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Letter from the Secretary


SD Department of Education
Oct. 2017  
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Photo of Melody Schopp Letter from the Secretary

This month I get to attend one of my favorite annual events: the State Teacher of the Year Banquet. It’s a celebration of education and the importance of great teaching. We have six candidates this year:

  • Cara Biegler, English, Timber Lake Middle School
  • Caitlin Bordeaux, computer/multimedia, St. Francis Indian School
  • Jennifer Mudder, 5th grade, Tyndall Elementary
  • Jeremy Risty, social studies, Brandon Valley High School
  • Rachel Schaefer, kindergarten, Elkton Elementary
  • Jessica Zwaschka, chemistry, Spearfish High School
Kudos to these educators. You can learn more about each of them on the Department of Education’s YouTube channel [https://www.youtube.com/user/SouthDakotaDOE].

Behind each of these nominees is a school district that took the time to organize a recognition program that led to a District Teacher of the Year, who could then apply to become a Regional Teacher of the Year.

If your district doesn’t have a Teacher of the Year program yet, I strongly encourage you to consider establishing one. It’s a great way to celebrate your teaching staff.

As you are likely aware, we are now in the second year of South Dakota’s statewide mentoring program, which pairs new teachers with experienced mentor teachers for two years.

Teacher of the Year programs and the mentoring program represent two sides of one extremely valuable coin—supporting teachers.

We want to welcome new teachers into the profession by helping them navigate the challenges inherent in this work, so that they will stick with their chosen career. We also want to lift up those teachers whose experience in, and commitment to, education are making significant impacts on the lives of South Dakota students.

Native Americans’ Day
We also celebrate Native Americans’ Day in South Dakota on Oct. 9. I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to utilize the great resources available on the WoLakota Project website [http://wolakotaproject.org/].

There you’ll find everything from professional development resources [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/professional-development-for-educators/] to elder interviews [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/video-interviews/] and sample social studies lessons aligned to the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards. [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/lessons-sd-social-studies-standards/] These resources can help K-12 educators across our state incorporate Native American culture and history into their teaching all year, across all grade levels and content areas.




 
 
 
 
HOT TOPICS
images of empty school desks. Text: Attendance gap leads to achievement gaps. #schooleveryday Attendance connected to proficiency in math and ELA

The Department of Education is digging into 2017 Report Card [http://doe.sd.gov/reportcard/] data and finding a strong connection between attendance and proficiency on the state test in math and English language arts. “It’s common sense, and the data reinforces the message—when students miss school, they miss out on vital learning opportunities,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2017/0926-Attendance.pdf.


Proactive admission gets state and national media attention

South Dakota’s new proactive admissions initiative, which grants guaranteed general acceptance into South Dakota’s public universities and technical institutes to students with qualifying Smarter Balanced test or ACT scores, is garnering significant attention:

  • The 74: SD to offer college acceptance based on Smarter Balanced scores
    [https://www.the74million.org/south-dakota-follows-in-idahos-footsteps-offers-college-acceptance-based-on-
    smarter-balanced-scores/]
  • Education Week: SD Promises College Admission for Good Smarter Balanced Scores
    [http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/high_school_and_beyond/2017/09/south_dakota_guarantees_college_ admission_for_good_smarter_balanced_scores.html]
  • Aberdeen American News: SD students with top Smarter Balanced scores can skip ACT
    [https://www.aberdeennews.com/news/local/sd-students-with-top-smarter-balanced-scores-can-skip-act/article_15dd73e8-6872-5113-a2f7-7a99e5318651.html?block_id=475371]
  • KELO radio: New Initiative to Keep South Dakota Students at Home
    [http://kelo.com/news/articles/2017/sep/18/new-initiative-to-keep-south-dakota-students-at-home/]
  • Argus Leader: SD Colleges Guarantee Admission for High-Scoring High Schoolers
    [http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/education/2017/09/18/sd-colleges-guarantee-admission-high-scoring-high-schoolers/677133001/]


Image of cover of the South Dakota Guide to Inspiring Partnerships Between Home & School document. New! Guide to Inspiring Partnerships Between Home and School

The Department of Education announces a new tool for educators to help in establishing and maintaining meaningful, trusting relationships with parents and families: The South Dakota Guide to Inspiring Partnerships Between Home and School. It is made up of two components: a guide that corresponds to tools in a toolkit and the five-section toolkit with links to resources.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/title/toolkit/.

