Secretary Schopp sat down with School Administrators of South Dakotaís Rob Monson to talk about the departmentís aspirations for the future.

2013 legislative session begins Tuesday
The 2013 Legislative Session gets underway on Jan. 8 with the Governorís State of the State address beginning at 1 p.m. (Central). You can listen in via South Dakota Public Broadcasting. You can also follow any education-related bills by visiting the Legislative Research Councilís webpage.

Final public draft of Next Generation Science Standards to be released Jan. 8
A second draft of the Next Generation Science Standards is scheduled to be made available for comment on Tuesday, Jan. 8. South Dakota was one of 26 lead states involved in development of the standards. Click here for more information.

Farm to Schools grant winners announced
Congratulations to Flandreau Indian School on its successful Farm to Schools grant application. Flandreau received a planning grant for $39,463.

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USDA announces meat, grains flexibility in school meals

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture added flexibility to school menu planning by removing daily and weekly maximums on the grain and meat requirements for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year. The announcement was made in response to lawmakers who requested the changes after receiving complaints from constituents in their home states. Calorie maximums are still in place.

Schools that have already had their menus certified do not need to resubmit anything. Schools that are preparing to submit their menus for certification can do so if you have a red box/no in the areas regarding daily and weekly grain and meat maximums. The minimums must still be met for these items and the calorie requirements must still be met. The memo states that USDA will be updating the instructions for the certification tool.

The USDA memo, which can be accessed on their websiteís policy section, outlines the changes and recent updates. The memo, policy # 11-2013 on the list, also discusses the intent and concerns of the changes.