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

There’s one week left in the legislative session. I can now report that all anti-Common Core resolutions and bills have failed. The individuals who came to Pierre to protest the standards are concerned about South Dakota students. That’s a concern we all share, so going forward I hope the lines of communication remain open between parents, teachers, administrators, school boards and the department.

The Smarter Balanced Field Test window opens March 18, allowing students across the state to take the first statewide assessment aligned to the Common Core. This is exciting. As a Smarter Balanced member, South Dakota has played a leading role in the development of the assessment. Educators from South Dakota have participated in the process by reviewing and testing thousands of test items and performance tasks.

There will be some bumps along the road. We fully expect that. But, overall, I am confident the Field Test will be a success. I am thankful that we have this year to test our infrastructure, and to give us all exposure to the test without the pressure of SPI scores. Please encourage your teachers and students during this time to get the most out of this learning experience.

While no student scores will be reported this year, in the future this new test will give us a much clearer picture of how South Dakota students are doing—what they know and where they need more help.

Before closing, I also want to draw your attention to the South Dakota Teacher of the Year competition. Once a year, we get this great opportunity to recognize the state’s most talented teachers. It starts at the district level. District Teachers of the Year have the opportunity to become Regional Teachers of the Year, and ultimately, the South Dakota Teacher of the Year is chosen from this group. Go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/oatq/teacheroftheyear.aspx for more information on the nominating process.

Thank you for all of your hard work. I know it can be easy to get bogged down in the details, but I hope you know that every day, you’re making a difference in students’ lives.

Hot Topics

Legislative session winding down

The following is a brief rundown of some of the most recent action related to education bills in the legislature. There are several funding related bills, including the Governor’s proposal for a 3 percent increase in the per-student allocation (SB 37 http://legis.sd.gov/docs/legsession/2014/Bills/SB37P.pdf), that are still viable and will likely go until the last few days of session. All bills can be tracked at the Legislative Research Council’s website at www.legis.sd.gov/

--HB 1243 (http://legis.sd.gov/docs/legsession/2014/Bills/HB1243P.pdf), which would “supplant” the Common Core standards, failed to make it out of House Education. SB 129 (http://legis.sd.gov/docs/legsession/2014/Bills/SB129P.pdf), an identical bill on the Senate side, failed earlier on in the session.

--HB 1187 (http://legis.sd.gov/docs/legsession/2014/Bills/HB1187P.pdf), a bill that would have allowed parents to opt their students out of the state assessment also failed to make it out of House Education. An attempt was made to revive the bill on the House floor, but that attempt failed as well.

--A bill that would require schools to provide instruction in CPR and make it a graduation requirement was heard in Health and Human Services (SB 145 http://legis.sd.gov/docs/legsession/2014/Bills/SB145P.pdf). The bill was amended to require DOE to inform districts annually of resources and training available in this area, and to annually survey districts regarding whether, and to what extent, such instruction is offered.

--The bill to require the pledge of allegiance, HB 1150 (http://legis.sd.gov/docs/legsession/2014/Bills/HB1150P.pdf), has passed both houses and now heads to the Governor’s desk.

--As a reminder, the Governor’s budget proposal included a proposal around dual credit which, if passed, would make select postsecondary courses available to students in grades 11-12 at a rate of $40 per credit. If this proposal passes, the department will be sharing additional details as soon as possible related to this program.

--HB 1030 (http://legis.sd.gov/docs/legsession/2014/Bills/HB1030ENR.pdf) makes it clear that information that is part of a teacher’s evaluation is not a public record. The bill addresses concerns regarding confidentiality in light of new teacher and principal effectiveness systems being implemented across the state.

--HB 1033 (http://legis.sd.gov/docs/legsession/2014/Bills/HB1033S.pdf) clarifies that the application of a sibling of a student currently open enrolled in a school district has priority over all other open enrollment applications received by the district. It has passed both houses.

Vermillion Middle School project finalist in Samsung competition

Students are studying how Asian carp threaten native fish species in the Missouri River and raising community awareness of the problem.

Yankton students take stand against bullying


Webster Elementary students are spreading their anti-bullying message with a music video they created.

