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

Summer is certainly a time for relaxing, but it’s also prime time for professional development, and that’s energizing.

I recently attended the Education Commission of the States National Forum on Education Policy in Washington, D.C., with LuAnn Lindskov, South Dakota’s 2014 Teacher of the Year. The forum brings together a broad spectrum of individuals, from elected officials, state education chiefs and teachers to business leaders and researchers.

As I’m sure you’ve experienced with any good professional development, the best part is getting back to your daily duties and putting to work what you’ve learned. Being back in South Dakota, it’s exciting to think of all the great PD happening across the state as thousands of teachers get training in student learning objectives.

Momentum is building as the 2014-15 school year approaches and educators gear up to plan for or implement the new teacher and principal effectiveness systems. The SLO trainings should be very helpful in this process.

Along those lines, the response to reserving of Teachscape licenses for next school year has been great. I’m glad you’re finding value in this system. It, too, is a valuable tool for supporting the ongoing professional growth of teachers. Congratulations to those of you who have taken and passed the voluntary exam to show mastery of the observation process! I admire and appreciate your commitment. Thank you.

Hot Topics

Education professor says student learning objectives will be good for students

Go to: http://www.aberdeennews.com/news/opinion/neville-new-slo-measurements-better-for-students/article_5825e7a1-65c8-5c61-8137-a705d99c0d53.html for a recent editorial in the Aberdeen American News.

Gov. Daugaard visits Manufacturing Academy in Yankton
In June, Gov. Dennis Daugaard visited a Manufacturing Academy held at the Regional Technical Education Center in Yankton. In February, Yankton received a Governor’s Grant for Career and Technical Education. Grant funding made it possible to expand the academy into a two-week, credit bearing course. This year, students from Wagner and Yankton participated.

Yankton is also working to involve additional schools in next year’s academy and in Friday classes held during the school year at the RTEC.

The center also held a Transportation Academy this summer.

Preliminary Report Card available soon within SD-STARS for district review

The Department of Education is preparing for the release of the state Report Card. This year’s Report Card will be different from last year’s because there will be no new student achievement data to report for math and English language arts (except for a few Hutterite Colony schools). Updated data will be reported related to attendance, four-year cohort graduation rate, high school completion, college readiness and highly qualified teacher status.

There will be no new School Performance Index scores issued. Current school accountability classifications will remain in place for the 2014-15 school year.

Below is the TENTATIVE schedule for release of the 2013-14 Report Card:

• July 14-18 – Districts review and validate data in SD-STARS. If data errors are discovered, this is the time to fix them. We recommend that you have your accountability team available during this time to assist with the data review process.

• Aug. 15 – Department provides districts with final data prior to public release of the Report Card

• Aug. 16-18 – Districts share local data with key stakeholders, including boards of education

• Aug. 19 – Public release of statewide data in the 2013-14 Report Card

• Sept. 5 – Deadline for formal appeals to be submitted to the department

• Sept. 19 – Deadline for department to make decisions on formal appeals

Read SD!

Learn about the 20 Minutes, 24/7 reading pledge and how to use Lexile scores to help students find books that are both engaging and challenging.

Watch video at: http://youtu.be/X3TijSjWXng

Educators wanted to help set Smarter Balanced achievement level descriptors

Now that the Smarter Balanced Field Test has concluded, achievement levels must be set for next year’s fully operational assessment. This process will include an online panel, scheduled for Oct. 6-17, that will allow up to 250,000 K-12 educators, higher education faculty, parents and other interested parties to participate virtually in recommending achievement levels. This is a critical opportunity to collect input from a diverse group of participants and establish consistent measures of progress.

By participating in the online session, panelists will recommend an achievement level score that demonstrates how much students should know or be able to do in order to reach Achievement Level 3 (proficient) at the grade-level standards and to be on track for eventual college and career readiness. It is important to have as many participants as possible, from as many backgrounds as possible, provide these recommendations.

The process of setting achievement levels will establish performance standards that are rigorous, fair and accurate. The recommendations will be based on achievement level descriptors written and approved by Smarter Balanced governing states last year, the claims and targets defined for each content area and grade level, as well as educators’ expertise in their content area and experience with students. Acceptance of recommended scores is subject to existing approval processes within the individual consortium states.

The online panel to recommend achievement levels will occur during a two-day window within the October 6–17 time period. It will take panelists up to three hours to complete the orientation process, review test questions and recommend a score for Achievement Level 3.

