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Letter from the Secretary

SD Department of Education
Nov. 2017  
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American Education Week November 13-17, 2017
Photo of Melody Schopp Letter from the Secretary

American Education Week is Nov. 13-17. Whether it’s a school- or district-wide activity or simply reflecting with your staff, I hope you take some time during this week to celebrate public education.

I love visiting schools. From the moment the buses and cars pull up in the morning, the activity is non-stop. It takes so many people to make it a success, including those bus drivers who make sure everyone arrives safely.

A visitor’s first stop is the main office. With students, teachers, staff and visitors regularly coming and going, a person can get tired just watching the action, all of it seamlessly managed by office staff.

Next, it’s off to the classroom to see South Dakota teachers in action. As both common sense and research tell us, great teachers in the classroom are the foundation upon which the rest of our public education system rests.

Alongside classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, school counselors and school librarians work hard to equip all students with the skills they need to leave the K-12 system ready for college, career and life.

School nutrition employees fuel bodies and minds for the hard work of learning.

Parents and community members volunteer in classrooms, concession stands, book fairs and more.

And those hallways, classrooms and restrooms don’t clean themselves. Without custodians, garbage piles up, and on a snowy day, sloppy boots quickly muck up a school entrance beyond recognition.

Coaches and advisors round out a student’s experience with athletics, fine arts and other extracurricular activities.

School administrators, working with their local school board members, help ensure the whole system runs smoothly.

Quite simply, education is an awesome endeavor. In buildings full of active, inquisitive, talkative, creative young people, no day can ever be quite like another. And isn’t that worth celebrating?

SFAB to consider waiver applications Nov. 16-17

The School Finance Accountability Board will meet Nov. 16-17 to consider waiver applications related to teacher compensation accountabilities. Districts that missed one or both accountabilities received a letter from the department with information regarding the process for seeking a waiver from financial penalties.

At its Oct. 19 meeting, the board discussed the waiver application process. It was determined that school districts that missed both accountabilities by 0.5 percent or less or met one accountability and were within 0.5 percent of the other do not need to be present for a hearing pending inspection of the waiver and documentation from the Department of Education.

Questions? Contact Kathryn Blumhardt [kathryn.blumhardt@state.sd.us] at 605-773-3349.


stock photo of school bus Apply by Dec. 15 for Clean Diesel Grant Program funding

The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources is accepting applications for the 10th round of funding under the South Dakota Clean Diesel Grant Program. The program provides rebates to assist schools in purchasing new public school buses to replace old, high-emitting diesel school buses. The primary goal of the program is to reduce students’ exposure to both fine particulate and smog-forming pollution.

Total rebate per replacement bus will be up to 25 percent of the purchase price of a 2017 engine model year or newer engine certified to EPA emission standards, 35 percent of the purchase price of a 2017 engine model year or newer engine certified to meet CARB’s Low-NOx Standards, or 45 percent of the purchase price of an all-electric bus. Districts that have not received a replacement bus in previous rounds will have preference. DENR intends to award funds to as many eligible applicants throughout the state as possible.

The application deadline is Dec. 15. Click here [http://denr.sd.gov/des/aq/aadera.aspx] for more information about the program, or contact the DENR Air Quality office at 605-773-3151.

SD EPSCoR logo Apply by Nov. 21 for SD EPSCoR STEM grants
SD EPSCoR – Education/Workforce Development is looking for innovators in the area of career and technical education who would like to create or improve a program allowing students to explore STEM-related disciplines. Approximately $170,000 will be granted by the end of 2017. Grant awards cap at $30,000 each. Applications are due Nov. 21. See the Request for Proposal and Application [http://doe.sd.gov/octe/documents/17-RFPEps.pdf].
stock photo of chalkboard with Now and Later written on it. Check mark by Now Encourage your teachers to join DOE’s National Board Certification cohort

Now is a great time for teachers to consider National Board Certification. The Department of Education will be facilitating a cohort for teachers who sign up to begin the process in January 2018. The goal of the cohort is to provide support and guidance as teachers move through the National Board Certification process.

Find information on joining the cohort on the Department of Education’s National Board Certification webpage [http://doe.sd.gov/oatq/NB-teachers.aspx]. The registration deadline is Jan. 5, 2018.

