Fall 2021

MSGIA Full Suite of Risk Management Services

By Shawn Bubb, Director of Insurance Services

Although experienced school district administrators and school board members are well aware that leveraging key partners’ resources such as those of the MSGIA helps districts achieve desired educational outcomes, new members of these important groups may not be so informed. Accordingly, given the significant turnover occurring in both areas, I offer for your consideration the following full review of the MSGIA risk-management services available to your district. Read more

Cybersecurity – Risk Management Best Practices for Montana Public Schools

 By Matt Komac, MSGIA Assistant Director for Property & Liability Pool Operations

As I am sure you have seen in the news, cyberattacks are becoming increasingly prevalent in all sectors of society, and, not surprisingly, public school districts are not immune to this unwelcome trend.  In fact, the FBI recently reported that schools are now the most popular targets of ransomware attacks.  As a case in point, the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack that occurred this spring underscores not only how vulnerable an entity can be when access to an IT system is compromised but how costly these incidences are.  This particular attack resulted in a $4.4 million payday to the responsible criminal gang known as Darkside.  Due to the lack of funding and cyber security training, schools like ours in Montana are vulnerable to ransomware attacks because they hold sensitive data that entities like Darkside deem to be valuable.  Read more

Bus Driver Safety Tips

By Harry Cheff, Risk Management Associate and Annette Satterly, Risk Management Associate

Over the vast stretches of Montana highways from August through June, school districts across the state will transport students to school, to extra/co-curricular activities, to conferences, field trips, and other places and events.  The important role a bus driver plays in this immense and immensely important daily operation of the district cannot be overstated. And with this duty for transporting students safely comes tremendous responsibility.  Bus drivers must therefore always ensure that they have taken every precaution and followed all protocols prior to departure while driving, and even after a trip has concluded. Read more


MSGIA-Provided Safety and Security Risk Management Resources with Secure Educational Consultants

By Shawn Bubb, Director of Insurance Services

The MSGIA has been adjusting our risk management resources annually to adapt to the changing Montana educational landscape.  This school year is no exception. We want to start you off on the right foot with information that helps your staff best address what will be coming their way. To that end, the MSGIA will be working more closely beginning this academic year with a long-time risk management partner to our pool, Secure Educational Consultants.  Many of our members have likely heard and seen the SEC President, Jason Russell, talk on various security and general school risk management topics. Read more

Topics that Improve Safety Culture

By Annette Satterly, Risk Management Associate and Harry Cheff, Risk Management Associate

Many of us panic when we think about workplace safety and, as part of that anxiety, the challenges of changing safety culture within a district. I believe that this common sense of concern comes from a lack of time, a vague sense of not knowing where or how to start, and, perhaps most notably, a fear of having no help to do what needs to be when it comes to these pressing and important matters. Please, know, however, that you do not have to go it alone. You have an incredibly powerful team standing by you – your greater employee base. Your staff defines the culture for the district each and every day. So, remember when you’re beginning to worry that it’s important for you and your team to exude the confidence that comes with knowing that you are doing your part each day to effectively address all safety concerns and to counter the anxiety that so often accompanies this important shared work.  Read more

School Trip Travel Safety

By Kevin Bartsch, MSGIA Assistant Director WC Pool Operations

As we begin what we hope will be a more normal school year, we prepare once more for the possibility of school-sponsored travel.  As was the case prior to the pandemic, off-campus travel will accompany sporting events, field trips, and other similar activities.  To help ensure that this return to school-related travel is safe, I have outlined below a number of general guidelines for the students, coaches, and sponsors. Read more