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Letter from the Secretary
SD Department of Education March 2016  
Letter from the Secretary
I’ve worked in education for 40 years—the last 16 at the Department of Education. In those years, I’ve been involved in numerous policy decisions, and I estimate that every year during legislative session, the department analyzes, monitors or testifies on about 50 bills.

Of those hundreds of bills, House Bill 1182, Gov. Daugaard’s bill to raise the state sales tax to fund a new education funding formula and increase teacher pay, is the most critical of all. On March 1, it passed the state Senate and will now head to the Governor’s desk. This legislative session is a historic one for education.

There is no rule, no statute, no educational practice that outweighs the impact of having a great teacher in every classroom. Increasing the state sales tax will provide an ongoing funding source to assure that South Dakota’s teacher salaries are competitive, so that we can keep the best and brightest in our state, attract them and retain them.

The two bills containing the funding changes and policy related to the Governor’s Blue Ribbon proposal – SB 131 and 133 – have both passed the full Senate, and await debate on the House floor.

Never before have I seen so many groups – not just educators, but representatives from the business community as well -- come together in strong support of a piece of legislation. I am grateful to all of those people who have worked so hard throughout this process.

HB 1182 headed to Governor’s desk
HB 1182, the bill to increase the state sales tax to help raise teacher pay has passed the House and Senate. It now awaits Gov. Daugaard's signature. Pictured here (l to r): Wade Pogany, ASBSD; Secretary of Education Melody Schopp; Blue Ribbon co-chairs Rep. Jacqueline Sly and Sen. Deb Soholt; Rob Monson, SASD; Tony Venhuizen, Governor’s chief of staff.

ESSA update
The South Dakota Department of Education has developed an Every Student Succeeds Act webpage (doe.sd.gov/secretary/essa.aspx) with various resources, including a summary and PowerPoint presentation. Following legislative session, DOE will bring together stakeholder groups to discuss several ESSA-related topics.
CTE LOGO New! Workforce Education Grant applications now available
In 2013, the South Dakota Legislature established the Workforce Education Grant fund through SB 235 (http://legis.sd.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?Bill=235&Session=2013). Part of that fund, up to $1.5 million was designated to provide grants for career and technical education programs in secondary schools.

The Workforce Education Grants provide school districts in South Dakota the opportunity to make transformative change in career and technical education programs. High quality CTE programs give students the knowledge, skills and experiences to be well prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce. Partnerships among secondary education, postsecondary education, and business & industry lay the foundation for modern CTE programs. These grants will efficiently increase the number of students with access to high quality career and technical education programs in the state.

Grants will be awarded for the first time, pending legislative approval, in the spring and summer of 2016. The maximum individual grant application amount will be $300,000. The Workforce Education Grants will be awarded through a competitive submission and review process. As such, grant teams are expected to make significant and meaningful improvements to career and technical education programs; applications should not be one-off projects for small equipment purchases, teacher training, student transportation or similar activities. The Workforce Education Grants are one-time awards. If additional grants are available in the future from the fund, districts will not be re-awarded funds to sustain the initial award.

Applications will be accepted in two rounds, with deadlines as follows:
April 1: grant projects up to $50,000
June 3: grant projects up to $300,000

Find more information, including the grant application, on the Workforce Education Grant webpage (doe.sd.gov/octe/WEG.aspx).
Kids at computer Smarter Balanced testing window opens March 9
The Smarter Balanced testing window opens March 9. This date applies to all tested grade levels. There will not be separate windows for grades 3-8 and grade 11. This change is intended to give districts more flexibility in scheduling assessments for all students. Find more information on the Assessment webpage (http://doe.sd.gov/Assessment/).
Quality and alignment of Smarter Balanced assessment reaffirmed
Two more external evaluations have declared Smarter Balanced to be a high quality test strongly aligned with South Dakota’s math and English language arts standards. The Smarter Balanced high school test received the highest possible ratings.

Read more at http://www.smarterbalanced.org/news/national-evaluations-again-confirm-quality-and-alignment-of-smarter-balanced-end-of-year-test/.
Survey Graphic       Distribute Parent Involvement Surveys by March 31
School districts must distribute Parent Involvement Surveys to parents of children with disabilities by March 31. The South Dakota Department of Education sent the surveys to districts in the fall. If needed, additional copies are available by contacting Ambrea Sikes at (605) 773-3678 or Ambrea.Sikes@state.sd.us.

