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Letter from the Secretary

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SD Department of Education November 2014  
  Letter from the Secretary

American Education Week is coming up Nov. 16-22. I hope you take time during this special week to celebrate public education and the vital role you play in preparing South Dakota students for success in college, career and life. Thank you to each and every one of you out in the field. The work of an educator is never easy, but of course, important work rarely is.

Teacher and Principal Effectiveness
As you’re aware, we have decided to delay full implementation of the principal effectiveness system until the 2016-17 school year, so that this important work is not rushed. We will be moving forward with a proposed administrative rule that puts the concepts of the principal effectiveness system – namely, the performance standards, the growth piece, and minimum requirements for evaluation – into rule. These rules will be going before the Board of Education at its Nov. 17 meeting. The proposed rules indicate that SY 2016-17 will be the first year that these minimum requirements take effect.

Thank you to all who attended the Principal Effectiveness System Overview and Planning workshops that were held across the state during the first week of November. I hope you’re finding value in this system and teacher effectiveness as you work towards full implementation of both. The systems truly are intended as tools for professional growth.

As I mentioned in my September column, at the state level, we have recently started reaching out to a group we are calling the Professional Learning Community for Teachers, made up of South Dakota Teachers of the Year and Milken Educator Award winners. During a recent phone call with this group, I heard positive feedback about teacher effectiveness and SLOs leading to some great professional conversations.

Content standards
I want to remind you that review and revision of content standards in several areas will also continue at the Nov. 17 board meeting. The first of four public hearings will be held on proposed social studies standards. You can read the proposed standards and submit public comment here.

The second of four public hearings will be held on proposed standards in the content areas of science, fine arts and K-12 educational technology.

Thank you again for all your work on behalf of South Dakota students!

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