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Letter from the Secretary
SD Department of Education Dec. 2016  
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Photo of Melody Schopp, SD Secretary of Education Letter from the Secretary

As you may have heard, I was recently elected president of the Council of Chief State School Officers Board of Directors. This is a humbling honor, and I’m grateful for this unique platform to advocate for improving education.

Sometimes at the state level, we forget to listen to our educators’ voices – the very people who are closest to our students. We all know that things like standards, assessment and accreditation are important, but if we don’t have great teachers, paraprofessionals and administrators in our classrooms and schools, it really doesn’t matter. That was my message at the council’s recent annual policy forum. We need to make sure we are listening to all of you, who are in our classrooms and schools each and every day.

At the forum, I was also able to share this video [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkGmPrcsc-o] with my colleagues. It was produced by the council and showcases the great work we are doing here in South Dakota to address teacher recruitment and retention issues. The recent effort to increase teacher salaries in our state was about more than just money – it was about showing respect for the incredibly meaningful work that you all do.

Growing the profession

Looking to the future, we also need to make the education field both more attractive and relevant to the demands of 21st century learners.

Earlier this fall, I visited several schools in our state that are implementing customized learning. I saw students thoroughly engaged and teachers guiding them toward mastery – real achievement.

I saw kids working on their own and in small groups while teachers provided targeted instruction or coaching as necessary. I saw elementary, middle school and high school students who knew what they were trying to learn and understood how it was relevant to them. Those schools expect all students – not just some – to master the curriculum; to truly learn.

But this is a new way of teaching. It’s deeply challenging; even a little messy. That’s okay. Teachers who have tried it say they don’t ever want to return to the traditional school setting. Those who haven’t yet tried it need training, support and time if we expect them to do this.

We need to mix fundamentally good teaching with innovative delivery of instruction. As we do that, we will make teaching more attractive.

As South Dakota’s Secretary of Education, I see it as my job to encourage teachers and leaders to think differently and then get out of your way when you do just that.

If we really want to increase our teacher pipeline, we need to not only adequately compensate and respect teachers, but treat them like the professionals they are. That is what will encourage more young people to enter this honorable profession.

Thanks to all of you, there are groundbreaking things happening in South Dakota classrooms. I look forward to sharing our state’s valuable perspectives on the national stage over the coming year.

Have a blessed holiday season.

Schools would receive 1 percent increase under budget proposal
Gov. Dennis Daugaard proposed a 1 percent increase in state aid to K-12 education during his budget address earlier this week. This increase raises the target teacher salary to $48,985. Click here [https://bfm.sd.gov/budget/rec18/index.htm] to access more detailed information.

Overview of proposed certification rule changes now available
An overview of proposed changes to educator certification rules is now available. A first reading of the proposed rule changes was held at the Nov. 15 state Board of Education meeting. Public hearings will be held in January and March.
  • Read a summary of proposed changes [http://doe.sd.gov/board/packets/documents/111516/item12doc1.pdf]
  • Hear the presentation to the Board of Education [http://doe.sd.gov/board/documents/111516BOE.mp3] (audio starts at 1:59:10)

School Finance Accountability Board to hold first reading of rules Dec. 8
The School Finance Accountability Board will hold a first reading of rules related to the appeals process for teacher compensation accountabilities at its next meeting, scheduled Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. CST via teleconference and Skype. Find more information, including past meeting minutes and supporting documents, on the Department of Education website [http://doe.sd.gov/accountabilityboard/].

SD Blue Ribbon Task-Force logo Blue Ribbon education package lifts average salary by 11.9 percent
Preliminary data indicates that South Dakota’s teacher salaries are on track to meeting a statewide target average of $48,500. According to a survey of school districts, the projected average salary of public school teachers for Fiscal Year 2017 is $46,924, which represents an 11.9 percent increase statewide.

Read more at http://news.sd.gov/newsitem.aspx?id=21203.

Photo of mentoring meeting
Statewide mentoring program kicks off
Mentor/new teacher pairs have been meeting for the first time at regional kickoff meetings for the statewide mentoring program, established as part of the 2016 education package. The educators pictured here were gathered at the Fort Pierre event Nov. 15.
  • The Argus Leader recently featured a story on the program [http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/education/2016/11/25/mentoring-program-helps-teachers-survive-first-few-years/94276946/]

US Ed releases final accountability regulations
The U.S. Department of Education has announced final regulations [http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/essaaccountstplans1129.pdf] to implement the accountability, data reporting and state plan provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act. US DOE also issued a summary [http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/essafactsheet1127.pdf] of the regulations.
Apply now for Team Nutrition sub-grants

Smarter Lunchroom

Smarter Lunchroom $1,000 sub-grants are great opportunities for schools to improve lunchroom environments. Applications must be submitted and approved prior to January. Required grant-related activities are to commence in early January 2017.

