Download the Breakout Session Descriptions Here

The 3 Rs of Rural Education: Relationships, Recognition & Respect

Presenter: White River School Board Member Louann Krogman and De Smet Superintendent Abi Van Regenmorter

Thursday, 10:30 to 11:20 a.m. in Rooms 13-14

Rural education has unique intricacies for leaders at all levels. Serving as a school board member or superintendent in an area where you are involved with stakeholders in multiple roles can be challenging. However, the blessings of living and educating in a rural area are also exponential. This session will provide tried and true methods focused on relationships, recognition, and respect that attendees can easily implement in their own districts.

Saving Sycamore – The School Shooting that Never Happened

Presenter: School Counselor Molly Hudgens

Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. in Rooms 8-9-10

Keynote Speaker and School Counselor Molly Hudgens discusses her experience of preventing a school shooting at Sycamore Middle School in 2016.

Pyramid of Politics

Presenter: ASBSD Director of Policy & Legal Services Jessica Filler and Director of Communications Tyler Pickner

Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. in Rooms 13-14

From the local level to the state level to the national level there’s a lot to cover in our current political climate and each block in the pyramid of politics will be covered. Come discuss local elections, Title IX, property taxes, board meetings, ballot questions and much more.

Superintendent & School Board Relations

Presenter:  Harrisburg Superintendent Tim Graf, School Board President Mike Knudson and Past President Linda Kirchhevel

Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. in Rooms 8-9-10

Join us for an insightful session with the Past Board President and Superintendent of the Harrisburg School District as they delve into the crucial dynamics of effective school board and superintendent relationships. Drawing from their extensive experience in navigating the complexities of educational governance, they will explore strategies for fostering collaboration, setting shared goals, and navigating challenges. This interactive session will include a Q&A segment, offering attendees the opportunity to gain practical insights and ask pressing questions on enhancing leadership synergy within school districts.

Avoiding Headaches of Managing Scholarship Funds and School Foundations

Presenter: South Dakota Community Foundation Development Director Jeff Veltkamp, Community Development Coordinator Patrick Gallagher, , and a school scholarship/foundation fund holder

Thursday, 4:00 to 4:50 p.m. in Room 1

The South Dakota Community Foundation manages hundreds of school foundation and scholarship funds for schools, organizations, and individual donors. For industry-low fees, SDCF relieves busy school staff of administrative headaches, such as receiving and receipting charitable donations, supporting the grantmaking and/or scholarship selection process and sending checks to recipients’ schools, managing investments, and IRS reporting. Learn from SDCF staff and fund holders how the partnership can work for your school.

Conflict Negotiations in School Settings: Engaging in Productive Communication and Conflict Resolution

Presenter: USD Professor Dr. Richard Braunsteing

Friday, 10:00 to 10:50 a.m. in Rooms 6-7

When conflict arises in school settings it is essential to practice principled negotiation to deescalate conflict and maximize satisfaction for all involved parties. This breakout session will focus on the skills of principled negotiation, with an emphasis on leadership communication and interest-based bargaining.

Building a Positive Culture Through Strengths-Based leadership

Presenter: USD Assistant Professor of Practice David Barker

Friday, 11:00 to 11:50 a.m. in Room 2

Leaders who recognize and leverage individual strengths promote an environment where everyone feels valued, thereby cultivating a positive and productive organization. This session will outline a path for establishing such a supportive and engaging culture. Through real-world examples backed by research, I will demonstrate the significant impact that strengths-based leadership can have on an educational community by enhancing critical relationships, such as those between superintendent and boards, superintendent and principals, and principals and staff.