Webster started using the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (http://www.violencepreventionworks.org/public/index.page) in the fall of 2012. The program seeks to create allies who will stand up for those being bullied.

Webster Elementary Principal Melanie Ryken says since the school has implemented Olweus, there has been a significant decline in behavior problems. Students have also reported that adults in the building have intervened more often and with success.

She has heard from parents and other community members, including one parent who has seen girls on his soccer team standing up for others.

As she was supervising at a football game one night, Ryken saw firsthand the program in action. Kids from another school were commenting on a student’s skin color. Without yelling or using strong language, several Webster students simply said to the kids who were bullying, “We noticed what you said. We didn’t like that.” She says the kids who were doing the bullying were shocked.

“Kids can stop bullying,” Ryken says. “We must empower them and give them the right tools.”

Congratulations, Webster Elementary!

Q & A answers parents’ questions about Smarter Balanced

This Q & A is intended as a quick reference for answering parent questions about the upcoming Smarter Balanced Field Test: http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2014/mar/documents/SB_ParentFAQ.pdf

Serving English language learners in rural and urban settings

This is the final installment in a series on ELLs in South Dakota. In Huron and Sioux Falls, schools and communities are helping immigrants and refugees feel at home.

Employment opportunities and quality of living are attracting increasing numbers of immigrants and refugees to our state. The result is more diverse communities and more English language learners in South Dakota classrooms. The two largest student populations of ELLs are in Huron and Sioux Falls:

Ann Smith, federal programs coordinator for the Sioux Falls School District, says approximately 40 percent of the district’s ELL population has or has had refugee status.


Kari Hinker is the director of ESL and federal programs in the Huron School District. She says that more immigrants and refugees started moving to Huron when a turkey processing plant opened in the area about five years ago. A beef jerky plant in Alpena also has led to growth.

Spanish and Karen are the two most common languages spoken by immigrants and refugees in Huron. Many Karen speakers in the community come from Burma and Thailand. ELLs in the Sioux Falls School District speak more than 70 languages, including Arabic, Dinka, Nepali, Tigrinya, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.

Huron – Curriculum and instruction

For students who are new to the U.S. and qualify for ESL services, Huron has a newcomer program. Students can participate in this program for up to one year, working on their English-speaking skills and learning various customs of the country and school system.

High school students spend half days in the newcomer program, and middle school students attend for two hours a day. For elementary students, the program is incorporated into regular classroom time.

Hinker says, “They come out of it [newcomer program] and fit right in. It’s neat to see them acclimate so quickly to our culture. They’re very eager to learn.”

The district uses W-APT scores to screen students for language proficiency and now has a distinct ESL curriculum in place for each grade level. Huron utilizes a sheltered instruction model in which ELLs and native English speakers learn together. Find more details about Huron’s ESL programming on the district’s website: http://www.huron.k12.sd.us/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectiondetailid=2056&.

Sioux Falls – Curriculum and instruction

In Sioux Falls, there are two levels of ESL programming: immersion and center-based. Students who are new to the country and/or have the most limited English proficiency attend an immersion center for up to two years. Immersion classrooms do not include native English speakers. ELLs are immersed in the English language at the same time they are learning the various content areas and American cultural expectations.

Center-based sites are for students who are not new to the country but who are not yet sufficiently proficient in English to succeed in a regular classroom without support. Eight elementary schools, two middle schools, and all three high schools are center-based sites. In these schools, students are mainstreamed into classes with native English speakers. Classroom teachers at the center-based schools have been trained in sheltered instruction observation protocol (SIOP). Additional teachers with the English as a New Language endorsement provide direct language instruction for students and support classroom teachers in differentiating instruction.

Once students achieve proficiency, staff monitor their progress for two years to ensure that students are continuing to progress without residual language barriers.

Find more information about Sioux Falls’ ESL programming on the district’s website: http://www.sf.k12.sd.us/index.php?option=com_flexicontent&view=items&cid=71&id=82&Itemid=141.

