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Letter from the Secretary

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

I recently started violin lessons. I haven’t played for years, and decided it’s time to take it up again. I don’t typically write about personal matters in this column, but I’m finding the violin benefits me personally and professionally.

Education can be a consuming profession that too often leads to burnout. As school administrators, your to-do list is long and varied. Whether you work in a small district and wear a lot of different hats or in a large district with so many students it’s hard to make individual connections, you face significant demands on your time.

But are you making time for yourself? It’s easy to forget to do so.

The Smarter Balanced testing window opens this month, and I know this can be an especially busy time for educators and students alike. Just as your students need breaks, so do you.

I urge you to carve out time for something you enjoy in these coming months. Revisit a hobby you’ve been neglecting. Is the school gym quiet for a moment? Shoot some hoops. Can’t get out of the office? Take a short break and meditate at your desk. Toss around a football with colleagues after the final bell rings. Take a walk around the block.

It doesn’t have to take long. In one of his recent newspaper columns, I happened to read that Mitchell Superintendent Dr. Graves likes to make time to pop in to elementary classroom holiday parties.

My point is this: don’t feel guilty about taking some time for yourself. It makes it easier to tackle your job feeling refreshed. I know I’m not the first to offer such advice, but it’s a message that can’t be repeated often enough, especially in a field like education.

Thank you for everything you do for South Dakota students.

Stock photo of students working on computers. SBAC testing window open March 8-May 5
The Smarter Balanced testing window opens March 8 for all tested grade levels (grades 3-8 and 11). Find more information on the Department of Education website [http://doe.sd.gov/Assessment/]. Check announcements on the Smarter Balanced portal [http://sd.portal.airast.org/] for updates or contact Jan Martin [Jan.Martin@state.sd.us] to receive email alerts.

Logo for the SD Mentoring Logo. Mentoring. Engage. Encourage. Empower. Applications available for statewide mentoring program

The statewide mentoring program provides a first-year teacher access to a mentor teacher for a period of two years and participation in a summer academy following the first and second year of employment.

This is an excellent opportunity for experienced South Dakota teachers (current and retired) to share their skills and help guide beginning teachers. In addition, through this program, South Dakota’s newest teachers will be supported and welcomed into the education community.

Requirements have also been established for districts that would like to receive funding to handle mentoring locally.

Visit the mentoring program’s webpage [http://doe.sd.gov/mentoring/] to learn more and find the following:

  • Applications for new mentors and first-year teachers
  • Program information for second-year participants
Applications for new mentors are due May 1. Applications for new teachers are due June 16. Late hires will also have an opportunity to participate.

Those who are already participating in the program are not required to complete a new application.

stock photo of word standards being written in marker. DOE seeking applicants for standards review work groups
  • Career and technical education (apply by March 13)

    The Department of Education invites career and technical education teachers, school counselors and district administrators to participate in CTE content standards revision work groups this summer.

    The deadline to apply for these work groups is March 13. Applicants will be notified in early April if they have been selected to participate.

    Revision work groups will meet in-person during the month of June at various locations across the state. Additional meetings may be held online as needed, later in the summer, following the in-person sessions.

    Participants will be compensated for their time at a rate of $25/hour for up to six eight-hour days. Meals, mileage and lodging will also be reimbursed at state rates.

    Apply to participate in one or more of the work groups.

    Career Cluster Meeting dates Location Work group application link
    Business Management & Administration June 12-14 Sioux Falls https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XQTBT7X
    Capstone Courses June 12-14 Pierre https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XMYM2R3
    Government & Public Administration May 31-June 2 Brookings https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XR9VJZZ
    Hospitality & Tourism June 12-14 Sioux Falls https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XXD6LT6
    Marketing June 12-14 Sioux Falls https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/X2PP5LJ
    Transportation, Distribution & Logistics June 6-8 Sioux Falls https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XN3Q6Z8

  • World language (apply by March 15)

    The Department of Education is accepting applications for world language standards review work groups [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PFCHSGB].

    The department is soliciting 25-30 work group members comprised of K-12 and postsecondary educators, administrators, curriculum directors, parents and business/industry partners to review K-12 world language standards. Applications are due March 15.

    Work group members will be reimbursed for travel expenses and paid for work completed. Work group members must participate in the following meetings in Pierre:

    • June 13-15 (three-day work session)
    • June 21 (may be canceled if work is completed in first session)
    • June 7, 2018

    The review process will consist of the following steps, allowing educators and stakeholders to analyze what is working or identify challenges and propose revisions:

    • Summer 2017: Complete initial review and draft any edits
    • School year 2017-18: Gather feedback from non-work group educators
    • Summer 2018: Review feedback and make final edits
    • School year 2018-19: State Board of Education conducts four public hearings

    Questions? Contact Teresa Berndt [teresa.berndt@state.sd.us] with the Department of Education.

Photo of Anne Sullivan Elementary staff and Leola Elementary staff at National Title I Conference.
Two SD schools honored as National Title I Distinguished Schools

Anne Sullivan Elementary (Sioux Falls) and Leola Elementary were among those honored recently as National Title I Distinguished Schools at the National Title I Conference in Long Beach, Calif. Kudos to these outstanding schools!

