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Letter from the Secretary

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SD Department of Education May 2015  
Letter from the Secretary

When you were little, did your jaw drop whenever you ran into one of your teachers outside of school? As children, it doesn’t seem to occur to us that teachers have lives beyond the classroom. Seeing a teacher out in the community can feel like a celebrity encounter.

We don’t lose that sense of awe when we grow up either. Think of the first time you talked to a former teacher after you graduated high school. Did you get tongue-tied wondering if you dare use his or her first name?

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4-8. I hope you take time to celebrate all teachers during this special week—those in your schools today, and those in your life, past and present. There’s a reason we grow up admiring our teachers. It’s not because they’re really celebrities (though I think the world would be a better place if they were). It’s because they encourage us, mold us and inspire us. Teaching is an honorable profession.

The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teachers and Students has officially begun its work. I’ve had the opportunity to attend several initial listening sessions with various groups of educators. These sessions are the first step in the process and will take place through May.

Beginning in June, larger public meetings will be held across the state. The task force now has a website at http://blueribbon.sd.gov where you can submit feedback, find a meeting schedule and more.

I am also pleased to report that the first meeting of the Native American Student Achievement Council was held April 28-29, in Pierre. You can follow this group’s work here: http://indianeducation.sd.gov/NASAAC.aspx

Thank you for all you do for South Dakota students. Enjoy the end of the school year!

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