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Letter from the Secretary

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SD Department of Education June 2015  
Letter from the Secretary
Another school year has come to a close, and I hope graduation season was a happy one in your school district. I spent my classroom teaching career at the elementary level, and in my experience, there was nothing better than watching those students I had known best as rambunctious 8-year-olds march confidently across that stage nine years later (almost) all grown up.

Now, as I see high school seniors across South Dakota take these steps, I think of our aspiration here at the Department of Education: that all students graduate ready for college, career and life.

Of course, one way we work to achieve this goal is by having in place high quality academic content standards. The ongoing process of reviewing and revising standards helps us ensure we are providing all South Dakota students with the most relevant, rigorous learning opportunities possible.

As you know, the state Board of Education has been holding public hearings over the past school year on several sets of standards. At its May 18 meeting, the board adopted new standards in the areas of fine arts, K-12 educational technology and science.

At its July 27 meeting in Rapid City, the board will hold another public hearing on proposed social studies standards. Next, work groups will begin meeting this summer to revise career and technical education content standards in several career clusters. Public hearings on the standards these groups will propose will begin later this year.

A reminder that public meetings of the Blue Ribbon Task Force are under way and will continue throughout this month, across the state. Your voice is important to this discussion. I strongly encourage you to participate in a meeting. Find the meeting schedule at http://blueribbon.sd.gov. Even if you can’t attend, you can submit feedback to the group via the task force website.

Finally, thank you for everything you did to make the Smarter Balanced testing window a success. This assessment will be vital in helping us know if South Dakota students are on track and making progress toward those high quality expectations we’ve set for them.

Thank you for everything you do for our state’s students. I hope you have a relaxing summer.

Reminder: Blue Ribbon Task Force public meetings begin
Blue Ribbon Task Force meetings take place throughout the month of June in communities around the state. The meeting schedule is available at http://blueribbon.sd.gov/meetings.aspx. Educators are encouraged to attend.

Mark your calendar: June 12
• Deadline for submitting final student data via Infinite Campus
• PRF database closes for the summer

Board of Education adopts new content standards, discusses math Praxis exam
The state Board of Education met May 18 in Aberdeen. Here are highlights from that meeting.

• Following a final public hearing, the board approved new academic content standards for fine arts, K-12 educational technology and science. Go to http://www.doe.sd.gov/ContentStandards/ to access the South Dakota Department of Education’s standards webpage and look for the appropriate links with the date of May 18, 2015. Information about roll-out and training related to the science standards will be forthcoming. The process will be gradual, with testing of new standards not occurring for several years.

• The board had a discussion regarding the math Praxis exam and issues related to certain types of teachers not passing the exam. The required math Praxis exam, which numerous states use, encompasses higher-level math concepts, including some from trigonometry and calculus. For middle school teachers teaching Algebra I or special education teachers at the high school level, mastery of these higher-level concepts typically is not necessary.

Thus, a proposed rule change would pave the way for a new kind of math endorsement. Under the proposed rule change, teachers in these situations would be able to earn a separate endorsement and would take a Praxis exam more appropriate to the type of math they would be teaching. All of the proposed rule changes that went through first reading are located at http://www.doe.sd.gov/board/packets/051815.aspx (see Agenda Item 12.0; math endorsement rule changes are on pages 7-10).

• The board also approved changes to the state’s accountability system. These changes will bring the rules in line with the state’s revised ESEA Flexibility Waiver and are those that have been discussed for several months (eg., not including teacher/principal effectiveness in the School Performance Index; changing the attendance calculation, etc.) Go to http://www.doe.sd.gov/board/packets/documents/051815/Item8Doc2.pdf to access.

School District Boundary Task Force begins meeting
The School District Boundary Task Force began meeting in May. This group is examining existing school district boundaries and may recommend possible changes. The task force is also to recommend a process for addressing minor boundary changes when the current one-year moratorium ends. Follow this group’s work at doe.sd.gov/secretary/SDBTF.aspx.
Feedback needed on proposed changes to CTE teacher certification
This summer, the Division of Career & Technical Education will propose to the state Board of Education administrative rule revisions related to CTE teacher certification. The goal of the proposed revisions is to provide greater flexibility in the ways teachers can be certified to teach CTE courses.

Webinars will be held on the following dates to share information about the proposed revisions and to gather additional feedback from the field before making recommendations to the board. All times listed are Central.

• June 18 - 10-10:30 a.m. & 3-3:30 p.m.
• June 26 - 9-9:30 a.m.
• June 29 - 11-11:30 a.m. & 4-4:30 p.m.

To join a meeting, please use the information below.

Meeting link: https://meet.lync.com/southdakotastateof/erin.larsen/1W86019K
Dial-in number: 866-410-8397
Conference code: 605-773-2533

Watch video at https://youtu.be/5YlPMdzCVGU
Growth model work group makes final recommendations
Beginning with the 2015-16 State Report Card, South Dakota will begin incorporating academic growth as one of three School Performance Index indicators at the elementary and middle school levels.

In 2014, the growth model work group selected Student Growth Percentiles as the most appropriate model to measure academic growth in South Dakota. This growth model is only for the purposes of the SPI. It will not be used to measure student growth for teacher evaluations.

Now the group has established the process for awarding SPI points for academic growth.

For more information and a detailed description of the process for awarding points, go to http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/growth.aspx.
Schools eligible to apply for Homeland Security grant funding
Applications for Homeland Security grant funding are being accepted until July 31, 2015.

