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

Much of the attention surrounding the 2016 education package has understandably focused on teacher pay increases. It’s important to remember, though, that the Blue Ribbon Task Force identified a number of factors beyond pay that affect teacher retention, which also figured into the full package.

Another valuable component of the legislation—the statewide mentoring program—kicks off later this month, with mentors and mentees coming together for the first time at one-day events across the state.

At the Department of Education, we often have summer interns who are pre-service teachers from South Dakota public universities’ schools of education. Their optimism and excitement about their future profession are infectious.

On the flip side, I’ve talked with new teachers who by November of their first year on the job are frazzled and questioning what they’ve signed up for.

The learning curve when starting a career in the classroom is steep, and it can feel overwhelming, but I believe we’re making important strides in South Dakota. More of our public universities are offering full-year student teaching experiences. That, in conjunction with this new statewide mentoring program, presents a tremendous opportunity to maintain the enthusiasm of pre-service teachers as they embark on their careers.

Of course the program has pluses for mentors as well. As in all fields, veteran professionals have wisdom to offer, but can also benefit from ideas that early-career employees bring with them. Through a national mentoring program focused on up and coming women in leadership positions, I have recently had the good fortune to mentor two women who aspire to school superintendent positions. Some days I think I am learning more than they are. It is always good to get perspectives from others.

 
 
 
 
HOT TOPICS
School Finance Accountability Board to meet Nov. 4

The School Finance Accountability Board, or SFAB, will hold its third meeting Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. CDT via teleconference and Skype. This board was established by Senate Bill 131 which also included the new school funding formula. Find more information, including past meeting minutes and supporting documents, on the Department of Education website [http://doe.sd.gov/accountabilityboard/]. An agenda with call-in information for the Nov. 4 meeting is also available.

At the November meeting the board will review requested drafts of administrative rules and waiver request forms, as well as establish a timeline for considering district waiver requests.

Teacher compensation accountabilities
The law outlining South Dakota’s new school funding formula (SB131) calls for a process by which a school district may request that a penalty (imposed as a result of not meeting the formula’s two accountabilities regarding teacher compensation) be waived. As part of its duties, the SFAB is authorized to promulgate rules regarding the appeals process and to establish factors that may be considered when a school district submits a waiver request.

In August 2016, as part of FY2016 annual financial reports, school districts submitted baseline teacher compensation data for school year 2015-16. This baseline data will be compared to the teacher compensation data that districts will report with FY2017 annual financial reports. If the total amount of the increase meets both the total dollar amount and the percentage increase in average teacher compensation required by the new law, a district will be determined to have met the accountabilities outlined in the new formula. If a district does not meet both accountabilities, it will be the district’s responsibility to explain discrepancies to the SFAB.

District accountability targets for FY2017, based on the baseline teacher compensation data, are available on the Department of Education website [http://doe.sd.gov/2016EducationPackage.aspx].

Fund balance penalty
The new law also imposes cash balance caps, on a tiered system based on enrollment. The “percentage cash balance” will be calculated by dividing the lowest monthly cash fund balance of the previous 12 months by the total general fund expenditures for that year. The purpose of this mechanism is to ascertain the cash level that, over the course of a year, is never used.

Penalties will be applied beginning in FY 2019, based on FY 2018 general fund cash balances reported as per SDCL 13-8-47. A district will be able to make a request to the SFAB to waive a cash balance penalty if it can demonstrate that its lowest monthly general fund cash balance percentage is the result of special circumstances.

Any waivers recommended by the SFAB will have to be approved by the South Dakota Legislature’s Joint Committee on Appropriations or the Interim Committee on Appropriations.


Photo of school bus Apply by Dec. 16 for Clean Diesel Grant Program funding

The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be accepting applications for the ninth round of funding under the South Dakota Clean Diesel Grant Program. The program provides rebates to assist schools in purchasing new public school buses to replace old, high-emitting diesel school buses. The primary goal of the program is to reduce students’ exposure to both fine particulate and smog-forming pollution.

Total rebate 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 nine is Dec. 16. Click here [http://denr.sd.gov/des/aq/aadera.aspx] for more information about the program, or contact the DENR Air Quality office at (605) 773-3151.



