Volume XLII                            June 2021

No. 308

In This Issue...

  1. MCASE President Message 
  2. SAM Executive Director Message
  3. SAM Administrators Institute 2021
  4. SAM LPLP 2021-22
  5. Nominations for SAM Awards
  6. CoSN - Digital Transformation and Innovation in Rural School Districts

Upcoming Conferences,   Meetings, & Events

June 9, 2021:  SAM DaRud Cup Golf Scramble

June 10, 2021:  SAM Board Meeting

June 10, 2021:  Evening of Excellence

June 10-11, 2021:  SAM Delegate Assembly

July 26-27 2021:  SAM Administrators Institute

** View the full SAM Calendar**   

Thank you to this month's featured Business Partners! 

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SAM Leadership

Dale Olinger
Cal Ketchum
President Elect
Peter Hamilton
Past President
Justin Helvik
Shawn Hendrickson
President Elect
KJ Poepping
Vice President
Jake Haynes
Past President
Shelley Andres
Nicole Trahan
President Elect
Ted Miller
Vice President
Craig Crawford
Past President
Marlin Lewis
Barb Droessler
SAM Representatives
Casey Klasna
Dr. Greg Dern
President Elect
Dr. Mike Perry
Past President
Rick Duncan
Federal Relations Coordinator
Michelle Halberg
Cathy Maloney
Everett Holm
SAM Office
Kirk Miller
Executive Director
Gary Wagner
Director of Operations, Membership & Finances
Kim Scofield
Director of Member Services & Professional Learning





  by Michelle Halberg, MCASE President 

“The broadest, and maybe the most meaningful definition of volunteering:  Doing more than you have to because you want to, in a cause you consider good. ” – Ivan Scheier

I was recently having a conversation with a “grey-haired” colleague like myself about volunteerism in public education. At first our comments were about the decrease or absence of young teachers, parents and administrators raising their hand to offer to help. Then we found we had more and more examples of its presence in our schools. Volunteers really are everywhere! We saw it in teachers volunteering to sit on a committee that meets outside of their contract hours, mentoring other new teachers without extra pay, organizing the retirement party or the baby shower and taking on leadership roles in their associations. Parents helping parents who are new to our schools, sharing their experience and support when a child is new to special education, raising money for special events, and parent committee work that celebrates the teachers in their buildings further confirmed the positive impact of volunteers in our schools.

We spoke of all of the administrators like those in MCASE who answered the call to volunteer. They were at all stages of their career and found the time to engage in a cause and contribute. It might have been taking on a Region representative position, serving on delegate assembly for a SAM region, writing and writing again to our legislators as part of the legislative network, serving on a standing committee, or taking on a leadership role such as president.

In the MCASE description of duties and responsibilities is the following statement: “There is no mention of extra time spent. The extra time spent serving as an officer in MCASE should be rewarding intellectually and professionally.” It goes on to say that we were elected, but in reality each member of MCASE first volunteered to take on a role when the call came. For myself, the volunteer position of MCASE President within SAM was exactly what the role described, “intellectually and professionally rewarding.” By far I gained more than I gave and benefited from every moment in which I was thinking about the “big picture”. With every interaction I grew in my perspective, learned something new and felt valued as an administrator. Together we’ve celebrated a good job done and had more than a few laughs in the process. Indeed, I believe in the cause and the cause is public education. My thanks to you who volunteer too. For those of you who have not yet raised your hand and said you will, do it! You have much to contribute and gain, I promise.

Michelle Halberg
MCASE President

SAM Members - Changing Lives and Making a Positive Difference!

by Kirk Miller, SAM Executive Director

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The 2020-21 school year coming to an end will go on record as a time of disruption and dissonance due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Now is a good time to reflect beyond the disruption and dissonance and capture the truly magnificent opportunities that our schools and communities have provided for children to continue learning and to focus on the value of their school.  Graduation time, whether it be pre-school, 8th grade, or high school, brings forward the great work accomplished by students and the outstanding partnerships that our schools engage in with our communities.  Celebration of this milestone truly reinforces the great system of public schools here in Montana that have been built, nurtured, and responsive to every local communities’ needs, hopes and dreams for their children!  The administrators work to insure this balance, under ever-changing health conditions of COVID-19, is a positive difference maker in the education of our community.

Our SAM members all across the state have helped to make this happen for their local community and also for the greater good of Montana.  We are thankful for your diligent day-to-day effort to work appropriately with challenging situations, that when resolved, clear a path for your education team to meet and exceed the needs of the students you serve.  It may feel at times like the daily challenges are too overwhelming, but in the end (and especially at this time of year) your resolve to address challenges and keep your focus on the bigger education goals for your students is the difference maker!  You likely don’t hear it from this perspective, but know that your work is so very important to each and every child you serve, as well as to your community – so THANK YOU!

