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

October 10 is Native Americans’ Day in South Dakota. I hope you will take time to do something special on or around this day to recognize the contributions of South Dakota’s Native American culture and heritage. I also encourage you to incorporate this learning throughout the school year.

As a state, we have a significant resource in our Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards, which are intended to help guide K-12 educators in teaching about Native American history, culture and heritage. Oceti Sakowin means “Seven Council Fires” and refers collectively to the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people. This summer, a work group that included Native American elders developed social studies lessons aligned to the OSEUs, which can be accessed on the WoLakota Project website [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/lessons-sd-social-studies-standards/].

The WoLakota Project website [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/ provides a wealth of other resources as well, including video interviews with Lakota, Dakota and Nakota elders discussing their perspectives on the things they deem essential about the culture, history, language, practices and lifestyles of the people of the Seven Council Fires.

It was over 25 years ago that the second Monday in October was designated Native Americans’ Day in South Dakota. It is exciting to see how the resources available to help our state’s educators teach their students about Native American history and culture have expanded since then.

As always, thank you for your dedication to South Dakota students.

2016 State Report Card released
The 2016 Report Card, a review of schools’ performance based on multiple indicators, is now available online. Student performance on the state assessment shows that the percentage of students scoring proficient has increased in both English language arts and math.

Two grant opportunities re-opened

Both the Classroom Innovation Grants and the Shared Employee Services Grants have been re-opened. Both opportunities were funded as part of the 2016 education package. See details below:

  • The Department of Education has re-opened the Shared Employee Services Grant [http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/sharedservices.aspx] for the 2016-17 school year. Deadline to apply is Oct. 21, 2016. Districts that need a new shared employee to provide services or supports during the 2016-17 school year are encouraged to apply. Questions can be addressed to Becky Nelson [becky.nelson@state.sd.us]. (FYI: The application for the 2017-18 school year is also posted on the website with a deadline of Feb. 24, 2017.)

  • The department has re-opened the Classroom Innovation Grants for a second round of funding for the 2016-17 school year. Deadline to apply is Oct. 21, 2016. Visit the Classroom Innovation Grants webpage [http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/cig.aspx] for more information and an application. A district that was awarded a Classroom Innovation Grant in the first round (July 2016) is not eligible to apply for this second round. Questions can be addressed to Steve Fiechtner [steve.fiechtner@state.sd.us].

Gathering feedback on ESSA implementation

The South Dakota Department of Education is gathering feedback on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act in our state by posing a number of questions on which broad input is needed. Here are some of the major questions that have been asked thus far, along with links to online survey tools for collecting input.

  • ESSA calls for states to develop a performance indicator around “school quality or student success.” What might this look like?
    • At the high school level, South Dakota already uses college and career readiness as an indicator in its School Performance Index. Revision of this indicator, to encompass more options, is being considered for the newly required student success indicator. Provide feedback [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/H677GV8] on this proposal.
    • At the elementary and middle school levels, South Dakota already uses attendance as an indicator in its School Performance Index. Is attendance an appropriate indicator? What indicators should South Dakota be considering for school quality or student success at the elementary and middle school levels? Provide feedback [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T25JTG9]. Check out this YouTube video [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ-oI-42B1U] for a bit of background.

  • South Dakota currently uses a norm-referenced system to measure school performance. The School Performance Index measures the performance of a school relative to other schools in the group. Moving forward, should South Dakota use a norm-referenced or criterion-referenced accountability system? Why? Provide input [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PXC2D6S on this question.

  • Similar to No Child Left Behind, the Every Student Succeeds Act requires that 95 percent of students in a school, and within each of the federally required subgroups, participate in the state assessment. If a school fails to meet this bar, those students who did not test must be considered non-proficient. According to ESSA, the state also must include test participation in its accountability system in another way. What would be an appropriate way for South Dakota to incorporate test participation in its system? Provide input [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YQL5ZPF] on this question.

  • ESSA allows states flexibility in determining which school to hold accountable in the event that a student in the four-year cohort drops out, and additionally, was enrolled less than 50% of their last enrolled school year at the last school they attended. Two options exist. Provide input [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HGDY3KG] on these options.
Anyone interested in ESSA implementation efforts is invited to sign up for the ESSA listserv for updates and alerts on future questions. To sign up, visit the listserv webpage [https://listserv.sd.gov/scripts/wa.exe?A0=SDESSAIMPLEMENTATION and follow the link to “Subscribe or Unsubscribe.”

Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards Bringing Native American culture into your schools

The Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards [http://doe.sd.gov/contentstandards/documents/OSEU-Draf.pdf] are state content standards intended to help guide South Dakota K-12 educators in teaching about Native American history and culture. Oceti Sakowin [oh-CHEH-tee SHAW-koh-we] means “Seven Council Fires” and refers collectively to the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people. All South Dakota schools are encouraged to incorporate this learning throughout the school year, across all grade levels and content areas.

In summer 2016, a team of individuals, including Native American elders, reviewed and proposed revisions to the OSEU. This team also developed social studies lessons aligned to the OSEU. These lessons can be accessed on the WoLakota Project website [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/lessons-sd-social-studies-standards].

Upcoming trainings will also help teachers weave the OSEU together with social studies standards to create relevant lessons for all students. These trainings will allow teachers to begin to look at and work with both the newly revised OSEU and newly adopted social studies standards. Graduate credit will be available. Trainings will be offered in Watertown [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/16/sept/images/WTtrainings.jpg] and Rapid City [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/16/sept/images/RCtrainings.jpg].

