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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.

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