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

The Department of Education is driven by four primary goals:

1) Students enter 4th grade proficient or advanced in reading.
2) Students enter 9th grade proficient or advanced in math.
3) Increase the academic success of Native American students.
4) Students graduate high school ready for postsecondary and the workforce.

This fall will mark the beginning of important work focused on the two goals relating to reading and math proficiency.

To acquire these skills, students need strong foundational supports:

1) High-quality standards and instruction and
2) Effective teachers and leaders

In order to bolster those supports, the department is offering select schools access to instructional coaches in the 2014-15 school year. Reading coaches will assist K-3 teachers, and math coaches will work with educators in grades 4-8. Schools were selected based on proficiency rates on the Dakota STEP.

Participating schools will need to implement benchmark assessments in the content area. Coaching will focus on foundational skills and the use of data from those benchmark assessments.

Through one-on-one coaching, for example, reading teachers will get support in embedding phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension into their core instruction. Math coaches will help teachers incorporate the Common Core shifts in math standards and the four math claims developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

At least once a month, teachers will have the opportunity to collaborate with coaches, receiving immediate feedback on their teaching and assistance in analyzing data and student evidence to determine next steps.

South Dakota has adopted new, high-quality standards, but they’re no more than words on paper if teachers aren’t fully prepared to implement them. This is a tremendous opportunity to help the students who need it most, by supporting their teachers. We are excited about the potential!

Hot Topics

Lowell Amiotte named Indian Education Director

Lowell Amiotte is the Department of Education’s new director of Indian Education. Amiotte has extensive experience specific to Indian education. He started his career as a middle school teacher, and has directed Indian education programs in Rapid City. He has also worked in higher education, including 11 years at Black Hills State University and 13 years at South Dakota State University. Both of those positions included involvement in Indian study programs. Additionally, he was president of Oglala Lakota College for three years.

“Lowell has a deep, systemic understanding of Indian education in South Dakota, and we are looking forward to his input and vision,” said Secretary of Education Melody Schopp.

Proposals sought for 2014 Indian Education Summit
The South Dakota Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education is now accepting proposals to present at the 2014 Indian Education Summit. The summit will be held Sept. 28 – 30 at the Ramkota Conference Center in Pierre. The theme of this year’s summit is “From Every Beginning, a Bright Future.” For more information and to submit a proposal, go to: http://indianeducation.sd.gov/documents/ReqPres14.docx. Proposals should be submitted by June 16.

Teacher effectiveness pilot year wraps up at Bridgewater-Emery, Fred Assam

Jean Clark, family and consumer sciences teacher at Bridgewater-Emery

Bridgewater-Emery High School and Fred Assam Elementary are among the schools that participated in the pilot of South Dakota’s new teacher effectiveness model (http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/TE.aspx) during the 2013-14 school year. Under the model system, teachers receive a professional practice rating and a student growth rating.

At Bridgewater-Emery High School, Principal Christena Schultz focused heavily on professional practice, which is based on the Charlotte Danielson Framework. The framework is made up of four domains. Each domain contains several components.

Schultz said teachers worked together at staff meetings and in-services to determine eight components in which they felt they, as a team, had the most room for improvement. As she observed teachers throughout the year and worked through the new evaluation model with them, she found that much discussion focused on those eight components: “Having similar conversations, discovering those common issues with a number of teachers, that’s leading us to seek out better-focused PD.”

For example, some of next year’s professional development will focus on the questioning and discussion component of the domain focused on instruction.

Schultz said completing teacher evaluations is more time-consuming under this model, but she thinks that will improve as she and her staff get more familiar with the process.

“I really think we’re headed in the right direction in terms of helping our teachers grow, helping our teachers become more effective,” said Schultz. “I tell teachers that this is about areas we all want to improve on, so that when we walk out of a classroom, we know we are offering and delivering the best every day.”

