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

School safety key for student success

Greetings, and welcome to a new year! As you return to your schools, Iím sure many of you are still trying to wrap your heads around the senseless tragedy in Connecticut last month. The break was much-needed and I enjoyed spending time with my loved ones for the holidays, but the sorrow I felt for my fellow educators across the country was always fresh in my mind.

In light of the tragedy, I would encourage you to coordinate with local law enforcement and review your disaster response plans. Conduct drills, talk with your staffs and encourage them to talk with their students in ways that are age-appropriate.

The Department of Public Safety also has offered to serve as a resource for schools by reviewing plans and helping to evaluate current or prospective security measures.

We all have so much to look forward to in the coming year. Please accept my best wishes for a happy and healthy 2013.