Interested participants can register at http://smarterbalanced.measinc.com/EventCode/100614.

On the registration site, you will be asked to choose the grade and content area (English language arts/literacy or mathematics) in which you want to participate. You will be asked to provide an email address, role and demographic information. You will then be asked to verify your email and select a two-day window for participation.

Registrations must be submitted online by September 19.

It is very important to keep your registration confirmation email. The Department of Education will not be able to retrieve it for you.

Contact Jan Martin, Department of Education, at (605) 773-3246 or jan.martin@state.sd.us with questions.

Districts report positive experiences with Smarter Balanced Field Test

Results are in from a survey sent to districts that administered the Smarter Balanced Field Test this spring. More than 350 educators involved in test administration provided feedback about their experiences.

“We really appreciate this feedback,” said Secretary of Education Melody Schopp. “Districts worked very hard to make the field test a success, and we at the department are now focused on making sure next year’s fully operational test goes even better.”

Thousands of South Dakota teachers begin summer training on student learning objectives

Teacher training in student learning objectives is now underway across South Dakota. Student learning objectives are teacher-driven goals or sets of goals that establish expectations for student academic growth over a specific period of time. They form the basis of the student growth rating in South Dakota’s new educator effectiveness systems. These specific, measurable student learning goals are based on the most important student learning which needs to occur in the classroom and should be aligned to applicable content standards for that classroom.

“We received feedback during the teacher and principal effectiveness pilot in 2013-14, that educators would like training in identifying the priority content area and writing quality assessments, rubrics and performance measures,” said Abby Javurek-Humig, director of assessment and accountability for the South Dakota Department of Education. “In response to that feedback, these trainings have been designed to take place over two days, with day one focused on introducing the concept of SLOs, and day two focused specifically on helping teachers write quality assessments.”

Grant funding available for school libraries

The Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant application for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years has been announced and is due by July 17. A large portion of the IAL program funds underserved school libraries. For eligibility and application information, go to: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovapproaches-literacy/index.html.

School personnel invited to attend 2014 Homeland Security Conference

The 2014 Homeland Security Conference will be held Aug. 26-28 in Rapid City. The conference will provide information about emerging threats and emergency response planning for school personnel, emergency management, law enforcement, firefighters, and security and healthcare personnel.

To view the conference agenda, read about speakers and register, go to: http://www.cvent.com/d/fdz5wWlv5kyi7reJbP3eOA/f94b/P1/1Q.

The registration fee is $100.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Best Western Ramkota Inn in Rapid City.

Contact Michelle Pluta, conference coordinator, at (605) 773-2675 or michelle.pluta@state.sd.us for assistance regarding the conference.

REMINDER: 2014 Homeland Security grant funding available
Applications are now being accepted for security grants. Public and non-public schools are eligible to apply. For more information, go to: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2014/June/art_2.aspx.

Teacher shortage areas designated for 2014-15

The U.S. Department of Education has designated the following areas as South Dakota’s teacher shortage areas for the 2014-15 school year.

Academic Disciplines:
Career & Technical Education (7-12)
English as a New Language (K-12)
Language Arts (7-12)
Mathematics (7-12)
Science (7-12)
Special Education (K-12)
World Languages (K-12)

Geographic Areas:
Bennett County
Cheyenne Indian Reservation
Corson County
Crow Creek Indian Reservation
Jackson County
Lower Brule Indian Reservation
Mellette County
Roberts County
Shannon County
Todd County

This federal designation of teacher shortage areas may qualify borrowers for deferment or forgiveness of outstanding Federal Family Education Loans, Federal Stafford Loans or Federal Perkins Loans. Qualification depends on the type of loan and the date issued.

These designations may also enable grant recipients to fulfill their teaching obligation under the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program.

Individuals teaching in one of the designated areas can contact the lender holding their loans to determine whether the loans qualify for deferment or forgiveness. The Federal Student Aid Hotline at 1-800-4FED-AID is also available to answer questions.

School principals are delegated authority to provide certification that eligible borrowers are teaching in a designated teacher shortage area.

Upcoming Events:

For a complete list of events, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.

Standards Based IEP and IEPq
July 16, Mission
July 17, Rapid City
July 22, Platte
July 23, Wagner
July 30, Madison

With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts it is more important than ever to ensure all students have access to grade level content. The IEPq tool facilitates communication between general education and special education teachers so that students’ specific needs in various standards and skill areas can be more effectively met. Through this collaboration, educators can write goals using the "Goal Assistant" in IEPq to better target students’ needs and help them make progress in the general curriculum. The training will introduce participants to the standards-based IEP process and provide access to the online IEPq tool to assist in goal development.

