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

The Smarter Balanced Field Test is under way with approximately 3 million students in 20,000 schools across the country participating. Approximately 72,000 South Dakota students will complete almost 288,000 tests (four test sections in two content areas). You can find a tally of tests completed by South Dakota students at doe.sd.gov. It’s updated daily.

South Dakota is one of only three states in which all public school students are taking the new assessment. This is fortunate. In other states, some students are not getting this valuable exposure to the new system.

Because of South Dakota’s waiver, schools’ accountability scores are held steady for one year. This means that South Dakota students do not need to be double tested. The Field Test is taking the place of the Dakota-STEP in the content areas of English language arts and math, and no student scores will be reported. Some students in other states are not so fortunate—they must take their state’s former statewide assessment for purposes of score reporting in addition to the Smarter Balanced Field Test.

Finally, the results of this year’s Field Test, from across all participating states, will be used to ensure that test questions are accurate and fair for all students moving forward. This is an important process. We don’t often think about how the words we use are shaped by where we live, our cultural background and so forth. I like to use the example of the word “elevator” in a test item. A rural South Dakota student understands what a “grain elevator” is, but ask a child in New York City about one and they might envision a pile of grain getting a ride to the top of the Empire State Building.

In earlier stages of test development, it was discovered that Hutterite students don’t know what “t-shirts” are. Such variation in word use and familiarity is just one reason it is vital to have as many students as possible participate in this step of test development. By finding problems now, they can be resolved before the test is fully operational.

I know there are challenges as districts administer the test for the first time, but I promise your efforts are worthwhile. You, your teachers and students are playing an integral role in developing an assessment that will help improve education in South Dakota.

Hot Topics

2014 Legislative Session has ended
For a summary of education bills, go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2014/april/documents/14BillSum.PDF
To watch a 2014 Legislative Wrap-Up, go to: http://vimeo.com/90338001.

Wear purple April 15 to show support for military kids
April is the Month of the Military Child, a time to honor youth impacted by deployments and the challenges they face as families strive to reintegrate after long separations. In honor of South Dakota’s 7,500 military children, Operation Military Kid invites you and your whole school to show support by wearing something purple on Tuesday, April 15.

Established by Caspar Weinberger in 1986, the Month of the Military Child recognizes the important role military children play in their families and communities. “Purpling up” is a visible way to show support and thank military kids for their strength and sacrifice. Purple symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue.

Be creative…the goal is for military youth to witness their community’s support with a sea of purple!

Troops to Teachers helps military personnel pursue second career
View video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnLk2ImTNFs

Help students access inexpensive dual credit courses

The Department of Education is hosting webinars to discuss implementation of reduced cost dual credit courses. This year, the Legislature approved funding that will make select dual credit coursework available to public high school students in grades 11-12 at the rate of $40 per credit beginning in the 2014-15 school year. Students will be able to take on-campus and online classes, including general education and career and technical education courses.

A list of the remaining scheduled webinars is below. The webinars will be repeats of one another and registration is not required. To help the department make the webinars most useful, please complete the short survey found at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1v62NF23AsVJNGaDltH5W3M5jjwL8h6ADva9O9G-YZPY/viewform

• April 8: 8-9 a.m. and 4-5 p.m. (CDT)
• April 10: 10-11 a.m. and 3-4 p.m. (CDT)
• Meeting Link: https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/stateofsd/join?id=52K4GT&role=attend
• Dial-in: 866-410-8397
• Code: 605-773-2533

“As the governor said in his state-of-the-state address, this is a win-win-win-win,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp. “High school students will have access to high quality programming and can get a jump start on their postsecondary work. Postsecondary institutions get a chance to introduce themselves to prospective students. High schools gain flexibility to offer more opportunities to their students, and the state gets more well-trained young people who are ready to enter the state’s workforce.”

Dual credit is an opportunity for high school students who meet admission standards to enroll in a public postsecondary institution in South Dakota and simultaneously earn credit towards both their high school diploma and postsecondary degree or certificate.

