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Letter from the Secretary

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

I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the Statewide Mentor Program Summer Academies being held this month in Spearfish and Sioux Falls. The academies mark the culmination of the program’s first year and will bring together all of the participants for a time of celebration, reflection and professional development.

When I think back to the end of my first year in the classroom, it would have been wonderful to get together with a large group of my peers who had just gone through their first year as well—the stories we could have shared, the chance to network and get professional development targeted just for us.

I’m looking forward to hearing what these new teachers and mentors have to say about working together this past year. Their insight going forward will be valuable as we look to grow this program in the years to come.

Anecdotally, we have gotten feedback from a few mentors and new teachers already, and it sounds like their relationships have been mutually beneficial. One mentor found that working with her mentee, who was in another district, helped make her a better coworker to new teachers in her own district as she gained deeper insight into the concerns facing new teachers. Another mentor got great ideas from her mentee that she could use in her own classroom. And at least a couple of mentees were grateful for the outside perspectives of their mentors who work in other districts.

This year, 179 new teachers and 154 mentors across 60 districts participated in the program.

Please encourage your new hires who are first-year teachers to apply for a mentoring relationship if they haven’t already. And think of your veteran teachers who would make great mentors (they may not recognize this on their own). A nudge from you to apply may be just what they need to make the difference in the life of a new teacher.

Thank you for everything you do for South Dakota students. I hope your summer is off to a great start.

Stock photo of kids sitting in classroom. South Dakota releases education plan
South Dakota has released its state plan for education [http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/essa.aspx] required under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The release kicked off a comment period in which members of the public are invited to weigh in on the proposed plan.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2017/0531-ESSA.pdf.

Update: State Board of Education actions
An archive of the South Dakota Board of Education’s May 15 meeting is available on the Board’s Meeting Archive webpage [http://doe.sd.gov/board/archive.aspx]. The board took a number of actions, including the following:
  • Approved new career and technical education content standards in six career clusters.
  • Approved a set of administrative rules related to funding for the technical institutes; student attendance drops; accountability; and teacher standards and evaluation. Rules related to principal evaluation were pulled for further discussion with the field.
  • Approved cut scores for several Praxis tests.

calendar with June 9 circuled. Reminder: Important deadlines
June 9 is the final date to submit student data for the 2016-17 school year (via Infinite Campus) and Safe, Drug and Gun Free Schools data. This is also the date that the Personnel Record Form, or PRF, closes. The “Year-End Signoff Document” is due back to the Department of Education on June 16.

Screen shot from video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzPprR2mSps.
View video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzPprR2mSps.
Don’t miss the SD Education Conference July 11-12 in Pierre
This year’s conference will feature three keynote speakers and a wide variety of sessions on topics including suicide prevention and parent and family engagement. Watch the video for more details, then get registered on the conference website [http://doe.sd.gov/Title/conference/].

Special education report now available online
Information regarding school districts’ performance on improving the educational outcomes of students with disabilities is now available online. The Special Education Report is released annually. The report addresses the federal special education program known as Part B. Read More at https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2017/0605-SPED.pdf.
South Dakota Indian Education Summit 2017. Hattie Kauffman to speak at 2017 Indian Education Summit
Registration is now open for the 2017 Indian Education Summit [https://tie.events/ies/]. Longtime CBS broadcaster Hattie Kauffman will be one of the keynote speakers. The event will also feature a screening of the new film, “Neither Wolf Nor Dog,” along with an appearance by Kent Nerburn, author of the book upon which the film is based.
Image of Jeff Peterson receiving award.
Jeff Peterson named Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year

In a surprise ceremony, West Central High School biology teacher Jeff Peterson (second from right) was named South Dakota’s Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year. He receives a grant sponsored by Sanford Health to attend the national biology teachers convention in St. Louis in the fall and is invited to attend a formal award ceremony with other state winners. Kudos, Jeff!
School Library 21st Century Awards. The place, the program, the professional. State Library recognizes 21st Century School Libraries
Nine school libraries have received the 21st Century School Library Award for 2017. This award recognizes school libraries as Effective, Enhanced or Exemplary, based on performance in three key areas. Representatives of the selected libraries will be honored at the annual Systems Change Conference Oct. 20 in Rapid City.

Read more at http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2017/0606-LibA.pdf.
Photo of Marlene Eimers receiving Governor’s Award for 2017 History Teacher of the Year award. She is pictured here with SDSHS Vice President David A. Wolff (left) and SDSHS Director Jay D. Vogt. SDSHS names Eimers 2017 History Teacher of the Year
Congratulations to Marlene Eimers, who teaches 4th grade in Redfield! The South Dakota State Historical Society recently presented her with the Governor’s Award for 2017 History Teacher of the Year [http://news.sd.gov/newsitem.aspx?id=21789]. She is pictured here with SDSHS Vice President David A. Wolff (left) and SDSHS Director Jay D. Vogt.
Sign up to administer NCRC assessment
If you haven't already, now is the time to plan for National Career Readiness Certificate assessments in your school district during SY 2017-18 for high school juniors and seniors. Schools must apply to administer the NCRC tests. Access the application on SDMyLife’s NCRC webpage [http://sdmylife.com/educators/national-career-readiness-certificate-ncrc/]. Questions? Contact Barb Unruh [barb.unruh@state.sd.us] or Heather Nelson [heather.nelson@state.sd.us] at the Department of Labor and Regulation.
CTE Learning that works for South Dakota. 2017 SD Workforce Education Grant recipients announced
Five South Dakota Workforce Education Grants, totaling $1,040,000, have been awarded to four South Dakota school districts and one private nonprofit corporation. The purpose of the grant program is to provide the opportunity to make transformative change in career and technical education programs.
Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2017/0511-WEG.pdf.
Upcoming Events

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

Advanced Data Use Skills for Educators
(Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Using Data for Educators.)
June 26-Aug. 11, online

MTSS Summer Education Conference
June 28-29, Chamberlain [http://www.cvent.com/events/2017-mtss-summer-education-conference/event-summary-435ba0a742564eefa2d5855b8ebda32c.aspx]
(Note: This conference is on as scheduled. Any link indicating that it has been canceled is wrong.)

Teacher Observation, Evidence Collection and Feedback Training
July 10, Pierre

South Dakota Education Conference
July 11-12, Pierre [https://doe.sd.gov/Title/conference/]

Board of Education
July 17, Pierre [https://doe.sd.gov/board/]

School Library Boot Camp
July 17-20, Pierre (graduate or undergraduate credit available)

SD-STARS Workshop for new STARS Certified Trainers
July 25, Pierre

SD CTE Conference
July 31-Aug. 1, Brookings [https://www.regonline.com/registration/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1967795]

SD-STARS Training Booster for STARS Certified Trainers
Aug. 1, online

Indian Education Summit
Sept. 24-26, Pierre [http://indianeducation.sd.gov/summit.aspx]

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