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Letter from the Secretary

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SD Department of Education September 2014  
  Letter from the Secretary

I hope the school year is off to a great start in your district. There are several things happening this month that I want to make sure stay on your radar.

Standards under review
On Sept. 15, the South Dakota Board of Education will hold the first of four public hearings on K-12 content standards in the areas of science, educational technology and fine arts. The final public hearing on proposed physical education standards will also be held at this meeting.

I encourage you to review the proposed standards in all of these content areas by visiting the Board of Education’s webpage. You can still submit comment before this month’s meeting, and there will also be opportunity to do so before each subsequent hearing. Of course you can also comment in person at any of the hearings.

In the communications toolkit that was sent to superintendents and principals in August, you’ll find materials useful for communicating with your schools and communities about the proposed science standards.

Assessment roadshow
The fall assessment roadshow is scheduled for Sept. 15-19. As you know, there are many things going on in the area of assessment. These one-day workshops will give district level test coordinators, lead counselors, superintendents, assistant superintendents and technology coordinators an overview of all required assessments. Learn more here.

Parent Advisory Council
I’m excited to report that on Sept. 26, we will be hosting the first meeting of the department’s Parent Advisory Council. This is an advisory group of parents from across South Dakota.

For quite some time, it has been a goal of the department to better engage parents in conversations about state-level education efforts. I think this advisory council is a strong step in that direction. I look forward to the group’s insight.

Professional Learning Community for Teachers
We also want to more directly engage teachers at the state level. In that spirit, we are reaching out to a group of South Dakota Teachers of the Year and Milken Award winners in order to convene an informal network of teachers for the 2014-15 school year. We have sent a letter to this group of teachers and their administrators. If a teacher in your district was invited to participate, please encourage him or her to do so.

We hope to hold monthly meetings, all via conference call, so that no time out of the classroom would be required.

I’m excited to work with these distinguished educators.

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