Volume XLV                            November 2023

No. 333

In This Issue...

  1. MCASE President Message 
  2. SAM Executive Director Message
  3. Upcoming Events:  November SAM Webinar and Montana Principals Conference
  4. Annual Poll Results
  5. MASSP/MAEMSP Awards
  6. SAM Youth Endowment
  7. CoSN EmpowerED Superintendent Series

Upcoming Conferences,   
Meetings, & Events 

Montana Principals, January 21-23 Conference
Copper King, Butte

** View the full SAM Calendar**    

Thank you to this month's featured Business Partners!  

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SAM Leadership 

Sara Novak
Carol Phillips
President Elect
 Shelley Andres
Past President  

 Sheri Heavrin
 Rhiannon Beery
 President Elect
 Jason Slater
 Vice President
 KJ Poepping
 Past President 
 Julie Hornby 
 Mark Goyette
 President Elect 
Kelly Kinsey
Vice President
Ted Miller
Past President
Barb Droessler
Ben Lambert
SAM Representatives
Dale Olinger
Joel Graves
President Elect
Hannah Nieskens
Federal Relations Coordinator
Taylor Salmi
Pam Birkeland
Carol Phillips
SAM Office
Dr. Rob Watson
Executive Director
 Kim Scofield
Director of Professional Learning & Member Services
 Marcus Meyer
Director of Operations, Membership & Finances



Reflecting on the End of the First Quarter
by Taylor Salmi, MCASE President 

As the first quarter of the school year draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the journey we have completed thus far.  As administrators, we are acutely aware of the unique challenges and triumphs that come with each new academic year.  The first quarter serves as a significant milestone, offering a glimpse into the collective effort, resilience and unwavering commitment it takes to create an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all students.

The beginning of the school year is marked by anticipation and excitement, both among students and educators. It's a time of new faces, fresh curriculum, and the opportunity to make a lasting impact. I also need to take a moment to acknowledge the challenges we encounter in the first quarter. Budget constraints, staffing issues, and unexpected hurdles are a reality of our field. However, it's in overcoming these challenges that our dedication and resilience truly shine. We adapt, we problem-solve, and we ensure that every student's needs are met to the best of our abilities.

As we conclude the first quarter and move forward into the rest of the school year, there is a sense of anticipation for the possibilities that lie ahead. The journey of administrators and all educators is a constant process of learning, adapting, and advocating. We remain steadfast in our commitment to creating inclusive and equitable educational experiences for all students.

The challenges we face may be significant, but the rewards are immeasurable. The first quarter serves as a testament to the dedication and passion of all those involved in education. Together, we will continue to navigate the complexities of our field, ensuring that every student's potential is unlocked and celebrated.

Taylor Salmi
MCASE President

 AI in the Classroom - Policies and Procedures for K12 Administrators

by Dr. Rob Watson, SAM Executive Director

It’s evident that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a futuristic concept but a present reality, influencing various aspects of our daily lives. In the realm of education, AI has the potential to revolutionize the learning experience and provide personalized and adaptive resources for students. However, integrating AI into the classroom requires thoughtful policies and procedures to ensure its effective and ethical use.

Just like many of you, I have been reading several guidance documents related to AI in an attempt to locate something that has a common sense approach. One such document has been created by the Michigan Virtual School, Planning Guide for AI: A Framework for School Districts. It has been endorsed by the educational partner organizations in Michigan. Below are a few of the key findings from this guide that I believe will be important for administrators.

1. Establish Clear Guidelines: Policies that address plagiarism, authorship, and properties of original work should outline the ethical principles that govern AI integration and guide decision-making processes. Students should know when it is appropriate to use AI and when it is not appropriate.

2. Data Privacy and Security: Develop robust policies regarding data privacy and security. Specify the type of data collected, how it will be used, and who will have access to it.

3. Professional Development:  Provide ongoing professional development opportunities for teachers to familiarize themselves with AI technologies. AI can free up valuable time for teachers to focus on higher-order instructional activities that require human expertise, such as providing personalized feedback.

4. Assessment: AI has the potential to support and improve the assessment process, enabling educators to holistically evaluate students’ knowledge, skills, and competencies. Encouraging teachers to explore this AI potential could have huge benefits.

5. Student Use: Providing access to AI is important for many students, while at the same time helping them to understand the appropriate use of AI. Equipping students with knowledge about AI capabilities and limitations allows them to make informed decisions and navigate the AI landscape responsibly.

