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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.

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