ESSA update: Accountability Work Group holds final meeting

South Dakota’s ESSA Accountability Work Group has held what should be its final face-to-face meeting. This group’s ideas, along with those of the School Improvement and ELL Work Groups will serve as a starting point for proposals on which the Department of Education will seek broad input from across the state.

More information about the ESSA work groups is available on the Department of Education website [http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/essa.aspx]. ESSA and the state plan will continue to be an ongoing topic of conversation. Anyone interested in ESSA implementation efforts is invited to sign up for the ESSA listserv for updates and alerts. To sign up, visit the listserv webpage [https://listserv.sd.gov/scripts/wa.exe?A0=SDESSAIMPLEMENTATION] and follow the link to “Subscribe or Unsubscribe.”

Note: The state’s official response [http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/documents/1016-SNSc.pdf] to proposed federal regulations regarding Title I supplement not supplant rules has been submitted. The South Dakota Department of Education had a number of concerns regarding these proposed rules, many of which we believe would have significant implications at the district level.

 
 
 
Proposed certification rule changes to get first reading Nov. 15

Proposed changes to certification rules will get a first reading at the state Board of Education’s Nov. 15 meeting in Sioux Falls. The intent is to streamline rules and make them easier to understand. New rules are scheduled to be phased in, beginning in July 2017.

Proposed changes are extensive. Here are several highlights:

  • School structure would no longer dictate whether a teacher is certified to teach a subject. Endorsements would be tied to assignments, rather than school structure.

  • A teacher could earn an intermediate endorsement by passing a composite test in math, English language arts, science or social science. (i.e. Instead of being required to take separate tests in history, political science and geography, a teacher could take a composite social studies test to qualify to teach all three subjects in middle school and high school.)

  • Currently, if an educator’s certificate lapses, the transcripted credit requirement increases from three to six. Under proposed changes, the requirement would remain at three, and the applicant would instead be required to pay a fee/fine.

  • A new category of certificates, called Educator Permits, would be created. Several of these permits could help small schools that struggle to find certified teachers in certain areas.
    • The Performing Artist Permit is designed for individuals who qualify to teach in specific fine arts areas. This would be a five-year non-renewable permit issued to performing artists in the fields of art, dance, drama and music. The permit would require five years of occupational experience in the performing arts field.
    • The Expert Lecturer Permit would be issued at the request of a school district for individuals with distinctive qualifications. It would be a one-year renewable permit, limited to the area of specialty, and would require a master’s degree or higher.
    • The International Teacher Permit would be a five-year non-renewable permit that would require a J1 or H1B Visa.

  • A teacher with an early childhood special education preparation could add a K-12 special education endorsement by passing the secondary pedagogy test and the state special education content test.

  • A teacher with a K-12 special education preparation could add an early childhood special education endorsement by passing the early childhood pedagogy test and the early childhood special education test.

The South Dakota Department of Education will be sharing detailed information through a variety of avenues over coming months in an effort to reach all who will be affected. It is important to note that whatever educators are currently qualified to teach will not be affected by the rule changes. The department’s certification webpage [http://doe.sd.gov/oatq/teachercert.aspx] will be continually updated as rules are rolled out.


 
 
 
 
Strive for 5, every day at school counts graphic Terry Redlin Elementary students Strive for 5

“We can talk all we want about instructional strategies, improving our curriculum and all that goes on in the classroom, but if the kids aren’t in the seats, those technical things aren’t going to make a difference,” says Terry Redlin Elementary School (Sioux Falls) Principal Mitch Sheaffer.

Strive for 5
Administrator Intern Ryan DeGraff has been leading the school’s attendance awareness efforts. The Strive for 5 program rewards students for being in school on time, all day, for five consecutive days.

During lunch periods on Fridays, DeGraff holds prize drawings for students who have met the five-day requirement. Prizes are made possible through community partnerships with church groups, businesses, local athletic teams and others. A Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation grant funds a schoolwide drawing each week for a $50 gift card to Walmart.

Sometimes the school’s social worker delivers that gift card. “She usually contacts families when students aren’t coming to school,” Sheaffer says. “So our thinking is, let’s change that image and have her deliver the gift card because the student has been at school. Then if she needs to contact the family in the future for a visit that’s not as pleasant, we hope it might go more smoothly because she’s previously visited on a good note.”

