Dakota STEP testing begins
The Dakota STEP testing window has opened. Test administration began April 2 and must conclude by April 20.

April is School Library Month
Spring is a good time to celebrate school libraries – and to recognize the contributions that library staff make in improving educational outcomes for students.

i3 Fund grants announced
The U.S. Department of Education has issued notices inviting applications for “validation grants” (up to $15 million) and “scale-up grants” (up to $25 million) through the Investing in Innovation, or i3, Fund. School districts, groups of schools, and non-profits organizations in partnership with districts and schools are eligible to compete for these grants, with applications due May 29. Grant awards will be made to those with the strongest proposals for expanding promising or effective educational practices to improve learning.

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High schools must begin offering either Capstone, Service Learning

Beginning with those entering 9th grade in fall 2013, students will be required to take at least one unit of credit from the following (in any combination), in order to meet the state’s minimum graduation requirements:

• Approved Career and Technical Education courses
• Capstone Experience or Service Learning • World languages

Because of this new requirement, school districts will need to offer either a Capstone – such as a Senior Experience, Youth Internship or Entrepreneurship Experience – or Service Learning. Not all of the options have to be offered, though a school could choose to offer all, or several, if it wishes.

Click here to see the differences between each of the options in capstone experience and service learning. Trainings will be held in school year 2012-13 for schools interested in learning more about the opportunities and requirements. Watch the Department of Education’s website for information, as dates and locations are still being finalized.

For more information on capstone experiences and service learning, visit doe.sd.gov/octe/capstone.asp. State graduation requirements can be found at doe.sd.gov/octe/gradrequirements.asp.