Volume XLI                                NOVEMBER 2018

No. 279

In This Issue...

  1. MCASE President Message 
  2. SAM Executive Director Message
  3. SAM Associate Director Message
  4. Call for SAM Legislative Network 2019
  5. Montana Principals Conference
  6. The Importance of Cyber Security
  7. Release of GREAT VI
  8. New SAM Business Partner - Blackboard


Upcoming Conferences and Meetings

January 27-29:  Montana Principals Conference - Helena - Register

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

February 20-22:  MCEC Conference - Helena

** 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
Marlin Lewis
Dale Olinger
SAM Representatives
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  




Time to Take Action 

by Karen Underwood, MCASE President

Greetings from MCASE!  As we open November, we see politics dominating the scene.  We are in an interesting time, to say the least.  As an educator and a voter, I ask you to carefully exercise your civic responsibilities regarding not only your opportunity to vote but also your advocacy in the upcoming months. Whatever your political inclination, take time to study the issues and consider how what you do will influence not only your work environment but the educational learning environment of those you serve.

I invite you to consider the policy recommendations held by MCASE’s affiliated national organization Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).  Their work mirrors many of the components of our own SAM legislative agenda.  I find the similarities between the two remarkable.  The principles behind both our positions appear rooted in strong beliefs on the power of public education, the uniqueness of our learners, the impact of education, and the need for equity that is rooted in our democracy.  Without meaning to oversimplify our resolutions and action agenda in SAM, I offer the following paraphrased comparisons which highlight our need for advocacy at both the state and national level.  


SAM urges the state legislature to ---

     CEC urges Congress to ---

  • Increase the monetary investment for mandated special education services by applying additional state funding without reducing payments for the Instructional Services Block Grant, Related Services Block Grant, and the Disproportionate Cost Reimbursement.

  • Fund IDEA at its originally intended levels and allow flexibility in maintenance of effort requirements.

  • Ensure educational infrastructure that is equitably and adequately funded across all Montana administrative units.

  • Support the MDA to guarantee equitable access to educational curricula.

  • Support education and early intervention funding that matches the needs of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents, their families, and the professionals who work on their behalf by providing increased federal investments to the:

    • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

    • National Center for Special Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

    • Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act.

    • Strengthen the accountability of non-public schools and home schools in Montana.

  • Oppose any legislation or initiatives, which would allow for vouchers, tuition tax credits, tax savings accounts, or any other funding plans for any non-public and home PK-12 schools.

  • Support efforts that maintain and enhance the use of public funds for public education and services offered through public school districts.

  • Oppose the use of public funds for families to access private education through private school vouchers, tuition tax credits, direct tuition payments, taxpayer savings accounts, scholarships, and portability of public funds to private education entities for all students, including students with disabilities, as they are contrary to the best interests of students and their families, the public school system, local communities, and taxpayers.

  • Support new state funding for a continuum of mental health services for students in addition to existing state and federal programs without reducing dollars from the state education general fund.

  • Support facilities and technology thereby ensuring opportunities for students.

  • Ensure teachers and providers are prepared to implement evidence-based practices.

  • Focus on the positive and productive culture and climate in public schools and early childhood programs.

  • Ensure safe and respectful learning environments for all children and youth.

  • Remedy the national lack of access to mental health services.

  • Require an interdisciplinary approach reinforcing partnerships.

  • Support new state funding for Montana residential/educational services for children with mental health needs.

  • Support and provide funding for school based mental health services.

  • Support the implementation of a unified recruitment and retention program designed to address current personnel shortages in both general and special education.

  • Strengthen the recruitment, preparation and retention of education and early childhood personnel. Diversify the teacher workforce.


By no means are these comparisons comprehensive of either organization’s full advocacy agenda.  In sharing them I hope to highlight our common themes and invite more energetic advocacy at both the state and national level.  Perhaps you like me to need to act more upon our inclinations for taking a stronger advocacy role.  A good place to begin is through our School Administrators of Montana. 

Karen Underwood
MCASE President

Key to Advocacy Success is Building Trust with Your Community!

by Kirk Miller, SAM Executive Director

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This week a great question was raised by principals in the Eastern region MAEMSP asking, “how can principals get their advocacy voice heard?”  This may be on the mind of all educators and administrators as we are thinking about the upcoming 2019 Legislative Session.  So, here are some thoughts about effective advocacy for educators 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 2018 (released by MT-PEC at MCEL 2018) 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 Great Conversation” found at https://www.jamievollmer.com/.
  • 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 SAMLN19 so that you can participate deeply during the 2019 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 the future success of schools all across the state.

I hope you will contemplate these ideas when developing your advocacy strategies for the 2018-19 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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Montana Principals Conference 2019

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Sunday, January 27:

Keynote - Jimmy Casas"Live Your Excellence Starting Today!