Resources to Support the Well-Being of School Aged Youth

Presenter: S.D. Department of Social Services Crisis Services Program Manager Jordan Mounga, S.D. Department of Education Administrator Rebecca Cain, USD Disaster Relief Coordinator Amber Kilburn, S.D. Department of Public Safety School Safety Specialist Angela Waldner and Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment Director Christina Young

Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. in Room 3

Did you know that there is an entire array of resources available through state agencies to support schools and educators to address the well-being of students? This session will be a panel discussing these resources including the promotion of mental health awareness to reduce stigma and provide tools for staff and students to identify and refer youth in need; training opportunities for students, educators, and families; school safety tools; and treatment services.

Check and Connect Overview: A Program to Help Students Reengage with School

Presenter: MTSS Coordinators for SD Pat Hubert, Stephanie Weideman and Deb Zebill

Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. in Room 3

Attend an overview of Check & Connect: an intervention used with K-12 students who show warning signs of disengagement with school and are at risk of dropping out. The intervention builds a trusting relationship between the student and a caring, trained mentor who works with the student to stay in school. Students are referred to Check & Connect when they show warning signs of disengaging from school, i.e. poor attendance, behavioral issues, and/or low grades.

It’s Now or Never: AI Literacy for Students

Presenter: Black Hills Special Services Cooperative Representatives Andrew Ley and Brady Licht

Thursday, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. in Rooms 8-9-10

In this interactive session, you will experience a lesson from the perspective of a high school student who is learning how to use AI responsibly. As a result of this session, you will leave with:

  • An understanding of how AI literacy is every educator’s responsibility
  • Strategies for increasing AI literacy in and out of the classroom
  • A pre-made day-one lesson for your teachers to implement right away

How do Administrators Partner with School Counselors to Champion Student Success?

Presenter: SD DOE School Counseling & Student Support Specialist Andrea Effling and Career Development & SDMyLife Specialist Megan Tatum

Thursday, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. in Room 2

Join this session to learn how you can work with your school counselor(s) to promote positive change in your school/district. School counselors are trained to help all students apply academic achievement strategies, manage emotions and apply interpersonal skills, and plan for career and postsecondary. Discover how school counselors can impact student outcomes and walk away with resources and strategies to work with your school counselor(s) in supporting students.

Empowering Educators: Transforming Learning with Insights from Finland

Presenter: Vermillion School District Superintendent Dr. Damon Alvey, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Kim Johnson, Teacher Kamden Dibley and Teacher Lenni Billberg

Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. in Room 3

Vermillion School District’s pioneering project, fostering collaboration skills from kindergarten to 12th grade. Learn how we’re enhancing communication, addressing community needs, and strengthening student connections through innovative Finnish-inspired techniques. Administrators and teachers will share how they are shaping a brighter future for education!

Science of Reading – What’s New

Presenter: TIE Learning Specialist Dr. Kim Buechler

Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. in Room 3

The term “Science of Reading” is everywhere in the world of education right now, but what does it mean? This session delves into the meaning of this term by dissecting the latest research on the process of learning to read and effective reading instruction. Gain insights into the distinctions between balanced literacy and structured literacy, unraveling key elements that contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the science behind reading.

Section 504: A Short-Course on Compliance

Presenter: Bennett Law Attorney Michele Bennett & Lynn, Jackson, Schultz & Lebrun Law Office Attorney Sam Kerr

Thursday, 11:30 to 12:20 p.m. in Rooms 6-7

This presentation will focus on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act providing attendees with an overview of the statutory and regulatory requirements of that law, a school district’s compliance responsibilities, the role of the 504 coordinator, developing a 504 plan, and the interrelationship of 504 with the IDEA and ADA.

Being a Member of Your School Board: Ten Practical Tips from School Lawyers’ Perspective

Presenter: Kaufman Law Office Attorney Gerry Kaufman, Churchill and Manolis, Freeman & Burns Law Office, L.L.C. Attorneys Rodney Freeman

Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. in Rooms 13-14

This session will offer real life solutions and guidance to dilemmas and problems that face all school board members.