To watch a video of Bridgewater-Emery High School teachers discussing the pilot year, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqQqimgAaL4&list=UUyELvhISGHZs5cb_MT2RFeQ

SLO posted at a teacher's desk at Fred Assam Elementary in the Brandon Valley School District

Looking ahead, South Dakota will not require that any teacher or principal effectiveness data be reported at the end of the 2014-15 school year. Some districts will be fully implementing the new teacher and principal effectiveness systems, while others will use it as a planning year to build capacity and train staff. Full implementation will be required of all districts in the 2015-16 school year. For districts that do not wish to use the state model for teacher or principal evaluation, a crosswalk is due to the Department of Education by Jan. 31, 2015.

Fred Assam Elementary Principal Susan Foster and 2nd grade teacher Missy Livingston discuss student learning objectives and how teacher effectiveness will be rolled out districtwide in Brandon Valley next year. Watch video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsivXXCjZ5w&list=UUyELvhISGHZs5cb_MT2RFeQ

2014 Homeland Security grant funding available

Applications are now being accepted for 2014 Homeland Security grant funding. Application forms are electronic and must be submitted by July 31 for all state and local (non-state) projects. State and local, public and private nonprofit agencies, including public and non-public schools, are eligible to apply.

Projects receiving grant funds must address one of the five National Preparedness Goal (http://www.fema.gov/pdf/prepared/npg.pdf) mission areas. Funding will be awarded for one-time projects to increase the security of critical assets, enhance the efforts of first responders, and support the state’s defense against disasters and man-made threats. Awards are competitive and local awards will be based on recommendations of regional review committees. Funding will be available by January 2015. The project period end date will be determined by the nature of the project and the grant expiration date.

Please refer to the application guidelines (http://dps.sd.gov/homeland_security/documents/HomelandSecurityApplicationGuidelines_002.pdf), application form (http://dps.sd.gov/homeland_security/documents/HomelandSecurityApplicationFormE2372V1-HomelandSecurity_000.pdf), and for local projects, the Regional Coordinator contact sheet (http://dps.sd.gov/homeland_security/documents/RegionalCoordinatorContactListJune2014_000.pdf). These documents are also available here: http://dps.sd.gov/homeland_security/homeland_security_grants.aspx

If you have questions about the application process for this funding, contact your county emergency manager, your assigned Regional Coordinator (http://dps.sd.gov/homeland_security/documents/RegionalCoordinatorContactListJune2014_000.pdf), or the South Dakota Office of Homeland Security (june.snyder@state.sd.us).

Nominate Bus Driver of the Year, recognize long-time drivers

The South Dakota School Transportation Association is seeking nominations for Bus Driver of the Year. Nominees must be members of SDSTA. Nomination forms are due by July 1 to Tim Steichen. The winner will be announced at the association’s annual meeting in July. For a nomination form, go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2014/june/documents/SDSTA_DOY.docx.

SDSTA will also recognize drivers with 25 years or more of service with a plaque sent to your district. Those recognized must be members of SDSTA. Deadline is June 30. To access the form, go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2014/june/documents/SDSTA_25Y.docx.

In addition, SDSTA will print certificates of recognition for any driver – regardless of membership status – who is retiring. To access the form, go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2014/june/documents/SDSTA_ret.docx. Allow two weeks to process the certificate.

For more information about any of these programs, please contact Tim Steichen (tim.steichen@k12.sd.us), SDSTA President, at (605) 882-6335.

Nominations sought for School Psychologist of the Year

The South Dakota Association of School Psychologists is seeking nominations for School Psychologist of the Year and the Early Career Service Award. These awards will be presented at SDASP’s annual conference this fall.

For more information on the nomination process, go to: http://www.sdasp.k12.sd.us/.

Nominations should be submitted by Aug. 20.

Contact Cara Sommerlot (Cara.Sommerlot@k12.sd.us), SDASP, with questions.

State Library provides electronic resources for summer PD

Looking for materials to support summer professional development activities? Whether you’re working on an advanced degree, certificate renewal or focusing on a curriculum area within your district, the State Library offers 24/7 digital access at http://library.sd.gov.

You and your staff can find professional journals, e-books and other information on a wide array of subject matter. Look for full-text articles in ProQuest, Praxis exams in Learning Express Library, or download information to your MP3 device from the Gale Virtual Reference Library. For K-12 planning, the SIRS and World Book resources provide good starting points, including links to primary source materials.

