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Letter from the Secretary
SD Department of Education Aug. 2016  
Letter from the Secretary

Welcome back to a new school year! As usual, summer days seem to pass quickly, and I know most schools will be back in session by the end of the month.

With the start of this school year, the Department of Education is kicking off an attendance awareness campaign.

As a state, our aspiration is that all South Dakota students graduate from high school ready for college, career and life. To work towards achieving this aspiration, the department has identified major goals: benchmarks for reading and math proficiency, increased academic success for Native American students, and postsecondary and workforce readiness.

Of course, meeting these goals is a complex undertaking, but there is one simple strategy that goes a long way toward helping students succeed: consistent attendance.

When school is in session, students must be there to benefit. While that seems obvious, some schools in South Dakota struggle with chronic absenteeism, as do schools across the country. Did you know? Missing 10 percent of a school year, or just two days a month, is all it takes to negatively impact student achievement.

In September, we will be celebrating Attendance Awareness Month, and I hope you will partner with us in spreading the word about this vital issue. As school leaders, there are many things you can do. Superintendents and principals will soon be receiving a toolkit of resources we’ve compiled to help you engage stakeholders in this important effort: parents, students, teachers and community members.

Thank you for your dedication to South Dakota students. You make a difference.

ESSA Video
View video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ-oI-42B1U
ESSA Implementation: Let’s talk
The South Dakota Department of Education has created a new listserv dedicated to issues around implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act in our state. Anyone interested in ESSA implementation efforts is invited to sign up for the listserv [https://listserv.sd.gov/scripts/wa.exe?A0=SDESSAIMPLEMENTATION]. To sign up, visit the listserv webpage and follow the link to “Subscribe or Unsubscribe.” Also, please share this information with any education-related groups you work with who may be interested.

Through the ESSA Implementation listserv, the department will provide updates on implementation in South Dakota. More importantly, the department plans to pose questions on critical implementation topics on which broad input is needed. Questions will be posed via the listserv, and subscribers will be asked to respond via an online survey tool, so the department can collect responses in one spot. Responses will be shared with the ESSA work groups, as well as department staff responsible for developing the state plan required under ESSA. The first question is this:

• South Dakota has an opportunity to design an indicator around student success and school quality as part of its accountability system. What thing(s) should be measured that would provide meaningful results? Think about different indicators for elementary/middle vs. high school.

Watch a brief video explanation [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ-oI-42B1U] of this opportunity.

Provide your input [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T25JTG9] on this question.

Apply by Aug. 15 for Shared Services Grants
The deadline to apply for an Employee Shared Services Grant [http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/sharedservices.aspx] is Aug. 15. Senate Bill 133 from the 2016 legislative session included an ongoing appropriation of $1.6 million to the Department of Education to provide two types of shared services: 1) those involving state-purchased goods and services provided to districts, and 2) those involving districts sharing employees.

Report Card Pre-Appeal window opens Aug. 26
The Pre-Appeal window is the time for districts to review accountability data, prior to public release of the data and the State Report Card going live on DOE’s website Oct. 4. It is critical that districts’ accountability teams take time to review the data carefully, so any errors can be addressed prior to public release.
vaccination New vaccination requirements begin in school year 2016-17
Beginning in school year 2016-17, the Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis) and MCV4 (Meningococcal ACYW) vaccines will be required for entry into the 6th grade. The change is a result of Senate Bill 28, passed by the 2016 Legislature. SB 28 adds meningococcal infection to the list of diseases specified in South Dakota Codified Law 13-28-7.1 [http://sdlegislature.gov/statutes/DisplayStatute.aspx?Statute=13-28-7.1&Type=Statute] for which the Department of Education, based on recommendations from the Department of Health, can require vaccination for school entry in South Dakota.

With the change, school entry requirements for South Dakota 6th grade students include:
  • One dose of Tdap vaccine
  • One does of MCV4
The requirements apply only for 6th grade entry and transfer students in 6th – 12th grade. A child who is 10 years old when entering the 6th grade has 45 days after his or her 11th birthday to be vaccinated. Schools will be required to report immunization data of 6th grade students yearly to the Department of Health just as they currently do with kindergarten students.

Schools may find the following documents from the Department of Health useful in communicating this new requirement with various stakeholders:
  • Message to parents [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2016/Aug/documents/Parentltr.docx]— could be posted on school website, in school newsletters, etc.
  • Flyer [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2016/Aug/documents/vacc-flyr.pdf] — could be posted on school website, sent home with students, etc.
  • Detail document [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2016/Aug/documents/VACdetail.docx] — for individuals/groups needing more detailed information
Board of Education adopts guidelines for suicide prevention training
Senate Bill 129, passed by the 2016 Legislature, requires anyone applying for an initial or renewal certificate as a teacher, administrator or other education professional to participate in suicide awareness and prevention training. The requirement begins July 1, 2017. The state Board of Education has now adopted training guidelines. Find more info on the DOE website [http://doe.sd.gov/suicideprevention/].
Help DOE honor district TOYs at Systems Change Conference
District-level Teachers of the Year from across South Dakota will be honored at a banquet hosted by the South Dakota Department of Education during the annual Systems Change Conference, Oct. 12-14, at the Cedar Shore Resort in Chamberlain.

The department will cover conference registration, lodging and meals during the conference for your district’s 2015-16 Teacher of the Year. The banquet will be held the evening of Oct. 13. This is a great opportunity to recognize and reward your district-level Teacher of the Year for always going the extra mile.

