Volume XLI                                 SEPTEMBER 2018

No. 277

In This Issue...

  1. SAM President Message 
  2. SAM Executive Director Message
  3. SAM Associate Director Message
  4. SAM LPLP 2018-19
  5. MASS/MCASE Fall Conference 2018
  6. Did You Know...SAM Awards
  7. Digital Leap Success Matrix - CoSN
  8. Broadband for Montana Schools - Funding Available!
  9. Featured SAM Business Partner Black Mountain Software

Upcoming Conferences and Meetings

September 17-18:  MASS/MCASE Fall Conference in Helena Register

October 17-18:  MCEL 2018 in Missoula Register

January 27-19:  Montana Principals Conference - Helena

February 14-16:  AASA National Conference on Education - Los Angeles

** View the full SAM Calendar**  


Thank you to this month's featured Business Partners!

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SAM Leadership
Laurie Barron
Peter Hamilton
Jon Konen
Past President
Peter Hamilton
Jacob Haynes
Justin Helvik
Vice President
Joel Graves
Past President
Pam Meier
Craig Crawford
Shelley Andres
Vice President
Lance Boyd
Past President
Dale Olinger
SAM Representative
Marlin Lewis
SAM Representative
Cal Ketchum
Mike Perry
Tobin Novasio
Past President
Rick Duncan
Federal Relations Coordinator
Linda Marsh
Karen Underwood
Brian Norwood
SAM Office
Kirk Miller
Executive Director
Pat Audet
Associate Director
Gary Wagner
Operations Manager
Kim Scofield
Communications Specialist  




Public Education and Politics 

by Laurie Barron, SAM President

Public Education and Politics:  a combination of words that can cause anxiety, to say the least.  

As we begin to prepare for the upcoming legislative session, I reached out to Governor Steve Bullock and State Superintendent Elsie Arntzen to ask them about their thoughts on public education, and both continue to pledge their support for Montana’s public schools.  As I begin my sixth year as the proud superintendent of the Evergreen School District in Kalispell, I am reminded of how fortunate we are in Montana to have access to our elected officials, and I truly appreciate the time each of them took to answer my questions about public education in Montana.

I asked each of them the same five questions.  Those questions and their answers are below.

1.  What is your most rewarding aspect of working to support and promote public education?

Governor Bullock:  “It is inspiring to see the innovative work happening in classrooms all across our state. One of the best parts of my job is visiting schools as I travel around our state and I am continually impressed. I am impressed with the supportive environment that teachers at Bozeman’s Bridger Academy have created for students who don’t fit the mold of the regular high school, the student group in Livingston that is helping to solve global challenges by reducing food waste (including collecting lunch scraps to feed a local pig!), and the small, rural school in Plevna committed to educating students for the high-tech jobs of the future. As I visit these classrooms, it is clear to me that the teachers and administrators in our public schools provide incredible opportunities for Montana students to learn and grow.”

Superintendent Arntzen:  “The most rewarding part of my job is being able to work with students and schools all across Montana. Having taught for 23 years in Billings Public Schools, it is an honor to take my experience to a statewide level. The opportunity to work with statewide education advocates is equally important to me. I host monthly meetings with all of our partners in education including SAM, MREA, MFPE, OCHE, MASBO, MTSBA, MQEC, the Small Schools Alliance, legislative services, the Governor’s office, and others. In a roundtable format, we discuss the most important issues facing Montana’s public education system and how we can work together to solve them.”

2.  What is your primary goal regarding public education for the legislative session?

Governor Bullock:  “Last session, Montana made its first-ever investment in public preschool for four-year-olds, but we are one of only six states that has not made this a permanent commitment. We know that when children have access to high-quality early childhood education, they enter kindergarten ready to learn, are less likely to repeat a grade or need special education and are more likely to graduate from high school. To me, investing in preschool is a no-brainer and an investment that we can’t afford not to make. While we had some success last session when we secured, with bipartisan support, the small pilot program that is up and running in 17 communities across the state, the pilot expires next year and there is a need for a permanent funding stream. I think that the demand from families to access STARS preschool and the results for children as they head off to kindergarten prepared to learn speak for themselves. As we go into the next session, I will continue to advocate for expanding access to high-quality, free public preschool for all.”

