Mary Stadick Smith, SD Department of Education's Operations and Information Director, speaks about the department's plan for assessment for the 2013-14 school year.

Districts will have flexibility to use alternate teacher evaluation systems

The South Dakota Board of Education has passed rules that would provide school districts flexibility to use their own teacher evaluation systems, as long as those systems align with the South Dakota standards for teaching, are research based, and include a valid measure of student growth.

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Another round of Clean Diesel Grant Program funding opens

The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be accepting applications for the sixth round of funding under the South Dakota Clean Diesel Grant Program. The program provides funds to assist schools in purchasing new public school buses to replace old, high-emitting diesel school buses, and to equip in-use diesel school buses with exhaust control retrofit devices that significantly reduce toxic soot emissions. The primary goal of the program is to reduce students’ exposure to pollution.

There is no cost for the exhaust control retrofits. Eligibility for the retrofits includes any South Dakota public school district that directly provides transportation services. Total award per school district for a replacement bus will be approximately 25 percent of replacement cost and may be more depending on the number of successful applicants. Districts that have not received a replacement bus in previous rounds will have preference. DENR intends to award funds to as many eligible applicants throughout the state as possible.

The application deadline for round six is Dec. 20, 2013. Click here for more information about the program, or contact the DENR Air Quality office at (605) 773-3151.