Monday, January 28:

Keynote - Dave Weber"Sticks & Stones Exposed"

Shaun Clark - Restorative Session

Breakout Session 1 - “I’m Spread So Thin You Can See Through Me” (Time Management & Organization) 

Breakout Session 2 - “I Am NOT Stressed Out!” (Stress Management) 

Hospitality Hour - Sponsored by Lifetouch

In attendance will be:
NASSP President Christine Handy & Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti
NAESP Executive Director Earl Franks

Tuesday, January 29:

Hot Breakfast
EdCamp Breakout Sessions
Closing Keynote Speaker

Register HERE!

Release of GREAT 2018

The MT-PEC partners have worked together to prepare GREAT 2018 - The Great Work of Montana's Public Schools, Volume VI, released at MCEL on 10-18-18, see the Press Release.  School board members and school superintendents will be receiving a hard copy of this great tool in the mail next week.  You can always print a usable copy from the link provided.  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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New SAM Business Partner -Blackboard, Inc.

Blackboard offers a portfolio of Community Engagement solutions for K12 schools. These products include Mass Notification, Mobile App, Website, Website Accessibility, and Social Media Monitoring. Under Blackboard's unified platform, all of these products integrate together -- creating a single communications HQ to directly influence parent and community engagement.

Three Affiliates Have Now Opened Nominations/Applications for Awards!

 by Pat Audet, SAM Associate Director


The following 2019 awards are still open for nomination/application:
  • Adrian Langstaff Award
  • Friends of Education Award
  • Aspiring Principal Scholarship Award
  • NAESP Conference Incentive Scholarship Award
  • Appreciation Award
  • National Distinguished Principal Award
    • You can read more about each award plus nominate or apply by clicking 2019 MAEMSP AWARDS.  Nominations/applications are due by December 14. These awards will be announced on January 28 at the conference.
    • If you are a current MAEMSP member and you are planning on retiring at the end of this year, please contact MAEMSP Past President, Lance Boyd at [email protected] or give him a quick call at 406-268-7232. The MAEMSP Board of Directors would like to honor retirees at the Montana Principals Conference on January 28 in Helena.


The following 2019 awards are now available for application or nomination:
  • Future Administrators Scholarship
  • Community Partner
  • Principal of the Year
  • Conference Incentive Award
    • You can read more about each award plus nominate or apply by clicking 2019 MASSP AWARDS. Nominations/applications are due by December 14. These awards will be announced on January 28 at the conference.
    • If you are a current MASSP member and you are planning on retiring at the end of this year, MASSP Vice President, Justin Helvik, needs to hear from you soon!  Please contact Justin at [email protected] or give him a quick call at 406-285-3224. The MASSP Board of Directors would like to honor retirees at the Montana Principals Conference on January 28 in Helena.


The following 2019 distinguished service awards are now available for application or nomination:
  • Special Education Director
  • Special Education Teacher
  • Regular Education Teacher
    • You can read more about the awards plus nominate or apply by clicking 2019 MCASE AWARDS. Nominations/applications are due by January 11, 2019.
    • These awards will be announced at the MCEC Conference February 20-22, 2019 in Helena.
    • To read more about the MCEC Conference on February 20-22, 2019, please click MCEC CONFERENCE 2019. 

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Call for the SAM Legislative Network 2019

Calling all SAM Members to Join the SAM Legislative Network 2019 (SAMLN19)!

Are you interested in helping SAM promote our Advocacy Priorities in the 2019 Legislative Session?  How about joining the team of SAM members who are committed to communicating 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 SAMLN19.  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 SAMLN19 click HERE!

Please sign up to so we can insure that education leaders’ voice is clearly heard in the 2019 Legislative session. 

Once you sign up, the SAMLN19 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.


 The Importance of Cyber Security

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) is 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 CoSN shared information on Student Data Privacy with SAM members. 


This month we focus on the importance of cybersecurity.  It seems that today there is not a week that passes without a news story related to some sort of breach in security for one organization or another.  As school districts rely more and more on digital tools for data records, instruction and many other facets of school or district operations, it is incumbent upon school leaders to understand the issues around cybersecurity and take appropriate actions to prevent any sort of breach.  

CoSN is pleased to help school leaders understand the urgency for assuring that school systems are secure by providing a list of the top five reasons why school leaders must make cybersecurity a priority.  you are encouraged to read this one-page document at


CoSN has partnered with edWeb to provide a series of monthly webinars on topics essential for leading digital transformations.  School superintendents serve as panelists on each webinar and share their stories and expertise.  The focus of the November 12, 2018 webinar (3:00 pm MST) is on cybersecurity and features Steve Bradshaw, Superintendent at Columbia Falls Schools as one of the presenters.  Learn more and register for this free webinar at 



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]
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

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Infinite Campus is the largest American-owned student information system
4321 109th Avenue NE
Blaine, MN 55449 stephanie.sondrol@infinite
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

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Blackboard, Inc 
[email protected]
Phone: 858-946-6890

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




2018-19 Bulletins

October 2018 Bulletin

September 2018 Bulletin

July/August 2018 Bulletin


Bulletins from Previous Years