Rules & Recommendations: The Open Meetings Law

Presenter: Kaufman Law Office Attorney Gerry Kaufman, Churchill, Manolis, Freeman & Burns Law Office, L.L.C. Attorney Rodney Freeman, Jr. and Lynn, Jackson, Schultz & Lebrun Law Office Attorney Sam Kerr

Thursday, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. in Rooms 13-14

In order for school boards to be in compliance with the South Dakota Open Meetings Laws, all new and veteran School Board Members, new and veteran Superintendents, and new and veteran Business Managers must know and understand the open meetings laws. The panel will discuss the open meetings legal requirements and give recommendations on how to comply with the law. This is a must-attend session for school board members, superintendents and business managers.

Title IX Regulations Update

Presenter: Lynn, Jackson, Schultz, and Lebrun Attorney Sam Kerr 

Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. in Rooms 11-12

Updates on the latest Title IX regulations and how they affect schools.

Pain in the “App” Version 2.0: The Intersection of the Law with Social Media

Presenter: KSB School Law Attorneys Tyler Coverdale, Sara Hento & Bobby Truhe

Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. in Rooms 8-9-10

What are the new apps students are using, and why do we care? How are schools addressing cell phone usage in school? How should a school respond to reports of sexting? Can a school discipline for social media posts which occur on the weekends? This presentation will take board members and administrators through the most relevant and recent cases and information related to the intersection of schools and student use of technology and social media.

Brains and Bots: Navigating the AI Revolution in K-12

Presenter: DSU College of Education Instructor Betsy Schamber and Assistant Professor Megan Schuh

Thursday, 10:30 to 11:20 a.m. in Rooms 11-12

Are you wondering how Artificial Intelligence (AI) fits in with your role as a superintendent or school board member? In this hands-on session, participants will gain foundational knowledge about supporting and integrating AI into K-12 education. We will introduce educator-friendly AI tools and demonstrate their potential to transform teaching and learning. Attendees will then engage in interactive exploration using these tools.

Streamlining School Communication: User Research and AI for Website Improvement

Presenter: BHSSC Learning Specialist Brady Licht

Thursday, 11:30 to 12:20 p.m. in Rooms 11-12

Overwhelmed by daily questions that could be answered by your school website? Learn how to conduct user research and leverage free generative AI tools to make gradual improvements, even without technical expertise. Discover strategies to gather insights, understand needed changes, and enhance your site’s user-friendliness. By optimizing your website, you can reduce inquiries and streamline communication. This session equips you with the tools to enhance your school’s online presence.

One Step Ahead: Developing an AI Readiness Framework for Schools

Presenter: Black Hills Special Services Cooperative Representative Andrew Ley

Thursday, 3:00 to 3:50 p.m. in Rooms 11-12

This session will lay out a comprehensive framework that goes beyond the excitement and buzz to provide a practical, structured process for schools to successfully integrate generative AI technologies. Whether the focus is on staff or student use, the framework covers essential components such as assessing readiness, addressing ethical considerations, building capacity, curriculum integration, and monitoring impact to ensure a strategic and responsible implementation.

Teaching Your Teachers to Use Artificial Intelligence

Presenter: DSU Dean of the College of Education Dr. David De Jong

Friday, 10:00 to 10:50 a.m. in Rooms 13-14

In this dynamic session, principals will gain invaluable insights into effectively teaching their teachers to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) for lesson planning and differentiation. Participants will learn practical strategies and tools to integrate AI seamlessly into classroom practices, enhancing personalized learning experiences for students. Join us to empower your faculty with the knowledge and skills needed to leverage AI for educational innovation and excellence.

Enhancing Access: Expanding Cyber Education Across South Dakota

Presenter: DSU Dean of the Governors Cyber Academy and K-12 Initiatives Fenecia Homan

Friday, 11:00 to 11:50 a.m. in Rooms 6-7

The Governors Cyber Academy at Dakota State University expands awareness of and access to cyber education and career pathways for students throughout South Dakota. During this session the presenters will highlight key components of the Cyber Academy including research-based best practices for dual credit facilitation and our mobile cyber lab that exposes middle school and high school students to cyber concepts through differentiated and interactive lessons and activities.