School-home liaisons

Both Huron and Sioux Falls employ school-home liaisons who help families acclimate to life in the U.S. “These people are vital to what we do,” says Jane Hanneman, ELL program coordinator for the Sioux Falls School District. “I can see what a difference it makes. At my school, the school-home liaison gives the initial school tour and talks about what American schools look like.”

In some cultures, parents aren’t encouraged to get involved in their child’s education. Liaisons make sure parents know that in the U.S., they are welcome in their child’s classroom and they can talk to their child’s teacher at any time, not only at parent-teacher conferences.

Liaisons can also help families navigate non-education-related concerns like medical services.

Sioux Falls also runs a program called Parent U for two hours every Friday. During these sessions, liaisons offer parents guidance on everything from understanding their child’s Chromebook to counting American money.

Community support

Hinker says businesses, churches and volunteers in the community have stepped up to make families feel welcome in Huron. Business owners have helped new residents start businesses, including Asian and Hispanic grocery stores. Volunteers teach adult ESL classes and businesses have been eager to hire bilingual employees.

Charitable groups have donated winter clothing for families unused to harsh South Dakota winters. There is a backpack food program for disadvantaged students. Huron also puts on a cultural fair every year where students showcase their home countries by displaying flags and pictures. Many of them also write about their experiences coming to the U.S.

In Sioux Falls, the Multicultural Center hosts special days to honor various cultures in the city. Every May, Hawthorne Elementary produces their International Festival. The school is transformed to create a simulated world tour, complete with ethnic food and fashions. Among other services in Sioux Falls, the Bowden Youth Center provides some students busing from school to after-school programming and back home.

School collaboration

While their districts may be different, Hinker, Hanneman and Smith all take a similar approach to serving English language learners—collaboration. They strongly recommend educators network with other districts, as well as community resource groups. The Department of Education is also available to help.

For more information, contact Yutzil Rodriguez, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-4698 or Yutzil.Rodriguez@state.sd.us.

Getting up to speed on Student Learning Objectives

Spring trainings target administrators; summer events target teachers

Four sessions designed to introduce administrators to student learning objectives, or SLOs, have been slated for this spring. The schedule for this summer’s SLO trainings for teachers is now available as well. As South Dakota moves towards evaluation systems that take into account both professional practices and student growth, training will be critical for both groups.

“As a state, we are trying to balance having a meaningful evaluation system – one that promotes continuous professional growth – and meeting our federal requirements. And sometimes that feels like a tightrope,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp. “These trainings will help all of us gain a better understanding of what SLOs are and how they can be used to enhance instruction and learning.”

Administrator training

One-day regional trainings for administrators will cover the SLO process (setting and determining progress), how SLOs support a culture of data-driven instruction, and more.

• March 18 in Pierre
• April 1 in Sioux Falls
• April 2 in Aberdeen
• April 9 in Rapid City
• A session in late May also will be scheduled if necessary.

These trainings are intended for superintendents, principals, curriculum directors, SPED directors, and anyone else who will be evaluating teaching staff. Registration is available through the department’s Calendar of Events at: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com. (NOTE: Site is best viewed in a browser other than Internet Explorer.)

Teacher training

For each training location (eg., Mobridge, Watertown), participants will be divided according to grade level and content area. For example, all 4th grade teachers will meet in one location, while all 6-12 social studies teachers will meet in another location. This has been done to encourage optimal collaboration and learning.

Teachers will learn the basics of setting appropriate SLOs, assessing progress towards attainment, and more.

Registration is now available via the department’s online registration system at: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/calendar/calendarindex. The deadline to register is April 18.

Administrators are asked to share this information with their teaching staff, while providing them with context as to how SLOs fit into their overall teacher evaluation program.


• Once a preferred date/location has been identified, teachers should be sure to register for the specific session that best describes their position (eg., 4th grade, Elementary MS/HS Music, MS/HS Science, etc.) Go to: http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/documents/SLOSummer2.pdf to access list of specific sessions.

• The registration site works best using a browser other than Internet Explorer.

• Teachers who attend the state-sponsored trainings will receive a $125/day stipend.

• CEUs will be available.

