Volume XLIII                            October 2021

No. 311

In This Issue...

  1. META President Message 
  2. SAM Executive Director Message
  3. October is National Principals Month!
  4. SAM Annual Business Meeting
  5. SAM LPLP 2021-22
  6. MCEL Goes Virtual!
  7. Connect with SAM Members at Region Meetings
  8. Montana Recruitment Project
  9. CoSN - Cybersecurity
  10. SAM Business Partners

Upcoming Conferences,   Meetings, & Events

October 20-22:  MCEL

October 21, 5:00-7:00 PM:  SAM Virtual Board Meeting 

October 22, 8:00-9:00 AM:  SAM Virtual Membership Meeting

January 23-25:  Montana Principals Conference

** View the full SAM Calendar**   

Thank you to this month's featured Business Partners! 

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SAM Leadership

Cal Ketchum
Shelley Andres
President Elect
Dale Olinger
Past President
Shawn Hendrickson
KJ Poepping
President Elect
Sheri Heavrin
Vice President
Justin Helvik
Past President
Nicole Trahan
Ted Miller
President Elect
Julie Hornby
Vice President
Shelley Andres
Past President
Marlin Lewis
Barb Droessler
SAM Representatives
Dr. Greg Dern
Dave Wick
President Elect
Casey Klasna
Past President
Rick Duncan
Federal Relations Coordinator
Sara Novak
Erin Lipkind
Everett Holm
SAM Office
Kirk Miller
Executive Director
Marcus Meyer
Director of Operations, Membership & Finances
Kim Scofield
Director of Member Services & Professional Learning




When You're Thrown a Curve Ball...

  by Everett Holm, META President 

By the title, you may have thought I was going to talk about baseball and the upcoming World Series and you would be wrong. Being the technology director in my district, you might be wondering how this article relates to technology, which it does not directly. You may even wonder what this article has to do about schools; once again, it doesn’t directly pertain to schools. Rather, I’d like to offer some perspective of recent events in my life and maybe encourage others to take inventory of what’s important or should be important in your life.

You see, I was recently diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer, the good kind if there is such a kind that less than 1% of people get. After the initial diagnosis, I can tell you there was some sense of relief and calm knowing that it’s treatable, not the kind like our dear friend Alex Trebek had and I’d be gone in a year. How can it be the good kind, well if you're going to get cancer this is the one to get as they will be able to do surgery, cut out about half of my pancreas where the cancer is located, and be declared cancer free after some chemo treatments. So while your thoughts and prayers are greatly (and believe me, I’m truly grateful for the prayers), please do not take pity on me.

So now that you know about my health issue, let me tie this in with both technology and schools. First, I can tell you that modern medicine is nothing short of miraculous and the technology utilized in caring for people is amazing. From IV machines that talk wirelessly to update your patient records to being able to perform surgery with robotic arms so that we can recover quickly. But you probably already knew about the modern marvels of technology in medicine either through personal experience or witnessing others benefitting from the technology. In this past few months there may be no better example of technology in medicine through the speed of which the vaccines have been developed to protect us from the COVID-19 virus. So once again, this article is not really about technology because you already know its many benefits in our life.

So this must be about schools, indirectly it is. You see, before this health scare came upon me fairly suddenly, I would definitely consider myself a workaholic, that fall on the sword type of person for the benefit of all to the extent I put everyone and everything ahead of myself. But having time to reflect, including that wonderful 23 day stay in the hospital, my perspective of what’s important has changed. Quite simply, I’ve changed. I now know what is important and it’s “ME” and needing to put myself and my health first. No, it’s not selfish to put yourself first.

I now encourage you to do the same. Put “YOU” first. Don’t do like I did and ignore others when they have concerns, don’t put off seeing the doctor, do exercise, do eat healthier. Even baby steps like cutting out a soda a week, eating more vegetables, and scheduling that appointment with your doctor you’ve been putting off. Especially you “men” who are famous for seeing your doctor once every 20 years. Remain optimistic throughout your journey. I’ve been asked how can I be so optimistic through all of this. My answer, what choice do I have. I look forward to the positive outcome in my future (see no doubts, I will be cancer free when this is all said and done), not the ups and downs of the journey while making sure to celebrate the ups of the journey as they come.

So my friends, take care of yourself. Ultimately, it will make you a better person, a better administrator, a better technologist, a better friend and all the positive outcomes when we each take the time to take care of ourselves.