Long-term goals
The school is also offering a long-term incentive, based on a similar program at General Beadle Elementary School in Rapid City. If a student achieves perfect attendance for the whole school year, the school will buy that student a bicycle.

Sheaffer and Ryan acknowledge that perfect attendance isn’t a realistic goal for everyone, but they hope these incentives help students and families understand how important it is to be in school.

“Our goal isn’t to have them just be excited about what they can get,” Sheaffer says. “Long-term, we hope they realize attendance is important not only to their learning, but their future, when they get beyond school and into careers. It’s important that these habits start early.”

Community involvement
“That’s why we’ve reached out to the community too, because the community understands that this is not just a school issue,” says DeGraff. “Developing these habits is a community-wide issue, because these young students will be our workforce in the future.”

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is also teaming with the school to offer another unique incentive: a ride to school on a firetruck for some lucky students with strong attendance records.

Repeating the message
Just over two months into these efforts, Sheaffer and DeGraff don’t yet have hard data on effectiveness, but they are encouraged by anecdotal response thus far. The incentive program created buzz at the school’s open house.

“That excitement opened the door for us to speak more about the importance of getting students here on time and keeping them in school all day,” DeGraff says.

Sheaffer says they keep the message simple: “It’s important they’re here every day and on time. Just that constant message. Nothing spectacular or groundbreaking or earth-shattering. It’s just that this program gives us an opening to say it a lot. And I know our office staff have also been great at talking to parents, keeping that message succinct and repeating it, so people are hearing it over and over again.”

Your turn
Is your school or district doing something unique to promote attendance? Let us know, so we can potentially include your story in a future issue of the Ed Online!

 
 
 
 
Apply by Nov. 30 for Equipment Assistance Grants
Equipment Assistance Grants can help schools purchase equipment to serve healthier meals, with emphasis on serving more fruits and veggies (including locally purchased items), improving food safety and expanding access. Schools with 50 percent or more of students eligible for free/reduced price meals that have not received this grant previously are given priority.

Read deatils at http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2016/Nov/documents/2016EquipentGrant.pdf.
 
 
 
 
Encourage teachers to explore tools available from Smarter Balanced

There is more to the Smarter Balanced Assessment System than the end-of-year statewide summative assessments in math and English language arts. The system has two other components to support teaching and learning year-round:

  • The Digital Library [http://doe.sd.gov/Assessment/documents/17-DigitalLibrary/story_html5.html] is an online collection of formative assessment resources available at no cost to South Dakota K-12 educators. It contains resources for all K-12 educators, not just those who teach subjects and grade levels tested via the end-of-year statewide summative assessment.

    Most South Dakota educators already have access to the Digital Library. Any teacher unsure of his/her username and password is encouraged to check with his/her school’s assessment coordinator.

  • Interim assessments [http://doe.sd.gov/octe/Interim.aspx] are aligned to South Dakota’s state content standards in math and English language arts, and can be used at strategic points during the school year. They are designed to gauge student progress toward mastery of the skills measured by the summative assessments. They can be used to guide instruction and help teachers highlight conceptual areas in which their students may be struggling.

    • There are two types of interim assessments, which can be accessed via South Dakota’s Smarter Balanced Assessment Portal [http://sd.portal.airast.org/].

      • Interim Comprehensive Assessments, or ICAs, meet the summative assessment blueprint. They can be administered at any time and are intended for grades 3-8 and high school. Teacher hand scoring is required. Score reporting is the same as that used for the summative assessment.

      • Interim Assessment Blocks, or IABs, are short, focused sets of items that are built on one or more targets from the summative blueprints. Score reporting is based on three classifications: below standard, at/near standard and above standard.
For more information on the Digital Library or Interim Assessments, contact your school’s assessment coordinator or Joe Moran with the South Dakota Department of Education at joe.moran@state.sd.us or (605) 773-3247.

 
 
 
 
Dual Credit logo Study finds dual credit benefits go beyond saving money
According to a study conducted by the South Dakota Board of Regents, students who completed dual credit courses and subsequently enrolled in one of the state's six public universities completed more credit hours and had significantly higher grade point averages after the first year of college than students who did not complete any dual credit courses.

Read more at https://sdbor.edu/mediapubs/New%20Press%20Releases/100516Dual.pdf.
 