Aspiring School Leaders Retreat in April

Administrators are invited to nominate a teacher to attend the Aspiring School Leaders Retreat, scheduled for April 24-25, at the K-Bar-S Lodge near Keystone. It is limited to 30 participants. Applications are due March 14. Applicants will be notified about their acceptance by March 21.

Nominees should be strong candidates for future roles in school administration. Attendees will learn about leadership roles, reflect on their careers and consider pathways leading to administration.

The Department of Education, School Administrators of South Dakota, TIE and the Midwest Alliance for Professional Learning and Leadership have teamed up to host this retreat.

The retreat is provided free of charge. Districts are responsible for travel costs to and from the retreat and the costs of substitute teachers. Lodging and meals will be provided.

Find more information, including a retreat agenda and application form, at www.midwestmaple.org/ASL.htm.

Contact John Swanson at TIE, (605) 394-1876 or jswanson@tie.net, with any questions.

Wolsey-Wessington to implement problem-based learning

“Life doesn’t come at you in 50-minute increments of math, language arts and science,” says Dan Guericke, director of the Mid-Central Educational Cooperative.

That’s the reasoning behind the South Dakota Innovation Lab (http://sdinnovationlab.org/), a problem-based learning model Guericke helped establish about four years ago. The SDIL is a partnership of the Mid-Central Educational Coop, Sanford Research and the PAST Foundation. The PAST Foundation is a nonprofit group based in Ohio that helps schools and communities adopt a transdisciplinary approach to learning, with a strong focus on STEM.

Wolsey-Wessington students recently spent a week solving mock crimes, as part of Forensics in the Classroom, a bridge program created by the PAST Foundation. Bridge programs like this one help students transition from the traditional classroom setting to problem-based learning. Wolsey-Wessington is planning to become a full-time SDIL school in 2014-15.

Students in grades 6-12 spent the first part of the week learning about fingerprinting, trace evidence, anthropology and other skills required to solve crimes. Employees of the PAST Foundation and Sanford Research helped deliver lectures and facilitate lab activities.

That Thursday, the students were put into groups and assigned to one of several mock crime scenes to put their new skills to work. At first glance, things looked a bit chaotic with students milling in the hallways, in and out of classrooms, but closer inspection revealed they were methodically documenting and mapping every detail. Everyone had a specific role to play from taking pictures to dusting for fingerprints and analyzing handwriting.

Students had until 2 p.m. to finish processing crime scenes. From 2-3:45 p.m., they used all the information they had gathered to put together the story of the crime they were investigating.

On Friday, students took their cases to “court,” with each student offering testimony in his or her area of expertise.

Elementary students weren’t left out of the crime solving fun, either. Early in the week, they discovered $1 million ransom notes for their kidnapped classroom stuffed animals. They learned about many of the same topics as the older students, and by the end of the week, they too, had determined the culprits.

“We fully realize almost every teacher does projects,” Guericke says. “They’re usually viewed as some sort of add-on to a curriculum. We’re trying to flip that whole paradigm, so the projects are the curriculum. And if you need to, if you can’t address a standard through the problem-solving process, then you may have to go back to the textbook as an add-on.”

This week of forensics wasn’t Wolsey-Wessington’s first foray into problem-based learning. Last fall, the high school math, science and English teachers collaborated to lead students in a project to determine where Wolsey’s new fire hall should be located.

Students mapped potential sites, studied environmental impact, determined how much land is needed and learned the protocol for getting approval from city officials. With help from the fire department, students also studied Wolsey’s need for ambulance service by staging a mock car accident to calculate emergency response time.

“It’s finding real-world problems and issues that are of interest to the kids, that get them motivated to learn and to explore and take education in a different direction,” says Wolsey-Wessington Superintendent James Cutshaw. “It’s more exciting than just trying to read out of a textbook something that maybe doesn’t apply to you or you can’t relate to.”

“Instructors who view themselves as the source of answers are fast becoming outdated,” Guericke says. “We have to teach students how to evaluate those answers, use those answers, apply those answers.”

