New Director of Assessment and Accountability on board
The Department of Education is excited to welcome its newest division director to the table. Abby Javurek-Humig took over the helm as Director of the Division of Assessment and Accountability last month. Javurek-Humig is a Pierre native, moving back to South Dakota from New Mexico, where she worked in postsecondary education.

Three South Dakota elementaries earn Blue Ribbon status
Congratulations to Groton Area Elementary, Parker Elementary and Wall Elementary! Those three schools recently earned Blue Ribbon status under a U.S. Department of Education program.
Click here to learn more.

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

Partnership will save time, money

I am excited to be sharing information about a collaborative effort between the Department of Education and the Board of Regents. It has been in the works for several months, and I am happy to see it taking off. It is an effort aimed at helping students who are college-bound but may need some assistance to get them up to speed before hitting the college campus for the first time.

The program will allow students to complete remedial coursework prior to entering one of the Board of Regents’ institutions; thus, saving the students precious time and money.

Here’s how it will work:

• Students whose ACT sub-scores fall below 20 in math and 18 in English will receive a letter from the department encouraging them to participate in remedial coursework available through SD Virtual School. Participation is voluntary.

• Through SD Virtual School, the student will take a diagnostic assessment, which will generate online coursework tailored specifically to his or her needs.

• The Board of Regents will honor successful completion of the tailored coursework, allowing students who successfully complete the coursework to enter directly into college-level courses.

• The online remedial coursework will be available to students beginning in January 2013. Students, and their families, will be responsible for the cost of any coursework.

The department will be sending out information about this new program to districts later this month. Letters to students will be going out shortly after that.

There are several reasons why we think remediation prior to entering college is the way to go. Number one: Remedial courses at the postsecondary level cost significantly more than this new option through SD Virtual School (approximately $800 versus $200-$300). Second, a postsecondary remedial course is classified as zero-credit, meaning it does not count towards graduation. And, finally, students who enter postsecondary prepared to complete college-level courses have proven to more successfully progress toward earning a degree.