2021 MCEL Sessions

Pre-Conference Session
Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Understanding the 2021 Legislative Outcomes and Making Them Work for Montana's Students - MCEL Partners
Noon - 2:00 pm

School Law - MTSBA Legal Staff
2:30 - 4:30 pm
  • COVID-19 Response: The Latest Guidance on Laws, Best Practices, and Policies - In this 60-minute session, the MTSBA legal staff will discuss the latest information on how districts can be responding to the challenges presented by COVID-19 in order to provide a safe and healthy learning environment. Topics will include face coverings, vaccinations, personnel matters, instruction, and model policies. 
  • Firearms and Weapons on School Property and School Buildings - In this 30-minute session, the MTSBA legal staff will discuss how public school leaders can navigate the different laws at the state and federal level and how they distinctly apply to students, staff, and visitors. Topics will include recent state legislation, established state statutes, and possible future challenges. 
  • The Modern Classroom: Balancing Academic Freedom and Non-Discrimination - In this 30-minute session, the MTSBA legal staff will discuss the issues associated with how trustees approve curriculum and the methods by which classroom staff deliver curriculum in public schools. Topics will include transparency with the public and parents, honoring the free expression rights of students and staff, and preserving a school setting free of discriminatory conduct. 

Conference Session
Thursday, October 21, 2021

8:30 - 11:30 am

Opening General Session 
Awards Ceremony 
Keynote – Unveiling of the GREAT Publication 

1:00 - 1:50 pm

Bus Driver Training and Driving Requirements – Presenter(s): Zada Stamper, Laurel Public Schools Transportation Director; Bruce Kubler, M.A.P.T. Director 
A review of bus driver training, certification, and driving requirements. 

SAM Leaders Professional Learning Program – A Transformational Professional Learning System - Presenter(s): SAM LPLP Team 
SAM’s Leaders Professional Learning Program (LPLP) provides personalized professional learning connecting new, experienced, and aspiring administrators through a multi-faceted blended learning approach that includes one-on-one coach mentoring, a comprehensive online resource center, and Collegial Learning Networks! Join the SAM LPLP team as the 2021-22 SAM LPLP program develops strategies to support the work of our schools all across Montana. 

Access and Participation: Laws Governing Student Sports Activities and Clubs – Presenter(s): MTSBA Legal Staff 
MTSBA legal staff will review the recent state legislation providing unenrolled children the opportunity to participate in sports and certain extracurricular activities in public schools. The legal staff will also review the federal statute and case law ensuring student groups have access to school facilities and how that affects school policies on student clubs. 

Understanding Your Insurance
– Presenter(s): Fabian Deneault – Region 1 Marketing and Service Representative / Jarett Laden – Region 3 Marketing and Service Representative
Do you understand how health insurance works?  Unless you work in the insurance industry you probably don’t.  This session offers a high-level overview of health insurance to help you navigate the ever-changing world of insurance.  We will cover common health terminology, HSA’s, preventative benefits, selecting a network provider, wellness, telehealth, and Pharmacy.

2:10 - 3:00 pm 

DPHHS/DEQ School ARMs Lead Testing – Presenter(s): Dawn Nelson, Montana DPHHS; Gregory Montgomery, Montana DEQ 
Learn about the administrative rules for lead testing in your schools, the health effects of lead and the lead sampling requirement. 

Looking ahead for Montana students: College Access updates and new resident student initiatives from MUS and OCHE 
Please Join Angela McLean and Scott Lemmon as they host a discussion around resident student access initiatives from the Montana University System and the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education 

MCS’s New Construction and Pre-Construction Partnerships - Another option for schools considering expansion 
MCS is excited to announce a new partnership between architects, construction supervision experts and our national AEPA vendors providing related products and services. This session will feature representatives from all these areas as we detail how this new partnership can help your district as you plan for expansion in meeting the needs of your school community. 

3:20 pm – 4:10 pm 

Maximize, Emphasize, Institutionalize: How MTSBA Model Policies Can Stimulate Innovation in a School District – Presenter(s): MTSBA Staff 
MTSBA staff will review the flexibilities and efficiencies provided in Montana law that maximize school resources, emphasize personalized learning, and legitimize new institutional new ways of thinking for school leaders. The MTSBA Model Policies will serve as the basis for this interactive discussion. 

MCS’s New State-Wide Food Services Contract…“The Food Bid 
MCS’s School Services Program has continued to experience growth over the past few years. As the largest provider of food products and services to Montana schools, our new contract with US Foods will provide our district members with the elite “Premier” deep discounts and rebates offered by the company to select groups across the Western US. This session will provide details all of the new discounts and rebates available to our members as well as how to access a wide variety of new products and services. 

ESSER Funding Q&A – Presenter(s): Jeff Kirksey and Mindi Askelson, OPI 
Learn about the allowable uses of your ESSER fund allocations and what you need to know to manage it all in E-Grants. 

Unemployment 101 – Presenter(s): Theresia LeSueur, Director of MTSUIP
You will gain a greater understanding of unemployment objectives and requirements. This includes the importance of responding for compliance with UI Integrity. The workshop will also cover types of separations and appropriate documentation, the life cycle of an unemployment claim, and understanding liability. The end result is to provide tips to manage your unemployment rate and claims. 



Conference Session
Friday, October 22, 2021

9:20 - 10:10 am

Relationships Make Leaders … Using Restorative Practices as a School Administrator - Presenter(s): Matt Johnson 
Using the concepts of Restorative Practices to promote teamwork, communication, trust and retention with your staff. 