USDA study links nutrition education to healthy eating

A recent study (http://www.fns.usda.gov/pressrelease/2013/fns-001313) released by the Food and Nutrition Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that nutrition education programs helped children increase their daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables at home by a quarter to a third cup. Children also were more likely to select low-fat or fat-free milk.

“Here in South Dakota, Team Nutrition programming is a great resource for schools. This study shows that such a program really can make an impact,” said Sandra Kangas, director of Child and Adult Nutrition Services for the South Dakota Department of Education.

Go to: http://doe.sd.gov/cans/index.aspx for information on incorporating nutrition education at your school.

Contact Jason Person at the South Dakota Department of Education, (605) 773-6026 or jason.person@state.sd.us, with any questions.

Upcoming Events

**Common Core
• 6-12 Math Module 5 & 6
• Literacy in History/Social Studies, Art, Music, World Language
• Literacy in Science & Technical Subjects

Various dates and locations statewide

**These are repeat sessions of training previously offered by the Department of Education.

For more information, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.

Common Core State Standards Implementation for Colony Teachers (math)

March 10, Huron
March 11, Huron

During this one-day workshop, multi-grade level teachers will begin to look at common concepts within domains and develop lesson plans around these concepts. Teachers will begin to understand the learning progressions of the Common Core math standards (where domains start and stop), have conversations about realignment of textbooks to teach common concepts at the same time throughout the year and how to move from large group to small group instruction.

For more information, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.

Dakota STEP Assessment – Colony Schools

March 10, Huron

This workshop will address all aspects of the paper/pencil administration of the D-STEP in reading and math. Materials will be distributed at this workshop. A district representative from each of the districts using the paper/pencil alternative in 2014 must attend.

For more information, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.

2014 Summer Food Service Program webinar series

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering a series of webinars on the Summer Food Service Program:

• March 11: Be a summer meals champion

• March 13: Can elected officials help feed hungry kids this summer?

• March 20: Food that’s in when school is out – The Summer Food Service Program and afterschool meals

• March 25: Utilizing grants & unique partnerships to serve more summer meals

• March 27: How can you solve your summer meals transportation problems?

• April 3: Finding ways to keep schools involved in summer meals

• April 9: Make your summer meals site the talk of the town

Go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SFSP2014 for more information.

CTE Standards Implementation

March 12, Watertown

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. to 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.).

Schools with approved CTE programs who send teachers to training will be reimbursed for substitutes and for mileage. 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.

For more information, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.

Title I Technical Assistance

March 17, Pierre

Receive technical assistance on required ESEA documents and get updates on the ESEA waiver, ELL students, and family and community engagement.

For more information, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.

Catch the Wave conference

March 17, Brookings
March 19, Mitchell
March 31, Rapid City

Catch the Wave is a one-day conference designed specifically for high school students who have a disability and are considering postsecondary education (either college or technical institute). Students will learn about preparing for college life, securing appropriate accommodations, and developing self-advocacy and communication skills. Highlights of the conference will be panel discussions with individuals who have a disability and have experienced a postsecondary setting, as well as disability coordinators discussing entrance and eligibility requirements.

High school students, parents, special education teachers and school counselors are all encouraged to attend. The cost is $5 per person. Lunch will be provided. Registration is required. To register, contact your regional transition liaison.

For more information, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.

School Health Guidelines training

March 17, Pierre

The “School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity” training is fast approaching. This free event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 17, at the Kings Inn Conference Center in Pierre. Physical education and health teachers, school nutrition directors, school health council members, administrators, community members, policy makers, parents, and students are all encouraged to attend.

The School Health Guidelines training is designed to help schools develop or enhance school wellness policies, create healthier school environments and promote healthy eating and physical activity. Each local educational agency that participates in the National School Lunch Program or other federal child nutrition programs is required by federal law to establish a local school wellness policy for all schools under its jurisdiction. For school year 2013-14, districts are encouraged to continue reviewing and assessing their local wellness policies and implementing the new requirements which include accountability for local school wellness policy implementation, assessment, and public updates.

The School Health Guidelines (http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/npao/strategies.htm), developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provide evidence-based guidance for schools on how to most effectively promote the health of children and adolescents aged 5 to 18 years.