Superintendent Arntzen:  “Each new legislative session brings opportunities and challenges. I look forward to ensuring that the state upholds its obligations to our local public schools and that further fiscal burdens aren’t transferred to local taxpayers. There will be many pieces of legislation which will have an impact on education. My primary responsibility is advocating for the education budget and ensuring that it is equitable. We must serve all Montana students.”

3.  What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing public education in the legislative session?

Governor Bullock:  “Like last session, if the legislature does not take a serious look at our state’s revenue structure, we will be looking at a tight budget. Montana’s economy has seen healthy growth in recent years, including record personal income growth. However, our economy today is not the resource-based economy that our revenue structure was based on. It is far past time to consider how we can capture the strong economic growth of our state to ensure that the basic functions of state government – including providing a great public education system for our kids and our future – are funded.  We can also expect attacks to public education, which I will vigorously oppose. I believe that public education is one of our great equalizers and I am grateful to be sending my children to the same public schools that my wife Lisa and I attended growing up here in Helena.”

Superintendent Arntzen:  “Funding is always the biggest challenge before the legislature. We must ensure that students come first. Funding must be equitable and responsible to all Montana students and taxpayers. We will also continue engaging on the most important issues facing our schools including safety, school climate, special education services, mental health awareness, suicide prevention, and academic achievement.”

4.  In preparing your agenda related to education for the legislative session, what supports do you believe are most critical?

Governor Bullock:  “In addition to increasing access to high-quality public preschool, which will ensure that all students enter kindergarten ready to learn, it is critical that schools have access to 21st century technology and the high-speed broadband to utilize those tools. It’s important that rural schools have tools to recruit and retain teachers and that all teachers, regardless of their geographic location, are supported, valued and provided with opportunities for continued professional development. Finally, as school shootings, school violence and mental health crises fill the headlines on a seemingly daily basis, it is critical that students, families and school communities have access to support networks and services to keep them safe.”

Superintendent Arntzen:  “Supports which are closest to individual students are the most critical. I will continue advocating for the Digital Academy which provides equal access to a high-quality education regardless of a student’s geographic location. Personalized learning, Special Education, and CTE are also crucial to ensuring that all students graduate high school ready for college, careers, or the military. Indian Education for All is unique in Montana and we continue to be national leaders for other states to model. Again, school safety, school climate, and mental health awareness must be at the top of all education discussions. Coordinating with our teacher prep programs is key to success in these areas.”

5.  Next May, following the legislative session, what do you believe are the most important educational issues that you will continue to support for Montana’s public school children? 

Governor Bullock:  “Following the next session and as I finish my term as Governor, I will be working to ensure that that the historic investments that we have made into our public K-12 schools during my tenure are protected and that the momentum around preschool, work-based learning, dual enrollment, computer science education and broadband access for schools continues.”

Superintendent Arntzen:  “In my above answers, I have hit on my four key initiatives: Montana Hope, Montana Teach, Montana Learn, and Montana Ready.  Montana Hope is the wrapping students in the whole child approach to education, Montana Teach promotes teacher leaders, Montana Learn drives the focus on academic achievement, and Montana Ready invests in students to be community, college, and career ready. I promise to continue serving Montana’s public schools to ensure that all Montana students have the opportunity to succeed.  Our ESSA work encompasses all of this. [I] appreciate the input that you and other SAM members offered throughout the process and continue to offer. We are really working towards student growth through ESSA in the coming months and years.”

In a busy summer season, our Governor and State Superintendent were both gracious with their time and positive with their approach to supporting public education. Hopefully some of their comments will help ease some of those anxieties regarding public education and politics in the coming legislative session.

