Nov. 11-17 is American Education Week
American Education Week is coming up this month. This special week recognizes the contributions of the various people who make up the public education system, from teachers to food service workers and counselors to bus drivers, and everyone in between. Thanks for all you do to make sure our state’s children are receiving the best education!

New DOE directors in place
Colleen O’Neil recently began as director of the department’s Division of Curriculum and Career and Technical Education, and Ann Larsen took over as the new director of the Division of Educational Services and Support. A recent transplant from Greeley, Colo., Colleen is a lifelong educator, having served in numerous positions, including teacher, chief learning officer, assistant principal and chief human resource officer. Ann has been with the department for more than 10 years, most recently serving as special education director.

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Partnership to help struggling college-bound students catch up
A collaborative effort between the Department of Education and Board of Regents will help the state’s college-bound juniors and seniors who may need some assistance to get up to speed before hitting campus for the first time.

New system identifies top-performing schools, schools to receive targeted interventions
As part of South Dakota’s waiver from No Child Left Behind, the state was required to identify the top 5 percent of public schools, as well as the lowest 5 percent of Title I schools, this fall. The schools were identified, in most cases, based on their scores on the new School Performance Index, or SPI, a 100-point index that encompasses key indicators that measure school performance.

Accountability sessions wrap up; webinar archived online
The Department of Education and School Administrators recently partnered to provide school leaders with more details about South Dakota’s new accountability model.

STARS pilot districts receive training in Pierre
Representatives from 10 pilot districts and all ESA regions were in Pierre last month to receive training on the new statewide longitudinal data system, dubbed the South Dakota Student Teacher Accountability Reporting System, or SD-STARS.

Whooping cough cases rise; parents urged to immunize kids
State health officials are seeing an increase in the number of whooping cough cases and urging people to make sure children are immunized.

Another round of Clean Diesel Grant Program funding opens
The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources just started accepting applications for the fifth round of funding under the South Dakota Clean Diesel Grant Program.