Sponsors include the South Dakota Departments of Education and Health and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation - South Dakota. For more information, contact Karen Keyser, Health and Physical Education Specialist, South Dakota Department of Education at (605) 773-6808 or Karen.keyser@state.sd.us.

Meals, mileage, lodging and substitute teacher pay will be reimbursed for up to three people per school district or agency. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Kings Inn. Call (605) 224-5951 by March 3.

Go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2014/mar/documents/SchoolHealth.pdf for more information and to register.

Orientation to SLOs for Elementary Administrators

March 18, Fort Pierre
April 1, Sioux Falls
April 2, Aberdeen
April 9, Rapid City

This one-day regional training on student learning objectives is intended for superintendents, principals, curriculum directors, special education directors or anyone who will evaluate staff.

Training will cover the following topics:
• What are SLOs?
• The four steps of the SLO process
• Developing and recognizing high-quality SLOs
• Approving SLOs
• Engaging in ongoing communications about SLOs
• Understanding administrators’ roles in the summative process
• Understanding how SLOs support a culture of data driven instruction
• Selecting and developing appropriate assessments and/or instruments
• Discussing SLO timelines
• How coaching teachers through the SLO process impacts the Principal Effectiveness model

For more information, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.

Orientation to SLOs for Secondary Administrators

March 18, Fort Pierre
April 1, Sioux Falls
April 2, Aberdeen
April 9, Rapid City

This one-day regional training on student learning objectives is intended for superintendents, principals, curriculum directors, special education directors or anyone who will evaluate staff.

Training will cover the following topics:
• What are SLOs?
• The four steps of the SLO process
• Developing and recognizing high-quality SLOs
• Approving SLOs
• Engaging in ongoing communications about SLOs
• Understanding administrators’ roles in the summative process
• Understanding how SLOs support a culture of data driven instruction
• Selecting and developing appropriate assessments and/or instruments
• Discussing SLO timelines
• How coaching teachers through the SLO process impacts the Principal Effectiveness model

For more information, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.

School Library Survey

March 18, online

Get an overview of the 2013-14 School Library Survey. See the new survey platform, a few new questions and remind yourself to complete the survey on time. This information will be helpful for beginners as well as those who have completed the survey in previous years. Only one survey per district is required and it is open from April 1 to May 13.

For more information, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.

Board of Education meeting

March 24, Sioux Falls

The South Dakota Board of Education is scheduled to meet at Southeast Technical Institute at 8:00 a.m. (CST), room MC101, the Mickelson Center, 2320 N. Career Ave. An agenda will be posted at doe.sd.gov/board at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

FERPA: District Policies and Staff Access

March 24, online
March 31, online

The South Dakota Department of Education and experts from the U.S. Department of Education will team up to offer a series of webinars on the Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act. All webinars will be offered twice and recorded. Districts are encouraged to send questions ahead of time to STARSHelp@state.sd.us. This webinar will focus on policies districts may want to consider as they relate to student data. In particular, staff and teacher access will be discussed.

For more information, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.

Building a Standards-Based Report Card 101

March 25 and June 4, Watertown

The South Dakota Department of Education is offering an opportunity to learn the essential steps in building an effective standards-based report card. This training will get your school/district on the right track to implementing a standards-based report card. It will focus on purpose, help align standards to student learning, and assist in recording students’ progress and achievement based on standards. The intent is to offer one approach to developing a standards-based report card through thoughtfully planned efforts and practical ideas.

The training will be on the two separate dates listed with time allotted in the interim to work on the report cards (homework for obtaining one graduate credit).

Special Education Conference

March 25-26, Pierre

The 2014 South Dakota Special Education Conference (formerly the CEC Conference) will feature state-of-the-art, innovative and creative best practices to promote college, career and life readiness for all students. Filmmaker Dan Habib will be the keynote speaker. Habib’s film credits include Who Cares About Kelsey? and Including Samuel.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Disabilities, University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, and the South Dakota Department of Education Special Education Programs.

