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Letter from the Secretary


SD Department of Education
May 2017  
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  May 8-12: Teacher Appreciation Week. Thank you for your dedication to South Dakota students!
 
Photo of Melody Schopp, SD Secretary of Education Letter from the Secretary

May 8-12 is Teacher Appreciation Week. I hope you have plans in your district to celebrate your teachers during this special time.

Think for a moment about the last time you attended a sporting event or other public gathering where members of the military were honored. The flags, the uniforms, the anthem, people standing with hands on hearts. It tends to choke me up. I’m guessing it does for you, too.

Now imagine if we honored teachers like that.

I recently met with representatives of the college football playoffs. They sponsor various events for teachers. I want to see if there is opportunity to expand the activities they sponsor to elevate the profession even further. You might recall that this past year, they honored all state teachers of the year at the championship game in Tampa. I was fortunate enough to be there when South Dakota’s own Sarah Lutz, 2016 State Teacher of the Year, got to participate.

I wish you could have heard and seen, in person, the reactions of those teachers. They were so grateful. There were more than a few tears among the big smiles. Standing before a stadium full of people cheering for you is pretty powerful.

I’ve never met a teacher who expects such adulation. But I’ve met many teachers who are deeply deserving of it.

Beyond such public celebrations, another important way to lift up teachers is by supporting those early-career teachers in your district. The first year of the statewide mentoring program is coming to a close, and I am greatly encouraged by anecdotal feedback I’ve heard thus far from participants.

That first year of teaching is so stressful. In your first year, how many times did you think to yourself, well, this definitely wasn’t in the textbook? Having a trusted, experienced colleague to turn to at times like that can literally be the difference between a teacher who stays in the profession and one who leaves after a year or two.

Please encourage first-year teachers in your district to apply to the program. It’s a worthy investment.

Thank you for everything you do for South Dakota students and teachers.


 
 
 
 
HOT TOPICS
2016-17 Report Card schedule available

The South Dakota Department of Education is looking ahead to the release of the State Report Card later this year.

With the transition to the new Every Student Succeeds Act, the department will still calculate and publish School Performance Index, or SPI, scores this year on the Report Card. However, per the administrative rule change before the state Board of Education on May 15, the department does not intend to calculate new school classifications based on those SPI scores. In other words, school classifications currently in place would continue throughout the 2017-18 school year. Schools that have met criteria for exiting Focus and Priority school status will exit those designations.

Below is the tentative schedule for release of the 2016-17 Report Card:

  • June 9 – PRF closes; last day for districts to make changes to SY 2016-17 data in Infinite Campus
  • Aug. 16-22 – Districts review and validate data in SD-STARS. If data errors are discovered, this is the time to fix them. The Department of Education recommends districts have their Accountability Team available during this time to assist with the data review process.
  • Sept. 14 – Department provides districts with final data prior to the public release of the Report Card.
  • Sept. 14-18 – Districts share local data with key stakeholders, including boards of education.
  • Sept. 18 – Department shares state-level data from 2016-17 Report Card at South Dakota Board of Education meeting. Press release issued.
  • Sept. 19 – Report Card website goes live with state-, district- and school-level data.
  • Sept. 29 – Deadline for formal appeals to be submitted to the department.
  • Oct. 6 – Deadline for the department to make decisions on formal appeals.



Board of Education to consider rule changes May 15
The state Board of Education will hold a public hearing on proposed rules changes impacting several areas, including accountability calculations for SY 2016-17 and teacher and principal performance standards and evaluation. To offer public comment, visit rules.sd.gov, click on “Department of Education” and look for the “May 15, 2017” rules package.


Reminder: QZAB applications due May 12
As shared recently via email, public school districts can now apply for bond authorizations. Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, or QZABs, may be used for rehabilitating public school facilities and providing equipment, instructional materials and professional development for teachers at qualified schools. Find more information on DOE’s QZAB webpage [http://doe.sd.gov/ofm/qzab.aspx].


