Due to the success of a program called Ed Ready instituted by the Montana Digital Academy in 2014, the program is being expanded statewide, thanks to continuing support from the Phyllis and Dennis Washington Foundation.

In 2014, the foundation launched the program with a $2.4 million gift, and on Friday, October 21, the foundation donated another $3.5 million to help Ed Ready expand statewide.

Executive Director of the Montana Digital Academy, Bob Currie, explained the Ed Ready program.

"Ed Ready is a personalized learning tool that assists students who are having difficulties with mathematics," Currie said. "It provides them with an assessment of their current skill set based on a desired goal such as algebra readiness, and then offers up a personalized learning path designed around their gaps so that they are able to remediate and reach their desired mathematics goal."

Currie said the Montana Digital Academy was installed at the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education in 2009, and has a continuing relationship with K-12 programs throughout the state.

"This provided us as a natural bridge between students that needed remediation at the college level as well as those who needed remediation at the secondary level," Currie continued. "We have over 52,000 students statewide who are already using the Ed Ready tool at this point in time. The continuing gift will also allow us to expand ED Ready into the English and writing domain. as well as a new initiative that we will be piloting with one of the Washington companies which will help students become proficient in the math skills they'll need for jobs, and that will be called Job Ready."

Representing the Phyllis and Dennis Washington Foundation, Mike Halligan, said the focus of the Ed Ready program is to help students save money and move forward with their education.

"It's immediate goal is to help primarily college students to be able to address their remediation issues and be able to take those courses for free on their own and enroll in regular academic courses in algebra, calculus and math and be able to save both money and time. That's an important piece," Halligan said. "But, by far and away, the most important long-term goal for us is how fully immersed they are in the secondary system, in middle school and high school, so that by the time they get to college, they will be able to enroll directly in their math classes."

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the Ed Ready program, is that thanks to the Washington Foundation, it's free for students.