Volume XLII                              November 2020


No. 301


In This Issue...

  1. MCASE President Message 
  2. SAM Executive Director Message
  3. Awards Open for Nominations
  4. SAM Awards Presented at MCEL
  5. SAM Legislative Network 2021
  6. Effective Technology Professional Learning For All Educators - CoSN  
  7. SAM Youth Endowment 
  8. Release of GREAT 2020


Upcoming Conferences,   Meetings, & Events

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January 24-26, 2021:  Montana Principals Conference

More information coming soon!

** 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




It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint!

  by Michelle Halberg, MCASE President

If leading during COVID-19 is like a marathon, then I want to know who the heck signed me up for this stupid race? Oh, that’s right…I did. Since I committed to run it, I will.  This whole idea of leading during the COVID-19 marathon, got me thinking about how I’ll feel at the end of this race. 

If you were to look at me, you would agree that there is no way I am built for marathon running. In addition, it wouldn’t take you long to realize I have no experience with running what so ever! I imagined myself with the T.V. reporter’s mic shoved in my sweaty, red, face while I explained how I got to the finish line against all odds. I’ve got “grit”, I’d say.  You see, I know what my brain needs to be healthy and marathons are really more about the mental challenge. I get 8 hours of sleep, eat brain food, drink lots of waterexercise and apply my breathing techniques to remain focused, calm, and efficient during times of high stress. Just like all of these other marathon runners, I have developed a support network. Completing the race is because of this teamwork, cheering, encouragement, and the knowledge that if I stumble or fall they will be there for me. There is no doubt there are some pretty funny things that happen on the day of the marathon. I get a real high from laughing out loud! The challenge of running a marathon has actually improved my thinking. I break down the distance, pace myself, and solve problems that come up along the route more efficiently and effectively. During the run, I reflect on what I’ve learned about myself and others and feel grateful for this experience.  When I focus on the others with me in this race, encourage them, and show my appreciation of them I feel less anxious. You see, everyone here has a reason they signed up for the marathon – an intention, a cause, a person. We all know our “why” for running and when it is hard and we want to quit we remind ourselves about this. 

I guess if leading during a COVID-19 is like a marathon, then I’ve got what it takes after all! I’ll be kind to myself when I miss training or eat a whole pizza by myself, or when I get frustrated and take it out on the other runners.  I’ll strive to focus on the positives when my worries creep in and tell me that I’m not built to be a marathon runner, that I won’t be able to finish the race, or will embarrass myself during the race. I’ll look around and see YOU and feel the comfort that I am not running alone. Thank you for committing to run this marathon with me. I'll see you at the finish line!

Pete Hall, https://www.fosteringresilientlearners.org/blog/2019/4/8/healthy

Michelle Halberg
MCASE President

Key to Advocacy Success is Building Trust with Your Community in 2020-21!

by Kirk Miller, SAM Executive Director

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Advocacy for the future of our schools is on my mind with election day upon us, and as we are thinking about the upcoming 2021 Legislative Session.  The impact of the COVID pandemic on our way of life must be included in our thoughts about advocacy going forward.  A key question is “how do we get the voices of our education leaders heard on advocacy issues?”  I reviewed some previous thoughts about effective advocacy for educators, brushed up those ideas, and am sharing for you to contemplate.

A tiered system will work best for getting educator voices heard – think … Universal, Targeted, and Comprehensive as the tiers (similar to the systemic design of MTSS, MBI and even the Montana ESSA plan).

Universal – All schools

  • Develop and tell ‘your story’ for educating students in your school, including the value your school brings to the community.  You can use the template of GREAT 2020 (released by MT-PEC at MCEL 2020) to tailor this info for your school.
  • Develop a strategy to tell ‘your story’ widely in your community and include legislators in that distribution. Consider the strategic approach developed and promoted by Jamie Vollmer in the newly developed “Schools Cannot Do It Alone Network” found at https://www.jamievollmer.com/. You may even want to consider joining the Montana Chapter (info at https://www.jamievollmer.com/video-series/).
  • Building trust with your community, for what you do and provide for students, is the single most significant element for helping create a culture of support for schools.