6. Ethical Considerations: Encourage discussions around the ethical implications of AI in the classroom. Foster a culture that values responsible and ethical use of technology. Equip students with the critical thinking skills necessary to navigate an AI-driven world.

7. Parental Engagement: Engage parents in the conversation about AI in education. Provide informational sessions, workshops, or newsletters to keep them informed about the benefits and safeguards in place.

By proactively addressing these policy and procedural considerations, K12 schools can harness the full potential of AI as a valuable resource in the classroom. Wishing everyone a successful and innovative academic year.


SAM Webinar Series
Thursday, November 9 
Developing Early Literacy Programs with HB 352

SAM Monthly Webinar Invitation November 9.png - 229.88 KbAt the upcoming SAM webinar on November 9 at 10:00, we will review developing early literacy programs in light of the passing of HB 352 which focuses on targeted intervention for reading proficiency.  We will hear from members of the Early Literacy Advisory Council about the work that has been done and the recommendations that will go to the Board of Public Education at their November meeting. There will be time to ask questions about what can and cannot be done to support students through these programs.  Be sure to join us for the conversation. 

SAM Webinars are scheduled for the 2nd Thursday of each month at 10:00 AM. 

Join SAM Zoom

Montana Principals Conference 2024 Keynote Speaker Announced & Registration Open

Registration is open for the 2024 Montana Principals Conference scheduled for January 21-23 at the Copper King Hotel & Convention Center in Butte.

Organized by MAEMSP and MASSP leadership, this conference promises to be an outstanding professional learning experience featuring several keynote speakers and a variety of breakout sessions. The event will focus on timely topics including leadership, climate and culture, behavior, mental health, and assessment. 

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Keynote Speaker: 

Dr. Salome Thomas-EL, aka Principal EL, is an award-winning principal and teacher, an internationally recognized speaker, and author/co-author of five best-selling books. Principal EL believes that resilient leaders make courageous decisions, take risks, and challenge the status quo. They are able to bounce back from adversity to become innovative and transformational to ensure all teachers and students achieve their dreams, no matter the odds. Transformational leaders shift mindsets and inspire others to effect change. In his thought-provoking presentations to over 100,000+ attendees, Principal EL shares how we can change school cultures and foster a positive school climate so teachers and leaders can focus on the protective processes that build resilience in all of our students.

It's a perfect opportunity for principals from across the state to come together, collaborate, and reenergize as they prepare for the second half of the school year.

Watch for more information and draft agenda coming soon.

Room Block Information:  Follow the link to make a reservation at the Copper King Hotel & Convention Center at a rate of $149.00 plus tax.  The link expires on December 20, 2023. 
Click here to register for the
Montana Principals Conference 2024

Annual Public Opinion Poll Results Published

The annual public opinion poll results from the Coalition of Advocates for Montana's Public Schools have been published. 

Highlights include:

  1. People express the strongest support for local schools in their community, followed by support for other local schools in Montana communities. The perspective on the state of public schools across the nation is much less positive.
  2. Voters overhwelmingly prefer that their public schools offer a well-rounded education to all children, including early childhood education, gifted and talented, music, art, physical education, technology, career and technical and advanced placement courses. 83.3% prefer the availability of a well-rounded education, compared to only 11.5% that prefer core curriculum only.
  3. The largest percentage of voters (48%) believe that local school boards should have the most authority over how public schools are operated. Those who believe others should have the most say identify the board of public education (27%), the Governor (6.1%), the state superintendent (4.9%), the federal government (3.5%) and the Legislature (2.6%).  Those who are "not sure" came in third place at 8%.
  4. Voters trust educators (i.e., trustees, teachers, administrators) the most to provide what is best academically for students in Montana's public schools. Compared to the 60+% identifying educators, 13.8% identified the board of public education, 9.3% were unsure, 6% identified the United States Department of Education, 5.6% identified the state superintendent, 2.7% identified the Governor, 1.4% identified Congress and 0.8% identified the Legislature. 
  5. Voters overwhelmingly (79.2%) prefer that their elected trustees act in a nonpartisan manner, with only 9% expressing a preference for school board trustees making decisions based on partisan political party affiliation. 
  6. In a sobering result, a narrow 51% majority of likely voters now support using public funds for private K-12 schools, compared to 40% who oppose such funding. 9.5% remain unsure on this controversial issue.
  7. Voters also express general support for school levy elections (52.3%), while 32.2% say it depends on the issue.  Levels of support tend to rise for levies related to safety and technology infrastructure while support for specific projects tends to lag substantially behind other types of levy elections.
  8. Voters have high expectations of their public schools expressing their believe in the importance of schools that are:
    1. Equitable (76.5%)
    2. Socially and emotionally supportive (86.1%)
    3. Safe (94.3%)
    4. Collaborative with families (92.6%)
    5. Supportive of school employees (90.5%)
    6. Academically excellent (91.9%)
  9. Voters prefer state elected leaders who support improvement and innovation in public education 66.9% compared to the 22.7% that prefer a state elected leader that supports public funded private alternatives to public education. Correspondingly, voters prefer an elected state leader who supports increasing funding for publics schools 67.4% compared to the 15.1% who prefer a leader who supports decreasing or freezing funding for public schools.