Reminder: Complete data submission for PRF by Oct. 17
The Personnel Record Form, or PRF, is open. Districts are required to provide a variety of staffing information via this online tool. Accuracy of the data is very important and will be used for monitoring of Title I and Title III Programs, Special Education IDEA, school accreditation and other programs. The deadline to submit PRF data is Oct. 17.
Bonding opportunity available

The state has formalized a process by which school districts can borrow money under the umbrella of the state’s AAA bond rating.

Recently, Canton and Bridgewater-Emery both used this process. Because of the better rate, Canton saved approximately $100,000, and Bridgewater-Emery saved approximately $75,000.

If your school district is looking into any bonding in the near future, please look at using this process. Questions can be directed to Don Templeton or Dustin Christopherson at the South Dakota Health & Education Facilities Authority. The number is (605) 224-9200.

SD EPSCoR logo EPSCoR grant proposals due Nov. 7
SD EPSCoR is looking for innovators in the area of career and technical education who would like to create or improve a program that allows students to explore STEM disciplines. Approximately $170,000 will be granted to schools. Grant awards will cap at $30,000 each. Find more information on the Department of Education website [http://doe.sd.gov/octe/SDEPSCoRGrant.aspx].
Foundational reading training enters third year

South Dakota’s instructional literacy coaching program began in 2014-15 focusing on providing supports to school districts with struggling readers. A component of the program is to provide training on foundational reading skills to K-3 teachers each school year.

In the past, summer trainings have been directed to new teachers hired to the instructional coaching districts. This summer, the in-person foundational reading training was expanded and opened up to all school districts, not just the instructional coaching districts.

A total of 10 districts were represented with 26 participants attending the training over three days in Pierre. Attendees included teachers who are new to instructional coaching districts, in special education, or those teachers seeking a refresher on strategies for teaching foundational reading skills.

“I found this training valuable as a special education teacher because it helped me find strategies to further break down the reading process to help bridge any gaps we are seeing,” said Julia Brixey with the Bison School District.

The coaching program focuses on five foundational reading skills:

  • Phonemic awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension

"The foundational reading training gave our staff the ability to review the National Reading Panel's 5 Big Ideas in reading as well as dig deeper into effective research and practices," said Shanna Sandal with the Douglas School District. "We took the time to discuss assessments that help identify specific needs, and we were given resources that support the next steps for intervention. We appreciated the ability to review and renew our literacy understandings while collaborating and learning with educators from across the state."

training photo
training photo training photo
Participants created hands-on activities they could implement with their students for building phonemic awareness and phonics skills.

“Some attendees had participated in previous reading trainings over the past couple of years and reported that they were still learning new strategies and gaining considerable value from the training,” said Teresa Berndt, reading specialist for the South Dakota Department of Education.

113 teachers in 15 school districts received professional development and classroom coaching

As instructional coaching districts evaluated the benefits of the instructional literacy coaching program in 2015-16, decisions were made to broaden the program to include additional staff members. A total of 64 additional teachers participated from upper elementary grades 4-6, special education, Title, reading specialists and interventionists and other content area teachers at the middle and high school levels.

Teachers beyond the K-3 focus were offered only the professional development options and were not provided coaching sessions unless negotiated and contracted with the instructional coach directly. Graduate credit was offered to all K-3 teachers, and continuing education contact hours were offered to all who participated in the professional development sessions.

“It is exciting to see this program continue to evolve and impact more and more students and educators,” said Berndt. Districts interested in attending the summer foundational reading sessions in the future are encouraged to contact Teresa Berndt [teresa.berndt@state.sd.us] for more information.

Gov. Daugaard proclaims October Dyslexia Awareness Month
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed October Dyslexia Awareness Month [https://sdsos.gov/general-information/executive-actions/gubernatorial-proclamations/search/Document.aspx?CabId=523E2A2A&DocGuid=20160913-1309-2277-9858-6f312f66b982]. The dyslexia stakeholders group that was assembled to help guide the state on how to better assist schools in identifying and serving students with dyslexia will hold its next meeting Oct. 19. Find more information on the Department of Education website [http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/Dyslexia.aspx.
New school library tech coordinator available to help
Alissa Adams is the State Library’s new school library technology coordinator. She can offer guidance, especially for paraprofessionals with no previous school library experience. She can also consult on 21st century trends, learning commons, makerspaces, public/school combination libraries and more. Call 1-800-423-6665 for more information.
Upcoming Events

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

SD Invest: School Counselor College & Career Readiness Online Workshop Series
Monthly through April 2017, online

Title I Director’s Workshop
Choose from three dates: Oct. 5, Nov. 2 or Dec. 8 (each workshop held in Pierre)

SD Invest Year 4, Day 2 Repeat (Featuring Dr. Trish Hatch)
Oct. 11, Aberdeen
Oct. 13, Rapid City

Title Programs Wednesday Café
Oct. 12, online

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

Fall Assessment and Accountability Workshop
Oct. 17, Rapid City
Oct. 18, Pierre
Oct. 19, Aberdeen
Oct. 20, Sioux Falls
Oct. 21, Mitchell

ONLINE EL Program Boot Camp
Oct. 20, 2016 - Jan. 26, 2017, online

SD-STARS Training for STARS Account Managers
Oct. 26, Rapid City
Oct. 27, Chamberlain
Nov. 2, Sioux Falls
Nov. 3, Aberdeen

SD-STARS Training for Data STARS
Oct. 26, Rapid City
Oct. 27, Chamberlain
Nov. 2, Sioux Falls
Nov. 3, Aberdeen

2016-2017 CTE Program Improvement Meeting
Oct. 31, Rapid City
Nov. 1, Pierre
Nov. 2, Aberdeen
Nov. 7, Mitchell
Nov. 9, Sioux Falls

Interpreting ACCESS for ELLs Score Reports for Instruction
Nov. 1, Sioux Falls
Nov. 2, Huron

SD Invest Real World Readiness
Nov. 4, Brookings

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