Your professional association, SAM and the affiliate you are a member of, are focused on working with you and supporting you in your educational mission for kids.  In 2020-21, countless members of SAM have added their voice to the issues impacting the education of our children.  Our members have participated on the Board of Public Education (thanks Darlene Schottle and Tammy Lacey), negotiated rule making committees, variance to standards review board, Montana School Safety Advisory Council, MT-PEC guidance for pandemic and advocacy, K-12 Vision Group, RISE4MT and the Montana University System Educator Recruitment and Retention groups (all focused on recruiting and retaining quality educators for Montana schools), and literally nearly every opportunity where the voice of an experienced administrator can add to great policy making to serve all students.  In addition, hundreds of Zoom delivered planning and strategy sessions have contributed to our ability to communicate effectively and work together during the pandemic.  Finally, a shout out to the SAM Legislative Network, 75+ SAM members who worked diligently during the 67th Legislative session from January to May to help ensure the SAM advocacy priorities were front and center in this session – your great work made a difference!

With thanks, our thoughts now turn to the 2021-22 school year where the same great collective effort of our SAM members will continue to add to the outstanding system of schools we have in our state… 

At the top of the list is utilizing federal funding to adequately and fully respond to the impacts of COVID-19 while concurrently setting up Montana’s students and public schools for a transformational opportunity.  First up is the impact of summer school and programming in nearly every school district across the state to accelerate learning for students.  Thank you school leaders and educators for your efforts over the summer.

The SAM Delegate Assembly Steering Committee met and prepared our association for the SAM Delegate Assembly that will take place (blended delivery - both in Helena and Zoom) on June 10-11.  This all important event defining our advocacy priorities where delegates representing the 6 affiliates of SAM will make the Delegate Assembly an uplifting experience through their participation.  All SAM members can follow the Delegate Assembly on the SAM Delegate Assembly webpage.  My thanks to Chair Rick Duncan, the Delegate Assembly Steering Committee, and all 45 SAM members who are Delegates for your intelligence, input, and participation in this important SAM advocacy opportunity!

MT-PEC continues to collaborate shifting from advocacy to the professional learning of our members on key topics related to funding, flexibility, efficiency, safety and security, community ownership and local control.  A variety of opportunities will highlight the desired outcomes to deliver to our members over the coming 2021-22 year.   Expect to see more information at Delegate Assembly 2021, SAM Administrators Institute 2021, and MCEL 2021.

Please consider the professional learning opportunities, outlined in this Bulletin, for your own development, sharpening your saw, and preparing for the best for the 2021-22 school year.  Your SAM association has worked to develop professional learning opportunities that are targeted to meet your needs, please check out the SAM LPLP 2021-22 and SAM Administrators Institute 2021 and register to join administrators from all across the state to enhance opportunities for your students and community!

Hoping June will be a great time for reflection and opportunity for you to energize and regenerate that enthusiasm you have for educating children.  Thanks so much for your contributions to SAM and education in our state!

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Register for SAM AI 2021!  Both On-Site and Virtual Delivery Options Available!SAM_AI_2021_Banner.png - 1.10 Mb

Be sure to register yourself and your admin team for the SAM Administrators Institute 2021 featuring keynote speakers Will Richardson and John Perricone!  This year's event will be held at the Delta Colonial by Marriott in Helena.

  • Will Richardson is an international speaker, thought leader, and best selling author who will provide strategies for developing solutions to the challenges faced every day in your classrooms. He will address the current conditions of opening our schools in August and describe the '9 Big Questions Schools Must Answer to Avoid Going Back to Normal'. Mr. Richardson presented at the SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program Symposium in February receiving rave reviews from SAM LPLP members!

  • John Perricone is a best selling author and a nationally sought keynote speaker, having been invited to all fifty states. We are excited to invite him back to Montana after receiving an overwhelmingly positive response to his address at the Montana Principals Conference 2018.  Mr. Perricone will provide a message of hope as he shares his experiences as an impassioned educator and the importance that relationships and connections can have on our lives and the lives of our students and staff.  

  • Also included at SAM AI 2021, Reimagining the Future with Strategies of Hope Moving Forward:
    • Focus Zone Sessions:  
      • Social Emotional & Mental Health
      • Accelerating Learning
      • Infrastructure Needs
    • Launch of SAM's 50th Anniversary Celebration
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    • SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program Summit - Launch of SAM LPLP 2021-22

Click HERE for more information!  Register HERE!

