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Letter from the Secretary

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SD Department of Education October 2014  

Director of Assessment & Accountability talks about changes to the accountability system at: http://youtu.be/GBy9Rpai4zA?list=UUyELvhISGHZs5cb_MT2RFeQ
Accountability: What changes mean for you
South Dakota’s recently extended ESEA flexibility waiver contains several important changes to the state’s accountability system. For a summary of School Performance Index indicators and accountability changes, go to: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2014/oct/documents/Waiver_14.pdf.

Director of Assessment & Accountability discusses the Student Growth Percentile model at: http://youtu.be/2Us-WWdZBE4
Accountability: Work group recommends growth model

Beginning with the results of the 2015-16 state assessment, South Dakota’s accountability system will include academic growth as one of three indicators that make up the School Performance Index at the elementary and middle school levels.

Since February 2013, a work group of South Dakota teachers, administrators and other education professionals have been studying various growth models to be used as part of the accountability system.

After studying seven of the most commonly used models, the group recommends the Student Growth Percentile model as the basis for the South Dakota Growth Model. This particular model is currently used in several other states, including Colorado and Arizona.

The results of the 2015 Smarter Balanced assessment will be used to set the baseline for growth. Growth measures will first be calculated once results of the 2016 Smarter Balanced assessment are available. In the future, the Department of Education will study whether embedding multiple years of data (up to three) would strengthen the model.

The group recommends that the SPI points allocation come from two measures:

1) The Median Growth Percentile (encompassing all students); and
2) The growth scores for the lowest performing 25 percent of students in a given school. This will recognize the work that all schools are doing to close the achievement gap for low performing students, but will still ensure that the expectation is maintained that all students will grow.

The group is recommending that, as with other accountability measures, an n-size of 10 students be used for both the Median Growth Percentile and low performing categories. In the event that the bottom 25 percent is comprised of fewer than 10 students, only the Median Growth Percentile will be used.

The department will develop sample reports and roll out the model to administrators and teachers over the next two years.

Indian Education Summit held Sept. 28-30 in Pierre
Tamee Livermont and Tyresha Riquelmy (l to r) are Hagen-Harvey Scholarship recipients. During a breakout session, they shared their high school experiences and talked about how their first year of college is going.

Congratulations to South Dakota’s 2014 Blue Ribbon Schools!
    • Howard Elementary School
    • Medary Elementary School, Brookings
    • O'Gorman High School, Sioux Falls
    • Timber Lake High School

The U.S. Department of Education will honor all National Blue Ribbon Schools at a recognition ceremony Nov. 10-11 in Washington, D.C. These four South Dakota schools are among a distinguished group of 287 public and 50 private schools across the country. Go to: http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-announces-2014-national-blue-ribbon-schools for more information.

SD Board of Education approves new standards, hears report on dual credit
The South Dakota Board of Education met on Sept. 15 in Rapid City. Here is a summary of actions related to K-12:

• The board approved the proposed Physical Education standards, after the required four public hearings. The first of four public hearings were held for K-12 Educational Technology, Fine Arts and Science standards. Most of the discussion, including some opposition, took place around PE and Science standards.

• The board approved changes to SDAR 24:10 related to career and technical education. The CTE changes included a revision of definitions and addition of a section outlining guidelines for new workforce education grants that will become available in the future (see SB 235 from 2013 legislative session).

• A rules proposal related to school library/media endorsement was withdrawn from consideration. The proposal, initially brought forward by librarians, would have made it more difficult for someone to earn a stand-alone endorsement in this area.

• There was a first reading of proposed rules related to principal evaluation. To access the proposed rules, go to: http://doe.sd.gov/board/packets/documents/091514/Item15Doc1.pdf. Please note that the proposal includes an update to teacher evaluation rules (p. 3 of document) as well, in order to align the two systems. A public hearing on Principal Evaluation will take place at the board’s Nov. 17 meeting in Pierre.

The board also heard a report regarding enrollment in the state’s new, reduced-cost dual credit program. To date, almost 780 high school juniors and seniors have enrolled in the reduced-cost courses and are on track to earn more than 4,000 dual credits at South Dakota public universities and technical institutes. Go to: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2014/0915_BOE2.pdf for more information.

Proposed science standards discussed on SD DOE Blog
Julie Olson, Mitchell High School science teacher, and Ben Sayler, director of education and outreach at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, are excited about the proposed K-12 science standards. Read more at http://sddoe.blogspot.com/

Personnel Record Form closes Oct. 15

The Personnel Record Form, or PRF, will close Oct. 15. School districts are required to provide a variety of staffing information via this online tool. Accuracy of the data is very important and will be used for monitoring of Title I and Title III programs, Special Education (IDEA), school accreditation and other programs.