Clerk and Superintendent Duty List – Presenter(s): MASBO Board Members 
MASBO has a handy document intended to serve as a communication tool to assist the school district administrative team with collaboration, planning, and agreement on how certain duties and responsibilities can be most efficiently and effectively carried out to ensure compliance with board policy and state and federal rules and regulations. The district clerk, district superintendent, and board chair are encouraged to review this list each year following the organizational meeting in May. 

School Construction and Repairs: Protecting Districts’ Investments – Presenter(s): MTSBA Legal Staff 
MTSBA legal staff will review the steps to ensure school districts have necessary contractual guidance and legal protection throughout the school construction or repair process. The legal staff will also review the statutes and regulations governing school elections and election advocacy, community engagement strategies, and facility improvement planning. 

Leading the Way to a New Future through Capital Improvements to Your District’s Campus – Presenter(s): Dan Rispens, Superintendent, East Helena K-12 School District, Godfrey Saunders, Superintendent, Belgrade Public Schools, Bridget Ekstrom, Senior Vice President, Aaron Rudio, Senior Vice President, D.A. Davidson & Co., and Dan Semmens, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney LLP 
Despite challenges presented by COVID-19, Montana School Districts have had good luck passing school bonds and completing school building projects. Since May of 2020, 10 of 11 school districts have passed their bond elections. During this MCEL session through an interactive format, attendees will learn from the recent experiences of East Helena K-12 District and other Districts and hear the keys to (1) putting together a capital improvement plan for the district, (2) communicating with the community in passing the bonds at a bond election, (3) issuing bonds with favorable financing terms and (4) designing, constructing and managing the construction projects. NOTE: East Helena School officials will provide a guided tour of their new high school for anyone interested at a time to be determined during MCEL. 

10:30 am – 11:20 am 

Rural School Issues in Montana - Presenter(s): Dennis Parman 
Learn about rural school issues at the federal level, state level, the Board of Public Education, and the OPI. Bring your questions and concerns. 

Social-Emotional Learning in Montana Schools - Resources for Students and Staff - Presenter(s): OPI SEL Team – Michele Henson, Todd Wester 
In this session, you will be able to understand what is social emotional learning and the benefits of intentionally supporting SEL across schools and districts. Share the approach and resources to implement SEL in MT schools. Consider evidence-based strategies to include and improve SEL in your settings. Consider the use of universal screening and survey to measure SEL outcomes. 

Core Curriculum Evaluations: How to Provide a Collaborative, and Flexible Student Learning Environment in Math & ELA 
In this session, you will learn how to combine a digital platform with print-based instruction in Math and ELA to empower student discussion, critical thinking, and problem-solving. We will provide a brief description of Illustrative Mathematics and EL Education’s instructional philosophy followed by an interactive implementation example. 

Historical Trauma and Cultural Resilience Presenter(s): Deserae Kill Eagle 
Back by popular demand, Deserae Kill Eagle will be providing an overview of U.S. federal policies and how they have historically impacted Indigenous communities of North America. Despite governmental assimilative tactics, tribal nations still possess innate protective factors such as cultural resiliency to overcome historical loss symptoms of poverty, violence, discrimination, and oppression. This session will help create a sense of community by viewing the current assets of tribal nations as tools to overcome historical loss and contribute to sustainable solutions for future generations. 

11:40 am – 12:30 pm 

Yes, We’re Still Talking About the Open Meeting Law: Opportunities in District Communication – Presenter(s): MTSBA Legal Staff 
In this 50-minute session, MTSBA legal staff will give the history of the open meeting law and discuss how it has evolved from constitutional concept to state law to vital community engagement tool. School leaders can learn about opportunities available through innovative compliance with the law to reach new stakeholders and encourage support for district operations. 

Lessons Learned About Recruiting Teachers to Rural Schools - Presenter(s): Dennis Parman 
MREA has spent the last five months helping member schools recruit online using Facebook. There has been lots of feedback on the Teach-In Montana Facebook site. Come and learn what we found out and refine your recruiting practices to be more effective. 

COVID-19 and ARPA Update – Accelerating Learning and Infrastructure - Presenter(s): Sharyl Allen, Julie Murgel, Colet Bartow 
OPI Leadership will share and update on all efforts related to COVID-19 impact on our schools through the lens of Accelerating Learning and meeting Infrastructure needs. 

Facility Maintenance and Use – Presenter(s): Shawn Bubb, Director of Insurance Services, Annette Satterly, Risk Management Associate, Harry Cheff, Risk Management Associate
Join the MSGIA staff as they provide some best practices for maintaining the facilities and allowing safe usage. There will be ample time to ask questions. We look forward to a lively discussion.  

12:50 pm – 1:40 pm 

Transfers Between Funds – Presenter(s): Denise Williams, Executive Director, MASBO 
Transfers between funds are allowed under certain circumstances and may be a viable option for your district. Restrictions, requirements, and ideas will be explored in this session. 

Responsible Government Services: Ethics for School Trustees and Employees – Presenter(s): MTSBA Legal Staff 
MTSBA legal staff will review the obligations under state and federal law the govern trustee and employee conduct with regard to district facilitates, funds, and equipment. School leaders can also find out about criminal laws for official misconduct and civil recourse for citizens affected by impropriety in a school district. 

More than a Worksheet: How Digital Math Tools are Essential for Supporting Teachers and Streamlining Differentiation – Presenter(s): Dr. Tim Hudson, DreamBox Learning 
Digital math tools can engage students in thinking about math concepts in ways that aren’t possible without technology. When students interact with digital tools such as virtual manipulatives, they have the opportunity to understand math concepts in new and deeper ways because the experiences and interactions can’t be replicated outside of a digital environment. Join this session to learn more about how digital math tools enhance student learning and enable teachers to gain new insights about students that support differentiation.