Any South Dakota school district or organization that participates in the National School Lunch program and has a full lunchroom that serves students in grades 7-12 is eligible to apply. The one-page grant is simple to fill out and applicants are not required to specify how they will spend the grant money at this time. Any school selected to receive funding will receive one-on-one technical assistance to help them successfully implement the grant.

Here are some video examples of how schools have used their grant funding to create Smarter Lunchrooms:

  • Build-A-Tray program [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wR0HCijcCVs&index=9&list=PLaqD6X6pQgmKGbGknhuaKn_L_e3dbWhn4]
  • Cafeteria signage [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stVGncpVgdk&list=PLaqD6X6pQgmKGbGknhuaKn_L_e3dbWhn4&index=17]
  • Pre-packaged, grab-and-go healthy meals and snacks [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEcQsvGhWuc&list=PLaqD6X6pQgmKGbGknhuaKn_L_e3dbWhn4&index=15]

Find more information and the Smarter Lunchroom sub-grant application on the Department of Education website [http://doe.sd.gov/cans/teamnutrition.aspx].

2017 Power Chef Challenge

Applications for the 2017 Power Chef Challenge will be accepted until all available funds are committed.

The purpose of this sub-grant is to engage 3rd-8th grade students in learning about healthy food and how to prepare it. The sub-grant can be used in schools, afterschool programs and summer programs that qualify as Team Nutrition entities. Recipients will be reimbursed for various budget-related expenses including food expenses and food prep supplies and small equipment.

Complete Power Chef Challenge lessons and materials will be provided to awardees. New awardees must participate in mandatory onsite or online training on best practices for implementing lessons and evaluations. Grant recipients must evaluate their programs with pre- and post-surveys to see that youth are increasing their knowledge about healthy living and food preparation.

Find more information and the Power Chef Challenge sub-grant application on the Department of Education website [http://doe.sd.gov/cans/teamnutrition.aspx.

CTE Logo Board holds first public hearing on proposed CTE standards
The South Dakota Board of Education held the first of four public hearings on proposed career and technical education standards in six career clusters at its Nov. 15 meeting. The remaining three hearings on these standards will be held in 2017 at board meetings around the state.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2016/1115-CTEb.pdf.
National Title I Distinguised Schools logo Leola and Anne Sullivan named National Title I Distinguished Schools
Kudos to Leola and Anne Sullivan (Sioux Falls) elementary schools on being named National Title I Distinguished schools for 2016-17! Leola has significantly closed the achievement gap, and Anne Sullivan has exhibited excellence in serving a special population of students (English learners). The schools will be honored at the National Title I Conference in February.
General photo of fruit and veggies. South Dakota sites recognized for efforts with Summer Food Service Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recognized Rapid City Area Schools and the Boys and Girls Club of Rosebud for their efforts with the Summer Food Service Program in 2016. Summer Food Service Program sites operate in low-income areas to provide meals and snacks to children during the summer months.

Read more at http://news.sd.gov/newsitem.aspx?id=21209.

Warner Elementary second grade teacher Barb Nelson (left) and fourth grade teacher Cheryl Ochsner
Warner Elementary second grade teacher Barb Nelson (left) and fourth grade teacher Cheryl Ochsner
Warner Elementary recognized as SD’s National Blue Ribbon School
In November, Warner Elementary School was honored in Washington, D.C., for being among 279 public and 50 private schools nationwide named Blue Ribbon schools this year by the U.S. Department of Education. Warner was honored based on their overall academic excellence.
Second round of shared services grants awarded to schools
Two proposals from South Dakota school districts will be funded under the second round of the state’s new shared services grant program. The program was established as part of the 2016 legislative package aimed at improving teacher recruitment and retention efforts in South Dakota.

Read more at http://news.sd.gov/newsitem.aspx?id=21156.

Photo of Dr. Melody Schopp Secretary Schopp elected president of CCSSO
South Dakota Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp has been elected president of the Council of Chief State School Officers Board of Directors. When she spoke at the group’s annual policy forum, she shared this video about South Dakota’s efforts in raising teacher pay [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkGmPrcsc-o].
Upcoming Events

Except where otherwise noted, details on the following events are available at GoSignMeUp (http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/).

Title I Director’s Workshop
Dec. 8, Pierre

Administrative Support Series
Dec. 12, online
Feb. 13, online
March 7, online
April 5, online
**Note: Each session of the Administrative Support Series listed is unique; not a repeat of a previous session

Preparing for ACCESS 2.0
Jan. 17, Watertown
Jan. 18, Sioux Falls
Jan. 19, Chamberlain
Jan. 20, Rapid City

Board of Education
Jan. 19, Pierre [http://doe.sd.gov/board/]

Winter Assessment Workshops
Feb. 7, Watertown
Feb. 8, Sioux Falls
Feb. 9, Pierre
Feb. 10, Rapid City

SD Invest Year 5
March 1, Mitchell
March 2, Sioux Falls

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