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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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.

Beyond just pulling in data and accessing the portal, these “Data STARS” learned how they can navigate the portal and use the data to analyze outcomes and ultimately improve instruction.

Jill Burns, Assistant Computer Technician from Andes Central School District, said, “[SD-STARS] is so easy to use, and you get great reports in your hands in minutes!” Helen Schwarting, teacher in White River School District, agrees. “…It will require less time organizing and more time to analyze. We can get into the nitty gritty of the data and see what we can do to help our students…”

Before the department rolls SD-STARS out to districts statewide, data management staff are gathering insight from pilot districts and doing any necessary troubleshooting. The hope is that pilot districts can serve as ambassadors for the system in the future. In addition, the ESAs will provide support to districts in their region. The statewide rollout is expected to begin March 2013.

For more information, click here.