South Dakota NBC educators receive $2,000 per year for five years, with $1,000 paid by the Department of Education and $1,000 paid by the educator’s school district, and they can apply to have their National Board Certification fees reimbursed.

Cover page from the South Dakota Early Learning Guidelines South Dakota Early Learning Guidelines updated

Revised and expanded to include birth to kindergarten, the South Dakota Early Learning Guidelines are for early childhood professionals, teachers, caregivers, parents and all adults who nurture and support the development of young children.

This revision of the Early Learning Guidelines also included the addition of two new appendices: "Supporting Children with Disabilities" and "Supporting Dual Language Learners."

The document describes developmentally appropriate goals for children’s development and learning at each age level: infant, toddler and preschooler. The guidelines are adapted, with permission, from the North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning. The late Dr. Gera Jacobs, University of South Dakota professor of early childhood, was the author and project coordinator of a panel of professionals and parents from throughout the state who contributed to the document.

“Updating South Dakota’s Early Learning Guidelines brought together stakeholders from across our state,” said Kristi Swier, Head Start State Collaboration Director. “The finished project represents a shared vision for our youngest learners. Quality care and education in these formative early years sets children up for success throughout their school years and beyond.”

Among those making use of the updated guidelines are School Administrators of South Dakota, through their new Preschool Levels of Excellence program [https://www.sasd.org/preschool-levels-excellence/], which launched this school year. Carmen Stewart, Head Start Director with the University of South Dakota, helped develop the Levels of Excellence and served on the South Dakota Early Learning Guidelines review panel.

“The South Dakota Early Learning Guidelines are included in the Levels of Excellence tool in several places,” Stewart said. “For instance, they are specifically mentioned under Curriculum. To reach the exemplary level, a preschool program must demonstrate that ‘a clearly stated framework/curriculum is utilized in an ongoing and consistent basis and is aligned with the South Dakota Early Learning Guidelines.’ In addition, several of the strategies or indicators found in the Early Learning Guidelines are listed as evidence to look for in the Levels of Excellence.”

A link to the South Dakota Early Learning Guidelines [http://dss.sd.gov/docs/childcare/early_learning_guidelines.pdf] is provided as a resource to administrators going through the training to use the Levels of Excellence tool and will be listed on the SASD website as a resource for local school district administrators.

image of Julie Nelson, head cook for the Wilmot School District Wilmot head cook featured in national report
Julie Nelson, head cook for the Wilmot School District, is quoted in a national report from the Pew Charitable Trust and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation about the unique challenges facing rural school meal programs. “Peer and Community Networks Drive Success in Rural School Meal Programs” is available on the Pew Charitable Trusts website [http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/reports/2017/10/peer-and-community-networks-drive-success-in-rural-school-meal-programs].
image of School Representatives from the 21st Century School Library Award.
21st Century School Libraries honored at Systems Change Conference
Kudos to the nine school libraries that received the 21st Century School Library Award for 2017 [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2017/0606-LibA.pdf]! Representatives of the selected libraries were honored at the annual Systems Change Conference on Oct. 20 in Rapid City. A video on the State Library's 21st Century School Library Awards webpage [http://library.sd.gov/LIB/SLC/21stCentAward.aspx] features pictures and other information about the award-winning libraries.
Image of the Cover Page from the 2017 School Library Data Digest. 2017 School Library Data Digest available
The 2017 School Library Data Digest [http://library.sd.gov/SDSL/publications/DOC/RPT-DataDigestSchoolLib2017.pdf] is now available, with information about services, electronic resources, digital access, circulation, programming and more at school libraries across South Dakota. The School Library Data Digest is a compilation of data gathered via the annual school library survey distributed by the State Library to school districts every spring.
Upcoming Events

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

Title Programs Wednesday Café
Nov. 8, webinar

New Special Ed Directors Webinar Series
Nov. 14
Dec. 12
Jan. 23, 2018

SD-STARS Monthly Webinar
Nov. 15

School Finance Accountability Board
Nov. 16-17, Pierre

Board of Education Standards
Nov. 20, Sioux Falls

Formative Language Assessment
Dec. 5-6, Sioux Falls

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