Breakout Sessions

Download the 2021 ASBSD-SASD Convention Breakout Sessions descriptions here

Student Achievement

What’s in a Curriculum Review? How to Plan, Select and Support Appropriate and Effective Instructional Resources for your District

Thursday, August 5 at 11:30 a.m. in Rooms 8, 9 & 10

Presenter(s): Harrisburg School District Director of Instruction & Federal Programs Michael Amolins and Director of Educational Services Tanya Rasmussen

Curriculum is more than a textbook.  In this session, you will learn strategies for how to research, select and implement appropriate instructional resources.

Modern Professional Learning: Meeting Adult Learning Needs in a Post-Pandemic Educational World

Thursday, August 5 at 11:30 a.m. in Room 2

Presenter(s): TIE Director Dr. Julie Mathiesen

Schools are grappling to determine next steps after all the complexities of the pandemic. We must address gaps and needs in adult and student learning. It is time to reassess how we “do school”. One-size-fits-all instruction has never worked all that well — for kids or adults. Now that we are faced with academic progress being more broadly distributed among learners, we need to get serious about new systems to support learning in a post-pandemic world.

Incorporating Customized Learning using Universal Design and Blended Learning Practices

Thursday, August 5 at 3 p.m. in Rooms 11 & 12

Presenter(s): TIE Learning Specialist Dr. Cari Kennedy

Professional learners will be able to understand the philosophy of customized learning and how to begin to implement it using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Blended Learning approaches in Educational Settings.

The Path to Standards Based Report Cards

Thursday, August 5 at 3 p.m. in Rooms 8, 9 & 10

Presenter(s): Aberdeen School District Elementary Principals Kim Aman & Nicole Schutter

We will describe the path our district took to implement standards based report cards at the elementary level. We will go through planning, constructing, and implementation.

The Power of PBIS and the Impact on Student Safety Perceptions

Thursday, August 5 at 3 p.m. in Room 3

Presenter(s): Desmet Superintendent & Elementary Principal Abi Van Regenmorter, Bridgewater Emery Middle School & High School Principal Christena Schultz & Harrisburg School District Elementary School Counselor Renee Anderson

Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) promotes the instruction of appropriate behaviors and actions including strategies that focus on social, emotional and behavioral development in students. This project was designed to examine and assess the impact of a PBIS program on student perception of school safety. The study examined and assessed the impact of PBIS through elementary student responses to an individual questionnaire administered by the school counselor. The same questionnaire was administered in two schools in southeastern South Dakota, one that does not implement a PBIS program (Group A) as well as one that implemented a PBIS program four years ago (Group B). Students completed the questionnaire at the beginning of the year at both schools. This program evaluation involves group comparisons of three measures of school safety: feeling respected, having conflict resolutions skills, and the perception of safety, utilizing a quasi-experimental study. Preliminary results from one of the measures indicates that children in the PBIS school reported feeling safer than children at the non-PBIS school significantly more. The results supporting PBIS as an effective framework for improving school culture may increase interest for PBIS implementation among school administrators.

South Dakota Interim Assessments

Friday, August 6 at 10 a.m. in Room 2

Presenter(s): S.D. DOE Assessment Administrator Matt Gill & principals

Discussing the effectiveness of the SD Interim Assessments, the formative assessment resources that relate to the SD Interim Assessments and discussing how to best implement these resources to enhance instruction.

Sanford Underground Research Facility Supports STEM Education in South Dakota

Friday, August 6 at 11 a.m. in Room 2

Presenter(s): Sanford Underground Research Facility Education & Outreach Science Specialist Chad Ronish

This session will contain information about SURF Education and Outreach supports and resources for districts, teachers, and students in STEM education, including professional development, FREE inquiry-based curriculum units, classroom presentations, and facility tours and activities. The SURF E&O team believes every student deserves high quality, engaging, relevant, equitable, rigorous science learning opportunities. We will talk about why that is important for your district, what it looks like for teachers and students, and how we can help.

