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Letter from the Secretary

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SD Department of Education April 2015  
Letter from the Secretary
With testing season in full swing, I know this can be a stressful time of year, so allow me to begin this month with a heartfelt thank you. All the hard work you put in to make sure assessment goes smoothly for teachers, students and parents does not go unnoticed. Please remember department staff stand ready to assist you anytime problems arise.

The 2015 Legislative Session has come to a close, and now begins the work of several groups announced during session. Statewide discussion on education will take a variety of forms in coming months.

Initial appointees to the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teachers and Students have been named. These initial members represent the executive and legislative branches. This group will study education funding and make recommendations to the 2016 Legislature.

The group’s first step will be to hold stakeholder input meetings across the state this spring with administrators, teachers, parents and other community members. The schedule for these meetings will be available soon. After these meetings, the membership of the task force will expand to include representatives of these stakeholder groups.

Membership of the Native American Student Achievement Advisory Council will be announced soon and will include tribal leaders and representatives from the Indian Education Advisory Council, the South Dakota departments of Education and Tribal Relations, and education groups. The group will examine ways to improve achievement levels and graduation rates of Native American students, reporting its findings prior to the next legislative session.

Finally, this year’s legislature passed SB 134, establishing the school district boundary task force and prohibiting any minor boundary changes for one year. This task force will also report its findings prior to the 2016 Legislative Session.

These groups are taking on big issues that we know are important to each and every one of you out in the field. We will keep you informed as this work continues.
Tentative schedule for release of 2014-15 Report Card announced

The South Department of Education is looking ahead to the release of the State Report Card later this year. With the new Smarter Balanced assessments, schools and districts will be able to access student results around two weeks after students complete the assessment. This will give educators real-time results about how students are performing.

Below is the TENTATIVE schedule for release of the 2014-15 Report Card, which includes the calculation of new School Performance Index (SPI) scores and classifications. Also, please note the following changes to the SPI for this year:

• School-, district-, and state-level SPI results will be released in mid-September.

• This year’s Report Card will incorporate Smarter Balanced assessments in calculating Student Achievement and will set the baseline for new Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs).

• The Attendance indicator at the elementary and middle school levels will look different, as we move from average daily attendance to calculating the percent of students hitting the state’s target goal of 94 percent attendance.

• At the high school level, the calculations for College and Career Ready and High School Completion indicators will remain the same.

TENTATIVE schedule for release of the 2014-15 Report Card:

• June 12 – PRF Closes; Last date for districts to make changes to SY 2014-15 data in Infinite Campus

• Aug. 10-14 – Districts review and validate data in SD-STARS. If data errors are discovered, this is the time to fix them. We recommend that you have your Accountability Team available during this time to assist with the data review process.

• Sept. 18 – Department provides districts with final data prior to the public release of the Report Card.

• Sept. 18-21 – Districts share local data with key stakeholders, including boards of education.

• Sept. 22 – Public release of statewide data in the 2014-15 Report Card.

• Oct. 5 – Deadline for formal appeals to be submitted to the department.

• Oct. 20 – Deadline for the department to make decisions on formal appeals.

Verification of Educational Structure forms due April 15
The Verification of Educational Structure system is open. All districts must complete the Educational Structure Change Form by April 15, even if there are no changes to be made. The South Dakota Department of Education is collecting all educational structure changes for the 2015-16 school year. Changes districts need to report at this time include the following: new schools, closed schools, changes in grade spans and changes in the names of a school and/or district.

Superintendents, educational structure/directory contacts and main Infinite Campus/student data contacts should have received an email from the department March 13, with the change form attached.

Contact Jennifer Rattling Leaf, South Dakota Department of Education, at 605-773-4703 or Jennifer.RattlingLeaf@state.sd.us, with questions.

Q&A: Basics of accessing, interpreting Smarter Balanced results
In general, once a student completes a Smarter Balanced test, his or her results will be available in approximately 10 business days. This month we offer some guidance on navigating this information.

Where will student scores be located?
Student results will be available in the South Dakota Smarter Balanced portal’s Online Reporting System (http://sd.portal.airast.org). Districts should have some familiarity with the ORS already, as it’s also where test completion results are located.

