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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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. The U.S. Department of Education has compiled a collection of resources related to school safety.

Topics range from helping children recover from traumatic events to creating and updating school emergency management plans. South Dakota Administrative Rule 24:43:09:01 requires school boards to have written plans for the safety of their students. These plans must include drills for events of fire, tornado and other disasters. These disaster preparation drills must be documented and are part of a schoolís accreditation process.

Quick thinking and action taken by administrators and teachers prevented further losses during the Sandy Hook tragedy. Although itís scary to think about, encouraging school boards to have plans in place, and hold drills for, other disaster situations such as this can be key to minimizing losses in the event of a tragedy.

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety can also offer assistance Ė by reviewing plans and helping to evaluate current or prospective security measures.