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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Plan for Smarter Balanced assessment continues to move forward
Pending approval from the U.S. Department of Education, South Dakota students in grades 3-8 and 11 will take the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Field Test beginning March 18, 2014.

SD Commission on Teaching and Learning develops model teacher effectiveness system
Beginning in 2014-15, all South Dakota public school districts will be required to have a teacher effectiveness system in place.

Standards, model effectiveness system for principals developed
Several South Dakota work groups have been involved in developing standards and a model system of evaluation for principals.

SDDOE announces professional development package for administrators
The South Dakota Department of Education has developed a package of professional development opportunities for school administrators for the 2013-14 school year.

Another round of Clean Diesel Grant Program funding opens
Applications are due Dec. 20, 2013, to the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the sixth round of funding under the South Dakota Clean Diesel Grant Program.

Blue Ribbon Schools announced
The U.S. Department of Education has announced its 2013 Blue Ribbon Schools, a distinguished group of 290 schools across the country that includes four from South Dakota.

Students may apply for Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
Now through Nov. 5, 2013, students in grades 5-12 are invited to apply for Prudential Spirit of Community Awards if they have made meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service within the past 12 months.

JAG program expanding in South Dakota
Two additional South Dakota school districts will be implementing Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), aimed at preventing dropouts.