What qualifies as a completed test?
A test cannot be submitted for scoring until a student has completed both the content and performance task components.

Who can access results?
Each district test coordinator has access to the ORS. District-level users get access to the ORS from the South Dakota Department of Education. Districts are then responsible for managing access at the school level. The district test coordinator can grant access to school-level personnel. If additional district-level users are still in need of access, contact Jan Martin (jan.martin@state.sd.us), the department’s assessment coordinator.

Is there training available for navigating the ORS?
Districts can start exploring the ORS via a pre-recorded webinar (http://files.airws.org/sd/ORS_Webinar.mp4) and with the help of the ORS User Guide (http://sd.portal.airast.org/wp-content/uploads/SD_ORS_UserGuide_2014-2015.pdf).

That’s a lot of information to digest. Will DOE also be offering live trainings?
Yes. South Dakota Department of Education staff stand ready to support districts, and we understand educators might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. The department will be hosting a live webinar on the ORS in mid- to late April. This webinar will walk districts through the ORS, including how to access various score reports, individual results, etc. Jan Martin will send district test coordinators a Lync meeting invitation to this webinar in an upcoming weekly test update email.

What will overall Smarter Balanced results look like?
It’s important to remember Smarter Balanced results cannot be compared to Dakota STEP results. The Smarter Balanced assessment measures student mastery of new, more rigorous standards, and there will be a period of adjustment as students become more familiar with the concepts being assessed. If you must compare results of the two tests, expect to see a drop in the number of students demonstrating proficiency (Levels 3 and 4).

What will individual student reports look like?
Scores will range from 2000-3000. In addition to a specific score, a student score report will include an error band indicating a range within which the student would likely score if he or she were to take the assessment multiple times. Student scores will fall within one of four levels: minimal understanding (Level 1), partial understanding (Level 2), adequate understanding (Level 3) and thorough understanding (Level 4).

Student reports will also indicate how a student scored on claims, which are groups of test questions that measure similar or related knowledge or skills. Students’ performance on claims will be rated Below Standard, At/Near Standard or Above Standard.

On the math assessment, students will receive scores on three claims:
• Concepts & Procedures
• Problem Solving and Modeling & Data Analysis
• Communicating Reasoning

On the English language arts assessment, students will receive scores on four claims:
• Reading
• Writing
• Listening
• Research & Inquiry

Are student results in the ORS considered finalized?
No. It is important to remember that the data included in the ORS is considered preliminary. The department will provide official accountability data later (tentatively mid-September) through SD-STARS.
Check status of waivers to administrative rule
This is a reminder that your school district may have a waiver from administrative rule that expires June 30. To review the list of current waivers and to determine whether this deadline impacts your district, go to http://www.doe.sd.gov/oatq/currentwaivers.aspx. For those districts with waivers set to expire, you will need to file an end-of-term waiver report (doe.sd.gov/oatq/documents/WaiverRpt.doc), and if desired, make application for a new waiver.

To learn more about administrative rule waivers or to apply/reapply for a waiver, go to doe.sd.gov/oatq/adminrulewaivers.aspx.

For questions about waivers, please contact Carol Uecker at the Department of Education, (605) 773-4771 or Carol.Uecker@state.sd.us.

Governor makes initial appointments to Blue Ribbon Task Force
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has announced initial appointments to the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teachers and Students. The task force, announced by the Governor and legislative leaders in February, will reevaluate the current funding formula and make recommendations to the 2016 State Legislature for reform.
Read more at http://news.sd.gov/newsitem.aspx?id=17379.
2015 Legislative Session concludes
For brief summaries of many of the education-related bills that made it through this year’s legislative process, go to http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2015/april/documents/2015Legis.pdf.

Also view a legislative wrap-up discussion between Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp, Executive Director of School Administrators of South Dakota Rob Monson, and Executive Director of Associated School Boards of South Dakota Wade Pogany at https://vimeo.com/123438726.

