Volume XLII                                 April 2020

No. 295

In This Issue...

  1. MASSP President Message 
  2. SAM Executive Director Message
  3. SAM Membership Drive 2020-21
  4. SAM LPLP 2020-21 
  5. CoSN-Leading Digital Transformations in Rural School Districts & Dealing with COVID-19
  6. Save the Date - SAM AI 2020 
  7. Montana Census 2020 Resources
  8. Thank You!


Upcoming Conferences,   Meetings, & Events

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

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

January 24-26, 2021: Montana Principals Conference - 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




Create a Spring Environment  

by Jake Haynes, MASSP President

Spring typically means warmer weather in Montana unless you are planning a track meet! With the warmer weather we start to see the grass begin to grow and new life taking shape. Most of the change happens because of the warmth of the environment. Reflecting on this process made me realize that just as the plants begin to grow and shoot towards the warmth hopefully the same could be said for the environment within our schools. A caring school climate and positive relationships between students and staff are critical to student success. A warm and caring atmosphere provides an environment where academics flourish. If the students are feeling the warmth of this environment they too will want to grow and develop. It will also provide them a sense of security allowing them to feel safe during these uncertain and challenging times.

What if students want to achieve and do well because they like their teachers and their school? As naïve as that may sound I really believe students, parents and community members will do more for their teachers and the school because of the positive connection and relationships that form out of a warm and caring environment. Are our classrooms, offices and gathering places in our school a warm and caring environment? Do your stakeholders feel the warmth or do they feel the cold of a Montana Hi-Line blizzard?

Maya Angelou said, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” As the 2019-2020 school year draws to a close, how will your students, staff and community remember the year? Are you doing all you can to help create the “Spring environment” in our schools and not just “finish the year.” I admit there are times when I say, “If I can only get through Wednesday.” We need to keep the growth mindset if we are wanting to improve the culture and climate now and for next year. It starts with you as the educational leader. Jimmy Casas often says, “When you forget your Why you forget your way!” How easy would it be to get lost in a cold Montana Blizzard! Certainly this is one of the things that helps me strive to facilitate a warm and caring environment is remembering why I became an educator!

Malcom Gladwell stated, “Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning.” Be the change in the season! Reflect on your job—Don’t serve a prison sentence! Find your meaning! Find your why! Create a warm, caring, positive environment. Find the enthusiasm! Have a Growth Mindset! Do Better and Be Better!! Make a difference! Love it! 

Jake Haynes
MASSP President

COVID-19 Creates a Brave New World for Montana Educators!

by Kirk Miller, SAM Executive Director

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Thank you Montana school administrators for being a great example of the spirit of leadership that is so necessary during times of crisis!  The COVID-19 world-wide pandemic threatening our lives and future takes on a wider lens when you are a school administrator responsible for not only the well-being of your family and loved ones, but also the children in our schools, families and entire community that you serve in your profession.  What I have observed from the moments in mid-March when the pandemic rose to the level of attention of Montana’s citizens and the Governor’s directives that followed to protect our citizens, has been nothing short of amazing in the leadership each-and-every-one of you has assumed for your school community! 

The request to turn our education delivery system on a dime required …

  • collaboration with your education team to develop strategies
  • recommendations to your Boards of Trustees to bring the voice of your community into the urgent work
  • communication with your children, families and community
  • care for the well-being of your children and education team
  • development of a Plan of Action for offsite delivery of education service with special attention to each child/every day, school meal programs, students with disabilities, and many other services customarily provided by your school.  Submitting the Plan to the Governor, that ultimately led to approval of 401(100%) of Montana school district plans! – Wow!
  • creation of professional learning for all aspects of off site education service delivery
  • ongoing collaboration and sharing with your fellow administrators and educators to continue transforming the model strategies to meet the ever changing needs during this pandemic
  • time to focus on the needs of your own family and children who are going through tremendous change

Deep breath …. I could go on, but I wanted to put in print the outstanding work that you as leader of your school community have accomplished over these 17 days.  You are literally and figuratively a CHAMPION!

Our effort here at SAM has been to provide you with as many supports as we possibly can in helping you to accomplish all of the above.  We have been at the table with our state leaders, ensuring the voice of our schools be heard loud and clear to support the important work you must continue to lead in order to provide for the education services for the children in your community. Your great work brings a calming, steady presence to your entire community as everyone works through the pandemic and its impact on our lives.  We have worked closely with the MT-PEC partners to coordinate and streamline (still working on this) the resources that you must have access to in order to accomplish your work.  We have tried to create modes of communicating with you that bolster your work without adding to the information overload. These will all be ongoing efforts in the weeks ahead.

