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Letter from the Secretary
SD Department of Education Oct. 2015  
 
 
Letter from the Secretary

As you know, the 2015 State Report Card has been released.

The Report Card contains a wealth of information, and one of the measures we’ve been anxiously awaiting is how South Dakota students performed on the statewide assessment, based on the new standards in English language arts and math.

Overall, our state’s students performed better than was expected. In every grade tested and in both content areas, we exceeded the predicted scores. Kudos to all of you, your staffs and your students for your hard work and commitment, which led to these results.

There were a number of particularly bright spots—including ELA scores in grades 3, 7 and 11. Third grade students also did very well in math. We attribute 3rd graders’ success, in part, to their more extensive exposure to the new standards. Our state’s current content standards are almost all these students have ever known.

Also in math, we know that our 11th grade students performed better than their peers in a number of Smarter Balanced states. Efforts such as the Opportunity Scholarship and the Board of Regents’ decision to use SBAC scores for college placement may be impacting those results.

We have already begun examining why some districts struggled and why some excelled. A couple pieces of data stand out right away. At the elementary level, we see correlation between poor student attendance and low test scores. Common sense tells us that if kids aren’t in school, they aren’t learning. We are using a new attendance measure this year that should help prevent students with chronic attendance problems from being masked by students with strong attendance. This measure is based on the number of students who achieve 94 percent attendance.

Another strong correlation is in districts where there was strong leadership and support for teachers to receive training in the new standards. Where teachers had ample opportunity and encouragement to attend training, test scores were higher.

We have a ways to go, but we are encouraged by the results we see. This is a more rigorous, more meaningful assessment that gives us clearer information on whether students are on track to be ready for college, career and life.

Thank you for all you do for South Dakota students.

 
 
 
 
Training on new social studies standards to start in October
*Updated Nov. 19

With the recent adoption of new social studies standards, the Department of Education is offering trainings throughout the 2015-16 school year. Teaching to the standards is to begin in the 2016-17 school year.

Awareness trainings will provide an overview of the standards (http://doe.sd.gov/ContentStandards/documents/SocialStd.pdf), background in the C3 Framework, inquiry in the classroom, the disaggregated templates and connections to the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings. These free trainings will be held statewide. Two self-paced online versions of these trainings are also scheduled. Find registration links for these courses below, or find them at GoSignMeUp.com (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com) by searching the term “social studies.”

Free in-person regional courses (6-8 contact hours towards recertification)
1. Aberdeen (Northern State University)
    (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=3668)
    – Oct. 28, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. CDT
2. Sioux Falls (Southeast Technical Institute)
    (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=3669)
    – Oct. 29, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. CDT (Wait list only)
3. Yankton (Kelly Inn)
    (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=3670)
    – Oct. 30, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. CDT
4. Rapid City (Western Dakota Tech)
    (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=3671)
    – Nov. 19, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. MST


Free online courses (8 contact hours towards recertification)
1. Online Course Section 1
    (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=3672)
    – Nov. 1-14, self-paced
2. Online Course Section 2
    (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=3673)
    – Nov. 15-30, self-paced

Other opportunities will include in-depth online trainings in early spring 2016, which will build upon material from the fall trainings. These in-depth trainings will cover a longer time frame (a few months) as well as more specific material and engagement related to implementation. More details about these trainings will be sent out at a later date.

NOTE: The upcoming Systems Change conference will also feature sessions on the new standards. Check out the conference schedule (http://systemschange.midwestmaple.org/) for more information.

Contact Sam Shaw, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-5229 or sam.shaw@state.sd.us with questions.

 
 
 
 
HOT TOPICS
Blue Ribbon task force hears about funding and revenue possibilities
The Blue Ribbon Task Force met Oct. 1 and heard about potential funding formula changes and revenue possibilities. Meeting materials and audio (http://blueribbon.sd.gov/materials.aspx) are available on the task force website. The task force will submit a report of its recommendations to the Governor by Dec. 1.


Reminder: Complete data submission for PRF by Oct. 15
The Personnel Record Form, or PRF, is open. Districts are required to provide a variety of staffing information via this online tool. Accuracy of the data is very important and will be used for monitoring of Title I and Title III Programs, Special Education IDEA, school accreditation and other programs. The deadline to submit PRF data is Oct. 15.