I am honored to serve as your president of the School Administrators of Montana this year.  I hope to see many of you at your SAM affiliate conferences throughout the year.  If I can ever be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected]  Also, be sure to plan now to join SAM and your affiliate organizations in Helena on Monday, March 18, 2019 for the Public Education Day of Advocacy, where you can see Governor Bullock, Superintendent Arntzen, and your legislators as we advocate together for their continued support of public education.


Dr. Laurie Barron
President, School Administrators of Montana
Superintendent, Evergreen School District (Kalispell)

Trust - Creating a Successful 2018-19 School Year!

by Kirk Miller, SAM Executive Director

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Stephen Covey’s “The Speed of Trust” provides a great lesson for focus for all school and district leaders entering the 2018-19 school year. As school administrators, gaining the trust of your students, education team and entire community, is so important to achieving the progress you want for educating your students.  This transformational leadership thought is essential. So, at the beginning of the school year sharing thoughts about Trust may help you be purposeful in your relationship building now and throughout the school year.  All cited information comes from the work of Stephen M. R. Covey in “The Speed of Trust” (2009).

In the “The Speed of Trust”, Covey defines leadership as “getting results in a way that inspires trust.”  How you achieve results is as important as achieving the results.  Covey also believes that trust is hard, real, and quantifiable and that it measurably affects speed and cost.  The great example he uses to show this is what happened after 9/11 when the public trust of safety while flying dropped significantly, causing the cost of flying to increase and the time to board the plane to slow down (safety measures).  This simple example applies to all instances – if trust is high, the cost is low, and the speed to implement is high – if trust is low, the cost is high, and the speed of implementation is low.  Covey also conveys good news that trust is something that you can do something about!

Covey’s research points to the value of consultative partnership for schools and that such partnerships require trust.  School administrators can make big headway in relationship and trust building by …

  • understanding the roles and responsibilities of each individual you are working with
  • having mutual confidence in the competence and good intentions of each person on the team, and
  • understanding the importance of building and keeping trust.

This research led to identification of 5 waves of trust – with the first wave being the development of Covey’s four cores of credibility for individuals (leaders) …

  1. Integrity: what most people think about when they think of trust – honesty, integratedness, congruency – walking your talk. 
  2. Intent: has to do with our motives, agenda, and our resulting behavior – straightforward motives based on mutual benefit demonstrating genuine caring for ourselves and the people we interact with, lead and serve.
  3. Capabilities: the abilities we have that inspire confidence – talents, attitudes, skills, knowledge and style – the means we use to produce results.
  4. Results: refers to our track record, our performance, our getting the right things done – if we don’t accomplish what we are expected to do, it diminishes our credibility.

Integrity and Intent are matters of Character leading us to do the right thing and to lead with the heart.  Capabilities and Results are matters of Competence leading us to get the right things done and to lead with the head.

The second wave of trust is identifying critical behaviors that can be learned and applied.  Covey identified 13 behaviors for cultivating trust that are behaviors of high-trust people and leaders across the world.  The behaviors require a combination of character and competence.  For your review, HERE is a reference to those behaviors and Covey’s description of them.

As the 2018-19 school year gets underway, my hope was to give you a transformational leadership strategy that you can practice in your daily work, and Covey’s work on trust may allow you to be purposeful in your mission to create the very best learning environment for the students you serve in your schools.  My wish for you is that you have an excellent 2018-19 school year and that you will utilize the resources of your SAM organization to assist you!


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MASS/MCASE Fall Conference 2018!

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September 17-18

GranTree Inn - Bozeman

Monday, September 17:

  • Keynote Speaker - Dave Schuler, AASA National Superintendent of the Year
  • Federal Update - Noelle Ng, AASA Associate Executive Director - Policy & Advocacy 
  • Breakout Sessions - 
    • Joe Eradi, Daniel O'Donnell, Ashoke Menon, Jerry Laughery, Theresa Baldry, Verne Beffert, Frank Podobnik, Tal Goldin, Elizabeth Kaleva

Tuesday, September 18:

  • Keynote Speaker - Jody Urquhart
  • MASS and MCASE Business Meetings

Click HERE to register!

