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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Secretary's Column
By Dr. Melody Schopp
Department of Education

Work group response positive

Less than a month after the department began seeking volunteers from the education community to fill several work groups tied to HB 1234, we had more than 350 educators say they wanted to be part of the process.

After all the dialogue that took place following the announcement of Governor Daugaard’s plan to make some changes to the education system, I’m pleased that you and your teachers continue to step up in hopes of finding the best possible solution for our students.

Beyond HB 1234, we have a lot of work ahead of us to hold our focus over the summer. New school meal patterns begin to take effect in the fall. Many of the changes are being phased in gradually. Click here to see all the details of the implementation timeline.

We continue to move ahead with implementation of the Common Core standards for English and math; development of the Next Generation Science Standards; plans for a new accountability system; and groundwork for a new Longitudinal Data System.

Yes, there is a lot of new material on the table, but it all weaves together for a stronger education system for South Dakota.