Overall, these results suggest a continued strong level of support for the work of Montana's public schools as well as a strong preference for local control and governance exercised as close to where the impact can be felt as possible.  

We hope these results assist you in advocating for the public schools in your community and in ensuring greater public awareness of the perspectives of likely voters.

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MASSP and MAEMSP Awards are Open for Nomination

MASSP and MAEMSP are accepting nominations until Friday, December 15, for the awards below.  Follow the links for more information about each award and to submit a nomination form. 

MASSP Awards


SAM Youth Endowment Open for Nominations

Nominations are open until Friday, March 1, 2024 for the 2023-24 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. 

Additional information, nomination guidelines, and access to the 2023-24 SAM Youth Endowment Nomination Form can be found HERE.

Please note:  Nominations must be made by a current SAM member.

Imagine Learning is excited to introduce Traverse: Montana, a groundbreaking Social Studies curriculum and platform that is set to revolutionize the way Montana students engage with social studies education. Traverse is designed to transform the traditional learning experience into an immersive and dynamic journey through history, culture, and global understanding. 

Traverse offers an innovative approach, leveraging captivating multimedia resources and interactive content that resonate with today’s generation. Through exploration of primary and secondary sources, interactive content, and engaging storytelling, students will gain a deep appreciation for the diverse tapestry of human civilization.

For educators, Traverse offers a meticulously curated library of content, lesson plans, and materials that are customizable, designed to align with state standards and spark meaningful classroom discussions. Our goal is to empower educators and students alike, fostering critical thinking and a profound understanding of the world around us.

The following link contains a platform preview and curriculum information. For a free trial, preview, or live demo of our new platform you can reach me by email or phone at my contact info below.

Chet Riddle
Account Executive
[email protected]

cosn logo.jpg - 42.49 KbThe 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.

EmpowerED Superintendent edLeader Panel Broadcast Series
The series is co-hosted by AASAand CoSNin partnership with edWeb.net and is sponsored by ClassLink.
Upcoming November 13, 2023, edLeader Panel Broadcast
The next live broadcast of the CoSN / AASA EmpowerED Superintendent edLeader Panel Series, Leveraging Technology Tools to Provide Equitable Learning for ALL, airs on Monday, November 13, 2023, at 5:00 pm Eastern Time. Join the broadcast to hear from Dr. Susan Enfield, Superintendent, Washoe County School District, NV, Glenn Robbins, Superintendent, Brigantine Public School District, NJ, and Dr. Jim Roberts, Superintendent, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation, IN, as they join in an interactive discussion around the strategies they lead and implement to “think outside the box” when it comes to ensuring districtwide equity to devices and high-speed internet both inside and outside of school. The three superintendents will share their experiences in creating a common vision to engage the broader community as partners in solving digital equity challenges. An overview of the CoSN Digital Equity Dashboard will be presented during the broadcast. Ann McMullan, CoSN Project Director for the CoSN / AASA EmpowerED Superintendents Initiative, serves as the creator/moderator of the edLeader Panel broadcast series.  
Free registration for the upcoming November 13, 2023 live broadcast is available at: https://home.edweb.net/webinar/supers20231113/

October 9, 2023 edLeader Panel Broadcast Recording on the topic of Artificial Intelligence

If you missed the recent CoSN / AASA EmpowerED Superintendent edLeader Panel broadcast, Artificial Intelligence and Generative AI: Empowering a Deeper Conversation, which aired on Monday, October 9, 2023, you are welcome to access the link to the recording at: https://home.edweb.net/webinar/supers20231009/
In this recent broadcast Dr. Matthew Friedman, Superintendent, Quakertown Community School District, PA, Dr. Kelly May-Vollmar, Superintendent, Desert Sands Unified School District, CA, Dr. David Miyashiro, Superintendent, Cajon Valley Union School District, CA and Pete Just, Executive Director Indiana CTO Council and CoSN AI Subject Matter expert, shared the leadership strategies needed today when integrating AI and Generative AI tools in today’s teaching and learning environments.