Governance & Policy

Leader Rounding: Connecting for Engagement

Thursday, August 5 at 11:30 a.m. in Rooms 6 & 7

Presenter(s): Tea Area School District Frontier Elementary Principal Barb Hansen, Venture Elementary Principal Jay Swatek & Legacy Elementary Principal Samantha Walder

This session will focus on a systematic framework for engaging school leaders with both certified and classified staff to build rapport, support culture, and move your organization forward by asking questions for feedback from those who work closest with our students each day.

Sexual Harassment in Schools – What Superintendents and Board Members Need to Know

Thursday, August 5 at 3 p.m. in Rooms 13 & 14

Presenter(s): Kaufman Law Office Attorney Gerry Kaufman, Churchill, Manolis, Freeman, Kludt & Burns Law Office Attorney Rodney Freeman, Jr. & Lynn, Jackson, Shultz, Lebrun Law Office Attorney Sam Kerr

Unfortunately, sexual harassment in South Dakota schools is not a thing of the past. This session is devoted to helping superintendents and school board members know and understand their roles and responsibilities when addressing sexual harassment complaints. The session will focus on addressing sexual harassment complaints in the K-12 educational setting. Special emphasis will be given on what to do (and how to do it) when a complaint comes forward the investigation related to that complaint.

Public Education is in Trouble. Let’s Help it Thrive.

Thursday, August 5 at 3 p.m. in Rooms 6 & 7

Presenter(s): ASBSD Board Development & Member Services Director Jim Holbeck

Are we seeing an erosion of support for public education? This year has certainly brought new challenges for those in leadership in public schools. Some would say perhaps the biggest challenges we have ever faced. We will take some time to discuss the past, present and future of public education in our state and country. In addition, we will explore the needs of each of you in your positions on how to stand up and support our public schools.

Supporting Your Employees Total Wellbeing

Thursday, August 5 at 4 p.m. in Rooms 11 & 12

Presenter(s): Gallagher Senior Wellbeing & Engagement Consultant Amanda Schuster

There is no denying the fact that emotional wellbeing has moved up in the list of priorities, and we need to address the topic. During this session you will learn more about the overall landscape of emotional wellbeing and how it affects your districts and communities. We will explore the different approaches an organization can take and who needs to be involved to ensure success. Come prepared to participate, share ideas and learn more about emotional wellbeing.

Change Is Inevitable – Excellence Is Optional

Thursday, August 5 at 4 p.m. in Rooms 8, 9 & 10

Presenter(s): National Baldrige Recipient & Senior Leader Coach at Studer Education Dr. JoAnn Sternke, Performance Excellence Network CEO Brian Lassiter and Brookings Superintendent Dr. Klint Willert

School boards and school administrators are facing unprecedented challenges. How can school districts navigate turbulent times and maintain a focus on results? The Baldrige continuous improvement framework provides a guide for school leaders pursuing excellence! In this session, learn more about the criteria, how one South Dakota district is applying the framework, and perspectives from a National Malcolm Baldrige Award winning school leader on the value of the criteria to guide continuous school improvement.

Superintendents’ Perceptions of Threat Assessment

Friday, August 6 at 10 a.m. in Rooms 8, 9 & 10

Presenter(s): Vermillion School District Superintendent Damon Alvey

Threat assessment is widely used in the political arena for the protection of elected officials, but schools are beginning to understand the value of threat assessment as a tool to determine if comments or threats students make in the educational setting are truly a threat or more idle rhetoric that adolescents participate in. In this session we will discuss the results of a state-wide threat assessment survey and review potential barriers to threat assessments in South Dakota schools.

Finance & Legal

School Boards and the Open Meetings Laws

Thursday, August 5 at 11:30 a.m. in Rooms 13 & 14

Presenter(s): Kaufman Law Office Attorney Gerry Kaufman

School Boards and School Board Members are required to comply with the statutory open meetings laws.  Whether you are a new or veteran Board member, or a new or veteran Superintendent or Business Manager, learning for the first time or refreshing what you have previously learned (or thought you learned), having a thorough knowledge and understanding of the open meetings laws is critical in order to comply with its requirements.