 
 
 
Cartoon of female superhero holding an apple. School Lunch Hero Day May 5
Thank you to all of South Dakota’s school nutrition employees for your dedication to serving healthy, delicious foods to our state’s students. You help prepare South Dakota kids to do their best in the classroom by keeping them fueled for learning!

 
 
 
 
Suicide prevention training requirement begins in July
Beginning July 1, 2017, anyone applying for an initial or renewal certificate as a teacher, administrator or other education professional must participate in a minimum of one clock hour of suicide awareness and prevention training. Find more information on the DOE's Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training webpage. [http://doe.sd.gov/suicideprevention/].
 
 
 
 
Stock photo of a spotlight. Spotlight: Sturgis Brown High School Auto body shop at Sturgis Brown High School


This spring, more than 100 business and postsecondary representatives gathered in the Sturgis Brown High School gym, marking the 10th Annual SBHS Career Fair. Surrounding districts are taking notice, with several busing in students, and teachers visiting to learn how they might do something similar in their own schools.

All Sturgis Brown High School students attend the fair, and teachers help them prepare for the day with tips on dressing professionally and asking good questions. Coleen Keffeler, the school’s director of career and technical education, leads the effort and has built relationships with many Black Hills area businesses over the years.

“We have a very active advisory board, who helps us plan the fair,” Keffeler says. “The community as a whole is also very supportive of our CTE program. For instance, Pat Kurtenbach with the Sturgis Economic Development Corporation is good about letting me know when a new business comes to town and inviting me to talk to them about our Youth Internship program.”

The career fair is one of many ways SBHS works to help students determine what careers they’re interested in and what they need to do to prepare to go into that field.

Photo of student welding. Caption: A first-year industrial technology student works on a welding project.
A first-year industrial technology student works on a welding project.

With 10 career clusters represented, the school’s CTE program is extensive. It was also the first in the state to offer students Youth Internship, back in the early 1990s.

One benefit of having such a large program, SBHS Principal Pete Wilson explains, is the ability to offer multiple levels of courses, from beginner to advanced. For instance, in the auto shop pictured above, freshmen work on small engines on the tables to the right. If they continue taking the automotive technician sequence of courses, eventually they get to bring in their own cars to practice routine maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations.

Photo of a baby chick in classroom. Caption: Some Sturgis Brown agriculture students raise animals like chicks and pigs.
Some Sturgis Brown agriculture students raise animals like chicks and pigs.

“We have awesome staff here, both in CTE and non-CTE areas. There are a lot of partnerships and collaboration between CTE and other departments,” Keffeler says. “Probably about half of our seniors use either their Youth Internship, CTE classes or CTSO [career and technical student organization] membership as the basis of their Senior Experience. That’s pretty exciting.”

One example of this collaborative effort, Keffeler says, is fitness/weight lifting teacher Sage Robinson-Miller, who incorporates the Senior Experience into her Level 3 course. In addition to teaching proper lifts and mentoring less experienced lifters, Level 3 students study an area that they can use for their Senior Experience research paper.

Keffeler says a cross-curricular project in previous years involved AP English students teaming up with culinary, journalism, music and photography students to put on a medieval fair.

Photo of a shed. Caption: Geometry in Construction students are building this shed.
Geometry in Construction students are building this shed.

SBHS students have also had the opportunity to obtain the National Career Readiness Certificate for the past several years. “I have seen more and more students getting their NCRC,” Keffeler says. “I stress to them that it’s something they can put on their resume and scholarship applications. They’ve really been taking it seriously. Those who end up just one or two points away from earning the next certificate level often ask to retake the test.”

Photo of the Wood shop at Sturgis Brown High School.
Wood shop

So, what happens after Sturgis Brown graduates leave the school? Perhaps one of the greatest testaments to the power of the Sturgis CTE program is when graduates come back and visit with current students.

