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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.

 
     
 

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