CoSN Resources:
Defining Digital Equity:
Digital Equity Toolkit:
CoSN One-Pager on Digital Equity:
CoSN Digital Equity Dashboard:

CoSN One-Pager on Artificial Intelligence and Generative AI:

Artificial Intelligence in K-12 Primer

CoSN 2024 Annual Conference, Leading for Innovation: At Warp Speed”
Registration is now open for the CoSN 2024 Annual Conference, scheduled for April 8-10, 2024, in Miami, Florida. For conference and hotel information and registration links, see https://www.cosn.org/cosn2024/

CoSN Membership:If you, your school or district would like more information about joining CoSN or getting more involved with CoSN, please contact [email protected].

Thank you to SAM's Business Partners!  

Please take time to visit their websites.

Montana Big Sky Sponsors

Health Insurance
PO Box 4579
Helena, MT 59601

[email protected]
Total Education Solutions in Technology
(T.E.S.T)  PO Box 2900Missoula, 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

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Infinite Campus is the largest American
owned student information system  [email protected] 


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

[email protected]

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Providing expertise in all phases of construction
[email protected]

montanaschoolsplip.png - 19.74 KbSchool property & liability insurance      
1200 North Montana Ave.Helena. MT. 59601
[email protected] 
Imagine_Learning_logo_full_mark_C@2x.png - 15.84 KbK–12 online curriculum and blended
learning solutions
ClassLink.png - 6.14 KbA leading provider of cloud-based education
45 E Madison Ave, 
Ste 7 Clifton, NJ 07011
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Helping Families and Schools Create
Two- and Four-Year College Graduates
With Minimal Debt 
211 N. 14th Street,
Suite 315
Lincoln, NE 68508
 Avel_eCare_logo.png - 3.39 KbHealthcare Reimagined
4500 N. Lewis Dr.
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
[email protected]

Montana Mountain Sponsors

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solutions
34 West 6th Avenue, Suite 2B
Helena, MT 59601
[email protected]
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Partners in Clean, Safe & Healthy Buildings
2525 Overland Avenue
Billings, MT 59102
[email protected]
Cognia_logo.png - 2.29 KbTargeted Professional Development
Daniel Sybrant
557 Cow Creek Lane
Corvallis, MT Daniel.Sybrant@
888-413-3669, ext. 5776
School portraits, yearbooks & sports portraits
2110 Overland Ave., #115A
Billings, MT 59102
Corebridge Logo.png - 20.25 Kb Corebridge Financial (formerly Valic)
Annuities, life insurance
430 Ryman St., #102
Missoula, MT 59892
RHM.png - 112.32 KbReach Higher Montana
Jason Butcher
Outreach Director
406-422-1275 Ext. 801
[email protected] 
msgia.png - 1.98 KbSchool Workers’ Compensation & Liability Coverage
PO Box 7029 - Helena, MT 59601
[email protected]
Phone: 406-457-4418
edisonlearning_logo.png - 2.74 KbOnline Learning for students grades 6-12
One East Broward Blvd. Suite 1599
Ft. Lauderdale FL 33301
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Safe, Easily Managed School
106 East Sixth Street, Suite 500
Austin TX 48701
[email protected]  
Spectrum.png - 6.05 KbNational provider of scalable, fiber technology solutions Spectrum Enterprises Local Contacts 
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Powering Your School’s Identity
2201 Brookwood Dr. Suite 115
Little Rock, AR 72202
[email protected]
CommunicationResources.png - 15.80 KbProviding tech solutions to Montana since 2004
Karl Moritzkarl@


Montana Meadow Sponsors

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Collaborating with you to innovate
1627 W. Main Street Suite #325
Bozeman, MT 59715
[email protected]  
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K12 Montana, Inc.
Creator of K12 Panel -
Making IT work for you!
Jeff Patterson
[email protected] 
GotZoom.png - 9.87 KbSystems and applications to reduce
the financial burden of federal student loans
[email protected]

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Technology planning, project  &
solution  services
2135 Charlotte Street
Bozeman MT 59718
[email protected] 
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Therapy Your Way
811 E. Washington Ave,
Suite 500
Madison, WI 53703
[email protected]
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Managed IT Services, Advanced Cybersecurity
Services, Product Procurement
500 N Higgins Ave #201
Missoula, MT 59802
[email protected] 


2023-24 SAM Bulletins