Take the opportunity to explore the statewide subscription resources and learn how they can be useful personally and professionally.

For questions, additional assistance and onsite training, contact Julie Erickson (Julie.Erickson@state.sd.us) or Jane Healy (Jane.Healy@state.sd.us) at 800-423-6665.

Upcoming Events:

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

Seamless Transition Workshop
June 12, Sioux Falls

Dr. Paul Wehman will be the presenter at the Seamless Transition Workshop. Wehman is the director of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center and the new Autism Center for Excellence at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has written extensively on issues related to transition from school to adulthood and special education as it relates to young adulthood. He has published more than 200 articles, 114 book chapters, and authored or edited 43 books.

The purpose of this presentation will be to discuss the key predictors of employment as students move from school to work. The workshop will also provide a brief overview of the different models of employment intervention that can be used as a seamless transition to employment. The predictors will be drawn from research from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS2) database. The models include internships, customized employment, supported employment, college and business partnerships, including a presentation of the Supported Employment Fidelity Scale.

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

Board of Education meeting
June 16, via teleconference

The South Dakota Board of Education is scheduled to meet via telephone at 10:00 a.m. (CDT). An agenda will be posted at doe.sd.gov/board at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Using Data to Guide School Improvement
June 16, Rapid City
June 17, Mitchell
June 20, Brookings

Understanding and using data will assist school administrators and counselors in making decisions to foster powerful improvements in student outcomes. This workshop will provide school administrators and counselors with the skills they need to analyze and use data in order to answer important questions to drive positive change. Prior to face-to-face instruction, participants will need to complete some online pre-work.

Participants will learn about the following topics:

• Creating a data plan
• Understanding types of data
• Understanding the process for collecting data
• Interpreting data
• Creating action plans
• Implementation strategies
• Monitoring and evaluating effectiveness of plans
• Examining and sustaining progress

This course is for administrators and counselors from South Dakota schools. Focus and Priority schools are especially encouraged to attend.

The course is free. One graduate credit is available through the University of South Dakota at a reduced cost of $40. Those seeking graduate credit will complete an independent project.

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

To receive the graduate credit, you will also need to register with USD at https://aceware.usd.edu/CourseStatus.awp?&course=16472.

21st Century Community Learning Centers Conference
June 16-17, Pierre

The focus of this conference is supporting the efforts of those working with afterschool and summer programming, but the material presented is valuable for anyone who works with young people.

Getting youth interested and involved in their communities has global implications, according to keynote speaker Steve Culbertson. Culbertson is the developer of Global Youth Service Day, which is now active in 100 countries.

T. Woody Sobey, education director at the Discovery Center of Idaho, will encourage conference participants to celebrate science through hands-on activities.

For more information, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com or contact Sue Burgard, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-5238 or sue.burgard@state.sd.us.

Lakota Arts + Identities Workshop
June 17-19, Brookings

This workshop is hosted by the South Dakota Art Museum on the campus of South Dakota State University.

Go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2014/may/documents/LakotaArts.pdf for more information.

SDMyLife New Users
June 18, Rapid City

SDMyLife is a free online program assisting students in grades 7-12 with navigating the career development process. South Dakota students use SDMyLife to research, select and plan their careers. On SDMyLife, students take interest and ability assessments, research postsecondary education and training options, study with free ACT Method Test Prep, and learn about scholarship opportunities. As they progress through high school, students build a Personal Learning Plan, create a resume and communicate with business and industry professionals!

Are you or some of your staff new to SDMyLife? This hands-on training is targeted to individuals who have little or no experience using SDMyLife. Join us for the New Users training to take a journey through the student and educator accounts. Learn about the basic features of SDMyLife that will assist you in preparing students to be college and career ready.

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

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

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

Go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/ to register. 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.

Go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/ to register. 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. Go to: http://www.lakeareatech.edu/sdacte/ for more information. 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.

Indian Education Summit
Sept. 28-30, Pierre

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