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Letter from the Secretary
SD Department of Education Nov. 2015  

CEEDAR Center grant helps build relationships between DOE and higher ed

With help from a CEEDAR Center grant, the South Dakota Department of Education is working with several universities in the state to improve educator preparation systems to advance the achievement of students with disabilities. CEEDAR stands for Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform.

SD universities currently involved
• Augustana University
• Northern State University
• South Dakota State University
• University of South Dakota

“The goal of the CEEDAR grant is to ensure that teachers going into general education are prepared to address the needs of all students, focusing in particular on students with disabilities,” says Linda Turner, director of South Dakota’s office of special education. “So we’re working with teacher prep programs to ensure pre-service teachers understand how to differentiate instruction for those students, building universal design principles into their lesson plans to meet the need of any student.”

In South Dakota, approximately 70 percent of students with disabilities are in the general classroom for 80 percent or more of their day, which is slightly above the national average.

At this point, the CEEDAR grant work is focused on reading instruction. “We’ve adopted the Features of Effective Instruction as the core competencies we want to build through undergraduate coursework,” Turner says. “For both teachers currently in the field and new teachers, these are areas in which we see a need for professional development.”

“NSU is pleased to partner with the state and other universities in South Dakota on the CEEDAR grant,” says Dr. Alan Neville, professor of education and department chair of Elementary, Secondary and Special Education. “We will critically look at both our undergraduate and graduate coursework and will possibly create or re-design classes to better prepare our future teachers at all grade levels. Additionally, we hope to develop a new teacher mentoring program that we believe is critical for teacher retention.”


A facilitator with the CEEDAR project holds monthly calls with participating universities. Turner says the goal right now is that the universities have the core competencies built into their syllabi by spring 2016, so they can request any necessary approval from the South Dakota Board of Regents and start implementation in fall 2016.

In the future, the grant project will also include work on professional development opportunities for teachers already in the field.

“South Dakota’s CEEDAR work is aimed at developing teachers and school leaders who can successfully prepare students with a wide range of abilities to be successful learners,” says Dr. Andrew Stremmel, SDSU professor of education and department chair of Teaching, Learning and Leadership. “In accountability terms this means we want to help all learners achieve college- and career-ready standards, while embracing and fostering diversity and inclusivity. Our work is collaborative and recognizes the essential idea of partnership among the Department of Education, institutes of higher education, K-12 schools and communities in aligning educational initiatives and transforming teacher education.”

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