For complete instructions, and to log into the PRF system, go to http://doe.sd.gov/ofm/prf/index.aspx.

If you need assistance with your username and password, please contact Deedra Gesinger at Deedra.Gesinger@state.sd.us.

If you need assistance with any other item related to the PRF system, please contact Jantina Nelson-Stastny at DOEPRF@state.sd.us or (605) 668-2904 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Central). If you get Jantina’s voicemail, please leave her a message and she will return your call as soon as possible.

Free trainings and technical assistance available through Center for Disabilities

During the 2014-15 school year, South Dakota public schools have access to technical assistance and a variety of statewide trainings, at no cost, through the Center for Disabilities. These resources are supported in part by a federal grant through the South Dakota Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and are available to those working in both special education and general education.

The next one-day training, on the topic of autism spectrum disorders, is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 14. For more information and to register, go to: http://www.usd.edu/medical-school/center-for-disabilities/upload/Fundamentals-of-Autism-Spectrum-Disorders-Overview-Identification-Assessment-and-Program-Planning-for-Students-with-ASD-2014.pdf. More one-day trainings on various topics will be held through the remainder of the school year.

Several online trainings are scheduled and are facilitated through Adobe Connect. Educators can sign up for as many webinars as they like. “Sexuality and Personal Hygiene” is the next installment in the “Tough Topics” series. For more information and to register, go to: http://www.usd.edu/medical-school/center-for-disabilities/upload/Free-Online-Training-Series-2014.pdf.

In addition, the Center for Disabilities is offering three-day intensive trainings in small-group settings. These trainings are offered to 10 educators at a time. Training days typically occur at two-week intervals so that participants can gradually implement what they are learning in their classroom or school.

Participants in these intensive trainings also receive ongoing access to technical assistance via email, phone and Adobe Connect. With Adobe Connect, a participant can allow center staff to observe his or her classroom remotely. On-site technical assistance is also available if center staff determine it would be beneficial.

The first intensive training is already under way, but more will be scheduled through the rest of the school year.

Check the center’s training events schedule (http://www.usd.edu/medical-school/center-for-disabilities/training-events.cfm) regularly for future training opportunities.

Contact the Center for Disabilities at 800-658-3080 or cd@usd.edu with any questions. The center also maintains a variety of listservs (http://www.usd.edu/medical-school/center-for-disabilities/center-for-disabilities-listservs.cfm).

Another round of Clean Diesel Grant Program funding opens

The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be accepting applications for the seventh round of funding under the South Dakota Clean Diesel Grant Program. The program provides funds to assist schools in purchasing new public school buses to replace old, high-emitting diesel school buses, and to equip in-use diesel school buses with exhaust control retrofit devices that significantly reduce toxic soot emissions. The primary goal of the program is to reduce students’ exposure to pollution.

There is no cost for the exhaust control retrofits. Eligibility for the retrofits includes any South Dakota public school district that directly provides transportation services. Total award per school district for a replacement bus will be up to 25 percent of replacement cost. Districts that have not received a replacement bus in previous rounds will have preference. DENR intends to award funds to as many eligible applicants throughout the state as possible.

The application deadline for round seven is Dec. 19, 2014. Go to: http://denr.sd.gov/des/aq/aadera.aspx for more information about the program, or contact the DENR Air Quality office at (605) 773-3151.

Libraries recognized as 21st Century School Libraries

Ten school libraries have been recognized by the South Dakota State Library as 21st Century School Libraries for 2014. Representatives of the selected libraries will be honored at the annual Systems Change Conference Oct. 17 in Pierre.

The recognition program identifies school libraries as Effective, Enhanced or Exemplary, based on performance in three areas: place, which refers to the learning environment, both physical and online; programming and professionalism. This is the second year of the recognition program for school libraries. Applicants conduct a self-assessment and provide evidence of their ability to meet South Dakota's guidelines for school libraries. Award status is valid for a two-year period.