Targeted – Schools who realize the importance of advocating for educating our students as critical to future success

  • Invite your community to visit your schools so they can see the outstanding atmosphere that you provide for student learning and student well-being. 
  • Work with the school district leadership and formally invite all legislators (Senators and Representatives) to attend an event(s) at your school.  Make them feel welcome when they are there so they can feel the great culture established.
  • Build a relationship with the legislators who serve your school so they feel welcome and will want to seek your advice on education related issues.

Comprehensive – Schools who believe strongly in insuring legislators learn about the value of their school to the community and the children served

  • Work with your school district leadership to formally invite the legislators that represent your school to a formal tour of your school.  Show them (use the, tell ‘your story’ as a guide) your successes and challenges first hand, as well as your goals for the future of your school.  Let them know how their support can help.
  • Sign up for the SAMLN21 so that you can participate deeply during the 2021 legislative session.  See the article in this Bulletin to sign up to help SAM work with legislators to help them learn about the issues important to future success of schools all across the state. 

I hope you will contemplate these ideas when developing your advocacy strategies for the 2020-21 school year.  We are here at SAM to assist you with building trust with your community leading to a culture of support for your schools!

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Call to Join the SAM Legislative Network 2021

Calling all SAM Members to Join the SAM Legislative Network 2021 (SAMLN21)! 

Are you interested in helping SAM promote our Advocacy Priorities in the 2021 Legislative Session?  How about joining the team of SAM members who are committed to communicate effectively about SAM legislative issues/bills and collecting input from your colleagues in your region to let your legislators know about appropriate stances on issues/bills during the session? 

Click HERE to see the description and responsibilities of the SAMLN21.  We need you to help with this important part of advocating for the students served in our schools! 

For a SAM member to join the SAMLN21 click HERE!

Please sign up to so we can ensure that education leaders’ voice is clearly heard in the 2021 Legislative session.

Once you sign up, the SAMLN21 will be formed and we will train together to make this a pleasant experience for you using the tools SAM is creating to communicate effectively during the Legislative session.

SAM Youth Endowment Now Open for Nominations

Nominations are open until March 2nd for the 2020-21 SAM Youth Endowment. The purpose of the School Administrators of Montana Youth Endowment is to make a positive impact on the youth of Montana by providing financial assistance to benefit children’s health, welfare, and/or education.

Awards to nominated recipients are given in April of each year and announced in the May SAM Bulletin. Emergency requests will be accepted and presented to the board on an as-requested basis made throughout the year.  

Additional information, nomination guidelines, and access to the 2020-21 SAM Youth Endowment Nomination Form can be found HERE. Please note that only SAM members can make the actual nomination.

Release of GREAT 2020

The MT-PEC partners have worked together to prepare GREAT 2020 - The Great Work of Montana's Public Schools, Volume VIII, released during MCEL in October. Please use the link to download and print copies for your use. Our hope is that you will use this publication to engage your community in the story about the great opportunities your schools provide for the students in your community. Now is a great time to tell your story of the rich and engaging environment your school provides for your community! 

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MAEMSP & MASSP Awards Open for Nominations

The following MASSP and MAEMSP award nominations/applications are now open.  Please consider nominating someone you would like to recognize for their outstanding service to the education of Montana's children.  Nomination forms must be completed by December 18, 2020Find out more about each award and nominate/apply by clicking Current Award Opportunites or on the links below.

SAM Awards Presented at Annual Business Meeting 

SAM is proud to announce the award recipients who were recognized during the SAM Virtual Business Meeting on October 14th.  SAM congratulates all award winners!

  • 2020 G.V. Erickson Award - Tobin Novasio:  Tobin is the Superintendent at Lockwood Public Schools.  Click HERE for more information about Tobin and the G.V. Erickson Award.  
  • MASS Superintendent of the Year - Dr. Laurie Barron:  Laurie is the Superintendent at Evergreen School District.  She is eligible for the National Superintendent of the Year Award.  AASA will announce the National Superintendent of the Year in February 2021.  Click HERE to learn more.
  • MASS Honor School Boards of the Year - School boards from Lockwood and St. Ignatius were recognized as recipients of the Montana Association of School Superintendent (MASS) Honor School Boards of the Year.  Click HERE for more information about the outstanding work of these school boards. 
  • Jay Erdie Memorial Scholarship - Nicole Hanson, Superintendent at Lavina Schools.  Click HERE to learn more about Nicole and this scholarship.