 Broadband for Montana   Schools Program - Funding Available

The Governor’s Office, Office of Public Instruction, Department of Commerce, and School Administrators of Montana are excited to announce our continued partnership with the national non-profit EducationSuperHighway on the Broadband for Montana Schools Program.

Over the past three years, our work with EducationSuperHighway has resulted in increased Internet speed and scalable connections for thousands of students across the state. West Valley School District and Yaak Elementary School, for example, both took advantage of the services offered through the Program, applying to upgrade to high-speed fiber infrastructure capable of fully supporting their digital learning plans.  

There are two critical opportunities that your district may want to take advantage of this year:


In 2017, Governor Bullock and the Legislature secured a $2 million appropriation through House Bill 390 to serve as a “state match” by leveraging additional funding from the Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate program. The remaining $1 million in this funding pool must be used this year. If you are seeking to upgrade to a fiber broadband connection like West Valley and Yaak, we encourage you to contact the Department of Commerce to explore your options and learn how to access this funding source. Please visit  http://comdev.mt.gov/Programs/BROADBAND or email [email protected] to learn more.


The effectiveness of broadband coming to a building is only as good as the internal network and Wi-Fi within the building. That is why in 2014, the FCC made $150 per student of funding for Wi-Fi and internal connections upgrades available over five years. Montana schools have $4.1 million left to spend. Those districts that have not spent any of their E-rate Category 2 funds in the last five years and those that started spending in 2015 must act this year before these funds expire. EducationSuperHighway will contact you in the coming weeks to make sure you have everything you need to upgrade your schools.

Both the Department of Commerce and EducationSuperHighway stand ready to help you take advantage of these funding opportunities. All assistance is provided free of charge.

We look forward to working with you to ensure every classroom in the state has the bandwidth necessary to take advantage of the promise of digital learning.

Thank you,

Governor Steve Bullock
Superintendent Elsie Arntzen
Department of Commerce Director Pam Haxby-Cote
SAM Executive Director Kirk Miller

CoSN (Consortium for School Networking) - School Leaders Can Take Opportunity for an Institutional Membership

 by Pat Audet, SAM Associate Director

I hope all is well for students, staff and leaders as you are all back in the saddles for the 18-19 school year! As school leaders who may have a META member (IT person) in your environment, you have an opportunity for staying contemporary on the latest info that the educational tech world has to offer!

Due to a 2016 agreement created between the CoSN leadership and the META Board of Directors, a Montana State Chapter of CoSN was established where META Members can now also become CoSN members at the national level. As a part of the agreement, an institutional membership was also established where leaders within that district can also become CoSN members by virtue of having a META-CoSN member within the district. 

Here are steps and information on how to get connected with a free CoSN membership:

1.  Superintendents, principals, SPED coordinators, etc should reach out to their IT Director/Coordinator who is a META member and request to be a CoSN member. If your IT/Tech person is not a META member, this is a good time to get them signed up for an 18-19 META membership through the SAM office.

2.  The school district leader must also be a SAM member to be eligible for this CoSN membership opportunity. 

3.  Your META member will simply send me the name(s) and email(s) of those of you that would like to belong to CoSN.  

4.  I will then email the collection of names and emails with other pertinent information to the CoSN Membership Department in Washington, DC. 

5. Once you are processed with CoSN, you will receive an orientation email that will inform you on how to activate and utilize your CoSN membership benefits. 

I hope that you will look to take advantage of this annual offer. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this process. Thank you and have a wonderful school year! 

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Are Your Registered for

SAM LPLP 2018-19?

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Click HERE to Register and for more information! 

Did You Know... 