To register, go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com. Search by course title.

State Board of Education meeting
July 21, Pierre

The South Dakota Board of Education is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. CDT, in the Library Commons, first floor of the MacKay Building, 800 Governors Drive. The meeting will include a public hearing to consider the adoption and amendment of proposed rules in chapter 24:05:24.01 (eligibility criteria – autism spectrum disorder) and section 24:55:01:01(37) (“students with disabilities” accountability definition). The third of four public hearings on proposed physical education standards will also be held. A complete agenda will be posted at least 24 hours in advance at doe.sd.gov/board/.

Top 20 Training
July 21-22, Rapid City
July 23-24, Sioux Falls

Rest assured that when you attend a Top 20 Training seminar, you won’t find yourself staring at the ceiling or watching the clock. The presentation team is a high-energy group dedicated to helping schools reach their full potential.

Top 10 seminar benefits:
1) Eliminating negative mental habits (apathy, boredom, procrastination)
2) Learning to live above the line
3) Learning from mistakes
4) Developing star qualities
5) Discovering hidden relevancy
6) Breaking out of the comfort zone
7) Resolving conflicts effectively
8) Mastering the art of bettering yourself
9) Identifying and overcoming self-destructive beliefs
10) Taking responsibility for and discovering your true self

To learn more about Top 20 Training, go to: http://www.top20training.com/about-top-20/who-is-it-for/.

To register, go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com. Search by course title.

CTE Standards Implementation
July 27, Mitchell

This CTE Standards Implementation training is designed for those who are new to teaching approved Career & Technical Education courses or those who are looking to revamp current courses.

Throughout training, participants will learn about the latest South Dakota labor market projections in their content area, evaluate current course offerings and align courses to appropriate CTE standards. By the end of training, participants will complete at least one course's curriculum plan and receive guidance on doing the same for other courses.

This training would also be useful for school administrators who want to learn more about the knowledge and skills students should master within the approved CTE program(s) at their school/district. Administrators and teachers could work together on program and curriculum planning throughout the day.

The training is scheduled from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. local time. Please bring a laptop and any course materials you would like to reference (online content subscriptions, course syllabi, unit outlines, current curriculum map, lab/project outlines, texts or manuals, etc.).

Participants will receive continuing education hours. Career Cluster Specialists from the Department of Education will be on hand to guide participants through the standards implementation process and to answer questions.

To register, go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/. Search by course title.

SDACTE Summer Conference
July 28-29, Mitchell

The South Dakota Association for Career and Technical Education Summer Conference will be held at Mitchell Technical Institute and will include numerous professional development opportunities, including keynote speakers, tours, in-depth sessions and breakouts.

Registration is by mail only. For more information, go to: http://www.lakeareatech.edu/sdacte/. Look under the “Conference” heading.

Developing Universally Designed Lessons
Aug. 11, Rapid City
Aug. 13, Sioux Falls

This workshop will focus on developing universally designed lessons focusing on the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) curriculum and instruction materials.

Districts are encouraged to send an education team. Teams may be composed of the special education teacher, general education teacher, paraprofessionals, and/or related service providers. Teams will bring a student scenario and lesson plan and leave with lessons, materials and strategies adapted to meet the needs of their students that can be used on the first day of school.

Go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/ to register. Search by course title.

IEP Process in Action
Aug. 14-Oct. 10, various dates and locations statewide

This training is designed to provide an overview of criteria used in the special education process. Participants will review and identify errors and omissions in the compliance requirements from referral to placement. Registration is limited to 50 participants. If more than 50 people have registered, you will receive an email indicating that you are on the waiting list.

Go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/ to register. Search by course title.

IEP Back to Basics
Sept. 11, Aberdeen
Sept. 22, Rapid City
Sept. 29, Sioux Falls

This training is designed for special education teachers and will cover the details of special education referral to placement . During this training, participants will review all forms as they follow the special education process from referral through consent, evaluation, eligibility, IEP development and parental prior written notice. Registration is limited to 50 participants. If more than 50 people have registered, you will receive an email indicating that you are on the waiting list.

Go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/ to register. Search by course title.

Indian Education Summit
Sept. 28-30, Pierre

For details, go to: http://indianeducation.sd.gov/summit.aspx