Volume XLII                              January 2020

No. 292

In This Issue...

  1. MAEMSP President Message 
  2. SAM Executive Director Message
  3. SAM Youth Endowment
  5. Montana Principals Conference 2020
  6. Leading Digital Learning 1:1 Implementation - CoSN  
  7. SAM Needs Assessment Survey 2020
  8. MASS/METAtechED 2020 
  9. SAM/MREA/MCASE Virtual Career Fair


Upcoming Conferences,   Meetings, & Events

January 10: SAM Needs Assessment Survey Deadline

January 26-28: Montana Principals Conference - Fairmont Hot Springs Resort - Registration

January 28:  SAM LPLP Symposium - Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

February 19-21:  MCEC Conference - Missoula

March 23-24: MASS/METAtechEd Conference - Helena - Registration

June 11-12: SAM Board Meeting and Delegate Assembly - Helena

July 27-29, 2020:  SAM Administrators Institute 2020 - Helena

** View the full SAM Calendar**   

Thank you to this month's featured Business Partners! 

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SAM Leadership
Peter Hamilton
Dale Olinger
President Elect
Laurie Barron
Past President
Jake Haynes
Justin Helvik
President Elect
Shawn Hendrickson
Vice President
Peter Hamilton
Past President
Craig Crawford
Shelley Andres
President Elect
Nicole Trahan
Vice President
Pam Meier
Past President
Marlin Lewis
Barb Droessler
SAM Representatives
Mike Perry
Casey Klasna
President Elect
Cal Ketchum
Past President
Rick Duncan
Federal Relations Coordinator
Michelle Halberg
Cathy Maloney
Brian Norwood
SAM Office
Kirk Miller
Executive Director
Gary Wagner
Director of Operations, Membership & Finances
Kim Scofield
Director of Member Services & Professional Learning




How is Your Customer Service?  

by Craig Crawford, MAEMSP President

Think about that restaurant….you know the one. The one you don’t go to all that often because it might cost a little more, but you go because of how you can depend on the quality of the product and the service. It may be the one for special occasions. The one you take out of town guests to so you can show off what your community has to offer. Do you know a staff member there by name? Do they know you by name? Why pay those prices? Seems like every fast food place in town has a “two for something” offer going. Your wallet would be so much better off. But we are willing to pay for quality. We want to associate with it.

Now…what about the kid in your grocery store who is always upbeat and chipper? The server at the fast food place who made sure you had extra BBQ sauce for your chicken tenders…the cashier at the department store who thanked you for your business or called you out by name when you walked in the store. I think of the gal where I get my hair cut who knows I am a two guard on the side and a five on top…unless I feel racy, then it’s a six.

Both the high dollar and the value places have excellent customer service ambassadors. We crave it. We are willing to pay more for it. We tip more when we get it. It is said that if a person has a positive experience with a business, they may tell one other person, maybe two. If they have a bad experience, they’ll tell a minimum of eight. We have all seen stories run amuck on social media when somebody has a negative experience and their followers hop on the dogpile.

Education is a service industry. We have fierce and ever-growing competition. Regardless of what our thoughts are on educational funding levels and how mandates from non-educator government officials may prevent us from doing what we feel is right, we are in control of our customer service. It matters. If it didn’t, people wouldn’t ask real estate agents which schools are the best. And when you get to the heart of what people see as the making of a great school, test scores are well down the list. Do you know my kid? Do you meet my kid with a smile in the morning? Do I fell my kid is safe at your school? Can your programming be adapted to best serve my kid?

My first job was at an amusement park and they made us watch this video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkC_8zQtSmk  Give it a watch. Then come in your buildings as a customer and see what your customer service looks like. We may not get the dollars we want to do all we want to do with kids, but we can still deliver world-class customer service and make sure our school, our district, and our industry stands out as the place people will use to promote their town. We can have community members bring people by our schools on their way to that snazzy restaurant and show us off as a source of pride in our community.            