Digging Into the Data

Presenter: Douglas Superintendent Kevin Case

Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. in  Room 3

The Douglas Board of Education continues to further embrace our strategic direction. The board chose to “lean into” our Focus Area of Adaptability: Strategy 2 – Identify, collect and analyze data needed to make informed decisions and adjust daily operations as necessary. Join us to review, discuss and become aware of different data points the board is looking at and how it impacts their decision making. Join the conversation about how focusing on different data points encourage growth, increased knowledge, informed decision making and reflection.

Empowering Educators: Leveraging Instructional Coaches for Teacher Growth

Presenter: Tea Area School District Instructional Coach Tracy Schmidt,  Instructional Coach John Westhoff, Instructional Coach Olivia Esslinger, Instructional Coach Laura Berg, Instructional Coach Valerie Sheppard, Curriculum/CSI Director Samantha Walder

Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. in  Room 2

Join us to explore how the Tea Area School District maximizes the impact of instructional coaches, collaborating closely with building principals to support teachers in aligning classroom goals to building goals. Learn firsthand how Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycles of improvement support this alignment to foster a culture of ongoing learning and development.

10 Things Your Staff Need to See & Hear From You

Presenter: Arlington School District PK-12 Principal Lisa Parry

Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. in  Rooms 8-9-10

I grew up in nursing homes—they call them care centers now—and, like you, I have spent my life in the world of PK-12. These experiences have shaped the teacher and leader I have become, and I am eager to share what I have learned with you. Please join me for an actionable and relatable session focused on helping each one of us be the change our schools need now more than ever.

The Role of Socks in a Construction Project

Presenter: Chamberlain Superintendent Dr. Justin Zajic

Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. in  Room 2

In this session, a principal and an SRO explain some of the low-cost ways they have improved safety in their district. The ideas are practical, easy-to-implement, and cheap. From doors to donuts, these ideas are all about building and maintaining safety that everyone can buy into.

Resources and Training Opportunities to Keep Your School Safe

Presenter: S.D. DPS Office of Homeland Security School Safety Director Brett Garland and School Safety Specialist Angela Waldner

Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. in  Rooms 6-7

The South Dakota School Safety Center provides an update on the abundant resources and opportunities designed to keep schools safe, including evidence-based resources in behavioral threat assessment, school infrastructure security, and programs aimed at helping children in crisis, heal and thrive. Two of those resources, Handle With Care and Youth Mental Health First Aid, are programs that further the School Safety Center’s holistic approach in keeping schools safe, while promoting school-community partnerships to help children exposed to trauma.

Idea Incubation: Cultivating Connections through Family Engagement

Presenter: Black Hills Special Services Director of Community and Family Services Division and Deputy Director Dr. Pam Lange

Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. in  Room 2

This interactive forum within the education conference, focusing on cultivating innovative ideas and effective programming for enhancing family and community engagement in education. Participants will engage in collaborative discussions, idea generation activities, and sharing of best practices to strengthen partnerships between schools, families, and communities. The session will explore creative strategies, equity-focused initiatives, and technology integration to foster meaningful engagement and support student success.

Farm to School – What can it Do for your District?

Presenter: Huron School District School Nutrition Director Amanda Reilly and Farm to School Coordinator Karla Sawvell

Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. in  Room 1

School Nutrition departments from all South Dakota schools are facing supply chain issues with each delivery, causing interruptions in meal service. What if the solution was quite literally in our state’s own backyard? South Dakota growers and their expertise can help reduce these issues, and when food dollars are invested in real local food, everyone at each step of the food value chain, our students, community, and local economies receive the benefits.

