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SD Department of Education
Feb. 2019  
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SD Capitol Governor delivers state budget address
Gov. Kristi Noem delivered her first budget address to state lawmakers on Jan. 23. She recommended a 2.5 percent increase in K-12 education funding. Learn more in Governor Noem’s Budget Report for Fiscal Year 2020 [https://bfm.sd.gov/budget/rec20_Jan/].

Board Meeting Board of Education Standards addresses course equivalency exams
The state Board of Education Standards [https://doe.sd.gov/board/] has approved changes to ARSD 24:43:01:01 and 24:43:11:09 removing the requirement for state approval of school-created course equivalency exams and allowing local schools to determine how to transcribe credit earned by course equivalency exams. School districts will still be required to obtain a waiver from the South Dakota Department of Education if they plan to administer a course equivalency exam. If approved by the Legislative Rules Review Committee, the changes would go into effect during the 2019-20 school year.

Graducation Cap New grad requirements handbook available; webinars scheduled

The 2018 High School Graduation Requirements Handbook is now posted on the 2018 High School Graduation Requirements webpage [https://doe.sd.gov/gradrequirements/]. This document answers frequently asked questions about implementation of the new requirements.

The South Dakota Department of Education will offer webinars throughout February to provide an overview of the new requirements:

Feb. 6 4:00-5:00 p.m. 3:00-4:00 p.m.
Feb. 8 1:00-2:00 p.m. Noon-1:00 p.m.
Feb. 12 10:00-11:00 a.m. 9:00-10:00 a.m.
Feb. 14 2:00-3:00 p.m. 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Feb. 21 11:00 a.m.-noon 10:00-11:00 a.m.
Feb. 22 2:00-3:00 p.m. 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Feb. 25 10:00-11:00 a.m. 9:00-10:00 a.m.
Feb. 28 4:00-5:00 p.m. 3:00-4:00 p.m.

No webinar registration required. Access any of the webinar offerings via Skype link [https://meet.lync.com/stateofsouthdakota/andrea.diehm/LP56BG0K].

Audio: Use the audio from your computer with the link above, or call in for audio at 866-410-8397 (conference code: 579 573 5425)

Note: If there are no participants in attendance within the first 10 minutes of a webinar’s scheduled start time, the webinar will be canceled.

Questions? Contact Andrea Diehm [Andrea.Diehm@state.sd.us] with the Department of Education.

Who are the emerging teacher leaders in your district?

The South Dakota Department of Education maintains a list of Emerging Classroom Leaders, which consists of distinguished teachers and principals from across the state. These educators are considered for membership on advisory boards and task forces.

In addition, they represent their communities and our state, and may ultimately receive prestigious recognition. The Department of Education is seeking to add classroom teachers and/or principals who have demonstrated all of the following to the Emerging Classroom Leaders Pool:

  • Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school
  • Exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession
  • Individuals whose contributions to education are largely unheralded yet worthy of the spotlight
  • Early- to mid-career educators who offer strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership and
  • Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community
Please submit recommendations by March 15.

To recommend an educator:

  1. Complete one Talent Pool Recommendation Form [https://doe.sd.gov/oatq/documents/19-talentlPool.doc] for each candidate with confidential, succinct and specific information. All questions must be answered. Typewritten submissions are preferred.
  2. Write a one-page letter that addresses how the candidate meets the previously mentioned criteria.
  3. Obtain a copy of the candidate’s resume.

2018 Distinguished Schools

National ESEA Distinguished Schools recognized at conference
South Dakota’s 2018 National ESEA Distinguished Schools (formerly National Title I Distinguished Schools) were honored at the National ESEA Conference in Kansas City last month. Congratulations to these schools!
  • Rosedale Colony Elementary (Mitchell School District)
  • Vandenberg Elementary (Douglas School District)
Submit Verification of Educational Structure forms by March 1

Time to report new schools, closed schools, name changes and grade span changes for the 2019-20 school year. On Feb. 1, superintendents and main Infinite Campus/student data contacts should have received an email on this topic, which included the educational structure form. It must be completed by all school districts by March 1, even if there are no changes that need to be made. Questions? Contact Jennifer Rattling Leaf [jennifer.rattlingleaf@state.sd.us] with the Department of Education.

watch video
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Gov. Noem proclaims School Counseling Week Feb. 4-8
  • proclamation