Risk Management: Cybersecurity

Thursday, August 5 at 11:30 a.m. in Rooms 11 & 12

Presenter(s): Gallagher Associate Producer Patrick Ergastolo

Cyber security has become a major focus for all organizations. During this breakout session we will discuss the current cyber threats and trends we are seeing in the K-12 education space, as well as how to best protect your school from cyber threats and how insurance can help transfer cyber risk. Topics covered will include the proliferation of ransomware, how to promote a culture of cybersecurity, email hygiene and how to spot a phishing email, what to do in the event of a network hack;  as well as minimum requirements needed to obtain cyber insurance and what cyber insurance covers.

“Sticks and Stones”…When Words can Bite Back

Thursday, August 5 at 4 p.m. in Rooms 6 & 7

Presenter(s): ASBSD Director of Policy & Legal Services Jessica Filler

This session will cover student and board member freedom of speech and provide an update on the ever-changing area of law surrounding student speech. It also will provide guidance and “real world” examples of balancing free speech rights with preventing disruption and maintaining order, especially in today’s world of social media and politically charged times.

Special Education 101: Everything you have ever wanted to know about special education (but were afraid to ask)

Friday, August 6 at 10 a.m. in Rooms 11 & 12

Presenter(s): Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A. Shareholder Christian R. Shafer

Every school administrator and school board member need to have a working understanding of special education in this day and age. Providing special education students with appropriate services can consume a large chunk of a school district budget. Yet, the federal and state laws that govern special education programs, processes and procedures can be complex and confusing. In this session, an experienced special education attorney will break it down into easy-to-digest takeaways.

How Easy it is to Fail FMLA Compliance

Friday, August 6 at 10 a.m. in Rooms 6 & 7

Presenter(s): KSB School Law Attorney Tyler Coverdale & Marsh & McClennan Agent Brice Christensen

FMLA leave, we all know what it stands for, yet it remains one of the most common issues giving rise to legal liability for schools. When to give notices? When to count days? What days/weeks count? Where do schools get into trouble the most? Where does insurance come into play? We’ll answer all of these questions and more.

Safeguarding Student Data: Data privacy considerations for in-person and online learning

Friday, August 6 at 11 a.m. in Rooms 11 & 12

Presenter(s): Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A. Shareholder Christian R. Shafer

School districts have an obligation to comply with state and federal laws that govern data privacy, but what does compliance look like in the context, but what does compliance look like in the context of in-person and online learning. Are law enforcement agencies entitled to receive data regarding students?  Can school districts share information about an ongoing investigation into student misconduct?  How should a school district respond to a media request for information about a student discipline matter?  Learn the answers to these questions and more from a practicing school law attorney.  This presentation will tackle all of the essential data privacy considerations for school districts.

Three Kids in a Car: A Special Education Cautionary Tale For Administrators and School Boards

Friday, August 6 at 11 a.m. in Rooms 6 & 7

Presenter(s): KSB School Law Attorney Tyler Coverdale

These kids did WHAT, and they’re still here!? This presentation will give an overview of disciplinary restrictions for students with disabilities, whether on an IEP or 504 plan, and how schools attempt to navigate the murky legal waters and politics in difficult situations. This presentation will be helpful to both administrators and board members dealing with political blowback following unpopular (or required) disciplinary decisions.


Secrets to Successful Family Engagement

Thursday, August 5 at 11:30 a.m. in Room 3

Presenter(s): Aberdeen School District Elementary Principals Kim Aman & Nicole Schutter

Looking for more intentional ways to connect with and engage parents and families? Attend this session to discover a variety of strategies to increase parent involvement and family engagement in your school.

Superintendent Simulation: Managing Diversity in a Growing Community

Thursday, August 5 at 3 p.m. in Room 2

Presenter(s): USD Chair of Educational Leadership Dr. David DeJong

This new simulation is designed for aspiring and current superintendents.  In this simulation, you will play the role of a superintendent and your decisions will impact parents, the school board, the city council, and the staff in your district.  Come to this session ready to interact with your peers and discuss multiple decisions throughout the simulation.

People First: Aligning Continuous Improvement Processes Around Organizational Values

Thursday, August 5 at 4 p.m. in Rooms 13 & 14

Presenter(s): Tea Area School District Superintendent Jennifer Lowery, Curriculum Director Tonia Warzecha, Business Manager Christine Esping, School Board President Kristen Daggett & School Board Member Tara Johanneson

This session will focus on the development of standards of excellence as the guiding framework for expanding leader capacity, determining districtwide goals and selecting strategies that are in alignment with the continuous improvement trajectory for Tea Area School District.