“A lot of the businesses that we call to come to the career fair know us pretty well, and they’ll bring in one or two former Sturgis students who are now working for them,” Wilson says. “Coleen also organizes a reverse career fair, where students go and tour businesses in the Sturgis industrial park. They get to hear from Sturgis graduates working at a number of those businesses, too.”

 
 
 
 
stock photo of nurse giving student a shot. Reminder: 6th grade vaccination requirements

Please remember that the Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis) and MCV4 (Meningococcal ACYW) vaccines are required for entry into the 6th grade. Just prior to the end of the school year can be a good time to remind parents of next fall's 6th graders of this requirement.

Schools may find this flyer from the Department of Health [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2017/May/documents/Vaccination.pdf] useful in communicating this requirement to parents.

In 2016, meningococcal infection was added to the list of diseases specified in South Dakota Codified Law 13-28-7.1 [http://sdlegislature.gov/statutes/DisplayStatute.aspx?Statute=13-28-7.1&Type=Statute] for which the Department of Education, based on recommendations from the Department of Health, can require vaccination for school entry in South Dakota.

With the change, school entry requirements for South Dakota 6th grade students include:

  • One dose of Tdap vaccine
  • One dose of MCV4
The requirements apply only for 6th grade entry and transfer students in 6th – 12th grades. A child who is 10 years old when entering the 6th grade has 45 days after his or her 11th birthday to be vaccinated. Schools are required to report immunization data of 6th grade students yearly to the Department of Health just as they do with kindergarten students.

 
 
 
 
Workshops to cover ESSA/GMS updates

DOE’s Title Office is offering four workshops for those involved in completion of the grant application for federal funds and for those involved in Title I programs in schools.

Workshops will address new LEA and Schoolwide plan requirements and how they will work with the Grants Management System, or GMS. Workshops also will cover updates related to Parent and Family Engagement policies, as well as other changes as a result of the new ESSA. The same information will be presented at each location. Attendees are asked to bring a laptop or tablet. Click on a date and location below for registration information.

  • May 10 – Watertown, Lake Area Technical Institute [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=9142]
  • May 11 – Sioux Falls, Southeast Technical Institute [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=9144]
  • May 16 – Pierre, Ramkota RiverCentre [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=9145]
  • May 18 – Rapid City, Western Dakota Technical Institute [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=9143]
If you are unable to attend one of these sessions, similar information will be presented at the annual summer conference in Pierre.

 
 
 
 
Screen shot of video.
View video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biOmVXXiO8w.
Shared services grants awarded to school districts
Seven proposals from South Dakota school districts will be funded under the latest round of the state’s shared services grant program. The program provides incentives for districts to work together to find ways to increase learning opportunities. Six other proposals were funded in earlier rounds of shared services grants in 2016.
Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2017/0410-SSgrant.pdf.
 
 
 
 
Governor announces appointees to new Board of Technical Education
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has announced the initial appointees to the Board of Technical Education. The nine-member board will provide state-level oversight to the state’s four technical institutes, taking on the functions currently served by the state Board of Education. Read more at http://news.sd.gov/newsitem.aspx?id=21705.
 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events

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

ESSA Workshop/GMS Update
May 10, Watertown
May 11, Sioux Falls
May 16, Pierre
May 18, Rapid City

SD-STARS Webinar for STARS Account Managers
May 11

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

SD-STARS Webinar for Data STARS
May 25

Fundamentals of Using Data for Educators
June 5, Vermillion
June 6, Watertown
June 9, Rapid City

Advanced Data Use Skills for Educators
(Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Using Data for Educators. Educators may sign up for both courses in the same summer.)
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.)

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

School Library Boot Camp
July 17-20, Pierre [http://library.sd.gov/LIB/DEV/training/bootcamp/index.aspx#School]

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

2017 SDASRO/SDDOA Safe Schools Summer Conference
June 6-8, Pierre
  • Schedule [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2017/May/documents/SafeSchoolConf.doc]
  • Registration form [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2017/May/documents/SafeSchool-Reg.docx]



Save the Date!
  • Indian Education Summit
    Sept. 24-26, Pierre
 
   
 

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