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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South Dakota unveils portal for Common Core Resources collection
The Department of Education has officially unveiled its online portal offering a compilation of open educational resources aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

Dakota STEP going online in spring 2014
A year from now, in the spring of 2014, all South Dakota students who take the Dakota STEP assessment will be doing so online.

Smarter Balanced pilots to begin this spring
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which is developing the new assessment aligned to the Common Core, has announced that it will be running an assessment pilot in spring 2013. The new assessment will be used statewide for the first time during the 2014-15 school year.

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.

School safety resources: Preparedness is key
In light of last monthís tragedy in Connecticut, school safety has been at the forefront of school leadersí minds.

Grant funds available for after-school programs
The South Dakota Department of Education recently opened the application process for the federally funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) competitive grant program.

South Dakota signs onto advanced teacher preparation initiative
South Dakota is one of 25 states that have expressly committed to advance recommendations aimed at dramatically improving educator preparation and entry into the profession.

Common Core connections part of Electronic Resources Challenge
The E-Resources Challenge is a self-paced learning opportunity that explores content and features in the South Dakota State Libraryís electronic resources.