Educationally Yours, 

Craig Crawford
MAEMSP President

Big Thoughts for 2020!

by Kirk Miller, SAM Executive Director

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The start of a new year allows for reflection and the opportunity to think big for what lies ahead!  At SAM we are here to support you and your work for children in 2020.  Two big thoughts for the new year came from reflection and focus on how SAM, your professional association, can support you. 

Big Thought #1 – Recruitment and Retention of Quality Educators Progress

The number one issue affecting our power to provide excellent educational services to children in our communities statewide is our ability to recruit and retain quality educators.  Our work at SAM has been to create opportunities for increased access to quality educators who can serve in our schools in the hardest to fill areas.  Significant progress is being made through a) administrative rule changes allowing more flexibility and access, b) legislation targeting resources, and c) collaboration to work on projects and obtain grants to meet the needs of our rural state.  The efforts of RISE4MT (Recruiting Incredible School Educators for MT) and the Montana University System Rural Recruitment and Retention Task Force have produced some results in all three progress areas mentioned.  RISE4MT DRAFT Update 1-2-20 provides you with a relatively deep look at administrative rule changes giving educators more flexibility in licensure.  A review of the Educator Recruitment and Retention webpage established on the OPI website provides good information about legislation resulting in the Quality Educator Loan Assistance Program and National Board Teacher Stipend Program both giving our rural schools access to funds to recruit and retain quality educators.  Recently, three educator recruitment and retention projects coordinated by our partners at the Montana University System show great promise.  The Montana Rural Teacher Project is a 5 year, $6.2 million grant addressing rural recruitment and retention in Montana by placing teachers in hard to fill teaching positions in rural schools across the state.  The Montana Rural School Counselor Project is a 5 year, $2.3 million grant designed to train high-quality school and mental health counselors to work in rural areas of Montana.  The development of Grow Your Own educator shortage strategies is gaining momentum with  2+2 partnership programs to train teachers by helping them complete their college education to gain a teacher license and then work in the schools where they are currently providing other services like paraprofessional, aide or classified staff.  Finally, SAM is partnering with MREA and MCASE to hold the first ever Virtual Career Fair for educators and employers on March 13, 2020.  Expect to see more details of this in coming months.  Check out the RISE4MT DRAFT Update 1-2-20 for a review of progress.  This collective effort to help our schools have access to highly qualified candidates for education positions will continue in 2020!

Big Thought #2 – Importance of Strategically Telling the Story About the Great Work of Your Schools

The importance for our schools and school leaders to tell the story about the great work accomplished for each child, every day in our schools is very important in 2020.  The whole attitude about public education and making sure our own communities understand the outstanding work for children in your schools, is a matter that, as school leaders, requires our attention.  Being strategic in letting your community, and quite frankly your school team, know and understand the progress and opportunities provided to students locally is a must for the to do list in 2020.  If we collectively work together to tell this local story of rich and diverse opportunities provided to our children we will make a difference in capturing back a positive, supportive attitude about our schools all across the state.  SAM has developed learning opportunities for being strategic in telling the story and gaining the support of your community (See Jamie Vollmer’s Great Conversation as described at MCEL and further through a SAM business partnership).  Please review the GREAT VII 2019 publication developed by MT-PEC, and use this for reference to advocate in your school community.  Another recently developed tool to impact your community is the MT-PEC Flexibility PD Series.  This access to deep professional learning about the many efficiencies and flexibility provided in legislation, law and administrative rules is intended to help you advocate for programming necessary in your schools to meet the needs of the children served.  You can expect to see more resources for enhancing your ability to tell your rich story at upcoming conferences and meetings in 2020!

I hope you will consider these couple of big thoughts in your planning for 2020.  Happy New Year to you from your team at SAM!

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Montana Principals Conference 2020

It Only Takes One!