Registration for SAM LPLP 2021-22 is Open!

New and experienced administrators have begun registering for the 2021-22 SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program!  Nearly 500 Montana administrators over the past seven years have experienced intentional, personalized professional learning through SAM LPLP's research-based strategies resulting in improvements in job satisfaction, administrator longevity, and ultimately to increased student achievement and quality of instruction. SAM LPLP’s multi-faceted blended learning approach consists of personal learning networks including the option of one-on-one coaching/mentoring with experienced Providers, collegial learning networks designed to be dynamic based upon topics of interest as they arise that allow participants to focus on specific areas of interest, and a rich online resource center.   Tailored to meet the needs of new, experienced, and aspiring administrators, SAM LPLP may be the just-in-time professional learning that will meet the needs of you and your administrative team. 

SAM LPLP 2021-22 launches on July 29th from 12:00pm - 3:00pm during SAM AI 2021

Click HERE for more information & to Register! 

Now Accepting Nominations for SAM Awards!

  • G.V. Erickson Award - Nominations are open until October 1, 2021: The G.V. Erickson Award is given to a member of the School Administrators of Montana who has made the greatest contribution to the betterment of education in Montana; something that G.V. did throughout his career. This is the most honored award a school administrator of Montana can receive.
  • Erdie Memorial Scholarship - Applications close October 1, 2021: A Dr. Jay Erdie Memorial Mentor Scholarship in the amount of $1000 will be awarded annually to a deserving educator. The purpose of the scholarship is to “train and mentor” new Montana school administrators. The scholarship will be awarded to a school administration candidate who plans to begin and/or complete his/her administrative credentials and intends to work in a Montana school district. Once the candidate has secured a position and notified the SAM office, a trained mentor will be provided through SAM’s Mentor Program to assist during his/her first year on the job.

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Digital Transformation and Innovation in Rural School Districts

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and its Montana state affiliate chapter, Montana Educational Technologists Association (META) are pleased to continue to support the work of current and aspiring superintendents and district leadership teams in leading all aspects of digital learning transformations.  

The Empowered Superintendent edWebinar Series – Monday, June 14, 2021, 3:00 pm MT

“Digital Transformation and Innovation in Rural School Districts: Leadership Strategies for Success” 
The next episode of the monthly EmpowerED Superintendent Webinar series, co-hosted by CoSN, AASA and edWeb.net, and sponsored by ClassLink, airs on Monday, June 14, 2021 at 3:00 pm Mountain Time. The June webinar is titled “Digital Transformation and Innovation in Rural School Districts: Leadership Strategies for Success”
More than half of the school districts and about one-third of public schools in the United States are situated in rural areas. Rural districts have unique challenges, ranging from poverty and sizeable travel distances to a lack of affordable, reliable and robust internet access.

Join the conversation with four rural school district superintendents: Dr. Peter Aiken, Superintendent, Manheim Central School District, PA; Dr. Amy Carter, Superintendent, Meridian Public Schools, MI; Dr. Matthew Dillon, Superintendent, Petal School District, MI; and Dan Leffingwell, Superintendent, Noble Local Schools, OH as they discuss the challenges and opportunities that are unique to rural school districts when leading digital transformations that change how teachers teach and students learn, as well as impact the way school districts operate. Each superintendent will also share the leadership strategies and technology tools they have implemented during the past year and a half in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic to assure that all students in their districts continue learning. Plans for how the schools in these four rural school districts will operate during the 2021-2022 school year will also be discussed.

Free registration for the June 14, 2021 webinar is now available HERE. Webinars in this series are also freely available as recordings HERE and via podcast HERE a day or two after the initial live broadcast. 

CoSN Resources:  

1) Challenges and Opportunities of Rural Districts in Taking the Digital Leap
In partnership with Team4Tech, CoSN created and published multiple resources with proven strategies and real stories of how rural school systems have established meaningful local partnerships. The CoSN Report provides a review of five location-based challenges that rural school districts face and how technology can help. In addition the report offers guidance on how rural school district leaders can leverage their communities to make a real difference for their rural school districts.Digital leap recommendations and advice on sustaining a digital leap are also provided.The full CoSN Report, “Challenges and Opportunities of Rural Districts in Taking the Digital Leap” is available at:


2) Digital Equity Concerns for Rural Schools
This CoSN resource addresses four Digital Equity challenges facing many rural schools or systems.. The four challenges articulated in the document include: 1) Access to Devices 2)  Access to Broadband 3) Creative Learning Opportunities 4) Digital Equity vs. Digital Equality. Strategies and resources for addressing all four challenges are included in the document which can be accessed HERE.