Harrisburg South Middle School library
State Library offers professional development at no cost
The South Dakota State Library offers professional development and consultation to all South Dakota schools at no cost. In-services can be customized and are available to districts with or without libraries or library staff. A training day could include a half day of consultation with the school library, administration, and/or the literacy or curriculum team and a half day of in-service for all professional and classified staff. SDSL staff are also available for further assistance and consultation at any time.

Call the South Dakota State Library at 1-800-423-6665 for more information or to schedule an in-service.

The in-service options listed below are geared toward K-12 staff and focus on electronic resources provided through statewide subscriptions.

Grounded in Evidence: Sparking Wonder in Your Students
How do I spark student interest in my content area? Learn how to find and integrate appropriate literary and informational texts into your lessons. This training will share strategies to spark student interest in classroom topics and develop higher order thinking skills.

Sorting Through it All: Recycle, Reuse, Renew
How do I help students sort through all the information available to them and identify what is accurate and credible? This training will share strategies for evaluating and curating online resources.

Pushing Out the Walls: Expanding Resources for Your School and Community
Where do I find the resources I need to deliver standards-based instruction? Digital resources provide the opportunity to go beyond the textbook. This training will share strategies for using e-resources to meet the needs of all learners and learning environments.

Voices From the Past: Using Primary Sources
How do I connect my students to the raw materials of learning? Primary source documents such as letters, journals, photographs, newspapers, historical maps and genealogical records are now easily accessible with digital tools and provide opportunities for students to practice higher order thinking skills by analyzing evidence. This training will share strategies for finding primary source documents to complement instruction.
Is the next History Teacher of the Year in your district?
The History Teacher of the Year Award, one of the Governor’s Awards for History, honors excellence in teaching history to elementary through high school students.

Nominees can be elementary or secondary teachers of history or social studies in public or private schools. They must be teaching at least half-time during a school year and have a minimum of three years teaching experience in their field or the history field.

Students, parents, colleagues, administrators, or anyone familiar with the teacher's work may nominate a teacher. Contact Jeff Mammenga, South Dakota State Historical Society, at 605-773-6000 or Jeff.Mammenga@state.sd.us for a nomination form. Mammenga will send application materials to the nominee. Applications are due April 24.

The recipient will be presented with the award Saturday, May 30, during the South Dakota State Historical Society Annual History Conference. His or her name will also be listed on the Governor's Awards for History display in the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.
Purple Up! for Military Kids April 15
April is the Month of the Military Child. This month is set aside as a time to recognize and honor military children for their many sacrifices and struggles, as well as their countless contributions to our nation. Encourage everyone in your schools to wear purple on April 15. Purple symbolizes all branches of the military by combining Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue.
Upcoming Events

Complete listing of events available at: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.

Spring Infinite Campus User Group sessions
April 7, Rapid City
April 8, Pierre
April 9, Aberdeen
April 10, Sioux Falls

The 2015 Spring Infinite Campus User Group sessions are offered free of charge and scheduled from 8 a.m-4 p.m. local time. Participants are asked to bring laptops. For an agenda, go to: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2015/april/documents/InfiniteA.pdf.

Register by going to the link listed behind the date you wish to attend.

Tuesday, April 7 (http://icu.infinitecampus.com/action/eventdetail?eventID=12736)
- Ramkota - Rushmore Room (2111 N. Lacrosse St., Rapid City, SD)

Wednesday, April 8 (http://icu.infinitecampus.com/action/eventdetail?eventID=12737)
- Ramkota - Gallery F&G (920 W. Sioux Ave., Pierre, SD)

Thursday, April 9 (http://icu.infinitecampus.com/action/eventdetail?eventID=12738)
- Ramkota - Northern (1400 8th Ave. NW, Aberdeen, SD)

Friday, April 10 (http://icu.infinitecampus.com/action/eventdetail?eventID=12739)
- Southeast Technical Institute - Sullivan Health Center Room HC257 (2320 N. Career Ave., Sioux Falls, SD)

South Dakota Early Childhood Education Conference
April 9-11, Rapid City

This conference is put on by the South Dakota Head Start Association and the South Dakota Association for the Education of Young Children to bring professional development to South Dakota's early childhood education professionals. The conference is held every April and features nationally known keynote speakers, workshops and networking opportunities.

