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Letter from the Secretary


SD Department of Education
Sept. 2017  
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Attendance Awareness Campaign. September 2017. Engagement = Attendance. #SCHOOLEVERYDAY

  Photo of Dr. Melody Schopp Letter from the Secretary

I hope your school year is off to a great start.

Once again, Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed September Attendance Awareness Month in South Dakota. It was wonderful to see how districts promoted consistent attendance throughout the past school year, and I’m excited to see these messages continuing this year.

The importance of attendance is such common sense, it can actually be easy to forget to talk about it.

Just talking about it, though, can be a great place to start. Whether it’s greeting students as they get off the bus, walk into their classroom or at lunchtime, a simple “Hello, how are you?” can make a difference. Or, “Great to see you! We missed you when you were gone yesterday. Everything okay?”

Comments like these can go a long way toward helping students see that not only their peers, but their teachers and administrators notice and care whether they are in school.

Proactive admissions and college readiness coursework
I also want to take this opportunity to draw your attention to a couple letters I will be sending out to South Dakota public high school seniors this month. Both are aimed at helping ensure South Dakota students graduate college, career and life ready.

Proactive admissions letters will be sent to seniors who scored at Level 3 or 4 on their 11th grade Smarter Balanced test or earned a composite score of 18 on the ACT to alert them they’ve been granted guaranteed general admittance to South Dakota’s public universities and technical institutes. (Please note that the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology’s requirements differ slightly.)

College readiness coursework letters will be sent to seniors who scored at a Level 2 on the 11th grade Smarter Balanced test or had an ACT English sub-score below 18/math sub-score below 20. These students have the opportunity to complete postsecondary remedial coursework while still in high school. This coursework is provided by the Department of Education and includes courses intended to assist high school seniors who need continued support in developing the skills necessary to enroll in credit-bearing coursework at the postsecondary level.

If you are not already helping students navigate this college readiness coursework, I strongly encourage you to look into it. It’s a great way to help students hit the ground running once they enter college.

The department will be providing districts reports via SD-STARS to let them see which of their students qualify for either of these initiatives.

Thank you for everything you do to help prepare South Dakota students for college, career and life.


 
 
 
HOT TOPICS
Proactive admissions initiative begins

This year, the state’s public universities and technical institutes have teamed up to offer eligible students guaranteed acceptance [http://sdmylife.com/educators/accepted/] into their institutions. This initiative offers high school seniors guaranteed general admittance into any of the state’s six public universities and four technical institutes when they meet certain eligibility criteria. Students can meet the eligibility criteria in one of two ways:

  1. Achieve a Level 3 or 4 on the 11th grade Smarter Balanced test (English and Math), or
  2. Achieve an ACT composite score of 18 or higher. (NOTE: SD School of Mines requirements differ slightly.)
Students who meet the eligibility criteria will receive a letter from the Secretary of Education in mid-September, indicating that they are eligible for this new opportunity. About one week before these letters are mailed to students, the Department of Education will provide schools with a report via SD-STARS, allowing them to see which of their students qualify for the program.
  • Frequently asked questions [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2017/Sept/documents/PAI-letter.pdf]
  • Introductory video [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnYJ0eL3fv4]
  • Website: www.SDMylife.com/accepted
This initiative not only benefits students, it’s a positive for the state and employers in the long-term. It also makes the SBAC test more meaningful for students.



Math and ELA among content standards up for review this school year

The Board of Education Standards will hold four public hearings on the following content standards around the state during school year 2017-18:

  • Math
  • English language arts
  • Health education
  • 5 CTE career clusters
  • Capstone courses
  • Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings & Standards

The first of the four public hearings for each set of standards will be held at the board’s Sept. 18 meeting in Aberdeen [http://doe.sd.gov/board/]. Individuals are encouraged to review the proposed standards and provide public comment. Find detailed information about current standards, proposed standards, workgroup overviews and links for providing public comment on the department’s Content Standards Review webpage [http://doe.sd.gov/ContentStandards/review.aspx].



Stock photo of elementary students in classroom. ESSA Update: BOES to hold hearing on proposed accountability rules

At its Sept. 18 meeting in Aberdeen, the Board of Education Standards [http://doe.sd.gov/board/] will hold a public hearing related to proposed changes to public school accountability (ARSD 24:55), as required by state law and the Every Student Succeeds Act. The proposed rule changes address the state’s accountability system, performance goals, school classifications and the school support process, as described in the proposed state plan [http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/essa.aspx] required under ESSA.

  • Access the rules and make comment at http://rules.sd.gov -- follow the “Department of Education” link and look for “Article 24:55”
  • Public comment at the board’s Sept. 18 meeting is also welcome.
 
 
 
New PD event: Better Questions, Better Data, Better Results

The Department of Education is replacing the fall assessment workshops with comprehensive events entitled Better Questions, Better Data, Better Results.