January 26-28 

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

Sunday, January 26:

  • Keynote:  Ryan Sheehy - Be the One for Kids 

Monday, January 27:

  • Keynote: Adam Welcome Kids Deserve It - 

    Watch Adam Welcome Video

  • MAEMSP and MASSP Business Meetings
  • Breakout Sessions
  • Leader to Leader Event
  • Cornhole Tournament
  • Awards Banquet with Ugly Sweater Contest
  • Live Music by Intermission 

Tuesday, January 28:

  • Breakout Sessions
  • Closing Speaker: Dr. Andy JacksRefusing to Fail

Click HERE for more information.

Register HERE!

SAM/MREA/MCASE Virtual Career Fair

SAM and MREA are partnering with the MCASE Montana Schools Recruitment Project to launch the first-ever SAM/MREA/MCASE Virtual Career Fair on March 13, 2020.  The purpose of the career fair is to connect with qualified candidates to fill shortage area educator vacancies in Montana school districts.  Be sure to watch for more information about this outstanding opportunity coming to you soon. 

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SAM Youth Endowment Now Open for Nominations

Nominations are open until March 3rd for the 2019-20 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.  Recognition of the award will also be given annually at the SAM Administrators Institute.

Nomination guidelines are listed in the SAM Youth Endowment brochure. Please note that only SAM members can make the actual nomination.

Click HERE to access the 2019-20 SAM Youth Endowment Nomination Form! The application deadline is March 3, 2020.

MAEMSP and MASSP Award Deadline Extended

The deadline has been extended for the following 2020 MAEMSP and MASSP awards.  Nomination forms must be completed by January 10, 2020.  

  • MAEMSP Friends of Education Award - given to a private citizen outside of the professional educational organization who is always there to support education and goes the extra mile to further the education of Montana's youth.

  • NASSP Conference Incentive Award - provides an opportunity for an MASSP member to attend the NASSP National Principals Conference for professional development

MCASE Award Nominations Closing Soon

Please consider nominating an outstanding educator for one of the following 2020 MCASE awards.  Nomination forms must be completed by January 10, 2020.  Find out more about each award and nominate/apply by clicking 2020 MCASE Awards.

  • Special Education Director
  • Special Education Teacher
  • Regular Education Teacher

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Leading Digital Learning: 1:1 Implementations

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and its 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.  

Last month we focused on effective professional learning and the need for a coordinated leadership strategy when planning and delivering professional learning experiences within a school district. CoSN’s one-page guide for school leaders on effective professional development offers school leaders three critical guidelines for professional learning that improve classroom practice and also presents an overview of the essential factors school leaders must consider when planning for and evaluating professional learning.

This month we examine the strategies necessary for leading digital learning with an emphasis on succeeding with 1:1 implementations. CoSN’s Leadership for Digital Learning Critical Issues Guide provides – in a concise, single-page format - an itemized check list for each of the four main systems (human and technological) that need to be properly established when implementing 1:1 technology for learning initiatives.

CoSN, in partnership with edWeb.net, hosts The EmpowerED Superintendent monthly webinar series on topics that are essential for all educators engaged in leading digital transformations. The focus of the January 13, 2020 webinar (3:00 pm MT) is on “Leading Digital Learning: Successful Strategies for 1:1 Implementations”. Four superintendents who are recognized as technology leaders in their field will share what it takes to successfully deploy, implement and sustain a commitment to digital learning. Each will share the “why” behind their successful technology initiatives. Learn more and register for this free webinar as well as access recordings of previously broadcast CoSN/edWeb webinars at https://home.edweb.net/supers/.

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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SAM Needs Assessment Survey DeadlineJanuary 10, 2020

Please click HERE to complete the survey.

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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: 406-457-4401

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

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

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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

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]
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Connecting 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]                                                     
Phone: 208-292-2529  
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Amanda Burnette                                         
3001 Metro Drive, Suite 480
Bloomington, MN. 55425
[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]

Montana Meadow Sponsors

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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]  
Phone: 800-353-8829
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Targeted Professional Development
Daniel Sybrant
557 Cow Creek Lane
Corvallis, MT 
[email protected] 
888-413-3669, ext. 5776

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Network and Communications Solutions 
904 C Avenue
Circle, MT 59215
[email protected]  
Phone: 406-234-7470

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