Celebrating American Education Week
American Education Week is Nov. 13-19. Listen to a message from South Dakota’s Secretary of Education.

Outstanding educators recognized
Congratulations to Pat Moller, Mitchell, South Dakota’s 2012 Teacher of the Year, and Nicole Keegan, Rapid City, the state’s newest Milken Award winner!

Danielson pilot schools selected
Twelve districts have been chosen for the pilot to implement the new state standards for teaching, based on Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching.

The pilot districts are: Aberdeen, Brookings, Custer, Deuel (middle school only), Harrisburg, Kimball, McCook Central, Stanley County, Todd County, Wagner, Webster Area and White River.

The pilot districts will receive training and technical assistance from either East Dakota Educational Cooperative or TIE.

To learn more about this project, contact Deb Barnett or Lanette Johnston at the Department of Education.

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Inside the NCLB flexibility package

South Dakota is working on an application to apply for 10 flexibilities from No Child Left Behind, as announced by the U.S. Department of Education in late September. In exchange, the state must agree to address four key principles aimed at improving student achievement and increasing the quality of instruction.

U.S. Ed’s 10 flexibilities
U.S. Ed’s 4 key principles

“In some respects, it seems that by applying for this waiver, we are exchanging one system for another,” said Dr. Melody Schopp, South Dakota’s secretary of education. “However, we know that NCLB has not been an effective mechanism for accountability, and this gives us an opportunity to establish our own state-developed system that has to meet some broad federal requirements.”

Schopp said South Dakota plans to design a waiver application that aligns with the state’s long-range educational priorities. “When it’s completed, our waiver application should provide a comprehensive plan that braids together our efforts related to quality standards and assessments, college and career readiness, effective teachers and leaders, and ambitious but achievable goals for schools.”

The state Department of Education has been working with an Accountability Work Group, which was assembled prior to the announcement of the flexibilities, to develop a new accountability system for South Dakota. Schopp said that group’s work will help to inform the state’s application.

The group consists of representatives from the education field, and includes superintendents, principals, teachers, other school administrators, legislators, and representatives from the South Dakota Education Association, School Administrators, Associated School Boards, Board of Education, and higher education.

Click here to access a PowerPoint that offers a brief overview of U.S. Ed’s flexibility package.