New on our YouTube channel
Deputy Secretary Mary Stadick Smith gives a brief synopsis of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s proposals for education funding in FY14.

South Dakota represented on Nutrition Association’s National Board of Directors
South Dakota now has representation on the School Nutrition Association’s National Board of Directors. Brandon Valley School District Food Services Director Gay Anderson was voted in as the board’s Education Committee Chair during SNA’s 2012 elections. For more information, visit the School Nutrition Association website.

Rapid City teacher presented with $25,000 Milken Award
Congratulations to Alayna Siemonsma! The fourth-grade teacher and literacy leader at South Park Elementary School in Rapid City received the surprise of a lifetime last month when she was presented with a Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. The award, which comes with an unrestricted cash prize of $25,000, was bestowed upon her during a school assembly.

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U.S. Department of Ed releases Civil Rights, Educational Equity report

In November, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights released a report describing OCR’s progress and activity over the last four years on civil rights enforcement and educational equity.

The report, “Helping to Ensure Equal Access to Education,” describes how OCR has transformed its enforcement approach to better promote and advance educational equity for all students, while maximizing the office’s efficiency and impact, even as the number of complaints received by OCR has grown by almost a quarter over the last four years. OCR both received and resolved more than 28,500 complaints during this time period.

The report also discusses OCR’s work to:
• support the equal rights of students to a safe school environment and to resources and programs they need to be prepared for college and careers;
• revamp the Civil Rights Data Collection to provide educators and the public with a clearer picture of the “equity health” of schools; and
• align its efforts with President Obama’s goal of restoring this nation’s position as a global leader in the proportion of college graduates by 2020, by improving educational equity and excellence.

The report also documents a range of systemic improvements OCR has made in how it operates.

Click here to access the report.