Legislature approves state training for Common Core & more
During the 2012 session, the Governor proposed and Legislature approved $8.4 million for training related to Common Core and other key areas.

Mathiesen presents on mass customized learning
South Dakota Board of Education member and TIE Director Dr. Julie Mathiesen presented on the topic of mass customized learning at the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education in Houston last month.

Preparing for the Dakota STEP
The 2012 Dakota STEP testing window beings on April 2 and will end April 20.

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

Moving forward

Growing up, my family moved a lot. That experience has had a profound influence on me. Most notably, I learned not to be afraid of change. I learned that with new surroundings came new opportunities, new chances, new experiences. Certainly, there were challenges, but in my experience, the positives outweighed the negatives.

South Dakota has an unprecedented opportunity at hand. If you think of the education system as a giant puzzle, several critical pieces of that puzzle are coming together at one time. The Common Core standards are laying the foundation for future learning. The new state standards for teaching provide a road map for what good teaching looks like and will help teachers facilitate deeper learning. We have a proposed new accountability model on the horizon, and through HB 1234, we have a chance to reward teachers and address the market-based needs of districts.

It’s a lot of change, and it’s happening all at once. But it’s also an extraordinary opportunity. Educators across the state have the chance to be a part of this historic work. HB 1234, alone, requires that six groups be established to help with implementing the concepts in that bill. Below is a list of those groups. At this time, the department is collecting names of individuals interested in serving on the various work groups. We will be looking for bright, passionate individuals who represent a variety of viewpoints, and I encourage any of you with an interest to share your time and talents. To learn more about the work groups and to indicate interest in participating in a group, click here.

Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship Board – will select critical teaching needs scholarship recipients

Local Teacher Reward Plan Advisory Council – will provide input in developing one or more model local teacher reward plans

Local Teacher Reward Plan Oversight Board – will review and approve/deny local teacher reward plans

Teacher Evaluation Work Group – will provide input in developing the four-tier rating system and evaluation instrument used by districts for teacher evaluation

Principal Evaluation Work Group – will provide input in developing principal standards, four-tier rating system and evaluation instrument used by districts for principal evaluation

South Dakota Education Reform Advisory Council – will advise on implementation of the act and examine initiatives for increased teacher compensation, areas of critical need, and improving student achievement

We have much work ahead of us as an education community. While change can be challenging, it causes us to re-think, to re-focus and to re-adjust based on a new perspective.

My best to you as you finish out these last months of the school year, and as always, thank you for your work on behalf of South Dakota’s children.