Implementing Professional Development Choice Models Breaking the Habit of Ineffective Professional Development

Thursday, August 5 at 4 p.m. in Room 3

Presenter(s): Black Hills Special Services Cooperative Special Education Coordinator Anneke Nelson & Special Education Project Manager Kyle Laughlin

Are you stuck in a one-size-fits-all, sit-and-get PD?  Come and hear about different models for designing teacher professional learning will energize and meet the needs of all teachers in your district.  You will leave this presentation with a potential learning plan for your district/building.

One District. One Book

Thursday, August 5 at 4 p.m. in Room 2

Presenter(s): Brandon Valley Superintendent Dr. Jarod Larson and other district staff, school board members & representatives from the Brandon Community Foundation

The Brandon Valley School District recently promoted literacy by embracing a powerful message from the best-selling book, “The Coffee Bean.” During one designated week, all students and staff read (or listened) to the book written by Jon Gordon and Damon West and participated in learning activities designed to foster transformational change. In this session, you will learn about “The Lynx Way Coffee Bean Day” and how we inspired individuals young and old to create positive change in our schools and throughout our community.

The Art of the Administrator

Friday, August 6 at 10 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom

Presenter(s): John Perricone

As a follow-up to John Perricone’s Keynote Address: “Developing a Philosophical Identity” Mr. Perricone’s breakout session will invite administrators to reflect upon the profundity of their mission, their personal philosophies of life and education, and the role that their philosophy plays in shaping their educational vision for their schools, and most importantly, their practices. This session is designed to specifically address the unique concerns and challenges of principals, assistant principals, and superintendents as they endeavor to create the very best environment and culture in which learning can take place. Mr. Perricone will provide, insights, stories, guidance, and introspective exercises that speak to the very soul of what it means to truly inhabit the identity, acumen, artistry, and passion of being an administrator.

How Can You Utilize a School Mental Health Team to Support Your Students

Friday, August 6 at 10 a.m. in Rooms 13 & 14

Presenter(s): S.D. DOE School Counseling & Career Development Specialist Andrea Diehm & Lyman School District Counselor Danielle Schonebaum

After a school year of dealing with COVID-19, the impacts on students’ mental health are more prevalent and noticed than before. This session will outline the various types of mental health providers, who makes up a school mental health team, and the importance of having one in your school. Walk away with resources to implement a mental health team at your school.

Humanity & Equity for the Advancement of Learning (HEAL)

Friday, August 6 at 10 a.m. in Room 3

Presenter(s): TIE Learning Specialists Dr. Scott Simpson & Sharla Steever

Participants will learn about North & South Dakota’s HEAL project, supported by US DOE’s Teach to Lead program, and how to get involved. After years of increasingly divisive political rhetoric concerning equity issues in our nation, communities and schools are splintered.  Even the words associated with equity issues can create a divide within work relationships, friendships and families. HEAL is a multifaceted approach aimed at assisting educators, parents, schools and communities address these issues.

The South Dakota School Safety Center, developing and implementing strategies for schools.

Friday, August 6 at 11 a.m. in Rooms 13 & 14

Presenter(s): S.D. Department of Public Safety Office of Homeland Security South Dakota School Safety Program Director Brett Garland

South Dakota School Safety Program Director Brett Garland will provide an update on the resources the School Safety Center provides to keep South Dakota schools safe, including two new significant opportunities for schools to incorporate: the opportunity to train and implement an evidence based behavioral threat assessment model, and the implementation of a web and mobile based anonymous reporting platform, designed specifically for schools.

It’s Time to Support Your Struggling Educator!

Friday, August 6 at 11 a.m. in Rooms 8, 9 & 10

Presenter(s): Northwestern Area School District Superintendent Ryan Bruns 

This session is designed for novice administrators and veterans alike.  The plan of improvement process will be examined.  We will discuss how to guide and facilitate improvement for the struggling educator and the next steps when the plan is met or not met.