...SAM and its six affiliates recognize members and the community through a variety of awards on both the local, regional and national level?  Nomination information and schedules are posted on each affiliate's website and distributed to the membership throughout the year.  Click HERE for an overview of SAM and affiliate awards.

The following award nomination deadlines are approaching.  Click on the award for more information. 


 Digital Leap Success Matrix

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

This month we focus on CoSN's Digital Leap Success Matrix.  School system leaders need guidance to advance their technology goals - and overcome both the unexpected and expected challenges.  That is why CoSN developed a resource to support those leadership efforts.  The Digital Leap Success Matrix outlines the practices needed to be a successful digital school system.

The CoSN Digital Leap Success Matrix focuses on three key professional categories:  Leadership and Vision; Educational Environment; and Managing Technology and Business.  Specific skills and practices for operational readiness in a digital environment are covered within each of the three main categories.  You are welcome to access the complete CoSN Digital Leap Success Matrix  at https://cosn.org/sites/defalut/files/            Digital%20Leap%20Success%20Matrix_0.pdf

CoSN Peer Review Services Option:  

CoSN's Peer Review Services were developed in direct response to district leaders' requests for help in applying the best practices that are outlined in the Digital Leap Success Matrix.  As district or school leaders plan and set milestones for digital transformation, the expertise of experienced, and successful educational technology leaders can add valuable insight, perspective, and objectivity.  Learn more about CoSN's Peer Review Services at https://cosn.org/sites/default/         files/303-564_CoSN_Peer_Review_Super       intendentsPDF2_web_0.pdf

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

Featured Business Partner - Black Mountain Software

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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]
Phone: 406-457-4400

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Technology Innovation
1309 NW Bypass - Great Falls, MT 59404  
[email protected]    
Phone: 406-727-5994   

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Professional Learning Organization 
1031 N. Academic Way, Ste. 242  
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814
[email protected]
Phone: 208-292-2529  

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Rigorous Learning For All Students
1587 Route 146 - Rexford, NY 12148
[email protected]
Phone: 518-399-2776   

Total Education Solutions in Technology (T.E.S.T)     PO Box 2900
Missoula, MT 59805
[email protected]
Phone:  888-401-6950

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@ infinitecampus.com
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.gif - 2.49 KbAnnuities, life insurance     
430 Ryman St., #102
Missoula, MT 59892 
[email protected]

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Empowering Teachers To
Drive Their Own Professional Learning
84 Sherman Street
Cambridge, MA 02140
 [email protected]
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 School property & liability insurance
1200 North Montana Ave.
Helena. MT. 59601
[email protected]


Montana Mountain Sponsors

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

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Education Employee Financial Products & Services
621 W. Mallon, Suite #301
Spokane, WA 99201 [email protected]
509-279-2540, Ext 353                                                                                            

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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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Education’s Premiere Recruitment Service PO Box 2519
Columbia, MD 21045 [email protected]
877-812-4071 x94
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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]
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Connecting Schools, Parents, and Communities
through Cloud-Based Communication Tools
218 N. 3rd Ave 
Durant, OK 74701
[email protected]
msgia.png - 1.98 KbSchool Workers’ Compensation & Liability
PO Box 7029 - Helena, MT 59601
[email protected]
Phone: 406-457-4418


Montana Meadow Sponsors

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College Readiness and Success
5889 Greenwood Plaza Blvd. Suite 210 
Greenwood Village, CO 80111   
[email protected]     

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School Accounting Software
145 Southlake Crest, Suite 1
Polson, MT. 59860
[email protected]
Phone: 800-353-8829

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Technology Services Partner
16 6th Street North, Ste 42
[email protected]

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Technology planning, project  & solution services
2135 Charlotte Street
Bozeman MT 59718
bbassett @pinecc.com

Montana Med Express [email protected] 
Phone: 800-955-2880

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



2018-19 Bulletins

July/August 2018 Bulletin


Bulletins from Previous Years