Elementary School. The seminal experiential learning experience is the 4th Grade Expedition Yellowstone, culminating in a 5-day trip to explore the geographic, historical/cultural, and scientific wonders of our nation’s first national park. 

The Learner Profile is the core of all we do at Ophir Elementary.  Our goal, in conjunction with the IB is to help develop internationally minded children, who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.  © Making the PYP Happen, 2009 


Our learners strive to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, reflective.

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