 
 
 
CTE logo Apply by Nov. 21 for Workforce Education Grants

The Department of Education is now accepting applications for the 2017 Workforce Education Grants. This is your chance to make transformative changes in your career and technical education programs. Here are some things to ask if your school is considering applying:

  • What have you always wanted to make happen in your career and technical education programs?
  • What kind of career guidance programs have you hoped to create?
  • In what ways could your current programs be revised to align with today’s high-tech, knowledge-based industries?
  • What partnerships have you wanted to establish or grow, but haven’t had the resources to dedicate to the effort?
  • What kinds of work-based learning experiences have you hoped to incorporate in your students’ education?
  • In what ways have you wanted to customize students’ educational experiences?
  • What would it take to blur the lines between academic learning and career preparation?

Resources for the 2017 Workforce Education Grants are available on the Department of Education website [http://doe.sd.gov/octe/WEG.aspx]. Applications are due Nov. 21. Awards will be announced by Dec. 21, and projects can start in January 2017.

“Office hours” conference calls with Department of Education Career and Technical Education staff will be held on the dates and times listed below. Educators are welcome to connect at any time during these calls to ask questions about the grant and discuss project ideas.

Wednesday, Nov. 2, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. CDT

  • Connect via Skype [https://meet.lync.com/southdakotastateof/tiffany.sanderson/S0KYJ9HL] or call 1-866-410-8397 (conference code: 7708795296)
Friday, Nov. 18, 9:30 – 11 a.m. CST
  • Connect via Skype [https://meet.lync.com/southdakotastateof/tiffany.sanderson/4V7TYJ25] or call 1-866-410-8397 (conference code: 7708795296)

 
 
 
 
Support series for school administrators underway
DOE is offering a professional development series for school administrators [http://doe.sd.gov/DLI/documents/17-AdminSupport.pdf], with topics including evaluation feedback, differentiating staff needs, instructional coaching tips and more. The series includes a mix of webinars and face-to-face sessions. Participate in all sessions or single sessions, but please register in advance. Questions can be directed to Teresa Berndt [teresa.berndt@state.sd.us] with DOE.
 
 
 
 
Changes to AP Test Fee Program announced

At the federal level, funding for the Advanced Placement Test Fee Program is being eliminated as a separate funding stream, which means that South Dakota will no longer be able to access these funds to help cover the cost of AP exams for low-income students.

Superintendents and high school principals should have received a letter and an email alerting them to this change in the program. The letter outlined the South Dakota Department of Education’s plan to fund test fees, with state dollars, for one year (2017 test administration). After that, districts will need to plan accordingly. Questions can be directed to Sam Shaw [sam.shaw@state.sd.us] with the Department of Education.

 
 
 
 
Image from Attendance Awareness Ad SDPB produces attendance awareness ads
DOE has partnered with South Dakota Public Broadcasting to create several ads promoting attendance awareness to be used during all major High School Activities Association sports tournaments. Feel free to share these ads within your district’s communications efforts. Thank you to the Vermillion School District for allowing filming on location.
  • Ad #1 [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnseqo4mUaI]
  • Ad #2 [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uH5RnVE6yOM]
  • Ad #3 [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz77IUJvFLg]
 
 
 
 
 
South Dakota’s NAEP scores hold steady in science
Fourth grade and eighth grade scores for science on the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress are steady in South Dakota and remain above the national average. Find details on the Department of Education website [http://doe.sd.gov/oats/NAEP.aspx].
 
 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events

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



Title I Director’s Workshop
Nov. 3, Pierre
Dec. 8, Pierre

SD Invest Real World Readiness
Nov. 4, Brookings

2016-2017 CTE Program Improvement Meeting
Nov. 7, Mitchell
Nov. 9, Sioux Falls

CTE – Focus Session 2016
Nov. 7, Mitchell
Nov. 9, Sioux Falls

Title Programs Wednesday Café
Nov. 9, online

SBAC Interim Assessments
Nov. 9, Pierre

Youth Mental Health First Aid
Nov. 9, Mobridge [http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2016/Nov/documents/YMH-FirstAid.pdf]

Board of Education
Nov. 15, Sioux Falls [http://doe.sd.gov/board/]

Administrative Support Series
Nov. 15, Pierre
Dec. 12, online
**Note: Each session of the Administrative Support Series listed is unique; not a repeat of a previous session
 
   
 
 

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