The SAM COVID-19 Information for Schools webpage is a source of that streamlined information, and I hope you will follow this webpage as an information resource as you work in the days ahead.  Using a COVID-19 Outline (couple of pages of the most important breaking information) and Podcast (to allow your ability to listen to what is in the outline), we will keep you connected to the most important resources.  These items will be pushed to you via email and will also be uploaded to the SAM COVID-19 Information for Schools webpage.  This webpage also has links to the MT-PEC COVID-19 website and OPI COVID-19 website where all of the details and guidance for the many issues you are working with can explored.

I close by thanking you once again for your leadership in transforming education to meet the needs of our children in this brave new world!

Be Safe! Be Well!

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SAM Administrators Institute 2020: 

July 27 - 29!

Preparation for the SAM Administrators Institute 2020 (July 27-29 in Helena) is underway.  The Institute theme is "Tell Your Story" with support of strategies for telling your schools' great story in the most effective way.  Keynote and clinic sessions will be organized around the focus zones -- Social Emotional Learning, Safe Schools, and Strategies for Excellent Leadership/ Flexibility and Efficiency.  A Call for Presentations went out to all SAM members on April 1st and is open until June 12th.  Contact the SAM office with any questions you may have.

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Click HERE for Montana Census Resources

  via GIPHY

SAM Members:  Thank you for your outstanding leadership to ensure that Montana's children are being provided a quality education through new and innovative ways during this unprecedented time!

SAM Membership Drive 2020-21 Launches April 20th!

The School Administrators of Montana (SAM)
Membership Drive will begin on Monday,
April 20th for the 2020-21 year! We will once
again be using the online renewal process that
was launched for the 2017-18 membership year.
As the "key contact" for a district, district
clerks/business managers will receive an email
that will include information for completing
membership renewals for their district's MASS,
MASSP, MAEMSP, and META members.  Please work with your district clerk/business manager to be sure your membership is correct.  MCASE members and members not linked to a school district will receive an email that will include a link to their membership renewal form.

We encourage you to renew your membership early so you can start the next fiscal year with full benefits of your membership in place and without any chance of it lapsing. Contact the SAM Office with any questions you may have.

SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program 2020-21

It isn't too early to start thinking about professional learning for you and your district administrators for next year.  

The goal of the SAM LPLP is to provide intentional, personalized professional learning to Montana educators through research-based strategies resulting in improvements in job satisfaction, administrator longevity, and ultimately to increased student achievement and quality of instruction which will positively impact the education of students across Montana.

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,
  • a rich online resource center

Tailored to meet the needs of new, experienced, and aspiring administrators, learning networks meet both virtually and face-to-face allowing participants to share challenges, successes, and thought leadership with like-minded Montana leaders experiencing similar job roles, situations, and context while bringing professional development to the administrator.

Register for SAM LPLP 2020-21!

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Leading Digital Transformations in Rural School Districts & Dealing with COVID-19

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 addressed the issues involved with ensuring accessibility for all. As learning environments continue to move toward digital learning settings, it is critical that schools assure that an equitable, effective learning ecosystem exists everywhere, at all times, for all students. CoSN is pleased to provide school leaders (and all the stakeholders they serve) with five compelling steps to take now to ensure accessibility in the CoSN Critical Focus Area: Issue One Pager on Accessibility.

This month we focus on the topic of leading digital transformations in rural school districts and also on how school district leaders can safely and successfully leverage technology resources during the current COVID-19 national crisis.  

CoSN has created a special web page with resources to provide information for school leaders as they deal with this current national emergency: "Responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19)" at https://www.cosn.org/coronavirus . Under the “CoSN Resources” Tab there is a document titled, “Preparing To Take Your Schools Online” and another on “Cybersecurity Consideration in a COVID-19 World”. More resources and papers to come in the next weeks and months.

Leading Digital Transformations in Rural School Districts 
More than half of school districts and about one-third of public schools in the United States are in rural areas. Rural districts have unique challenges, ranging from poverty and vast travel distances to lack of affordable internet access. However, along with the challenges facing rural school districts there are also some unique opportunities rural school districts can leverage due to their smaller size and direct impact on their communities. You can learn more and access a copy of the CoSN Report, “Challenges and Opportunities of Rural Districts in Taking the Digital Leap” at https://www.cosn.org/Rural

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 April 13, 2020 webinar (5:00 pm ET) is “Leading Digital Transformations in Rural School Districts”. Three superintendents share the strategies they use to maximize the opportunities and overcome the challenges in leading digital transformation within their rural school districts. Each will also update webinar participants on how they are leading learning in their school districts during our current national COVID-19 health crisis. Their stories and expertise have great value for all school leaders. You are invited to 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] 

 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]
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Rick Ruiz, Business Development
800 7th Ave. North
Great Falls, MT. 59911



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