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Letter from the Secretary

SD Department of Education
April 2017  
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Photo of Melody Schopp, SD Secretary of Education Letter from the Secretary

I recently attended the Council of Chief State School Officers spring legislative conference. It is always time well spent when I can network with colleagues from across the country. As the newly elected president of the CCSSO Board of Directors, I got to speak in some detail about my platform: elevating the teaching profession.

South Dakota is part of a group, through CCSSO, addressing lack of diversity in the teacher pipeline. Beth Kaltsulas, 2017 South Dakota Teacher of the Year, and Abby Javurek-Humig, the Department of Education’s director of accountability systems, serve on this team.

Data shows we lack parity in South Dakota between the number of Native American students, our largest ethnic group, and the number of Native American teachers. Research shows that having individuals in the classroom who are familiar with the culture and ethnicity of the students has many benefits, including higher rates of teacher retention.

South Dakota has joined forces with educators and leaders in Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to set a shared goal that, by 2040, we will achieve parity in our respective states in the demographic make-up of teachers and the K-12 student population. By coming together and crossing state divides in these conversations, we demonstrate our commitment to equity by learning together, challenging one another and engaging in courageous conversations about race and equity.

The paraprofessional scholarship program established by South Dakota’s 2016 Legislature is helping several paraprofessionals at schools with high populations of Native American students finish their college education and become certified teachers. This “grow your own” approach is a strong step in the right direction.

We have a long way to go, and it will also take each of you to help increase diversity in our state’s teaching force. There’s no easy fix, but a great place to start is by simply asking questions: What does the current make-up of our staff look like? What’s one action we can take with our next round of hiring to start recruiting a more diverse staff?

Thank you for the work you do on behalf of South Dakota students and for your willingness to ask the tough questions.

Board adopts new educator certification rules
The South Dakota Board of Education has adopted new educator certification rules, overhauling the state’s current system. Among major areas of change is the creation of a new category of certificates, called educator permits. The process for alternative certification has also been revised and reciprocity rules have been updated.

Read more at doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2017/0320-BOEc.pdf.

2017 Legislative Session draws to a close
With this year’s legislative session over, here is the 2017 bill summary [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2017/April/documents/17-LegislativeSummary.pdf], with information on funding, other bills related to K-12 and bills related to the technical institutes. K-12 education received a 0.3 percent funding increase, raising the target teacher salary to $48,645.50.

Logo for the SD Mentoring Logo. Mentoring. Engage. Encourage. Empower. Successful completion of mentoring program
= certificate renewal

The statewide mentoring program provides a first-year teacher access to a mentor teacher for a period of two years. Successful completion of the program meets certificate renewal requirements for both mentors and new teachers. After completing the program, participants can also purchase six graduate credits.

Read more at doe.sd.gov/mentoring/

Provide feedback on proposed standards revisions by May 15

Standards work groups will reconvene in June to consider feedback from K-12 educators on proposed revisions to South Dakota’s math and English language arts standards and make any necessary changes. A toolkit [doe.sd.gov/ContentStandards/documents/StandTool.pdf] is available to help guide districts in discussing proposed revisions. The deadline for providing feedback is May 15.

Both sets of standards will receive four public hearings before the state Board of Education during the 2017-18 school year.

If the board approves the proposed standards, 2018-19 would be capacity-building years for revised ELA standards, with educators expected to teach to the new standards in school year 2019-20. Students would be assessed on the new standards for the first time in spring 2020.

Pending board approval, capacity-building for revised math standards would take place 2018-20. Educators would be expected to teach to the new standards in school year 2020-21, and students would be assessed on the new standards for the first time in spring 2021.

Find detailed information on the revision process for both sets of standards on the Department of Education website:
  • Math [doe.sd.gov/contentstandards/math-review.aspx]
  • English language arts [doe.sd.gov/ContentStandards/ELA-review.aspx]

2017-18 teacher shortage areas announced

Each year, the U.S. Department of Education designates teacher shortage areas. This federal designation may qualify borrowers for deferment or forgiveness of outstanding Federal Family Education Loans, Federal Stafford Loans or Federal Perkins Loans. Qualification depends on the type of loan and the date issued.

These designations may also enable grant recipients to fulfill their teaching obligation under the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program.

Individuals teaching in one of the designated areas can contact the lender holding their loans to determine whether the loans qualify for deferment or forgiveness. The Federal Student Aid Hotline at 1-800-4FED-AID is also available to answer questions.

School principals are delegated authority to provide certification that eligible borrowers are teaching in a designated teacher shortage area.

Statewide Academic Disciplines or Subject Matter:
Career and Technical Education
English Language Learners
Fine Arts
Language Arts
Physical Education/Health
Social Science
Special Education (Non-Core)
World Languages

Geographic Areas:
Bennett County
Cheyenne River Reservation
Corson County
Crow Creek Reservation
Jackson County
Lower Brule Reservation
Mellette County
Roberts County
Oglala Lakota County
Todd County

Index of index finger with red string tied around it. Time to check status of waivers from administrative rule

Your school district may have a waiver from administrative rule that expires June 30. The list of current waivers is available on the Department of Education’s Administrative Rule Waivers webpage [doe.sd.gov/oatq/adminrulewaivers.aspx].

Districts with End of Course or Credit by Exam waivers set to expire will need to file an end-of-term waiver report [doe.sd.gov/oatq/documents/EndWaiver.pdf], and if desired, make application for a new waiver.

To learn more about administrative rule waivers or to apply/reapply for a waiver, visit the Department of Education’s Administrative Rule Waivers webpage [doe.sd.gov/oatq/adminrulewaivers.aspx]. Waivers from administrative rule are authorized by ARSD 24:43:08:03 [http://www.sdlegislature.gov/Rules/DisplayRule.aspx?Rule=24:43:08:03].