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CoSN -Technology Professional Learning For All Educators 

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) in partnership with School Administrators of Montana and CoSN’s 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.

One of the lessons learned during the spring of 2020 was the need for effective and ongoing technology professional learning opportunities for all educators. As school districts made the quick pivot to online learning in either a totally remote or a hybrid setting, it became painfully clear that many educators did not know how to maximize technology tools to assure that effective learning continued for all students. Additionally, parents, families and caretakers  – many now serving as “co-teachers” or “learning facilitators” for children who are attending school remotely – find that they also benefit when technology professional learning strategies are provided for them.

EmpowerED Superintendent Monthly Webinar: 
Effective Technology Professional Learning: Leading and Collaborating to Assure Success
The upcoming episode of the monthly EmpowerED Superintendent Webinar series, co-hosted by CoSN, AASA and edWeb.net and sponsored by ClassLink, airs on Monday, November 9, 2020. The title and focus of the November 9 webinar, broadcast live at 3:00 pm MT, is Effective Technology Professional Learning: Leading and Collaborating to Assure Success. Truly effective educator professional learning requires a coordinated, collaborative approach by school system leaders. The November 9 webinar features three district leaders from North Carolina’s Wake County Public School System. You are invited to join the lively, interactive conversation with Cathy Moore, Superintendent of Wake County School District and the district’s Chief Technology Officer, Marlo Gaddis, along with Allison Reid, Wake County’s Senior Director of Digital Learning and Libraries. Together, these three school system leaders will share the collaborative strategies they use to provide technology professional learning experiences for educators that truly improve instructional practice, whether learning occurs remotely or in a traditional classroom setting. Webinar participants will have an opportunity to engage with the panelists and learn how to apply the strategies shared within their own school settings. Free registration for this November 9, 2020 webinar is now available HERE 

Explore Previously Broadcast EmpowerED Superintendent Webinars:
The October 12, 2020 EmpowerED Superintendent webinar focused on Cybersecurity. The recording is now available along with other previously broadcast EmpowerED Superintendent webinars at https://home.edweb.net/supers/. In addition, podcasts of previous webinars are also now available. 
Learn more at https://home.edweb.net/podcasts/.

CoSN Critical Focus Areas: Issue One-Pager:
Effective Technology Professional Development: The Secret Sauce for Successful Classroom Transformation

The CoSN EmpowerED Superintendents web page presents a series of “ one-pagers” to guide and empower superintendents and their leadership teams in leading digital transformations. CoSN’s one-page document on Effective Technology Professional Development identifies three critical guidelines for professional learning that are essential to improving classroom practice. Also defined are the factors school leaders must consider when planning for and evaluating professional learning opportunities for all educators.

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]

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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
 A unique approach to teaching   K-6 math using hands-on,   interactive games
 37 E 28th Street Suite 600
 New York, NY 10016
 [email protected]

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Mileposts™ cloud-based
achievement & data management
408 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Ste.300
Boise, ID 83706 [email protected] 
valic (2).jpg - 30.26 KbAnnuities, life insurance     
430 Ryman St., #102
Missoula, MT 59892 
[email protected]

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School property & liability insurance
1200 North Montana Ave.
Helena. MT. 59601
[email protected]



Montana Mountain Sponsors

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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
amanda.burne[email protected]
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Professional Preconstruction & Construction Manager   
Mark Qualman 
Billings, MT 
[email protected]        
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The Great Conversation Series
Jamie Vollmer
[email protected]
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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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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
Michael Bullock
[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]

Lowest total operational cost clean 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]

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A leading provider of comprehensive Custodial, Grounds & Facility Operations and Maintenance services  
4702 Western Ave. Suite 101
Knoxville, TN 37921 [email protected]

Montana Meadow Sponsors

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

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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]




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


2020-21 SAM Bulletins

October 2020 Bulletin
September 2020 Bulletin
July-August 2020 Bulletin

2019-20 SAM Bulletins


2020-21 SAM Bulletins

July-August 2020 Bulletin

2019-20 SAM Bulletins