The new workshops are designed to analyze trends in accountability and assessments that can help spark districts’ own data analyses. As examples, some districts may be interested in questions like the following:

  • Why are my boys in the middle grades not performing as well as the girls in ELA?
  • Are my students on IEPs making growth?
  • Why did some of my elementary students get a zero for the Smarter Balanced writing prompt?
  • What can I do to improve the progress of my English learners so they are proficient?

Department staff will share strategies used at the state level, and there will be opportunities for workshop participants to begin to formulate strategies for answering local questions, while understanding the interplay of various indicators and data systems available and finding out where to go for help. Time also will be spent reviewing the changes in how data, including assessment data, will be used for accountability as part of the new ESSA Report Card.

Click on a date below to register:

  • Sept. 25, Sioux Falls [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=12206]
  • Sept. 26, Watertown [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=12207]
  • Sept. 27, Aberdeen [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=12208]
  • Sept. 28, Pierre [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=12209]
  • Sept. 29, Rapid City [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=12210]

 
 
 
 
Time to share assessment results with parents/guardians
This is a reminder for districts about the need to share assessment results with parents and guardians. Overviews of reporting requirements are posted under the Parent Communication heading on the DOE assessment webpage [http://doe.sd.gov/Assessment/]. Science assessment results will not be available until later this fall, due to the ongoing development of the new science assessment.
 
 
 
 
College readiness coursework available to students

Once again this year, eligible students will have the opportunity to complete postsecondary remedial coursework while still in high school. College readiness coursework, provided by the Department of Education, includes courses intended to assist high school seniors who need continued support in developing the skills necessary to enroll in credit-bearing coursework at the postsecondary level.

Students who scored at a Level 2 on the 11th grade Smarter Balanced test or had an ACT English sub-score below 18/math sub-score below 20 are eligible for this opportunity. Students who meet the eligibility criteria will receive a letter from the Secretary of Education in mid-September indicating that they may access the college readiness coursework. About one week before these letters are mailed to students, the department will provide schools with a report via SD-STARS, allowing them to see which of their students qualify for the program.

Coursework can be completed in one of two ways: online through the South Dakota Virtual School, or a school district can offer the coursework as a face-to-face option with a highly qualified math or English teacher supporting the students.

  • Online college readiness coursework ranges in cost from $125 to $175.  However, if students complete the coursework, they can be reimbursed for the full cost.
  • Website: https://sdvs.k12.sd.us/Students/CollegeReadiness.aspx

For more information, contact Nicol Reiner [Nicol.Reiner@state.sd.us] at (605) 295-2507.

 
 
 
 
image of fruit and veggies Education department announces guidelines for 2017-18 free or reduced school meal programs
With school back in session in South Dakota communities, the Department of Education wants families to know about the National School Lunch, School Breakfast and Special Milk Programs.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2017/0828-CANS1.pdf.
 
 
 
 
South Dakota Indian Education Summit 2017 Still time to register for the Indian Education Summit
Register today for the 2017 Indian Education Summit [https://tie.events/ies/]. Longtime CBS broadcaster Hattie Kauffman will be a keynote speaker. There will be 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. The summit will also include specialized sessions, cultural activities and student-led discussions.
 
 
 
 
United States Senate Youth Program Principals: Nominate students for US Senate Youth Program
The nomination process is open for the U.S. Senate Youth Program, a nationwide program that brings high school students to Washington, D.C., for an onsite introduction to the functions of the federal government and, in particular, the United States Senate. Nominations are due Sept. 22. Learn more on DOE’s U.S. Senate Youth Program Scholarship webpage [http://www.doe.sd.gov/scholarships/senateyouth.aspx].
 
 
 
 
Fuel Up to Play 60 Logo. Fuel Up to Play 60 training coming up in Oacoma

Midwest Dairy Council - South Dakota and the South Dakota Departments of Education and Health are teaming up to offer a Fuel Up to Play 60 Program Advisor [https://www.fueluptoplay60.com/get-involved/educators/about-program-advisors] training Sept. 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Arrowhead Resort and Conference Center at Cedar Shore Resort in Oacoma.

Educators, food service staff, administrators, community members and others who share a passion for health and wellness are encouraged to attend.  Find registration information and more on this shareable flyer [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2017/Sept/documents/FuelUp.pdf.

For more information, contact Whitney Jerman [wjerman@midwestdairy.com], health and wellness program manager at Midwest Dairy Council, or Karen Keyser [karen.keyser@state.sd.us], health and physical education specialist for the South Dakota Department of Education.

 
 
 
 
Upcoming Events

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

Board of Education Standards
Sept. 18, Aberdeen [http://doe.sd.gov/board/]

Fall DOE/Infinite Campus user groups
Sept. 19-22, various locations statewide
(For more information, contact Judy Merriman [judy.merriman@state.sd.us] or Teri Jung [teri.jung@state.sd.us])

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

Better Questions, Better Data, Better Results
Sept. 25, Sioux Falls
Sept. 26, Watertown
Sept. 27, Aberdeen
Sept. 28, Pierre
Sept. 29, Rapid City

New Special Ed Directors Webinar Series
Sept. 26
Oct. 30
Nov. 14
Dec. 12
Jan. 23, 2018

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]

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

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

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