Volume XLII                            April 2021

No. 306

In This Issue...

  1. MASSP President Message 
  2. SAM Executive Director Message
  3. 2021 Legislative Update 
  4. 2021-22 Membership Drive Launches April 6
  5. MCASE/MCEC Spring Conference
  6. Save the Date:  SAMAI 2021/SAM's 50th Anniversary
  7. CoSN - Strategic Technology Planning and Investment
  8. New SAM Business Partners

Upcoming Conferences,   Meetings, & Events

April 15, 2021:  MCASE/MCEC Conference

June 10, 2021:  Evening of Excellence

June 10-11, 2021:  SAM Delegate Assembly

July 26-28 2021:  SAM Administrators Institute

** View the full SAM Calendar**   

Thank you to this month's featured Business Partners! 

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




Find the Good in Every Day

  by Justin Helvik, MASSP President 

Spring break of 2020 was unlike any spring break I had ever experienced. Not because I was relaxing on some pristine beach or on some great adventure but because a pandemic made its way to Montana. Students left for their break and never returned in person for what seemed like an eternity. In a short time, our lives and jobs changed drastically as we knew it.  Our world was flipped upside down and educators were asked to redefine education in a blink of an eye. 

A school administrator's job is an ever changing one. We have to be adaptable and professional problem solvers. The intricacies of education are more complex now. School leaders are at the forefront of shaping their school’s culture and ensuring academic progress for our students. Family dynamics, academic accountability, a community’s ever changing social economic status, and mental health/wellness are now more pressing pieces a school leader must take into account when leading a learning community. From teachers to administrators, to paraprofessionals we all have to try to balance continuity and change. It is often human nature to get hung up on the obstacles we face and dwell on the negative. 

One of the most important lessons I have learned was not taught to me by a teacher, parent, or colleague. Rather, it was one of my former students, Sydney, who taught me perhaps the greatest lesson of all. Sydney was a student at the middle school where I landed my first job as a principal several years ago. Syd, as she was referred to, told everyone in our school that you have to “find the good in every day”. She walked the halls of my former school with a smile and had a positive attitude that was truly contagious. When I was feeling sorry for myself and thought I was having a bad day I would look at Syd and she’d always greet me with a smile and ask how I was doing. I always walked away after talking to Syd with a brighter outlook and a smile on my face. To be honest, I almost felt guilty for having such a poor outlook at times. You see, Syd was not just any student with a positive attitude. Syd had been diagnosed with a life threatening brain tumor.  The cancer had taken so much away from her. She wasn’t able to do many of the things she used to cherish. She couldn’t play sports anymore due to the disease impacting her coordination and balance. She had to spend months at a time in treatment in a faraway place from home. When faced with tragedy and adversity many people become lethargic, angry, or depressed but not Syd. She walked the halls with a smile and chose to find the good in every day.

Tragically, Syd is no longer physically with us. However, her legacy lives on. Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Syd was impacted by her grit and positive outlook on life. She chose to be happy despite facing the most grave circumstances. I have a framed picture of Syd’s touching words hanging in my office. “Find the good in every day.” I carry this message with me every day and try to view life as Syd did. Yes, life is tough at times and we are constantly facing challenges that may seem insurmountable. However, with grit and the right attitude, we can choose to find the good in every day as Syd did.

Justin Helvik
MASSP President


SAM - Creating Opportunities!

by Kirk Miller, SAM Executive Director

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April has arrived and I can feel the rush you are all experiencing in our schools to complete the spring of 2020-21 educational programming for our students in the midst of the ever changing Coronavirus pandemic effect, and the planning for 2021-22!  This spring acceleration of activity and planning is normal, and because of COVID-19, has added some significant issues to contemplate in the service to your students, school and community. Thank you for the great work you do in balancing this very important completion and planning process with such perseverance.  At SAM, buried in advocacy (so important immediately because of the legislative session), this Bulletin Article has given me the opportunity to think about more than just advocacy and reflect on SAM’s core purpose to create opportunities that support you in your professional life, leading the education of our children.