In order to access the reduced cost courses, students will need to register for the coursework through their local school district. The district must agree to record the dual credit coursework on the student’s transcript and use it to calculate academic standing. Students will be responsible for the cost of course credits and any required textbooks or related course materials; however, districts may pay for books or other costs in accordance with district policy.

These dual credit courses will be offered by a postsecondary institution’s faculty members, governed by that institution’s policies, and follow the institution’s established processes for admission, registration, billing and grade reporting.

Details are available at http://www.sdmylife.com/educators/advanced-education-opportunities/.

Registration for courses will open April 7.

Workgroups to review social studies, fine arts and tech standards

Applications are due April 11 to join a workgroup that will review and revise South Dakota social studies, fine arts and K-12 technology standards. Before applying, applicants need administrator approval to participate. Applications only serve the purpose of indicating interest in the process; they are not binding agreements to be a part of the workgroup. Selection of group members will be made no later than April 30.

Workgroup meeting dates and application links:

Content Area/Registration Link Location 1 Location 2 Location 3
Social Studies Registration
Mitchell, June 3-4 Pierre, July 8-9 Pierre, August 4-5
Fine Arts Registration
Mitchell, June 3-4 Pierre, July 8-9 Pierre, August 4
K-12 Technology Registration
Mitchell, June 3-4 Pierre, July 8-9 Pierre, August 4-5

Workgroup members will be paid a stipend of $125/day. Mileage, hotel and meals will also be reimbursed.

For more information, contact Sam Shaw, Department of Education, at (605) 773-5229 or sam.shaw@state.sd.us.

Manufacturing and automotive academies and a CNA camp planned in Yankton this summer

In June, the Regional Technical Education Center in Yankton will offer manufacturing and automotive academies for area students. Also this summer, interested students will have the chance to attend the Yankton County CNA (certified nursing assistant) Institute.

These are several of the opportunities available through the Southeast South Dakota Regional Career and Technical Education Program, one of twelve recipients of a Governor’s Grant for Career and Technical Education. The Governor’s Grants were made available through the South Dakota Future Fund, which was created by Gov. George S. Mickelson to invest in South Dakota’s workforce and build its economy. They were awarded on a one-time basis, so grant projects must be self-sustaining beyond the initial investment.

Yankton High School Principal Dr. Jennifer Johnke says when the mother of one recent graduate heard about the grant, she said, “Oh my gosh, I wish my son were still in high school.”

Students are looking forward to the possibilities and teachers are excited, too. “Our staff is great,” Johnke says. “They understand that CTE is for all students.”

Johnke explains that the Yankton School District already had a strong CTE program and had recently purchased several 3D printers for instruction in computer-aided drafting, but she says, “The grant just expands the opportunities so much further.”

This regional program is a partnership of the following entities:

• Yankton, Avon, Bon Homme, Gayville-Volin and Irene-Wakonda school districts
• The Regional Technical Education Center
• Mitchell Technical Institute
• Black Hills State University
• University of South Dakota
• Avera Sacred Heart Hospital
• Yankton Rural Area Health Education Center
• Yankton Area Progressive Growth, Inc.

Yankton Area Progressive Growth, Inc. helped assess high-need workforce areas in the region and determined that the areas of greatest need are welding, computer-aided drafting and certified nursing assistants. Grant funds will assist with further development of course offerings, including dual credit, in these areas, as well as machining, automotive and health science. Students from each of the partner districts are eligible to participate in courses, academies and other programming.

In addition, a career exploration course worth a half high school credit will be developed for Yankton middle school students.

South Dakota educators help develop Smarter Balanced Digital Library

The Smarter Balanced Digital Library will be an online searchable library of high-quality vetted resources. It will be interactive and allow educators from Smarter Balanced member states to rate resources and collaborate. Tags will allow users to filter search results by standards, grade levels and other key topics.

Educators will be able to use these resources throughout the school year to do the following:

• Advance their use of formative assessment practices
• Gauge student understanding of lessons, concepts and Common Core State Standards
• Make quick adjustments to instruction

Trained educators, including more than 55 South Dakota teachers, are in the process of submitting, vetting and posting resources. The Digital Library will be available to all member state educators in fall 2014.