For more information and to register, go to http://sdececonference-org.doodlekit.com/.

TIE Conference
April 19-21, Rapid City

The 29th Annual TIE Conference will be held at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. It’s the largest event in the region focused on teaching materials, instructional practices, and technology applications for school administrators, teachers, technology coordinators, librarians and media specialists.

The event features breakout sessions, in-depth workshops, nationally recognized keynote speakers, an opportunity for graduate credit and a large exhibit hall.

For more information or to register, go to www.conference.tie.net.

Board of Education meeting
May 18, Aberdeen

The South Dakota Board of Education will hold its regularly scheduled meeting at Northern State University, Student Center, Centennial Room, 1200 S. Jay St., in Aberdeen. 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, social studies, fine arts and K-12 educational technology. An agenda will be posted at http://boardsandcommissions.sd.gov/Template.aspx?id=32 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Advanced Data Use Skills for Educators
June 1-July 15, online

Advanced Data Use Skills for Educators, a new online course available this summer, will build upon skills taught in the prerequisite course, Fundamentals of Using Data for Educators. Participants will apply fundamental skills to an individual project using data.

Course requirements include readings, participation in online discussions and completion of a data project, with the goal of using data to answer important questions to drive positive change in a district, school or classroom.

The course is scheduled for June 1-July 15, with the data project due July 15. Participation is free. Two credits are available through the University of South Dakota for $40/credit.

Register at https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com. Search by course title. For those wishing to receive credit, there will be an additional link on this website where participants can register with USD.

2015 Summer Education Conference: Multi-Tiered System of Supports
June 3-4, Pierre

This conference is open to all schools, with a reduced registration rate available for educators from MTSS schools. Graduate credit is available.

The first day of the conference will focus on teaching students to think critically about text. School-wide Positive Behavior Supports will be the main topic of day two. Keynote speakers will be Jill Jackson and Dr. George Sugai.

For more information and to register, go to doe.sd.gov/oess/documents/15ConfMTS.pdf.

Questions? Contact Becky Cain, South Dakota Department of Education, at rebecca.cain@state.sd.us or (605) 280-3568.

Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools
June 3-4, Madison

This course is offered by the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management and is designed to help participants recognize the need to plan for all types of disaster. Since planning is a process, planning is included in every unit and activity. Participants completing the course will be able to explain the importance of a school safety program to others and to lead individuals in their schools and community through the process of developing an effective multi-hazard program.

This course will:
• Describe emergency management operations, roles and duties
• Explain how to assess potential hazards that schools may face
• Explain how to develop and test an Emergency Operations Plan that addresses all potential hazards.

To register, go to http://www.eventbrite.com/e/g362-multi-hazard-emergency-planning-for-schools-madison-tickets-15621339848.

Civil Rights Regulations: Target - Education Settings
June 9, Rapid City
June 10, Mitchell
June 11, Sioux Falls

The South Dakota Department of Education is working with the U.S. Department of Education to provide professional development on civil rights federal regulations for the educational setting. These will be full-day sessions featuring specialists from the regional U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights in Kansas City, Mo. The OCR ensures equal access to education and promotes educational excellence throughout the nation through enforcement of civil rights laws.

Maria North and Karl Menninger will lead the trainings. They are Supervisory Attorneys for the OCR. Each oversees a team of investigators and attorneys who provide technical assistance and investigate civil rights issues in education.

K-12 staff and postsecondary personnel are encouraged to attend. Attendees will receive six hours of CEUs for full-day attendance. Please advise staff who serve in any of the following capacities about these trainings:

• School administrator
• School counselor
• Career and technical education teacher/director
• School district attorney
• Title IX coordinator
• Section 504 coordinator

Federal law requires that each school district have at least one person designated and trained as the District Title IX Coordinator and a person designated as the Section 504 Coordinator. (§ 34 C.F.R. Sec. 106.8 and Sec. 104.7)

Contact Carol Uecker at the South Dakota Department of Education, (605) 773-4771 or Carol.Uecker@state.sd.us, with any questions.

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

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