    Executive Proclamation
    State of South Dakota
    Office of the Governor

    Whereas, school counselors are employed in public and private schools to help students reach their full potential; and,

    Whereas, school counselors are actively committed to helping students explore their abilities, strengths, interests, and talents as these traits relate to career awareness and development; and,

    Whereas, school counselors help parents focus on ways to further the educational, personal, and social growth of their children; and,

    Whereas, school counselors work with teachers and other educators to help students explore their potential and set realistic goals for themselves; and,

    Whereas, school counselors seek to identify and utilize community resources that can enhance and complement comprehensive school counseling programs and help students become productive members of society; and,

    Whereas, comprehensive developmental school counseling programs are considered an integral part of the educational process that enables all students to achieve success in school:

    Now, Therefore, I, Kristi Noem, Governor of the state of South Dakota, do hereby proclaim Feb. 4-8, 2019, as School Counseling Week in South Dakota.

  • Ashley Seeklander Ashley Seeklander, Groton Area, represents SD at School Counselor of the Year event

    Ashley Seeklander, K-8 school counselor in the Groton Area School District, represented South Dakota at the School Counselor of the Year awards and gala event in Washington, D.C., this month. Hosted by the American School Counselor Association, the event recognized state school counselor of the year recipients as well as the 2019 School Counselor of the Year, Brian Coleman of Chicago.

    Seeklander shared the following about her participation in the celebratory events:

    “The School Counselor of the Year awards and gala was an amazing opportunity and one that has left me empowered, enlightened, and rejuvenated. Whether you are the only school counselor in your district or one of 40 school counselors, it can feel like you are an island. However, if you look on a map of the world, islands have names; identities. So this leads me to ask the following question: who are you?

    When we begin the process of advocating for school counselors, we need to identify who we are and our purpose. ASCA has helped to define that role as being the one who works with all students. We do not work only with the top three or top 10 students; likewise, we do not work only with the students who spend more time in the principal’s office than the principal. We work on academic, career, and social-emotional learning with all of our students.

    We do not just do career exploration and just hope the rest falls in to place. Too often when we lose our identity and our purpose we become trapped in the same routine, just a different year. We become unresponsive to our students’, school’s, and community’s needs. Unfortunately, we then become misidentified as just the one who does testing and scheduling.

    At the SCOY event we heard from Dr. Jill Biden, on the importance and role of a school counselor. She shared her story about how her school counselor told her she should reconsider her future plans because she would not make it in college. Dr. Biden also talked about how Michelle Obama had a similar experience, when Obama’s school counselor told her she “wasn’t Princeton material.” These two stories are just one of too many stories that I have heard over the years from adults (and students) who had an adverse experience with a school counselor.

    In my mind it begged the question, who do you think you are? Who do we think we are, trampling on the dreams of our students? Please understand that I do not believe every student should go to a four-year postsecondary school. Some of our students are better geared for a two-year postsecondary school, the military, or going straight into the workforce. In this day and age, a four-year, two-year, military, or workforce choice is not a ranking from best to worst. These are the options that we have to offer our future. Our job as school counselors is to give students the tools and encouragement to EXPLORE all their options and help them look at how those options match with their growing skills and abilities. It is not our job to be the one to say, “No, you don’t belong here or there.” Be the one who empowers our students to define who they are and who they want to become. Be the school counselor you needed when you were younger.

    Thank you for allowing me to represent South Dakota’s school counselors. It has truly been my honor and privilege to say that I come from such a fabulous state.”

  • Nominate outstanding school counselors by March 15

    The South Dakota School Counselor Association Awards committee is accepting nominations for outstanding school counselors and others making contributions to the school counseling profession.

    Three of the five awards are specifically geared toward professional school counselors. The recipients of the following three awards will receive a free SDSCA membership for 2019-20:

    • Orv Schmieding Award
    • Outstanding Professional School Counselor Award
    • Rising Star Award
    Other awards:
    • Special Contributions Award: given to an individual or group/organization who makes a positive contribution to the school counseling profession but isn't eligible for any of the three school counselor awards. Nominations are good for two years as long as the individual or group is still eligible for the award.
    • Administrator Advocacy Award: intended to recognize a school administrator who helps implement a comprehensive school counseling plan and supports school counselor efforts as an advocate for the school counseling profession.
    Award nominations are due by March 15. The awards will be presented at the South Dakota School Counselor Association conference in May in Sioux Falls.