 
 
 
image of WoLakota coverpage. Native Americans’ Day Oct. 9

Resources abound at WoLakotaProject.org [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/] to help K-12 educators across South Dakota incorporate Native American culture and history into their teaching year-round, across all grade levels and content areas. Find resources aligned to the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Oceti-Sakowin-Essential-UnderstandingsHR.pdf], including elder interviews [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/video-interviews/], sample OSEU-aligned social studies lessons [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/lessons-sd-social-studies-standards/] and much more.


 
 
 
 
stock photo of fruit and veggies. Applications open for NSLP equipment grants
Grants are available for schools in need of funding to purchase equipment to serve healthier meals, improve food safety and expand access. Applications are due Oct. 27. Find more information on the Department of Education’s National School Lunch/Breakfast Programs webpage [http://doe.sd.gov/cans/nslp.aspx], under “Fiscal Year 2017 Equipment Assistance Grants.”
 
 
 
 
Governor proclaims October Dyslexia Awareness Month
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed October Dyslexia Awareness Month [http://sdsos.gov/general-information/executive-actions/gubernatorial-proclamations/search/Document.aspx?CabId=523E2A2A&DocGuid=20170912-1816-2431-8185-6597ac4ca602]. Earlier this year, The Dyslexia Handbook for Teachers and Parents in South Dakota [http://doe.sd.gov/Dyslexia/documents/Handbook-17.pdf] was updated. The handbook is intended to help parents and educators learn more about dyslexia and includes additional resources for teachers to access if they suspect a student may have dyslexia.
 
 
 
 
Logo for National Blue Ribbon School Three SD schools named National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2017
Across the country, 292 public schools and 50 private schools have been named National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2017 [https://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/awards.html]. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Honorees will be celebrated with an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 6-7. Congratulations to these South Dakota honorees!
  • Robert Bennis Elementary School in Brandon
  • Frederick Area Elementary School
  • Immaculate Conception School in Watertown
 
 
 
 
School Wellness Policy Training Oct. 26 in Pierre

The school health program in the South Dakota Departments of Education and Health, in collaboration with Action For Healthy Kids [http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/what-we-do], will offer training designed to provide continued support to schools/districts as they work to comply with the new wellness policy rules [http://doe.sd.gov/cans/documents/SumWellnP.pdf] and to help schools/districts strengthen and effectively implement their wellness policies.

The training is designed to provide continued support to schools/districts as they work to comply with the new wellness policy rules and to help schools/districts strengthen and effectively implement their wellness policies.

Find registration [https://apps.sd.gov/DE49TrnTracker/Secure/AvailableClasses.aspx] information and more details about the training in the School Wellness Policy online binder [http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=2241515], which includes a shareable flyer [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2017/Oct/documents/WellnessTraining.pdf].

 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events

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

SDMyLife Student View for New Users
Oct. 4, webinar

SDMyLife Portfolio Administrator View for New Users
Oct. 11, webinar

Title Programs Wednesday Café
Oct. 11, webinar
Nov. 8, webinar

School Counselor Best Practices Share Session
Oct. 12, Sioux Falls
Oct. 19, Rapid City

SD-STARS Training for Data STARS
Oct. 12, Rapid City
Oct. 17, Sioux Falls
Oct. 23, Aberdeen

SD-STARS Training for STARS Account Managers
Oct. 12, Rapid City
Oct. 17, Sioux Falls
Oct. 23, Aberdeen

Effective Instruction for Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education
Oct. 16, Watertown (for Statewide Title III members only)
Oct. 17, Mitchell (for teachers of English learners and content teachers)

Systems Change
Annual conference, featuring Teacher of the Year Banquet
Oct. 18-20, Rapid City
[http://systemschange.net]

SD-STARS monthly webinar
Oct. 25

Explicit Instruction: What do administrators need to know?
Oct. 25, Rapid City
Oct. 26, Sioux Falls

School Wellness Policy Training
Oct. 26, Pierre
[https://apps.sd.gov/DE49TrnTracker/Secure/AvailableClasses.aspx]

New Special Ed Directors Webinar Series
Oct. 30
Nov. 14
Dec. 12
Jan. 23, 2018

Dakota TESL Conference
Nov. 8-9, Sioux Falls
[http://dakotatesl.com/2017_conference]

Board of Education Standards
Nov. 20, Sioux Falls
[http://doe.sd.gov/board/]
 
   
 

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