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2017/0222-TitleI.pdf

CTE Logo. CTE. Learning that works for South Dakota. Perkins Reserve grant apps due March 13

The Department of Education is accepting applications for Perkins Reserve Grants. Maximum grant awards of $30,000 are available.

District eligibility criteria:
In order to apply for a Perkins Reserve Grant, the school district must meet the following criteria:

  • Offer one or more approved career and technical education programs in the 2016-17 school year within a rural school district [http://doe.sd.gov/octe/documents/Fellows-ESD.pdf] in South Dakota.
  • Submit a complete and accurate application on or prior to March 13.
  • If awarded a grant, commit to completing work outlined in the application by Aug. 15.
Uses of grant funds:
Perkins Reserve Grants will be awarded competitively for the following uses:
  • The purchase of industry‐grade classroom equipment or curricula.
  • The purchase of high‐quality professional development opportunities.
Examples of eligible purchases are included in Appendix A of the grant application.

Applications are due March 13. Awards will be announced by March 27, and projects can start in April.

Here is the grant guidance/application [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2017/March/documents/17-Perkins.docx].

small image of SD MyLife Infographic SDMyLife update: Personal Learning Plans
A new Personal Learning Plan [http://sdmylife.com/personal-learning-plan/] tab on SDMyLife provides students a more comprehensive view of the career decision-making process, broken down into five clear steps. There is also a new resource for parents [http://sdmylife.com/uploads/Parents_Role_in_Career_Decision_Making.pdf] to help them support their child throughout the decision-making process.
Share your knowledge by presenting at an upcoming conference
Conference organizers call for proposals
  • South Dakota Education Conference (deadline: March 22)
  • Indian Education Summit
Stock photo of pencils. Deadline extended to add to DOE’s Emerging Classroom Leaders Pool

Tell us about that early-career teacher in your district who goes above and beyond.

The Department of Education maintains a list of Emerging Classroom Leaders to be considered for membership on advisory boards and task forces, as well as candidates for special recognition programs.

Candidates should be relatively early in their teaching careers, with a minimum of five years of experience in education. Candidates must be building-level personnel. They are typically classroom teachers, as opposed to specialists, and are recognized by peers and supervisors as unique in their growth. Occasionally, a principal or specialist is considered. Previous recognition is not required.

To recommend someone for our Emerging Classroom Leaders Pool, complete a Talent Pool Recommendation Form [http://doe.sd.gov/oatq/distinguishededucators.aspx] and return it to Kathy Riedy, Department of Education, 800 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501, no later than April 1.

In addition to filling out the form, we ask that you include a one-page narrative and a resume if possible. Please keep your recommendation confidential and do not share it with the individual.

For more information, contact Kathy Riedy [Kathy.Riedy@state.sd.us], Department of Education, at (605) 773-8415.

stock photo of person writing word career in steps on the chalkboard. Nominate a teacher for the Aspiring School Leaders program
The Aspiring School Leaders program has been helping South Dakota grow its next generation of school leaders for more than 15 years. This year’s program will be held April 20-21, in the Black Hills. Teacher applications are due March 17. Find more info at http://www.midwestmaple.org/.
Teacher of the year Make plans now for selecting your district's Teacher of the Year

Who will be named your District Teacher of the Year this spring? Now is the time to start seeking nominations for this special recognition. Districts can determine their own methods for selecting winners, but nomination forms should be made available to teachers, parents, students, school support professionals and the general public through multiple avenues and formats.

All district-level Teachers of the Year are encouraged to apply for their Regional Teacher of the Year honor. Ultimately, one of these six regional finalists will become South Dakota’s 2018 Teacher of the Year. In order to be considered for the Regional Teacher of the Year award, a district’s honoree must have his or her application on file with the appropriate Education Service Agency by its designated deadline.

For more information about the SD Teacher of the Year selection process, including a list of frequently asked questions, nomination form, sample guidelines and timeline for selection, visit the Teacher of the Year webpage [http://www.doe.sd.gov/oatq/teacheroftheyear.aspx]. For further assistance, contact Kathy Riedy [Kathy.Riedy@state.sd.us], South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-8415.

Upcoming Events

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

SD-STARS Webinar for STARS Account Managers
March 9
April 13
May 11

School Finance Accountability Board
March 16, Pierre [http://doe.sd.gov/accountabilityboard/]

Board of Education
March 20, Aberdeen [http://doe.sd.gov/board/]

South Dakota Special Education Conference
March 21-22, Deadwood [https://sdsped2017.wordpress.com/]

SD-STARS Webinar for Data STARS
March 23
April 27
May 25

New & Recent Sped Director Webinar Series
March 28
April 25
**Note: Each session of the New & Recent Sped Director Webinar Series listed is unique; not a repeat of a previous session

Administrative Support Series
April 5, online

Multi-hazard Emergency Planning for Schools
April 6-7, Rapid City (location change: Pierre) [https://www.eventbrite.com/e/g364-multi-hazard-emergency-planning-for-schools-rapid-city-tickets-31123117081]

Title Programs Wednesday Café
April 12, online

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

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

Save the Date!

  • MTSS Summer Education Conference
    June 28-29, Chamberlain [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2017/March/documents/17-MTSSconf.pdf]
  • South Dakota Education Conference
    July 11-12, Pierre
  • Indian Education Summit
    Sept. 24-26, Pierre

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