In collaboration with South Dakota Parent Connection, the Parent Involvement Survey is also made available online. The Parent Connection will assist parents in reading and completing the survey as needed. The online survey can be found at the following links:

• www.surveymonkey.com/s/Q6JW6HJ (English)
• www.surveymonkey.com/s/MJNWNVJ (Spanish)
RAMP Logo Fred Assam Elementary counseling program achieves special designation
Fred Assam Elementary School’s (Brandon Valley) counseling program has been designated a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) (https://www.schoolcounselor.org/school-counselors-members/ramp) and will be honored this summer at the American School Counselor Association’s conference in New Orleans, La. Congratulations!
Mitchell administrator named finalist for national LifeChanger of the Year award
Congratulations to Shane Thill! He is a national finalist for the LifeChanger of the Year award. Thill is director of Second Chance High School and assistant principal for Mitchell High School. Learn more and see pictures and video from the big announcement on the LifeChanger website (https://lifechangeroftheyearnominees.com/2015-2016/).
Upcoming Events

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

Winter and Spring Assessment Workshops

   Alternate Assessment Administration
   – DSTEP Alt and NCSC (now MSAA)
    March 7, Watertown
    March 8, Sioux Falls
    (NEW! Additional session scheduled 1-4 p.m.)
    March 9, Oacoma
    March 10, Rapid City

   Paper/Pencil Schools
   – Smarter Balanced and DSTEP Science
   March 15, Pierre

Title Programs Wednesday Café
March 9, online

Title Programs Wednesday Café webinars are intended for Title I schools. Find more information at https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/. Questions? Contact Dawn Smith, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-2535 or DawnL.Smith@state.sd.us.

Board of Education
March 14, Rapid City

The South Dakota Board of Education will meet at 9 a.m. MDT in the Dakota Hall Lecture Room at Western Dakota Technical Institute, 800 Mickelson Drive, in Rapid City. The third of four public hearings will be held on proposed career and technical education standards in several career clusters. An agenda will be posted on the Boards and Commissions portal (http://boardsandcommissions.sd.gov/Meetings.aspx?BoardID=32) at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Principal Effectiveness webinars
March 24     May 17
April 20

The Department of Education is hosting a Principal Effectiveness webinar series throughout the 2015-16 school year. Principals and superintendents are invited to participate. Webinars will also be recorded and posted on the department’s website. Register at https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/. Here is a calendar of session dates, descriptions and log-in information (doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2015/Nov/documents/PE-calend2.pdf).

TIE Conference
April 10-12, Sioux Falls

Don’t miss the 30th Annual TIE Conference!
Over the past 29 years, TIE has evolved from being the forerunner in sharing technology innovation with educators to meeting the current needs of technology integration, curriculum mandates, improved student achievement and effective assessment and evaluation.
Find registration information and more at www.conference.tie.net.

Perkins Data Collection Training
April 20, Pierre
April 21, Aberdeen
April 25, Rapid City
April 27, Mitchell
April 28, Sioux Falls

Training sessions on the Perkins Data Collection system will provide CTE teachers/administrators in approved CTE programs (school year 2015-16) the following:

1. Instructions for entering Perkins Data via Mass Enrollment and Individual Enrollment (if your school enters data through the Upload process, contact Nora Kohlenberg for training information at nora.kohlenberg@state.sd.us).
2. Updates on modifications to the data system for 2015-16.
3. Tips to ensure data is entered comprehensively and accurately.
4. Ideas to get the most out of your Perkins data.

Details on the training sessions, including location and information to prepare prior to attending, will be sent following your registration. Watch your email for additional information.

Register at GoSignMeUp (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/). Search by course title. For questions or more information, contact the Division of Career & Technical Education at (605) 773-3423.

2016 Homeland Security Conference
May 3-5, Sioux Falls

This year’s Homeland Security Conference will be held at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. Find more information on the event’s website (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/south-dakota-2016-homeland-security-conference-tickets-22129656398?aff=eac2). Questions? Contact Rachel Tilley(HomelandSecConf@state.sd.us) with the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.

Registration Now Open: 2016 Summer Education Conference
June 28-29, Chamberlain

This year’s conference will focus on explicit instruction with keynote speaker Dr. Anita Archer. Read more about Dr. Archer and find registration information on this shareable flyer (http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2016/March/documents/MTSS-Conf.pdf).


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