Fall Assessment Roadshow coming up Oct. 19-23
These statewide one-day workshops will provide all public school districts and participating non-public schools with information needed for planning all required 2015-16 assessments. For each assessment, participants will receive a one-page document of high level details and next steps. Register at GoSignMeUp (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com). Search for “Fall Assessment Workshop.”

 
 
 
 
School District Boundary Task Force drafts legislation
The School District Boundary Task Force (http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/SDBTF.aspx) has been asked to examine existing school district boundaries as well as recommend possible changes to those boundaries and a process for addressing minor boundary changes in the future. The task force has drafted legislation(http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/documents/0813Bound.pdf) to revise the procedure for initiating a school district boundary change. It is now available for public comment (http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/SDBTF.aspx).
 
 
 
 
 
Updated reporting requirements for districts available
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act requires school districts to publicly report accountability and assessment results for the district and each of its schools. Districts must also provide individual student results to parents. Here is a chart that details reporting requirements and deadlines (doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2015/oct/documents/SDESEA-15.pdf).
 
 
 
 
DOE hosting K-16 Summit Oct. 14 in Chamberlain
No new teacher can be entirely prepared for the first day of school. Teacher prep and supports are key elements in developing successful teachers and retaining them in the profession. The K-16 Summit is designed to provide an opportunity for postsecondary and K-12 educators to learn and collaborate together. Here is an agenda and registration information (doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2015/oct/documents/K16Summit.pdf) for this free event.
 
 
 
 
Applications due Dec. 18 for Clean Diesel Grant Program funding
The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be accepting applications for the eighth round of funding under the South Dakota Clean Diesel Grant Program. The program provides funds to assist schools in purchasing new public school buses to replace old, high-emitting diesel school buses, and to equip in-use diesel school buses with exhaust control retrofit devices that significantly reduce toxic soot emissions. The primary goal of the program is to reduce students’ exposure to both fine particulate and smog-forming pollution.

There is no cost for the exhaust control retrofits. Eligibility for the retrofits includes any South Dakota public school district that directly provides transportation services. Total award per school district for a replacement bus will be up to 25 percent of replacement cost. Districts that have not received a replacement bus in previous rounds will have preference. DENR intends to award funds to as many eligible applicants throughout the state as possible.

The application deadline for round eight is Dec. 18. More information about the program is available on DENR’s website (http://denr.sd.gov/des/aq/aadera.aspx), or by contacting the DENR Air Quality office at (605) 773-3151.
 
 
 
 
Congratulations to South Dakota’s 2015 National Blue Ribbon Schools
Kudos to All City Elementary (Sioux Falls) and Baltic Elementary schools! The U.S. Dept. of Education has named them National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2015 based on their overall academic excellence. These schools are among 285 public and 50 private schools nationwide that will be honored at a recognition ceremony Nov. 9-10 in Washington, D.C.
 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events

A complete listing of events is available at GoSignMeUp (http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/).

SPED Teacher Effectiveness Training
Oct. 7, Pierre
Oct. 9, Sioux Falls

Special education teachers and administrators who evaluate them are invited to attend this training, which will provide clarification on Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) and dig deeper into the South Dakota Framework for Teaching. Educators will learn how the framework and SLOs work together, along with how to write differentiated SLO goals, which is recommended practice. In addition, they will break down the framework and the different special education scenarios.

Register at GoSignMeUp (http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/). 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.




K-16 Summit
Oct. 14, Chamberlain

No new teacher can be entirely prepared for the first day of school. Teacher prep and supports are key elements in developing successful teachers and retaining them in the profession. The K-16 Summit is designed to provide an opportunity for postsecondary and K-12 educators to learn and collaborate together. Here is an agenda and registration information (doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2015/oct/documents/K16Summit.pdf)for this free event.




16th Annual Systems Change Conference
Oct. 14-16, Chamberlain

This year’s Systems Change Conference (http://www.systemschange.midwestmaple.org/default.htm) will be held at the Cedar Shore Resort in Chamberlain. This is one of the region’s premier professional development events for educators. On the evening of Oct. 15, the 2016 South Dakota Teacher of the Year will be announced during a special recognition banquet. Graduate credit and DOE contact hours are available.

For more information and to register, visit the Systems Change website (http://www.systemschange.midwestmaple.org/default.htm).





Fall Assessment Workshops
Oct. 19-23, various locations statewide

These statewide one-day workshops will provide all public school districts and participating non-public schools with information needed for planning all required 2015-16 assessments. For each assessment, participants will receive a one-page document of high level details and next steps.

Register at GoSignMeUp (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/). Search for “Fall Assessment Workshop.”




