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

I hope the school year is off to a great start in your district.

In this month’s newsletter, you’ll find an article about the review and revision of our state’s content standards in English language arts and math. I want to take this opportunity to remind you that at the state level, we remain committed to our standards and confident that they are preparing our students to be college, career and life ready.

Reviewing and revising standards in all content areas is a normal process that occurs at regular intervals (on average, about every seven years) to ensure students experience the most up-to-date, relevant education possible.

Over the summer, a number of dedicated South Dakota educators and other stakeholders began this important work in the areas of ELA and math, and throughout this school year, those of you out in the field have the opportunity to study their proposed changes and offer feedback.

This is a great professional development opportunity. Department of Education staff and standards work group participants are developing a document intended to help guide your discussions. In addition, a number of these individuals will be available to give your staff presentations on these topics.

Unfortunately, there is sometimes a misperception that standards review is simply a matter of reading over existing standards and offering some minor tweaks. However, if you could be a “fly on the wall” during these meetings, I promise you would hear a good deal of energetic discussion and debate from individuals who are passionate advocates for South Dakota students.

In June 2017, the math and ELA standards work groups will meet to consider feedback from the field and make any necessary changes before the revised standards are taken to the state Board of Education for public hearings. Public hearings will be held during the 2017-18 school year.


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