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SD Department of Education January 2015  
 
 
Letter from the Secretary
I hope you had a relaxing holiday season and are feeling energized for the new year.

While I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions, I am a firm believer in thoughtful goal setting.

Here at the department, we continue to focus on the aspiration that all South Dakota students leave the K-12 system college, career and life ready. It’s a goal that we must continually strive to meet, and I’m confident that we can get there because we have a plan and because we have dedicated, hard-working teachers, principals and administrators throughout the state, who contribute their time and talents every day in seeing that our students have the skills and knowledge base they need to prepare them for their next step.

Effective teachers and leaders help lay the foundation for student success. But great teachers and leaders know that the work is never done. They understand that being effective is so much more than a New Year’s resolution. It’s something to strive for every day.

That said, I want to thank you for your commitment to working in the education field, and more importantly, your commitment to the education of the young people of this state. I know the work is challenging, but the rewards are many.

Best wishes for 2015!
 
 
 
 
Smarter Balanced Q & A answers questions about testing
This article provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding this year’s Smarter Balanced assessment.

Where can I find more information about this year’s Smarter Balanced assessment?
South Dakota’s new Smarter Balanced portal, which is now live at http://sd.portal.airast.org/, will be used for all aspects of administering the Smarter Balanced assessment this year and in years to come. At this point, the secure browsers and associated technical manuals are available, along with some frequently asked questions and training modules, on topics such as computer adaptive testing (CAT), performance tasks and the Online Reporting System. More documents and resources are being added as they become available.

The portal has resources for students and families, test administrators, test coordinators and technology coordinators.

District assessment coordinators will soon have access to the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE), where student information, rosters and user accounts are managed. Voice packs for text-to-speech accommodations are also accessible through TIDE. Please note this TIDE is new, and is not the one used for last year’s Field Test. Districts can no longer access the TIDE that was used last year.

South Dakota has access to its own dedicated Smarter Balanced Help Desk, available through the test vendor. It is already staffed from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. CST.

Will there be an assessment roadshow this year?
No. Instead of a roadshow covering all tests in one day, there will be a series of webinars for ACCESS, Dakota STEP Science, NCSC and Smarter Balanced. More information on dates, times and links will be coming soon. The webinars will be recorded and archived at http://doe.sd.gov/Assessment/.

When will the Smarter Balanced assessment be administered?
South Dakota’s Smarter Balanced testing window is March 10-May 15 for grades 3-8, and March 30-May 15 for grade 11. Districts should already have communicated with the South Dakota Department of Education about when they plan to administer the assessment within those windows. If your district has not done so, please contact Jan.Martin@state.sd.us with this information.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, of which South Dakota is a member, determined that in order to be able to compare test results between states, especially in grade 11, it is necessary for students to have completed 80% of the school year before being assessed.

What are students being tested on?
The Smarter Balanced assessment is aligned to the Common Core standards in English language arts and math. It is not specifically aligned to any textbook or other curricular resource.

How long does it take for students to complete the test?
For scheduling purposes, it’s recommended that districts plan a minimum of five days per grade level. Students need breaks and to do too much testing in a single day is not best practice.

There are four main components to the test:
1) Math (content)
2) Math performance task
3) English language arts (content)
4) English language arts performance task

The test is untimed and designed to be administered in multiple sessions. Content tests should be administered in a minimum of two class periods for each subject. Performance tasks are introduced with a classroom activity that must be completed prior to students finishing the performance task online. The math performance task is designed to be completed in one session but more sessions can be scheduled. The ELA performance task is set up in two parts, and it’s recommended that two sessions be scheduled.

Are practice tests available?
Yes. Administrators, teachers, students and parents are strongly encouraged to try the practice tests, which are now available via South Dakota’s Smarter Balanced portal (http://sd.portal.airast.org/).

The practice tests demonstrate two important aspects of the assessment:

1) The kinds of tasks students will need to perform during testing
2) The types of questions and the cognitive demand that will be expected of students

What basic technology is needed to administer the test?
Both Windows (XP and above) and Mac operating systems (OS 10.5 and higher) are supported with secure browsers developed for the different operating systems.

Apple iPads, versions 2 and 3 with OS 6 and 7 can be used. iPad minis are not supported. Android tablets such as Google Nexus 10, Motorola Xoom, Motorola Xyboard, Samsung Galaxy Note (10.1) and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) can be used. In addition, Chromebooks will be supported. For more information on the secure browsers, go to http://sd.portal.airast.org/browsers/.

Students will need headphones for the listening section and they will need to use some type of pointing device (mouse, touchpad, stylus) in order to navigate and respond to items. If students are using tablets, external keyboards will be useful but not mandatory.