Please provide us with the name of your 2015-16 district-level Teacher of the Year by Sept. 1, so we can invite him or her to the annual banquet. Submit the information electronically via online survey [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BJ3M7QM].
South Dakota meets requirements based on State Performance Plan
The U.S. Department of Education recently released state determinations on implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. South Dakota moved up to Meets Requirements based on its State Performance Plan. Learn more about this exciting news on the GRADS 360° website [https://osep.grads360.org/#communities/pdc/documents/11894]!
RAMP Award Fred Assam Elementary school counselor earns RAMP designation
In July, Elizabeth Rus (left) was honored at the American School Counselor Association Conference in New Orleans for achieving a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP). Learn more about the RAMP designation in this press release [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2016/Aug/documents/RAMP.pdf]. Kudos to Elizabeth and Fred Assam Elementary School (Brandon Valley School District)!
Upcoming Events

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

Frontline Technologies webinar
Aug. 3, online

Frontline Technologies recently acquired Teachscape, and the Reflect platform has been updated to MyLearningPlan OASYS. This is a one-hour webinar scheduled for 9:30 a.m. CDT to review the South Dakota evaluation types in OASYS. Register here [https://myfrontline.webex.com/myfrontline/onstage/g.php?MTID=e3e175483e0b34415e5982b26de33fbce].

Frontline Technologies regional trainings
Aug. 8-11, various locations statewide

Frontline Technologies recently acquired Teachscape, and the Reflect platform has been updated to MyLearningPlan OASYS. Trainers from Frontline are coming to South Dakota this summer to train ESA staff and public school administrators. The morning will consist of training district trainers and ESA staff, and the afternoon will consist of training all administrators with the help of the newly-trained trainers (except in Aberdeen, the training sessions will be flipped). Whether you used Teachscape or not, you are invited to check out this new platform.

Regional trainings (trainer session is for district Frontline leads and ESA staff):
  • Monday, Aug. 8 – Aberdeen – Central High School – Administrators Register Here [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=4898] | Trainers Register Here [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=4902]
  • Tuesday, Aug. 9 – Pierre – MacKay Building, Library Commons – Administrators Register Here [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=4903] | Trainers Register Here [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=4899]
  • Wednesday, Aug. 10 – Rapid City – Rapid City High School – Administrators Register Here [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=4904] | Trainers Register Here [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=4900]
  • Thursday, Aug. 11 – Harrisburg – North Middle School – Administrators Register Here [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=4905 | Trainers Register Here [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/course/browse?courseid=4901
Additional online resources: Visit the Resource Center [http://www.frontlinek12.com/Pages/Teachscape_Resource_Center.html] for recorded webinars, online training opportunities and other helpful resources.

Questions regarding your Reflect evaluation data? Email support@teachscape.com.

Questions regarding your OASYS evaluations for 2016-17? Email mlpsupport@frontlinetechnologies.com.

New to Infinite Campus training
Aug. 10, Pierre

This training will cover the basic functions needed to effectively operate and manage users in the Infinite Campus system. Register at GoSignMeUp [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/]. Search by course title.

Board of Education
Aug. 15, via teleconference (TENTATIVE)

The South Dakota Board of Education is tentatively scheduled to meet via teleconference at 10 a.m. CDT. A proposed agenda will be posted at doe.sd.gov/board/ at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Fall DOE/Infinite Campus User Group sessions
Sept. 13, Mitchell
Sept. 14, Watertown
Sept. 15, Pierre
Sept. 16, Rapid City

The 2016 Fall DOE/Infinite Campus User Group sessions are offered free of charge and scheduled from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. local time. Participants are asked to bring their laptops, as this is a hands-on training. Look for more information, including registration links, in coming weeks.

Indian Education Summit
Sept. 25-27, Pierre

Each year, education professionals from across the state and around the country attend this summit to access high quality professional development, information on the latest trends and proven best practices in the field of Indian education. We seek to showcase successful projects, programs and initiatives for all ages, from preschool to postsecondary.

The summit will be organized into the following strands:
  • Attendance
  • Culture/Language
  • Recruiting/Retaining Qualified Teachers
  • Innovation
Note schedule/format change: This year’s sessions will be two hours long, with the first hour intended to be informational. The second hour will be designated for attendees to work together in small groups to develop action plans based on the information presented.

For more information and to register, visit the summit’s website [http://tie.events/ies/].

Northern Plains Law Conference on Students with Disabilities
Oct. 4-5, Bismarck, N.D.

The Northern Plains Law Conference on Students with Disabilities will cover special education legal issues, including the latest information on due process hearings, circuit court cases, OSEP/OCR guidance letters and basic IDEA procedural requirements.

This conference is designed for general/special education staff, administrators, state/school district attorneys, state education agency staff, related services staff, parents and other stakeholders. Visit the registration site [http://www.cvent.com/events/2016-northern-plains-law-conference-on-students-with-disabilities/event-summary-654f2276ec9946c88f3fda629258467b.aspx?i=285a9f9e-f84e-4222-8f17-6d9aa5979585] to learn more.

There will also be a Pre-Conference [http://www.cvent.com/d/3fqs9m] on Oct. 3, open to school district attorneys, special education directors, dispute resolution contractors and SEA staff.

Systems Change
17th Annual Conference & Teacher of the Year Banquet
Oct. 12-14, Chamberlain

This year’s Systems Change Conference [http://tie.events/systems-change-conference/] 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. 13, the 2017 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://tie.events/systems-change-conference/].


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