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SD Department of Education February 2015  

Faulkton dual credit students
Letter from the Secretary

As I’m sure you well know, one of the biggest challenges in communicating about education is bridging the gap for adults who may not have visited a K-12 classroom in many years. Today’s classrooms are drastically different from the ones we sat in as students. And for many of us, they are also much different from the classrooms in which we started our teaching careers.

That’s why what happened during the first week of this year’s legislative session was so powerful. Teachers and administrators from across the state came to Pierre and had the opportunity to address members of the Senate and House Education committees.

I’ll describe a portion of the Senate Education Committee meeting as an example. Three teachers gave sample math lessons: Jennifer Larson, a 1st grade teacher from Sanborn Central; Ann Noyes, a 5th grade teacher in Pierre; and Lori Wagner, a high school math teacher from Webster. To solve the problems, committee members got hands-on with everything from 1st grade-appropriate manipulatives to graphing calculators. Three ELA teachers also delivered sample lessons.

These were compelling presentations, and feedback from legislators has been overwhelmingly positive. They not only got to hear about what’s happening in our state’s classrooms, they got to experience some of it for themselves.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting records many legislative meetings. If you’d like to hear the ones I’ve been discussing, click here for the Jan. 15 Senate Education Committee meeting, or here for the Jan. 16 House Education Committee meeting.

The department also held a special event in the Capitol rotunda on Jan. 15, where lawmakers could try out the Smarter Balanced assessment and talk one-on-one with teachers about a variety of topics. Several Faulkton students were even on hand to discuss their experiences with reduced-cost dual credit courses. In addition, Gov. Daugaard recognized the South Dakota Teacher of the Year candidates and the Milken Educator Award winner. Click here for pictures. It was great to start session with this celebration of education.

And this month, let’s continue the celebration! Happy CTE Month!

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