How were achievement levels set for the assessment?
Achievement level cut scores (1, 2, 3, 4) for the assessment have been approved by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The South Dakota Board of Education will vote on adoption of these achievement level cut scores at its next meeting on Jan. 15.

In the processes leading up to consortium approval, South Dakota had almost 70 individuals who participated in online achievement level setting, and 10 who participated in the face-to-face process. For a video explaining the process, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD6LYKxlBrQ&feature=youtu.be.

The current achievement level cut scores are estimates based on field test data. Achievement level descriptors do not equate directly to expectations for “on-grade” performance, but to the range of performance within a grade level.

How well are students expected to perform on the assessment this year?
Initially, more students will likely score in the Level 1 and 2 ranges than in the Level 3 and 4 ranges. Long-term, though, it’s expected South Dakota students will adjust to the higher expectations, and more students will score in Levels 3 and 4.

Scores in the higher ranges (Levels 3 and 4) demonstrate not only more thorough understanding of the standards, but the ability to apply knowledge. Scoring at these levels indicates students are on track to be college and career ready.

It’s important not to make comparisons with the Dakota STEP, as the Smarter Balanced assessment measures student proficiency against a new set of standards. The new assessment sets a new baseline. The expectation is that proficiency on the Smarter Balanced assessment will look different than it did with the Dakota STEP.

It’s also important to note that the South Dakota Board of Regents plans to use 11th grade Smarter Balanced scores for placement guidelines in the future. So, if a student reaches a certain level (to be determined) on Smarter Balanced, that student can go directly into credit-bearing college-level courses. This will make the state assessment more meaningful to high school students.

Why is this test considered an improvement upon previous statewide assessments?
The Smarter Balanced assessment is a computer adaptive test (CAT). By adapting to the student as the assessment is taking place, these assessments present an individually tailored set of questions to each student and can quickly identify which skills students have mastered. This approach represents a significant improvement over traditional paper-and-pencil assessments by providing more accurate scores for all students across the full range of the achievement continuum.

Where will districts be able to access assessment results?
Districts will be able to access assessment results via the Online Reporting System at http://sd.portal.airast.org/.

When can districts expect to see assessment results?
Once a test is submitted, a student’s results will be available within two weeks through the Online Reporting System. The reporting system will go live once the testing window opens. A district should be able to see all of its assessment results by early June.

When will districts be able to share assessment results with parents?
Districts should be able to share assessment results with parents at the same time end-of-year report cards are sent home.

Are there resources available to help administrators communicate about the assessment with parents and other community stakeholders?
Resources for communicating with parents and other community stakeholders are available at http://commoncore.sd.gov/assessment.aspx. Items are being added to this page regularly.

For more information, contact Jan Martin, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-3246 or Jan.Martin@state.sd.us.
 
 
 
 
HOT TOPICS
2015 legislative session opens Jan. 13
Gov. Dennis Daugaard delivers his State of the State address at 1 p.m. (CST) on Jan. 13. Watch or listen at sdpb.org. Track education-related bills at legis.sd.gov.


Teacher effectiveness crosswalks due Jan. 31
For districts not planning to use the state model for teacher effectiveness in SY 2015-16, the first year of full implementation, crosswalks are due Jan. 31, 2015. Through the teacher effectiveness crosswalk process, districts must demonstrate that their systems align to the state’s standards for teaching (Danielson Framework) and include a measure of student growth.

If a district has already been approved through the crosswalk process and is not making any changes to its system, there is no need to re-do the crosswalk. If a district plans to use the state model in 2015-16, there is no need to do the crosswalk. Questions can be directed to Matt Gill at (605) 773-8193 or matthew.gill@state.sd.us. For more information, go to: http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/TE.aspx.



State partners with Denny Sanford to establish Build Dakota scholarships
Build Dakota scholarships will be awarded to students entering high-need workforce programs at South Dakota’s technical institutes. Recipients of the full-ride scholarships will commit to living and working in the state, in their field of study, for three years following graduation.

Read more at: http://doe.sd.gov/builddakota/


 
 
 
 
CPR resources now available online
SDCL 13-3-91 (http://doe.sd.gov/octe/documents/CL13-3-91.pdf) went into effect July 1, 2014, and requires the South Dakota Department of Education to provide CPR resources for districts to use in providing instruction in CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators. According to the new law, school districts must annually be made aware of these resources.

Over the last several months, stakeholders from various state and non-profit agencies and health/physical education teachers have been compiling resources and contacts for districts to access when implementing CPR training. These resources are now available online. To access them, go to: http://doe.sd.gov//octe/cpr.aspx.