Please note: The district must demonstrate that any waivers from administrative rule it holds continue to be in the best interest of students. This is documented by reporting on progress through the district or school’s improvement plan. Below is a suggested template for this progress report.

For questions about waivers, please call (605) 773-3426 or email doeaccred@state.sd.us.

Learner Outcome Data
Data per year of the waiver showing learner outcomes for schools that have utilized the waiver.

School Year
Course Name # Students Enrolled # Students who Earned HS Credit

South Dakota Indian Education Summit 2017 DOE seeks presenters for Indian Education Summit
The South Dakota Indian Education Summit will be held Sept. 24-26, in Pierre. Summit strands will focus on achievement, culture and language, success from within and building future leaders. Consider submitting a proposal to present [http://indianeducation.sd.gov/documents/17-IES-Req.docx].
Because School Libraries EMPOWER students. School library survey collects data by district

The South Dakota State Library has opened the annual school library survey to collect data for the 2016-17 school year. Each district is asked to submit one survey per district rather than one survey per library. The survey is available online through May 15. Superintendents should have received notification of survey access details via email on March 29.

The State Library is charged with collecting annual data from the state’s school libraries (14-1-44 (7) Execution of State Library Policy [http://sdlegislature.gov/Statutes/Codified_Laws/DisplayStatute.aspx?Type=Statute&Statute=14-1-44]).

The State Library will compile survey data and report back to superintendents in fall 2017, so that districts can use the data to inform decision-making and planning. Previous data digests are available on the State Library’s Publications webpage [http://www.library.sd.gov/SDSL/publications/index.aspx#Reports].

Research shows that effective school libraries result in higher student achievement, which can be measured by improved reading scores. Effective school libraries have a high quality program, place and professional who collaborates with and supports all content areas in delivering curriculum and meeting state content standards.

Questions? Contact Alissa Adams [Alissa.adams@state.sd.us] or call (800) 423-6665.

Distribute Parent Involvement Surveys by April 30

School districts must distribute Parent Involvement Surveys to parents of children with disabilities by April 30. The South Dakota Department of Education sent the surveys to districts in the fall. If needed, additional copies are available by contacting Jamie Morris at (605) 773-3678.

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)

Stock photo of graduation cap on $100 bills. Summer and fall dual credit registration open

Registration for summer dual credit courses is open. Only students who were juniors in the 2016-17 school year and will be seniors in the 2017-18 school year, are eligible to apply for admission to summer dual credit courses. The cost for summer dual credit courses is $48.33 per credit.

Registration for fall courses at the technical institutes is also open, and registration at Board of Regents institutions opens April 17. Juniors and seniors are eligible to apply for admission to fall dual credit courses.

Updated MOUs for 2017 through 2019 will be mailed out this spring. MOUs will remain in effect for two school years. Find more information about dual credit on SDMyLife [http://sdmylife.com/].

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

South Dakota’s Sexual Violence Prevention Planning Committee [http://doh.sd.gov/prevention/rape-prevention/] receives funding from the Center for Disease Control's Rape Prevention and Education Grant Program and works to implement sexual violence prevention strategies. Schools interested in offering student programming on the importance of healthy relationships can contact local service providers across South Dakota to find out what resources are available.

The South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault, located in Sioux Falls, is one such provider that also serves as a sort of clearinghouse which can point districts to resources available in their local communities.

“We recognize the importance of local control. Every school district is different, and we can help them find resources that meet their local needs,” says Krista Heeren-Graber, executive director of the SDNAFVSA. “The network has trainers who can provide a variety of programming, including Date Safe [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2017/April/documents/DateSafe.pdf], which addresses healthy relationships, consent and bystander intervention. If there are tribal schools looking for a specific tribal emphasis, we also have some tribal contacts we can put them in touch with.”

A representative of the South Dakota Department of Education serves on the Sexual Violence Prevention Planning Committee, and the department supports implementation of the state’s sexual violence primary prevention plan. The department does not endorse any curriculum.

Upcoming Events

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

Administrative Support Series
April 5, online

Equitable Services Webinar
April 6

Multi-hazard Emergency Planning for Schools
April 6-7, Pierre [https://www.eventbrite.com/e/g364-multi-hazard-emergency-planning-for-schools-pierre-tickets-31123117081]

Title Programs Wednesday Café
April 12, online

SD-STARS Webinar for STARS Account Managers
April 13
May 11

South Dakota Early Childhood Education Conference
April 20-22, Sioux Falls [http://sdececonference-org.doodlekit.com/home]

TIE conference
April 23-25, Rapid City [https://tieconference.net/]

New & Recent Sped Director Webinar Series
April 25

Perkins Data Collection Training
April 25, Pierre
April 26, Rapid City
April 27, Mitchell
May 1, Sioux Falls

SD-STARS Webinar for Data STARS
April 27
May 25

South Dakota State Historical Society History Conference
Laura Ingalls Wilder: A 150-Year Legacy
April 28-29, Sioux Falls [http://history.sd.gov/aboutus/historyconference/]

Board of Education
May 15, Rapid City [http://doe.sd.gov/board/]

MTSS Summer Education Conference
June 28-29, Chamberlain [http://www.cvent.com/events/2017-mtss-summer-education-conference/event-summary-435ba0a742564eefa2d5855b8ebda32c.aspx]

Save the Date!
  • South Dakota Education Conference
    July 11-12, Pierre
  • Indian Education Summit
    Sept. 24-26, Pierre

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