Paraprofessionals: Supporting Our Supporters

Friday, August 6 at 11 a.m. in Room 3

Presenter(s): Black Hills Special Services Cooperative Special Education Learning Specialist Kylie Steever, M.S., & TIE Learning Specialist Ryan Young

This presentation will assist administrators in learning new concepts on how to support paraprofessionals in their daily duties, as well as provide resources that can be implemented both in and out of the classroom.  Topics that will be discussed include: roles and responsibilities, accommodations and modifications, and empowering students to be independent.  This will be a great opportunity for special education and building leaders to ensure student success!


My School District wants to build a new school, but I don’t know where to begin? We’ve designed this session for you!

Thursday, August 5 at 11:30 a.m. in Room 1

Presenter(s): CO-OP Architecture Principal Architect Tom Hurlbert and Senior School Planning Consultant Tom Oster

Many school districts face building and facility needs. This session will take you through the process of building a new school from A to Z. It starts with a “Needs Assessment”, “Facilities Review”, “Analyzing Financial Capabilities”, “Building Community Support”, “School Design”, “Construction Delivery Method”, and finally, moving into your new school.

Leading a District: Effective Superintendent & Board Communication, Leadership & Strategies

Thursday, August 5 at 11:30 a.m. in Room 5

Presenter(s): Harrisburg Superintendent Tim Graf and School Board President Linda Heerde and Director of Business Development at Mammoth Sports Construction Derik Budig

This session will be a Question-and-Answer format consisting of a panel of current SD School Superintendents and Board Members. We will discuss various topics including facilities, budgets, balancing communication between staff and stakeholders, and much more. Come listen to practical steps superintendents and board members employ in their school districts. This session is designed for open and honest dialogue that will cover a multitude of topics related to maximizing both education and athletics in your school district.

South Dakota Retirement System – What You Need to Know

Thursday, August 5 at 3 p.m. in Room 1

Presenter(s): Horace Mann Agents Ryan Hofer, Rob Bickett & Bill Hoffman

The South Dakota Retirement System has gotten high marks for countless years, but do you know why? Learn about funding requirements, benefit calculation, spousal benefits, service purchase options, level payment options, and recent changes to the system.

Athletic Field Construction

Thursday, August 5 at 4 p.m. in Room 1

Presenter(s): Mid-America Sports Construction Chris Cox

Construction of athletic fields and turf selection.

New Fallout from the Science of Reading & Learning Loss: What Administrators Will Want to Know

Friday, August 6 at 10 a.m. in Room 1

Presenter(s): President of Learning Solutions for School Robert H. Arnio, Ph.D. and Elkton School District Title Reading Teacher Jean Gunderson, M.S.

Over 90,000 teachers and parents have joined the Science of Reading: What I Should Have Learned in College group, which is demanding changes in the balanced literacy type of program used by most schools in South Dakota. Jean Gunderson, M.S., Title Reading Teacher from Elkton, and Dr. Arnio, Ph.D. from Learning Solutions for School will clarify these critical issues and show how the reading curriculum can be enhanced with supplemental programs (Reading Plus and My Virtual Reading Coach) to address these concerns.

Learning Recovery: Using Brain Research to Accelerate Literacy Growth

Friday, August 6 at 10 a.m. in Room 5

Presenter(s): Zaner-Bloster Consultant Leslye Moraski Erickson, PhD

Are your third-grade reading scores where they need to be? Are you concerned that the past 14 months have negatively impacted literacy performance?  Converging research from the fields of neuroscience and education have shown that beginning readers’ brains are different from those of a fluent reader. Thus, beginning readers and their teachers have different needs than do those of readers and teachers in grades 3 and beyond.  Let’s leverage this brain research to recover from post-COVID learning loss.

The Challenges of Digital Transformation in K12 Education and Bridging a Digital Divide

Friday, August 6 at 11 a.m. in Room 1

Presenter(s): A&B Business Solutions Associate Collin Kjose and Ricoh USA Strategic Business Consultant Ryan Marshall, Technical Sales Consultant Jon Standaert & Business Development Manager Jeff Mildner

This session will focus to key initiatives being driven within K12 Education focused to digital transformation and the challenges these initiatives create. Emphasis will be placed on the biggest challenge of the digital divide created through adoption of disparate systems to accomplish separate functions within the organization and ways to bridge the divide.