Everett Holm
META President


SAM Strategy - Promote the Value Your School Brings to the Community!

by Kirk Miller, SAM Executive Director

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The politicized atmosphere experienced across the nation continues to have a presence in Montana during the past month when our schools were opening for 2021-22.  The impact of COVID on all of our lives has left us exhausted, frustrated, and seeking ways to move toward a more progressive normal.  The propaganda and political atmosphere around this frustration have, in several communities, been pointed at your local school; causing our school district leaders to be under a constant barrage of negativity.  This is unfortunate.  In my many conversations with school and district leaders across the state, the common theme has been … we must do something to change this negativity cast at the school in the community or risk sacrificing the ability to keep a quality team of educators and support staff employed to keep the school open to meeting the educational, social, emotional, and brain health needs of the children in our communities.

The collective concerns led SAM, your professional association, leadership to develop a strategy to change the dialogue of the community to one of supporting the safe opening of your community school, keeping the school open, and promoting the value your school brings to the community.  The action steps of the strategy began on September 10 with a request to publish in all media and social media sources, an Open Letter to Montanans -- Consider the value of your public school in your communityThe rest of the month, there have been actions on the strategy to promote the value your school brings to the community.  Those actions are HERE for your review.

The 4 components of the strategy, for you to contemplate, are:

  • Your community school is the safe, healthy center for our children to engage their academic, social, emotional and brain health education.
  • Your community school is a major driver of the economic viability of your community.  In most communities across the state your public school is the largest employer (or in the top 3 of even our largest communities).  The employment of your neighbors who serve as educators, support staff, bus drivers, school food service, paraprofessionals, custodians are all working together to meet the educational needs of the children in your community.  The collective economic impact of the school and all of those who work in the school is significant for the economic health of every community across the state.
  • Your community school is the heart of community – the place where our towns gather, socialize and work together to create a wonderful Montana life for our children and ourselves.
  • Your community school and pride for the community largely revolves around how all of us Montanans rise up to support our children and their growth and development through supporting their successes in academics, the arts, activities and athletics in every community across the state.

The GREAT 2021 publication (MT-PEC collaboration) will be ready and released in October to help our school districts with the statewide K-12 Vision Group statements based on the Zogby poll currently taking place.  The four components of the strategy will be addressed in GREAT 2021, hoping to give all schools access to statewide information about the Great work happening in our public schools that can then be used by each district to help you tell the local story of the value of your school to the community.

Thank you SAM leadership for your great work to "do something" to work together with positive intent to help our friends and neighbors understand the value your school brings to the community.

Wishing you an outstanding October serving your children, school and community!

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October is National Principals Month - Let's Celebrate!

Each October, the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), NAESP, and NASSP join forces to celebrate our nation’s principals. This year, the National Principals Month focus is on celebration and advocacy. National Principals Month is an ideal time for school and district leaders to tell the local story of the value of your school to the community!  Below are a few resources to help you get started, but be sure to check out the tools and resources on the National Principals Month webpage.

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All SAM Members are Invited to Attend the SAM Annual Business Meeting!

The SAM Annual Business Meeting will be held on Friday, October 22nd, 2021 from 8:00 - 9:00 AM.  All SAM members are encouraged to attend this virtual event!  Watch for an agenda and connection information coming soon!

SAM Professional Learning Opportunities

SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program 2021-22

It isn't too late to consider how you might set yourself up to have the very best school year ever!  New and experienced administrators are registered for the 2021-22 SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program!   Tailored to meet the needs of new, experienced, and aspiring administrators, SAM LPLP may be the just-in-time professional learning that will meet the needs of you and your administrative team.  Call the SAM office with any questions you may have about SAM LPLP.  More than 50 Montana administrators are participating in this opportunity.  Please get signed up, we are here to assist you!

Click HERE for more information or HERE to Register!  

You Can Still Register for Virtual MCEL 2021!

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Registration is open! Find out more and register HERE.  The virtual delivery provides participants to attend virtually and/or watch the video recording of each session.  Registered participants can earn up to 30 hours of continuing education credits if they watch all sessions.

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Did You Know... you can connect with other SAM members through affiliate region meetings?

Five of the six SAM affiliates are divided into regions and many regions hold meetings throughout the year. Region President/Director contact information, meeting times, and meeting agendas can be found for each affiliate on their region webpage. Click on the following links for information about your affiliate region (login is required):

MSRP.png - 43.64 KbMontana Schools Recruitment Project...Helping with Your Special Education Staffing Needs

Do you currently have an unfilled special education position or are you anticipating an opening for 2022-2023 school year?  The Montana Schools Recruitment Project can help!  We recruit certified Special Education Teachers, SLPs, School Psychologists, OTs, PTs, Sign Language Interpreters and any other personnel necessary to accommodate children with special needs in Montana Public Schools.

