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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School library survey will collect data by district

On April 1, the South Dakota State Library opened the annual school library survey to collect data for the 2011-12 school year. Each district is asked to submit one survey per district rather than one survey per library. The survey will be available online through May 16. District superintendents should have been notified of survey access details via email on March 29.

The State Library is charged with collecting annual data from the state’s school libraries (SDCL 14-1-44 (7) Execution of State Library Policy).

The State Library will compile survey data and report back to superintendents in the fall of 2012 so that the data can be informative in the district’s decision-making processes and school improvement planning. Previous data digests are available on the State Library's website.

Research results from across the nation show that effective school libraries result in higher student achievement – achievement that can be measured in improved reading scores. Effective school libraries have a program, a place, and a professional who collaborates with and supports all content areas in delivering curriculum and meeting standards.

For more information, please contact Daria Bossman, Assistant State Librarian for Development Services, at (605)773-3131.