Our SAM goals of ‘leadership involved in decisions that impact education’ and ‘professional learning and services’ are so very important, as is the ‘advocacy’ goal.  Elsewhere in this Bulletin I have provided an update on our ‘advocacy’ goal.  Following are some highlights of the first two listed goals. 

‘Leadership involved in decisions that impact education’ has many of our SAM members participating in the decision making that drives policy and opportunities in our schools.  SAM members are deeply involved in all of the planning efforts around mitigation of the impact of Coronavirus on the education of Montana’s children.  From ongoing efforts to determine the needs of our schools to be aligned with significant federal funding, to embracing learning recovery through acceleration and addressing social emotional needs, SAM members are at the table providing the necessary expertise to help guide decision-making.  SAM members are on the Variance to Standards Review Board, looking at requests for variance to standards from the perspective of practicing school administrators in order to help make the best decisions.  SAM has members that are key participants in Negotiated Rule Making processes that yield policy decisions. SAM members will be participating in the review of Chapter 57 and Chapter 58 administrative rules keeping the best interest of our children front and center in those discussions.  SAM participates on the Montana School Safety Advisory Council that has grown out of the work of the Montana School Emergency Management Planning Advisory Council, to help Montana develop the best safe school practices and make them readily available to all schools.  These are just a few instances of the contribution of administrators to the education profession and to our system of quality public schools in Montana.

I would also touch briefly on the work of the SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program (LPLP) members and their impact in several areas on the ‘professional learning’ SAM goal.  The SAM LPLP Transformational Learning (TL) CLN, over the past five years has been collecting and sharing successes and challenges in their work to implement personalized learning/proficiency based learning/student centered learning in their classrooms, school and even entire district.  The work of the TL CLN led to legislation to incentivize transformational learning (HB 351, 2019 legislature), and continues to be a leading think tank on successful practices in transformational learning.  The SAM LPLP Social Emotional Learning (SEL) CLN continues to work together on developing best practices for our schools around social emotional learning, ever magnified by the COVID pandemic.  I bring to your attention the continuing work of the Aspiring Superintendents (AS) CLN, the New Superintendent (NS) CLN, the New Principals (NP) CLN, the Special Education (SPED) CLN and Comprehensive Schools (CS) CLN, all of which are using collaborative practices and coach/mentors to make great progress on their work to improve student learning and meet the social emotional needs of the whole child.  We are also seeing great success with the SAM LPLP Huddle -- a monthly one-hour virtual discussion between SAM LPLP Members, Providers and SAM leadership, featuring monthly calendar items and resource update, thought-leader sessions around contemporary topics, and discussion/Q & A.  This collective effort of the LPLP is making difference for our state as we continue to work on best practices for educating our students.  My thanks to all 70 SAM Members and our 10 SAM LPLP Providers who are actively contributing to our education system through your work with the SAM LPLP!

The discussion of the SAM LPLP crosses from insuring that ‘leadership is involved in decisions that impact education in Montana’, to the ‘professional learning and member services’ SAM goals.  Certainly, the SAM LPLP is a professional learning delivery system that is personalized to meet the needs of our SAM members who participate.  Our collective effort to develop this professional learning delivery system over the past 7 years is showing results about the impact of this collaboration on administrator satisfaction and longevity – ultimately the keys to improving student learning.  You may want to consider joining this great opportunity and sign up for the SAM LPLP 2021-22! Details coming soon.

In this Bulletin, you will see other SAM professional learning and member services targeted to help you become the outstanding, complete administrator that you aspire to be in serving your students.  Check out the membership drive information and the SAM Administrators Institute 2021 opportunity!

Thank you SAM members for your great effort to be ‘leaders involved in the decision making that impacts the education of our children’ and for your focus on ‘professional learning and member services’ to assist you in being the best leader you can be.  At SAM, we are intent on creating opportunities for you!  Here’s to an outstanding April!!

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 Registration Open for MCASE-MCEC Virtual Conference

April 15, 2021

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Register HERE!