While the new law did not make CPR training mandatory, it does require the Department of Education to share related resources annually and to report to the South Dakota Legislature which districts are implementing CPR into the school health curriculum. This information will be gathered annually via an electronic survey.
 
 
 
 
 
Civil rights PD scheduled for summer 2015
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.

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

Civil Rights Regulations: Target - Education Settings
Dates/Locations:
June 9 - Western Dakota Technical Institute, Rapid City
June 10 – Northern State University, Aberdeen
June 11 – Southeast Technical Institute, Sioux Falls

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

Contact Carol Uecker (carol.uecker@state.sd.us) at the South Dakota Department of Education, (605) 773-4771, with any questions.
 
 
 
 
Public universities create new principal preparation degree
Collaboration among four public universities in South Dakota will create a new master of education degree in principal preparation. Recently approved by the South Dakota Board of Regents, the new degree program incorporates nationally recognized best practices for training future principals and administrators in South Dakota K-12 schools.

Read more at: http://www.sdbor.edu/mediapubs/pressreleases/documents/120414Principals.pdf
 
 
 
 
Grants available to fund after school programs; peer reviewers needed
Applications for the next round of 21st Century Community Learning Center, or 21st CCLC, grants are now available. The centers provide students with academic enrichment opportunities and activities designed to complement regular school instruction. For more information, go to: doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2015/0107_CCLC.pdf.

The South Dakota Department of Education is also seeking proposals from qualified individuals to become peer reviewers for these competitive grant applications.

The peer review process is used to ensure qualified proposals are selected for funding. The deadline to apply to become a peer reviewer is Feb. 11. All selected reviewers will be required to attend an on-site training in Pierre on March 25.

Individuals of diverse expertise, geographic location, gender, racial and ethnic representation are encouraged to apply. Examples of potential applicants include (but are not limited to) the following:

• Experts in extended learning and out-of-school time practices
• Teachers, principals
• Youth development experts and practitioners
• Community and youth service providers
• Representatives of faith-based organizations
• Private-sector individuals involved in education
• Local and civic leaders
• Representatives from foundations and other charitable organizations
• College and university staff

For 2015 Peer Reviewer Documents, including an application and scoring rubric, go to: http://doe.sd.gov/oatq/21cent.aspx.

For more information, contact Sue Burgard, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-5238 or sue.burgard@state.sd.us.
 
 
 
 
DOE Blog: Students to begin second semester of reduced-cost dual credit courses
This month, high school juniors and seniors across South Dakota begin taking another round of reduced-cost dual credit courses at the state’s technical institutes and public universities. Kudos to these ambitious young men and women!

Read more at: http://sddoe.blogspot.com
 
 
 
 
2015-16 Teaching and Principal Ambassador Fellowship applications available
Applications for the U.S. Department of Education’s 2015-16 cohort of Teaching (http://www.ed.gov/programs/teacherfellowship) and Principal Ambassador Fellows (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/principalfellowship/index.html) are now available. For more information about the application process, visit the Teaching (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/teacherfellowship/applicant.html) and Principal Ambassador Fellowship (http://www2.ed.gov/programs/principalfellowship/applicant.html) program pages or go directly to the applications for the Teaching (https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/389656600) and Principal (https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/389523300) Fellowships on USAJobs.gov. The deadline to apply is Jan. 20.
 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events

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


District Leadership Retreats
Jan. 13-Feb. 5, various locations statewide

The South Dakota Department of Education is working with ESAs to schedule regional district leadership retreats to assist districts in analyzing data from this year’s statewide survey on implementing standards, classroom best practices and components of the teacher effectiveness system. The retreats will be a time to plan for professional development and celebrate bright spots. It’s recommended that a 4-5 member district leadership team, consisting of teachers and administrators, attend.

Retreats are scheduled from 9:30 a.m-2:30 p.m.

Districts that would prefer a planning session for their district only, may use one of the state-sponsored days to do so.

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


Board of Education meeting
Jan. 15, Pierre

The South Dakota Board of Education is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. (CST) in the Library Commons, first floor of the MacKay Building, 800 Governors Drive. 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 doe.sd.gov/board at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.


SD Invest Yr 2 School Counselor Workshop
Jan. 16-17, Mitchell

Educators are tasked with ensuring all students are college, career and life ready. As such, there is a need for middle and high school counselors to have a clear understanding of South Dakota’s current workforce priorities, labor market needs, postsecondary options and available resources to help adequately prepare students for life after high school. Stipends are available for practicing public school counselors.

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


Civil Rights Regulations: Target – Education Settings
June 9, Rapid City
June 10, Aberdeen
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.

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

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

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