SD-STARS Training for STARS Account Managers
Oct. 19-Nov. 12, various locations statewide

The South Dakota Department of Education is offering this one-day training on the South Dakota Student Teacher Accountability and Reporting System (SD-STARS) to STARS Account Managers. The course will update participants on changes in the SD-STARS system and train them on understanding and using data for educational decisions. Participation is free. The class will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time and will allow time for lunch.

Register at GoSignMeUp (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/). Search by course title. Contact Jameson Berreth at the South Dakota Department of Education, (605) 773-4463 or jameson.berreth@state.sd.us, with questions.




Healthy Schools Summit: Activating a Healthier Generation
Oct. 20, Pierre

Schools won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn about the latest strategies and resources for enhancing the learning environment by improving nutrition and physical activity. Through demonstration and participation, participants will learn how to take wellness to the next level and activate children’s healthy behaviors where they live, learn and play.

Participants will be energized by Carol Chong, MA/RDN/LDN, National Nutrition Advisor; and Reagan Spomer, Youth Ambassador with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation; along with other great presenters, including National Healthy School Award winners from South Dakota.

Learn more with this sharable flyer about the event (http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/15/Sept/documents/SchHealth.pdf).

Contact: Kari Senger, Healthy Schools Program Manager, Alliance for a Healthier Generation - Kari.senger@healthiergeneration.org or (605) 280-7671. Karen Keyser, Department of Education, karen.keyser@state.sd.us.




SD-STARS Training for Data STARS
Oct. 20-Nov. 13, various locations statewide

The South Dakota Department of Education is offering this one-day training on the South Dakota Student Teacher Accountability and Reporting System (SD-STARS)to Data STARS. The course will update participants on changes in the SD-STARS system and train them on understanding and using data for educational decisions. Participation is free. The class will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time and will allow time for lunch.

Register at GoSignMeUp (http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/). Search by course title. Contact Jameson Berreth at the South Dakota Department of Education, (605) 773-4463 or jameson.berreth@state.sd.us, with questions.




Social Studies Standards Implementation
Oct. 28-Nov. 19, various locations statewide

*Updated Nov. 19

With the recent adoption of new social studies standards, the Department of Education is offering trainings throughout the 2015-16 school year. Teaching to the standards is to begin in the 2016-17 school year.

Awareness trainings will provide an overview of the standards (http://doe.sd.gov/ContentStandards/documents/SocialStd.pdf), background in the C3 Framework, inquiry in the classroom, the disaggregated templates and connections to the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings. These free trainings will be held statewide. Two self-paced online versions of these trainings are also scheduled. Find registration links for these courses below, or find them at GoSignMeUp.com (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com) by searching the term “social studies.”

Free in-person regional courses (6-8 contact hours towards recertification)
1. Aberdeen (Northern State University)
    (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=3668)
    – Oct. 28, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. CDT
2. Sioux Falls (Southeast Technical Institute)
    (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=3669)
    – Oct. 29, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. CDT (Wait list only)
3. Yankton (Kelly Inn)
    (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=3670)
    – Oct. 30, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. CDT
4. Rapid City (Western Dakota Tech)
    (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=3671)
    – Nov. 19, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. MST


Free online courses (8 contact hours towards recertification)
1. Online Course Section 1
    (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=3672)
    – Nov. 1-14, self-paced
2. Online Course Section 2
    (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=3673)
    – Nov. 15-30, self-paced

Other opportunities will include in-depth online trainings in early spring 2016, which will build upon material from the fall trainings. These in-depth trainings will cover a longer time frame (a few months) as well as more specific material and engagement related to implementation. More details about these trainings will be sent out at a later date.

NOTE: The upcoming Systems Change conference will also feature sessions on the new standards. Check out the conference schedule (http://systemschange.midwestmaple.org/) for more information.

Contact Sam Shaw, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-5229 or sam.shaw@state.sd.us with questions.


2015 Indian Education Summit
Nov. 1-3, Pierre
View details at http://indianeducation.sd.gov/summit.aspx




Board of Education
Nov. 16, Sioux Falls

The South Dakota Board of Education will meet at Southeast Technical Institute, Mickelson Center Room 101, 2320 N. Career Ave., in Sioux Falls. The time of the meeting is yet to be determined. An agenda will be posted on the Boards and Commissions portal (http://boardsandcommissions.sd.gov/Template.aspx?id=32) at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

 
   
 

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