This series includes: 

April 15 - 8:30 - 12:30 
CELEBRATING RESILIENCE- with keynote by  Kristin Souers, followed by awards

April 21st  8:30-9:30 a.m. 

April 22nd 8:30-9:30 a.m. 

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SAM Administrators Institute

July 26-28, 2021

This is going to be a special SAM Administrators Institute that you will not want to miss!  It will mark the launch of SAM's 50th Anniversary.  We are planning for a blended delivery model, offering both in-person and virtual delivery.  Watch for more information coming soon.

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SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program 2021-22

 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. Watch for registration for SAM LPLP 2021-22 coming soon!

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SAM Welcomes 45 Architecture, LLC as a New Business Partner

45 Architecture is a diverse planning, architecture and interior design firm that offers comprehensive services to clients in both the public and private sector. 45 Architecture’s work includes many public/ community projects throughout Montana, including, Libraries, K-12 Education Facilities, Stadium/ Athletic Facilities and Higher Education Facilities.

45 Architecture's design process brings together their experience as professionals with functional goals, project scope, challenges, and opportunities which combines the intimacy of a small design practice with the extensive national knowledge of a major design firm.  They strive to serve their communities through the spaces they design and through their engaged design process. A process that adds value to those spaces which in turn strengthens their communities, schools, businesses, institutions, organizations and individuals.

2021 Legislative Session - SAM Update 

Week 14 of the 67th legislative session gets underway on April 6 (following Easter break) and we have completed 64 days of the session with 26 days remaining.  As I described at policy bill transmittal time (3/5/21), we had early victories this session with HB 15 passing and signed into law on February 25, outlining the inflationary increase to the funding formula, giving our schools the ability to begin the plans for their 2021-22 district budgets.  Progress continues on HB 630 (ESSER II) and HB 632 (ESSER III) to determine Montana’s appropriation of Coronavirus federal funds allocated to public schools to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

The best references to the details of the legislative session can be found on the SAM 2021 Legislative Session webpage.  SAMLN21 Legislative Update 14 SAM Status Report 4-2-21 and Podcast 14 have been prepared to give you a look at the progress of SAM Advocacy during this session.

The legislature as of 4/1/21 has produced 3367 bill drafts with 1273 introduced bills.  SAM advocacy is tracking 366 bill drafts (10.9%) with 187 (14.7%) of those bills introduced.  A review of SAM Followed Bills 4-1-21, SAM Followed Bills Status 4-1-21, and SAM Followed Bills Priority Status 4-1-21 will provide a deep dive into the status of 187 SAM tracked introduced bills.  The SAM Testimony Log 2021 Legislative Session 4-1-21 shows that SAM/MT-PEC has provided testimony 113 times on 63 different bills at this point in the session.

SAM Followed Bills Priority Status Report 4-1-21 describes the status of bills under the SAM advocacy priorities – Note the designation of SAM priorities: 1 SF School Funding (15 bills), 2 PP Privatization with Public Funds (5 bills), 3 RR Recruitment and Retention (4 bills), 4 MH Mental Health (11 bills), 5 IT Infrastructure & Technology (18 bills), 6 EP Education Policy (87 bills), 7 RT Revenue & Taxation (20 bills), 8 PL Pension Laws (8 bills), 9 SP State Policy (19 bills).  The Report provides a brief discussion on the bill status and statistics of SAM progress on our advocacy priorities as of 4/1/21 (Day 64).

SAM advocacy statistics on the 187 SAM Followed Bills …

  • Support 36 bills, Oppose 24 bills and Monitor 127 bills
  • 51 bills have Passed, 82 bills have Failed, 54 bills are still alive
  • Big Wins – 17 of 36 Support bills have Passed (47.2%) and 16 of 24 Oppose Bills have Failed (66.7%)
  • Challenges – 9 of 36 Support bills have Failed (25.0%) and 1 of 24 Oppose bills have Passed (4.2%)

A big thanks to all SAM members who are helping ensure that SAM’s Advocacy Priorities are addressed with fidelity and vigor in this legislative session!

SAM Membership
Drive 2021-22
Launches April 6th!