Insurance Hot Topics


ASBPT Director and ASBSD Chief Financial Officer Holly Nagel & Risk Program Administration Program Administration Vice President Ryan Doyle

Thursday, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. in  Rooms 11-12

In this collaborative session, we will discuss hot topics in insurance, ranging from Property, Liability, Cyber and various other coverages. We will review preventative actions, potential coverage pitfalls and emerging issues to help reduce risk and unexpected claims.

The S.D. School Safety Center & Safe2Say South Dakota: Saving Lives and Keeping Schools Safe by Empowering Students & Community Members to Report Threatening or Concerning Behaviors with the Preeminent Anonymous Tip Reporting Platform for Schools

Presenter: S.D. DPS Office of Homeland Security School Safety Director Brett Garland and School Safety Specialist Angela Waldner

Thursday, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. in  Rooms 6-7

Hundreds of tips received and delivered, and two years later, see how Safe2Say South Dakota has saved lives and positively impacted schools. Learn how Safe2Say’s anonymous tip reporting platform keeps schools safe by educating and engaging students on what to watch for and what to report, while equipping them with resources to confidentially report concerns.

Tools for Supporting Paraprofessionals

Presenter: TIE Data Informed Practices Project Manager Kylie Steever

Thursday, 4:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. in  Room 3

Paraprofessionals are essential to our school systems, yet on-going training and support for them can be challenging. In this interactive workshop we will discuss how to provide support for paraprofessionals within 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, Empowering Students to be Independent, Managing Behaviors, Communication and Training.

Student Success? It’s as Easy as T.L.C!

Presenter: Public School Superintendent, Author, Speaker and Consultant Sean Buchanan

Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom

Leaders today face many challenges. Oftentimes, situations beyond our control such as poor funding or lack of parental support can exasperate us. In fact, many board members today find themselves “at the end of their rope” when it comes to getting students to succeed, especially in the twilight of a global pandemic. What principles can allow leaders and board members to get out of a mode centered around surviving, and into a mode centered around THRIVING? Attend this fast paced and humorous session to find out!

Better Boundaries: De-Fence Against Burnout

Presenter: Well365 Licensed Professional Counselor Audra Johnson & ASBPT Director and ASBSD Chief Financial Officer Holly Nagel

Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. in  Rooms 8-9-10

Learning to advocate for ourselves- emotionally, physically, and spiritually is critical to minimizing burnout. Each of us is vulnerable to burnout and it can happen at any time. During this engaging session, we’ll examine how boundaries work, what prevents healthy boundary setting, and how to change your boundaries, if needed. When the session is over, you’ll leave knowing your boundary tendencies, how to care for YOU while your boundaries change, and how to compassionately share boundaries with others.

Renewing the Joys of Teaching

Presenter: South Dakota Secretary of Education Joseph Graves

Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. in  Room 2

Secretary of Education Joseph Graves will discuss his recently published book, Renewing the Joys of Teaching, and its thesis that the vocation of teaching will result in not just a good living, not just a happy career, but a joyful life. Through the philosophical school of Stoicism, Graves demonstrates that finding joy means fulfilling one’s life mission and utilizing Stoic techniques to appropriately understand the challenges of teaching school.

Learning About the South Dakota Teacher Apprenticeship Pathway

Presenter: DSU Dean of the College of Education Dr. David De Jong

Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. in  Rooms 13-14

In this session, school leaders will learn about the SD TAP and review data from the first cohort of 78 teacher apprentices from all over South Dakota. This data includes retention, grade point average, competency testing, etc. We will also discuss national trends of apprenticeships in education.

We Don’t Have Time: Preparing our Schools to Meet Today’s Standards of Care

Presenter: Box Elder Assistant Chief of Police and Douglas School Board Member Chris Misselt

Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. in  Rooms 11-12

Communities expect their district to be prepared for emergencies and we should meet today’s standards of care. Naloxone, stop the bleed, CPR, and mass casualty programs sound important but there’s only so much time. Come learn about training design to fit any PD or student schedule, gaps between pre-hospital rescuers and your school nurse, how to leverage medical, public safety, and lay partners, and why it all can be cheaper and easier than you think.

