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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Upcoming Events

Early Childhood Education Conference
April 12-14, Spearfish

The theme for this year’s conference is “Planting the Seeds of Change.” The conference will present tried and true best practices for parents and early childhood education professionals alike. Attendees will also learn about new and improved methods available to develop our future leaders.

Click here for more information or to register.

26th Annual TIE Conference
April 15-17, Sioux Falls

The annual TIE Conference has gained a reputation for having the best classroom teachers, network administrators and education administrators share their strategies, methods and best practices. This year’s event will feature dozens of four-hour, in-depth workshops, nearly 100 breakout sessions, three world-class keynote speakers, an expanded exhibit hall, prizes and much more.

Watch www.tie.net/ for more information as the conference date approaches.

SPARK Physical Education Workshop
May 29-30, Mitchell

Teachers will be motivated and ready to “SPARK-up” their students for a lifetime of good health with the SPARK Physical Education workshop held May 29- 30 at Mitchell Middle School.

SPARK PE has been identified as a successful model for improving the quantity and quality of physical activity/education. Participants in the SPARK PE workshop will learn how to maximize class activity time, without sacrificing learning and to make their PE classes more inclusive, active and fun! For additional information about this free workshop and to register for one or both days of the workshop, click here.

21st Century Community Learning Centers Conference
May 29-30, Pierre

Attend the annual 21st CCLC conference to learn how to provide students with the best possible learning experience – inside and outside the classroom. Find out how to build on, enhance and support academic enrichment outside of school time through communication and community involvement strategies.

Preference is given to 21st CCLC grantees, but registration is open to other schools or organizations as well, and renewal credit is available for educators.

Click here to register or contact Jill Cotton for more information.

LifeSkills Training
May 30-31 in Watertown OR Aug. 15-16 in Spearfish

LifeSkills training will be conducted in Watertown on May 30-31, and on Aug. 15-16 in Spearfish. LifeSkills is a proven, highly effective, substance abuse prevention program. This comprehensive program provides adolescents and young teens with the confidence and skills necessary to resist social pressures to smoke tobacco, to drink, and to use drugs.

Click on the training locations listed above for specific details. To register for either of the trainings, click here.

Harvest of the Month training
June 5-6 in Sioux Falls, June 12-13 in Rapid City OR Aug. 7-8 in Pierre

Learn how to organize a Harvest of the Month Team for your school or community. Attendees will prepare recipes, create lessons and evaluation, discuss food-to-table demonstrations, and learn about growing and transplanting.

The cost is free for up to two people per school or community agency, with a $500 Team Nutrition mini-grant available for implementation of a Harvest of the Month project. College credit and CEUs pending. Click here for details on how to register, or contact Mary Kirk for more information.

ELL/Migrant Education Conference
June 20-21, Chamberlain

Join Dr. Catherine Collier for a one-day workshop, with keynote presentations by Dr. Sara Waring and Jane Hill, as part of the Department of Education’s inaugural ELL/Migrant Education Conference. With the percent of migrant and English Language Learner students on the rise in South Dakota, come learn about the challenges that migrant and ELL students face and find out about the latest strategies to help them succeed.

Registration is free, with some meals provided. One transcripted credit is being offered at the participant’s expense.

Click here to register, or contact Shannon Malone for more information.