CoSN Membership

If your school or district would like more information about joining CoSN or getting more involved with CoSN, please contact Brian Calvary, CAE, CoSN Director of Membership and Chapters, at [email protected].

Thank you to SAM's Business Partners!  

Please take time to visit their websites.

Montana Big Sky Sponsors

Health Insurance
P O Box 4579 - Helena, MT 59601
[email protected]

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Technology Innovation
1309 NW Bypass - Great Falls, MT 59404  
[email protected]    

Total Education Solutions in Technology (T.E.S.T)  
PO Box 2900
Missoula, MT 59805
[email protected]

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Empowering Teachers To
Drive Their Own Professional Learning
84 Sherman Street
Cambridge, MA 02140
 [email protected]

Montana Glacier Sponsors

infinite_campus.jpg - 7.35 KbInfinite Campus is the largest  American-owned student information system  
4321 109th Avenue NE
Blaine, MN 55449 stephanie.sondrol@infinite  campus.com     
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Annuities, life insurance     
430 Ryman St., #102
Missoula, MT 59892 
[email protected]

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Mileposts™ cloud-based
achievement & data management
408 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Ste.300
Boise, ID 83706 [email protected] 
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School property & liability insurance
1200 North Montana Ave.
Helena. MT. 59601
[email protected]





Montana Mountain Sponsors

Gabbart_Communications.png - 7.60 KbConnecting Schools, Parents, and Communities through   Cloud-Based   Communication Tools           
218 N. 3rd Ave 
Durant, OK 74701
[email protected]
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Professional Learning Organization 
1031 N. Academic Way, Ste. 242 
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814
[email protected]                        208-292-2529  
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Provides Orton-Gillingham Sonday System Programs and Training
Amanda Burnette                                         
3001 Metro Drive, Suite 480
Bloomington, MN. 55425
[email protected].com
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Building Management and System Integration
Rick Ruiz, Business Development
800 7th Ave. North
Great Falls, MT. 59911
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The Great Conversation Series
Jamie Vollmer
[email protected]

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Reach Higher Montana
Jason Butcher
Outreach Director
406-422-1275 Ext. 801
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Standards-based digital curriculum resources for
K–12 classrooms 
Emily Keith
[email protected]      

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K–12 online curriculum and blended learning solutions
Chet Riddle
[email protected]
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Targeted Professional Development
Daniel Sybrant
557 Cow Creek Lane
Corvallis, MT 
[email protected] 
888-413-3669, ext. 5776
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solutions
34 West 6th Avenue, Suite 2B
Helena, MT 59601
[email protected]

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Partners is Clean, Safe & Healthy Buildings
2525 Overland Avenue
Billings, MT 59102 
[email protected]

School portraits, yearbooks & sports portraits
2110 Overland Ave., #115A 
Billings, MT 59102 [email protected]

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C&C School Accounting
Software For Schools In Montana Since 1980
[email protected]

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Safe, Easily Managed School Networks
106 East Sixth Street, Suite 500
Austin TX 48701
[email protected]  512-904-0544   

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Auto, homeowners, life insurance and financial services
617 W Stolley Park Road
Grand Island, NE 68801
[email protected] 
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School Workers’ Compensation & Liability
PO Box 7029 - Helena, MT 59601
[email protected]
Phone: 406-457-4418
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College Assistance, Job Skill Training   
1956 MT Majo Street  
Fort Harrison, MT 59636
[email protected]



Montana Meadow Sponsors

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Substitute Staffing Service
Maya Burnaugh
3001 Metro Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, MN. 55425
[email protected]

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School Accounting Software
145 Southlake Crest, Suite 1
Polson, MT. 59860
[email protected]  

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Technology planning, project  &
solution  services
2135 Charlotte Street
Bozeman MT 59718
[email protected]  

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Network and Communications Solutions 
904 C Avenue
Circle, MT 59215
[email protected]  

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Systems and applications to reduce the financial burden of federal student loans
[email protected]


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A turn-key library of interactive lessons that enrich K-12 instruction

[email protected]



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Collaborating with you to innovate

1627 W. Main Street Suite #325
Bozeman, MT 59715
[email protected]   

900 N. Montana Ave. Suite A-4| Helena, MT. 59601| Phone (406)442-2510 | Fax (406)442-2518 


2020-21 SAM Bulletins

May 2021 Bulletin
April 2021 Bulletin
March 2021 Bulletin
February 2021 Bulletin
January 2021 Bulletin
December 2020 Bulletin
November 2020 Bulletin
October 2020 Bulletin
September 2020 Bulletin
July-August 2020 Bulletin