Go to: https://www.usd.edu/medical-school/center-for-disabilities/upload/2014-Special-Education-Conference-Registration-Brochure.pdf for more information.

Dan Habib Parent Session

March 25, Pierre

This parent session is in conjunction with the Special Education Conference. It is open to the public and free of cost. Registration is encouraged, but not required.

Habib’s films have been screened at universities, national conferences, and independent theatres, and have been used as a catalyst for inclusive education across the country and internationally. Including Samuel was broadcast nationwide on public television stations in fall 2009 and was nominated for an Emmy in 2010. Including Samuel has also been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and Good Morning America. The DVD is available in 17 languages.

Habib has also created eleven short documentaries that illustrate a wide range of educational issues and evidence-based practices, including augmentative and alternative communication, positive behavioral interventions and supports, breaking the school-to-prison pipeline, universal design for learning, cultural responsiveness and more.

For more information, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.

Part C to Part B Transition workshop

April 1, Rapid City
April 3, Sioux Falls

Participants in this workshop will:

• Learn about the roles and perspectives of all who are involved in the transition of children from Part C to Part B federal regulations

• Understand the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 early childhood transition requirements

• Gain information on effective communication, collaboration and coordination practices

• Have the opportunity to reflect upon and assess program practices

• Have the opportunity to determine program practices that will positively impact the transition experience for children, families and the staff working on their behalf

• Gain information on early childhood transition strategies and resources

• Gain understanding of the Part C federal regulation updates

For more information, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.

TIE Conference

April 13-15, Sioux Falls

The theme of this year’s TIE Conference is ‘connect.’ Keynote speaker Catlin Tucker will discuss blended learning and the challenges many teachers face in trying to teach 21st century students without easy access to 21st century tools. Keynote speaker Kathy Schrock will talk about presenting content through digital storytelling and the research behind this pedagogical shift.

The conference will feature breakout sessions and half-day in-depth workshops. Graduate credit and contact hours are available. Go to: http://www.conference.tie.net/ for more information and to register.

2014 National Forum on Dropout Prevention for Native and Tribal Communities

April 27-30, Prior Lake, MN

The 2014 National Forum on Dropout Prevention Strategies for Native and Tribal Communities is titled "Building Engaging Educational Communities for Native Students." Hear from nationally known keynote speakers as well as professional educators. Presentations will emphasize a variety of strategies for working with Native students who are at risk of dropping out before high school graduation. Conference strands include the following:

• Addressing the opportunity gap
• Instructional strategies to increase learning
• Emotional supports
• School climate: safety and student wellness
• Service-learning and restorative justice
• Digital communication and engagement
• Re-engagement and recovery strategies
• Culture and language

Go to: http://www.dropoutprevention.org/conferences/2014-national-forum-dropout-prevention-strategies-native-and-tribal-communities for more information.

Statewide Education Conference

June 2-3, Pierre

Mark your calendars for the 2014 Statewide Education Conference to be held this June in Pierre. Keynote speakers Dr. Richard Cash and Lori Laughlin will each lead day-long workshops. College credit will be available when required hours of attendance are met.

Cash is an internationally recognized expert on differentiation and learning. Teachers who attend his workshop will:
• Learn specific techniques for differentiation in the 21st century classroom
• Be able to design rigorous learning options for all students
• Be able to build a thinking classroom using 21st century tools
• Be able to support student readiness through purposeful differentiation
• Learn about differentiating by interests and learning type
• Understand how effective differentiation supports the teaching and learning process

Laughlin’s workshop is titled “The Essential Conversation – What Parents and Teachers can Learn from Each Other.” Research demonstrates the impact parents have on their children’s academic success, but teachers don’t always know how best to engage them. Laughlin’s workshop will focus on building effective partnerships between parents and teachers. Attendees will learn strategies for the following:

• Effective parent-teacher conferences
• Implementation of the Curriculum of the Home
• Linking to learning
• Communication and relationship building
• Family/community partnership

Registration opens April 1.

Contact Rebecca.cain@state.sd.us or Dawnl.smith@state.sd.us, South Dakota Department of Education, for more information.

These are only a few upcoming events. Go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/ for a complete listing.