The School Administrators of Montana (SAM) Membership Drive will begin on Tuesday, April 6th for the 2021-22  membership year! We will once again be using the online renewal process that we have used the past several years. 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 the full benefits of your membership in place and without any chance of it lapsing. Contact the SAM Office with any questions you may have.

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Driving K-12 Innovation: Looking Back and Looking Forward

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 Empowered Superintendent edWebinar Series – Monday, April 12, 2021, 3:00 pm MT
“Looking Back and Looking Forward:  Leading Teaching and Learning in Today's World”

The upcoming episode of the monthly EmpowerED Superintendent Webinar series, co-hosted by CoSN, AASA and edWeb.net, and sponsored by ClassLink, airs on Monday, April 12, 2021 at 3:00 pm Mountain Time. The April webinar is titled Looking Back and Looking Forward: Leading Teaching and Learning in Today’s World. In this edWebinar, four education leaders: Dr. Carol Kelley, Superintendent, Oak Park Elementary District 97, IL, Dr. Chris Marczak, Chief of Instructional Leadership for the US Department of Defense Education Activity Pacific Center Japan, Dr. David Schuler, Superintendent Township HS District 214, IL, and Dr. Donna Wright, Director of Schools, Wilson County Schools, TN reflect on the lessons learned for dealing with a sudden crisis as they recall the steps they took in March and April of 2020 when the world was beginning to deal with the reality of a global pandemic.  They will also share strategies, policies and practices they are implementing in their school systems to assure that effective learning for all students continues today and in the future. Frankie Jackson, Independent CTO, who served on the CoSN Driving K-12 Innovation Advisory Board, will share the latest updates from CoSN’s 2021 Driving K-12 Innovation Report. Join in the conversation as together we look back and look forward.

Free registration for the April 12, 2021 webinar is now available HERE. Webinars in this series are also freely available as recordings HERE and via podcast HERE a day or two after the initial live broadcast. 

CoSN Resources - Driving K-12 Innovation

Through the Driving K-12 Innovation series, CoSN continues its commitment to sharing high-quality trend reports that support the use of emerging technology in K-12 education to transform learning. The annual report identifies three areas that move K-12 Innovation forward: Hurdles, Accelerators and Tech Enablers. Hurdles are obstacles that make participants slow down, evaluate, practice, and then make the leap to better support teaching and learning. Accelerators are megatrends that drive change – sometimes suddenly and sometimes so gradually that the implications are not readily apparent. Tech Enablers are tools that support smoother leaps over the hurdles and expansive changes in global K-12 education. You are invited to view the results of the most recent 2021 Driving K-12 Innovation Survey and explore the Hurdles, Accelerators and Tech Enablers topics that rose to the top in each category HERE.

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]

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SAM Welcomes Boardworks as a New Business Partner

A leader in supplemental K12 interactive curriculum, Boardworks provides 25K slides of ready-made presentations for Math, Science, ELA, and Social Studies. Simple to use content that empowers teachers, engages students, and improves learning. 

Boardwork's resources enhance any learning situation with any connected device. They keep teachers, teaching by giving them empowering tools to further instruction and engage students. Teachers are able to use provide synchronous or asynchronous instruction seamlessly and districts can integrate our content with any LMS.

SAM members will receive consortium-type discounts on our resources. Also, Boardwork's content is priced as a NON-subscription and more of a district-wide license at a ONETIME purchase. Professional development is included in these prices. This allows districts to bring consistency to their instruction along with support easing future budgets.


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 stephanie.sondrol@infinite  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

Gabbart_Communications.png - 7.60 KbConnecting 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]                        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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Building Management and System Integration
Rick Ruiz, Business Development
800 7th Ave. North
Great Falls, MT. 59911
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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
Michael Bullock
[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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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 


2020-21 SAM Bulletins

March 2021 Bulletin
February 2021 Bulletin
January 2021 Bulletin
December 2020 Bulletin
November 2020 Bulletin
October 2020 Bulletin
September 2020 Bulletin
July-August 2020 Bulletin