Strengthening Connections – Family Engagement in Rural Communities

Presenter: Black Hills Special Services Deputy Director of Community Family Services Morgan Vonhaden

Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. in  Room 1

This session is dedicated to exploring effective strategies and best practices for fostering family engagement within rural communities. Participants will delve into the unique challenges and opportunities faced by rural schools and families, and discover innovative approaches to building strong partnerships. Through interactive discussions, research, and collaborative activities, attendees will gain insights into creating inclusive and supportive environments that promote student success and community involvement.

Architects & Physicians: Why Specialization Matters

Presenter: Mammoth Sports Construction Director of Business Development Derik Budig, Director of Sports Design, AIA, LEED AP Matt Keys and VP of Construction Matt Hohn

Thursday, 10:30 to 11:20 a.m. in Rooms 6-7

General practitioners don’t want to perform knee surgery. In the same manner, a generalist architect may not always be the best choice for your school’s project. Especially when it comes to sports facilities. Learn how a sports design can be part of your campus’ master plan and create fiscal responsibility in large-scale projects.

What Effective Leaders do to Foster the Key Characteristics of Quality Schools

Presenters: Cognia Midwest Regional Vice President Betsy Deal and Midwest Regional Director Shannon Vogler

Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. in Room 1

Key characteristics of effective schooling exist to guide your improvement journey and impact student success. How can a leader set your school on track for quality? Cognia (formerly AdvancED) has a legacy of identifying, measuring, and evaluating quality in schools. Learn the key characteristics of quality schools; ways you can gather meaningful insight into your current reality; and supports available to building leaders to help navigate the journey of improvement and support growth for your educators.

Tic-Tac-Toe: The Game of K-12 Master Planning

Presenters: CO-OP Architecture Senior Planner Tom Oster and Principal Tom Hurlbert

Thursday, 11:30 to 12:20 p.m. in Room 1

CO-OP’s tic-tac-toe method is a tool used in the master planning process to diagram where efficiencies can be found and where expansion will work best given existing campus conditions. This tool helps school districts with limited resources solve immediate problems while also thinking long-term, ultimately making district leaders more effective planners and stewards of their communities. This session will discuss the method in more detail, leaving room for Q&A.

Your Cooperative Options

Presenter: Cooperative Purchasing Connection Program Representative Julia Dangerfield

Thursday, 11:30 to 12:20 p.m. in Room 5

Cooperative Purchasing Connection (CPC) is an award-winning procurement service with a team of public nonprofit employees who work with you to make the procurement process more efficient! CPC will discuss how to leverage purchasing agencies to access contracts from local and national vendors that have a South Dakota presence.  Join us to hear how you can identify compliant cooperatives, shop vendor goods and services online, and save your agency money.

Building Connections: Intersecting the Lines of Education and Architecture

Presenter: ICON Architectural Group Director of Community Engagement Kyle Kvamme and Educational Development Advocate Travis Jordan

Friday, 10:00 to 10:50 a.m. in Room 1

Explore the link between education and architecture in our breakout session. We’ll discuss the power of connections, selecting the right partners for educational planning, and navigating the complexities of K-12 facilities. Learn how collaboration and intentional design can transform learning environments. Join us to discover practical strategies for success in this dynamic intersection.

Gimme A Break: Sensory Breaks 101

Presenter: RAS Ergonomics and Loss Control Consultants Theresa Parish and Kelly Marshall

Friday, 10:00 to 10:50 a.m. in Room 5

Sensory processing is a significant aspect of normal brain function. It helps us understand the world around us and interpret behaviors. Understanding the role of the senses will help us better understand how to improve the overall performance of the nervous system. Sensory breaks are activities that can be used to provide input to improve the nervous system’s performance. Using sensory breaks strategically throughout the day can help prevent student behaviors before they require de-escalation.