Effective Award recipients:

• Valley View Elementary School, Rapid City; Librarian Jorrie Brandhagen, Administrator Wayne Rosby
• Wagner Community School, Wagner; Librarian Brenda DeHaan, Administrator Linda Foos
• West Central High School, Hartford; Librarian DaNann Kistler, Administrator Jeff Danielson

Enhanced Award recipients:
• Colman-Egan School, Colman; Librarian Angie Sewell, Administrator Scott Hemmer
• Edison Middle School, Sioux Falls; Librarian Kjerstin Smith, Administrator Steven Griffith

Exemplary Award recipients:
• Douglas High School, Box Elder; Librarian Kimberly Darata, Administrator Bud Gusso
• Harrisburg South Middle School, Harrisburg; Librarian Kristi Jones,
   Administrator Darren Ellwein
• Madison Central High School, Madison; Librarian Joanne Kallhoff, Administrator Adam Shaw
• O’Gorman High School, Sioux Falls; Librarian Mary G. Johnson, Administrator Kyle Groos
• West Middle School, Rapid City; Librarian Shelley Rath, Administrator Douglas Foley

To learn more about the recognition program, go to: http://library.sd.gov/LIB/SLC/index.aspx#21st.

Letter from the Secretary

Jones County seniors participating in online learning

Thank you to all the districts who have hosted me over the past few weeks. It’s always fun to get out and visit schools this time of year. With homecoming season in full swing, it can be a very colorful experience. I had the opportunity to stop by Haakon County on Disney Character Day!

One of the most exciting things I’ve seen, though, is the strong response to reduced-cost dual credit courses. Shakespeare told us, “all the world’s a stage,” but seeing students taking advantage of these online learning opportunities, I’m convinced that all the world’s a classroom. A student need not live close to a population center or college town. Most of the schools I’ve visited this fall, and of course the majority of schools across our entire state, are in rural areas, but no matter—these students are all plugged in and working hard to get ahead.

Several districts are also working to provide in-person support to students taking online college readiness courses in math and English. I applaud these efforts and hope the number of students taking advantage of these courses continues to grow as well. These courses are vital in helping students avoid costly, non-credit bearing coursework at the postsecondary level.

Educators are also busy taking advantage of unique learning opportunities, at events like the Indian Education Summit and the Systems Change Conference.

The Indian Education Summit took place Sept. 28-30, in Pierre. Around 400 educators, school board members, tribal members and others attended. In addition to keynote speakers and breakout sessions, this year’s event featured panel discussions led by school board members and students. We learn so much from each other’s stories, and these panels engaged presenters and audience members alike.

The Systems Change Conference is coming up Oct. 15-17, in Pierre, with the Teacher of the Year Banquet scheduled for the evening of Oct. 16. This is always a fun night, celebrating outstanding teaching. I hope you’ll make plans to attend. For more information, go to: http://systemschange.midwestmaple.org/index.htm. Also, meet the six candidates for 2015 South Dakota Teacher of the Year, by visiting doe.sd.gov.

As always, thank you for everything you do for South Dakota students.

Upcoming Events

For a complete listing of events, go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/.

Title I – New Director Training
Oct. 6, Pierre

The South Dakota Department of Education Title I office is offering a training/refresher for Title I directors. The training is an overview of Title I requirements and an update on programs related to Title I. If you are a Title I director with three or fewer years of experience, you will benefit most from this training.

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

IEP Process in Action
Oct. 6-16, 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.

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

15th Annual Systems Change Conference
Oct. 15-17, Pierre

This year’s Systems Change Conference will be held at the Ramkota in Pierre. This is one of the region’s premier professional development events for educators. And on the evening of Oct. 16, the 2015 South Dakota Teacher of the Year will be announced during a special recognition banquet. Graduate credit and DOE contact hours are available. For more information, or to register, go to systemschange.midwestmaple.org.

Principal Effectiveness System Overview & Planning Workshop
Nov. 3-7, various times and locations statewide

This workshop is sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Education. It is part of the series of professional learning opportunities for administrators scheduled throughout the 2014-15 school year, focused on implementation of teacher and principal effectiveness systems.

During this half-day session, superintendents and principals will review South Dakota’s Principal Effectiveness Model and begin making district-level decisions about implementation in 2015-16. Topics will include the following:

• About the model: timelines, purpose and overview
• Difference between state model requirements and recommendations
• Evaluations of professional practice (SD Framework for Teaching)
• Evaluations of student growth (student learning objectives)
• Determining summative performance
• District’s next steps toward implementation

The session will conclude with guidance on completing the required plan related to Principal Effectiveness implementation, which is due Dec. 31, 2014.

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

Board of Education meeting
Nov. 17, Pierre

The South Dakota Board of Education is scheduled to meet in the Library Commons, first floor of the MacKay Building, 800 Governors Drive. The time of the meeting is yet to be determined. Public hearings will be held, related to content standards adoption in the areas of science, fine arts and K-12 educational technology. An agenda will be posted at doe.sd.gov/board at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.


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