We have numerous recruitment events coming up in the next few weeks and we would like to promote your current or anticipated opening!  

New this year, we are utilizing an interactive map that hosts all the current openings across our state.  This has already been highly beneficial to share with potential candidates while communicating through zoom, attending virtual career fairs and posting to social media. 

School districts and cooperatives can enroll with the MSRP on a yearly basis for a fee based on student enrollment.  For more information about the Montana Schools Recruitment Project and to join, please visit our website:  https://saom.memberclicks.net/mcase-recruitment-project or contact Kaitlin Sonderer, project director, at [email protected]

The Montana Schools Recruitment Project is supported by SAM, MCASE and OPI.


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The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and its 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.  

The month of October is designated as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In keeping with the focus on cybersecurity, CoSN is pleased to offer multiple pathways for school leaders to learn how to identify, manage and prevent cybersecurity attacks within school and school district settings.

The EmpowerED Superintendent edWebinar Series:
Cybersecurity: School Leadership Strategies for Preventing and Responding to Cyberattacks
The second episode of Season 4 of the EmpowerED Superintendent Webinar series airs on Monday, October 11, 2021, in conjunction with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The title of the October 11, 2021, webinar which airs at 3:00 pm MT is Cybersecurity: School Leadership Strategies for Preventing and Responding to Cyberattacks. In this EmpowerED Superintendent edWebinar, Superintendents Matt Miller, Lakota Local Schools, OH, Dr. Michelle Reid, Northshore School District, WA and Dr. Hank Thiele, Community High School District 99, IL, share their knowledge and experiences in leading cybersecurity awareness in their school systems. They will examine the liability concerns that arise when schools experience network security incidents and the impact those events can have on a district’s professional reputation as well as the effects cyber-attacks have on teaching and learning and district operations. Strategies for preventing cyberattacks and recommendations for responding effectively when they do occur will be reviewed. Additional cybersecurity resources will be provided.

There is no cost for webinar participants to register. Participants are invited to share their thoughts in the chat and through poll surveys and question and answer submissions during the live webinar broadcasts. They can also earn continuing education credits through the edWeb community. Free registration for the October 11, 2021 webinar is now available at https://home.edweb.net/webinar/supers20211011/.

If you miss the edWebinar broadcast on October 11, 2021, you can access the recording of the webinar a few days after the live broadcast. The complete list of free recordings of all previously broadcast EmpowerED Superintendent webinars is available at https://home.edweb.net/supers/.  In addition to the free access to live and recorded webinars, the EmpowerED Superintendent recorded webinars are also accessible via podcast. Learn more at https://home.edweb.net/podcasts/.

CoSN Resources:

Critical Focus Areas: Issue One-Pager on Cybersecurity
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 The Importance of Cybersecurity defines the top five reasons why school system leaders must make cybersecurity a priority. It is available to view and download at: https://tinyurl.com/cybersecurity-CoSN.

Additional CoSN Resources on Cybersecurity
School leaders and policymakers need to protect their networks and information security, analyze their current status, and validate what they are doing well. CoSN provides tools and resources that provide insight into how risk can be further reduced which can be found at https://cosn.org/cybersecurity

CoSN Membership
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]

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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 [email protected]  campus.com     
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Annuities, life insurance     
430 Ryman St., #102
Missoula, MT 59892 
[email protected]

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Mileposts™ cloud-based
achievement & data management
408 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Ste.300
Boise, ID 83706 [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
[email protected].com
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Next generation education ecosystem
38 Grenville Street, Suite 4403
Toronto, ON M4Y1A5
[email protected]
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The Great Conversation Series
Jamie Vollmer
[email protected]

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Reach Higher Montana
Jason Butcher
Outreach Director
406-422-1275 Ext. 801
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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
Chet Riddle
[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]

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Partners is Clean, Safe & Healthy 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]



Montana Meadow Sponsors

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Substitute Staffing Service
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]  

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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]


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K12 Montana, Inc.
Creator of K12 Panel - Making

IT work for you!
Jeff Patterson
[email protected]

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A turn-key library of interactive lessons that enrich K-12 instruction

[email protected]


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Collaborating with you to innovate
1627 W. Main Street Suite #325

Bozeman, MT 59715
[email protected]   



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


2021-22 SAM Bulletins