State and local, public and private nonprofit agencies, including public and non-public schools, are eligible to apply. Funding will be awarded for one-time projects that have a connection to a Homeland Security mission area such as prevention or protection against terrorism threats. In particular, schools may be interested in access control projects such as: keyless entry, video entry and Fire Marshal-compliant door locks. Surveillance camera projects for schools are not allowable at this time; grants will focus on basic security measures, such as access control. Funding is limited.

Awards are competitive, and local awards will be based on recommendations of regional review committees. Instructions about the application and award process as well as a non-exclusive list of allowable and unallowable costs are available at http://dps.sd.gov/homeland_security/documents/ApplicationInstructions.pdf.

PowerPoint instructions are available at http://dps.sd.gov/homeland_security/documents/EDGARPresentationfor2015HomelandSecurityGrantApplications.pdf.

The link to the application system, Electronic Database for Grant Application & Reporting (EDGAR), is https://sddps.intelligrants.com/.

Funding will be available by January 2016. The project period end date will be determined by the nature of the project. Applicants can call their county emergency manager (http://dps.sd.gov/emergency_services/emergency_management/county_emergency_managers_list.aspx) or the South Dakota Office of Homeland Security at (605) 773-3450 for technical assistance.
Schools invited to administer NCRC to juniors and seniors in 2015-16
The Departments of Education and Labor and Regulation invite high schools to participate in the ACT® National Career Readiness Certificate program during the 2015-16 school year. This opportunity is available at no cost and can be used as a measure of career readiness on the School Performance Index.

• Invitation letter to districts (http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2015/june/documents/NCRC-Lett.pdf)
• Application to participate (http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2015/june/documents/NCRC-appl.docx)
DOE seeking proposals for 2015 Indian Education Summit
The South Dakota Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education is now accepting proposals to present at the 2015 Indian Education Summit. The summit will be held Nov. 1-3 at the Ramkota Conference Center in Pierre.

The theme of this year’s summit is “Sharing Our Heritage; Building Our Future.” For more information and to submit a proposal, go to http://indianeducation.sd.gov/summit.aspx. Proposals should be submitted by July 1.
Nominate your district’s Bus Driver of the Year
The South Dakota School Transportation Association is looking for nominations for Bus Driver of the Year. In addition, districts can recognize drivers for 25 years or more of service, and districts can recognize drivers who are retiring. View the links below to access the appropriate nomination forms.

• Bus Driver of the Year (http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2015/June/documents/BusDriver.doc)
• 25+ Years of Service (http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2015/June/documents/SDSTA-Appl.doc)
• Bus Driver Retirement (http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2015/June/documents/SDTARetir.doc)

Questions should be directed to Tim Steichen, president of SDSTA, at (605) 882-6335 or tim.steichen@k12.sd.us.
Mato Standing High named Indian education director
Mato Standing High joined the Department of Education June 1 as Indian education director. Standing High’s leadership skills and passion for serving underrepresented groups, especially Native children, will help to direct and focus efforts at the state level. His ability to foster relationships among state, federal and tribal leaders also will be critical moving forward.
Upcoming Events

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

Principal Effectiveness In-Depth Implementation Guidance
June 15-19, various locations statewide

Trainings on the Principal Effectiveness model will be held across the state the week of June 15. The purpose is to assist superintendents and principals in selecting domains and components, as well as evidence and artifacts that support Principal Effectiveness.

Additionally, the training will include time to complete the required Principal Effectiveness Gap Analysis and Planning Guide. The Principal Effectiveness trainings in November 2014 provided an overview of the model; this summer’s trainings will provide in-depth implementation guidance.

Go to http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/ to register. Search by course title.

Contact Matt Gill at the South Dakota Department of Education, (605) 773-8193 or Matthew.Gill@state.sd.us, with questions.

Standards Based IEP and IEPq
June 26-July 2, various locations statewide

With the adoption of more rigorous standards in math and English language arts, it is more important than ever to ensure all students have access to grade-level content. IEPq is a tool to help special education and general education teachers communicate about students’ areas of need within the standards.

Through this collaboration, special education teachers can write goals using the "Goal Assistant" in IEPq to target the students’ needs so they can make progress in the general curriculum. The training will introduce participants to the standards-based IEP process and provide access to the online IEPq tool to assist in goal development.

Go to http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/ to register. Search by course title.

Contact Ben Morrison at the South Dakota Department of Education, (605) 773-6119 or Ben.Morrison@state.sd.us, with questions.

Board of Education meeting
July 27, Rapid City

The South Dakota Board of Education will hold its regularly scheduled meeting in Dakota Lecture Hall at Western Dakota Tech, in Rapid City. The time of the meeting is yet to be determined. A public hearing will be held related to content standards adoption in the area of social studies. An agenda will be posted at http://boardsandcommissions.sd.gov/Template.aspx?id=32 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Northern Plains Law Conference on Students with Disabilities
Sept. 22-23, Rapid City

This is a new conference that will cover special education legal issues, including the latest information from due process hearings, circuit court cases, OSEP/OCR (Office of Special Education Programs/Office of Civil Rights) guidance letters, and basic IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) procedural requirements. It is designed for general/special education staff, administrators, state/school district attorneys, state education department staff, related services staff, parents and other stakeholders.

For more information and to register, go to http://www.cvent.com/d/4rq15w.

Save the Date: 16th Annual Systems Change Conference
Oct. 14-16, Chamberlain

Go to http://www.systemschange.midwestmaple.org/default.htm for details.

Save the Date: 2015 Indian Education Summit
Nov. 1-3, Pierre

Go to http://indianeducation.sd.gov/summit.aspx for details.

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