SAM Update 8-11-17

Greetings SAM Members,

The summer is nearing the end.  Fall high school activities are scheduling first practices today, so that means the 2017-18 school year is just around the corner.  Welcome back to school for many of our members who had contracts less than 260 days; we wish you great success in planning for the coming school year.  Here are a few items for your consideration...

SAM Member Benefits -- New Communication Tool!

SAM’s first new communication tool will be launched on Monday, August 14, with E-Lists replacing our current listservs!  You will be able to communicate with the SAM affiliate membership through a single email.  The email address of each listerv will remain the same (like for MASS members) and you can still send an email to the listserv from your email server. 

However, the new E-Lists have added benefits:

  • Replies will go directly to the author’s email ONLY.  Other subscribers will not receive responses.  However, all subscribers to the E-List can view responses by logging in to their SAM profile. 
  • You can manage your E-List subscriptions and preferences through your SAM member profile.

Here is how you can get started:

  1. Log into your SAM member profile by clicking on “My Profile” tab under Quick Links on the SAM website.  The Quick Link menu can be accessed from any page of the website.  If this is your first time logging in, enter your email address for your username, then click “Forgot your password?” to generate your own password.
  2. In the My Features tab, click E-Lists to view all E-lists you have permission to subscribe to. 
  3. Control your preferences for each E-List.
  4. To start participating, click “Post a New Message” or send an email to the E-List (like for MASSP members) from your email server.  Note:  Hyperlinks sent in messages from the message board will not be live, however hyperlinks sent to an E-list from your email server will be live.

Or, give us a call at the office (442-2510) and we will walk you through the use of this tool.  More SAM Communication tools will be going live for your use in the coming weeks.  We just wanted to get you started with the E-List tool so that you can communicate with other members of your SAM affiliate in a robust way.

SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program 2017-18

Wow, we now have 53 Montana Administrators who have joined the SAM LPLP 2017-18!  The SAM LPLP Summit on July 31 raised important discussion leading to the development of several Collegial Learning Networks (topics like Personalized Learning, Social Emotional Learning, GEAR UP, META Trusted Learning Environment, and others) whose participants will be working together in the SAM LPLP this next year.  lt is not too late to sign up now to take advantage of this personalized professional learning for the 2017-18 school year (though you will want to do so soon to take full advange of all the professional learning opportunties).  Click HERE to view a 4 minute video describing SAM LPLP 2017-18.  Click HERE to register for SAM LPLP 2017-18!  

SB 261 Triggers to Effect Funding for Montana Schools

This topic is very contemporary to assist you as you work to develop school district final Budgets by the 4th Monday in August ...

SB 261 became law in the 2017 session setting triggers for automatic revenue reductions when the Montana revenue does not reach scheduled levels.  The OPI sent an email on 7/13/17, notifying school districts of the potential reductions to school funding for FY 2018 (click HERE to review the potential impact on each school district if triggers 2 and 4 are implemented on August 15).  OPI sent an email on 7/25/17 announcing the level 1-4 reductions in SB 261 have been triggered.  MT-PEC worked together to prepare Guidance for SB 261.  Click MT-PEC Issue Spotlight 2017 - Guidance for SB 261 Reductions 7-14-17 to see the guidance the MT-PEC partners have put together as you contemplate developing your FY 2018 district budgets.

Training for Paraprofessionals

A message from MEA-MFT that may be useful for paraprofessionals in your schools ...

MEA-MFT PASS course has been developed by and for Montana paraprofessionals and provides participants with important skills in classroom management as well as proven strategies in reading, writing, and math instruction, taught in a dynamic and fun setting. A nationally developed assessment is built directly into the course, assuring that paraprofessionals who take the course can demonstrate evidence of content mastery to their local districts and the state of Montana.  Course materials were developed by MEA-MFT and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).  A team of highly trained paraprofessional educators from throughout the state are responsible for teaching the course.  Click HERE for more information.  Contact Marco Ferro at or (406) 447-1462 if you have questions.

NEW State matching fund to assist districts through 2019

Governor Bullock recently signed House Bill 390, which includes a $2 million state matching fund to help school districts cover the costs of upgrades to high-speed fiber-optic Internet. Click HERE to read the press release.  Applications must be received on or before May 1, 2019 to be considered for funding; however, Commerce will award funding throughout the biennium as USAC awards are announced. All districts that apply for E-rate could potentially utilize this funding. Those with an E-rate discount of 80% or more could upgrade with no out-of-pocket costs for special construction. Work with your district technology leaders to understand your E-rate discount and how your district could use this funding. Application materials are available at

NEW E-rate Consulting Services - up to $5,000 available

Recently, up to $5,000 per school district was made available to assist school districts with funding for E-rate consulting services. The Department of Commerce has selected and approved a list of E-rate consultants that school districts may work with and receive financial assistance to pay for a portion of the services. For more information about either opportunity,  contact:

Jennifer Olson (406) 841-2770  and Elle Patterson (415)-967-7454 


Hope you have a great weekend!  Please contact us at the SAM Office if we can assist you with getting your school year started!



Past Updates:

SAM Update 8-4-17

SAM Update 7-28-17 

SAM Update 7.21.17

SAM Update 7-14-17

SAM Update 7-7-17

SAM Update 6-30-17

SAM Update 6-23-17

SAM Update 6-16-17

SAM Update 6-9-17

SAM Update 6-2-17

SAM Update 5.26.17

SAM Update 5-19-17

SAM Update 5-12-17

SAM Friday Update 4-28-17