Department of Education seeking recommendations for Emerging Classroom Leaders Pool

The Department of Education maintains a list of Emerging Classroom Leaders, which consists of distinguished teachers and principals from across South Dakota. These educators may be considered for membership on advisory boards and task forces, as well as candidates for special recognition programs.

Candidates must have a minimum of five years of experience in education. Candidates must be building-level personnel. They are typically classroom teachers, as opposed to specialists, and are recognized by peers and supervisors as unique in their growth. Occasionally, a principal or specialist is considered. Previous recognition is not required.

To recommend someone for our Emerging Classroom Leaders Pool, complete a Talent Pool Recommendation Form (http://doe.sd.gov/oatq/distinguishededucators.aspx) and return it to Lanette Johnston, Department of Education, 800 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501, no later than May 1.

In addition to filling out the form, we ask that you include a one-page narrative and a resume if possible. Please keep your recommendation confidential and do not share it with the individual.

For more information, contact Lanette Johnston, Department of Education, at (605) 773-8415 or lanette.johnston@state.sd.us.

School Library Survey now open

The School Library Survey is available online through May 13. Each school district, not each school library, is asked to submit one school library survey. Data submitted should be from the 2013-14 school year. All district superintendents should have received email notification of survey access details.

The State Library will compile survey data and report it to superintendents in late fall 2014. Go to: http://www.library.sd.gov/SDSL/publications/index.aspx#Reports to see previous school library data digests.

For more information, contact Marta Stirling (Marta.Stirling@state.sd.us) or Joan Upell (Joan.Upell@state.sd.us), School Library Coordinators, at 800-423-6665.

Upcoming Events

Orientation to SLOs for Elementary Administrators
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
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.

Perkins Data Collection Training
April 23, Mitchell
April 24, Aberdeen
April 25, Rapid City
April 28, Pierre
April 28, Sioux Falls

Training sessions on the Perkins Data Collection system will provide career and technical education teachers and administrators in approved CTE programs (school year 2013-14) the following:

1. Instructions for entering Perkins Data via Mass Enrollment and Individual Enrollment (if your school enters data through the Upload process, contact Jake Cummings for training information at jake.cummings@state.sd.us).

2. Updates on modifications to the data system for 2013-14.

3. Tips to ensure data is entered comprehensively and accurately.

4. Ideas for getting the most out of your Perkins data.

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

South Dakota Early Childhood Education Conference
April 24-26, Sioux Falls

This year’s conference will be held at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. There will be several keynote speakers, including occupational therapist Dr. Marianne Gibbs and early childhood mental health specialist Rachel Sperry. Keith Pentz will talk about the body-brain-mind connection. Andrew J. Stremmel, Ph.D., will also speak. He leads South Dakota State University’s Department of Teaching, Learning and Leadership.

Go to: http://sdececonference-org.doodlekit.com/home/index for more information, or call (605) 224-4161.

Building a Standards-Based Report Card 101
April 25 and May 21, Mobridge

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 1 graduate credit).

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.

FERPA: Parent Policies and Annual Notification
May 7, online
May 9, online

The South Dakota Department of Education and experts from the U.S. Department of Education are teaming up to offer a series of webinars on the Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act. All webinars are offered twice and recorded.

This webinar will focus on policies or practices districts may want to consider, related to parent notification and communication with parents about their students’ data. In particular, topics regarding annual notification, use of student photos or videos, and best practices for addressing parent concerns will be discussed.

Participants are encouraged to send questions ahead of time to STARSHelp@state.sd.us.

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

Board of Education meeting
May 19, Aberdeen

The South Dakota Board of Education is scheduled to meet at 8:00 a.m. (CDT). An agenda will be posted at doe.sd.gov/board at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

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 (Rebecca.cain@state.sd.us) or Dawn Smith (Dawnl.smith@state.sd.us), South Dakota Department of Education, for more information.

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 also 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 call Sue Burgard (sue.burgard@state.sd.us), South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-5238.

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