    For more information, visit the South Dakota School Counselor Association Awards webpage [http://www.sdschoolcounselors.com/awards.html].

CTE Month Celebrate CTE Month
  • New! On the DOE Blog: A message from SD’s director of career and technical education [http://sddoe.blogspot.com/2019/02/celebrating-cte-month.html]

Educators know the importance of preparing students for college and careers. February is CTE Month, a time to celebrate career and technical education, which seeks to equip students with academic, employability and technical skills.

There are many ways to celebrate and raise awareness of CTE within schools and communities. Consider the following:

  • Share facts about CTE with this easy-to-share fact sheet [https://doe.sd.gov/cte/documents/CTE-facts.pdf]
  • Invite visitors (parents and other community members) to see your CTE program
  • Promote your CTE student organizations with a membership drive
  • Get social—use #SDCTEMonth2019 on your social media channels to spread the word about your CTE program
  • Make an official proclamation recognizing February as CTE Month in your school
  • Create infographics or short videos to promote your CTE programs throughout your school

Summer Food Service Program Summer Food Service sponsors, please register for training

The South Dakota Department of Education’s office of Child and Adult Nutrition Services is seeking sponsors for the Summer Food Service Program, a federally-funded program that provides nutritious meals and snacks to children in low-income areas during the summer months. Schools are among those organizations that can apply to be sponsors.

Learn more about this opportunity and sign up for administrative training on the Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program webpage [http://doe.sd.gov/cans/sfsp.aspx]. The registration form is found under “Trainings – 2019 Summer Training Registration.” For both new and renewing organizations, the registration form is due Feb. 22.

“Many schools across the state sponsor Summer Food Service Program sites, making a big impact for families,” said Julie McCord, program specialist with South Dakota’s Child and Adult Nutrition Services. “Last summer, slightly fewer meals were served in our state. However, we know the need has not decreased, so we hope to see numbers go back up this year. This is also a great opportunity for community collaboration—for instance sponsors can team up with their local library’s summer reading program.”

Community organizations, nonprofits, schools, tribal and local governments can apply to be sponsors if they operate in low-income areas, serve a group of mostly low-income children or operate a summer camp with a high proportion of low-income participants. Parks and recreation departments, city and county health departments, libraries and neighborhood service agencies can participate as sites or sponsors.

School food authorities also have the option to utilize the Seamless Summer Option to provide meals in the summer. Information on that option can also be obtained from South Dakota’s Child and Adult Nutrition Services office.

Questions? Call Child and Adult Nutrition Services at 605-773-3413.


Presentation proposals for Mentoring Summer Academy due Feb. 28

The Department of Education is seeking proposals for breakout sessions at the 2019 Mentoring Summer Academy. More than 700 new teachers and mentors who are participating in the statewide mentor program will attend this event scheduled for June 5-6 in Sioux Falls.

The purpose of the Mentoring Summer Academy is to provide a time of celebration, reflection, and professional development. Presenters will be reimbursed travel expenses and will receive $150 per session for their work. The Mentoring Summer Academy will be held in Sioux Falls at the Denny Sanford Premier Center June 5-6, with the breakout sessions on June 6.

Proposals are due by Feb. 28. Find more information on the Proposal Application page [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SDSummerAcademy19].

South Dakota Association of School Resource Officers Nominate outstanding school resource officers by March 15

Nominations are being accepted for the 2019 School Officer of the Year Award. The South Dakota Association of School Resource Officers supports this annual award, which is now in its 11th year. Nominees should display professionalism, dedication and commitment to their respective school and/or district.Nominations [https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2019/Feb/documents/SO-nomination.doc] must be postmarked by March 15.

2018 OBTA recipient Angela Wachal, Harrisburg
(Left) 2018 OBTA recipient Angela Wachal, Harrisburg
Nominate an outstanding biology teacher

Want to recognize a great science teacher in your district? Nominate him or her for the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award. The award is sponsored by the National Association of Biology Teachers and honors teachers of the life sciences in grades 7-12.

Sanford Health sponsors a $1,000 grant for the winning teacher to use for professional development and/or classroom materials. The recipient may also receive a variety of other prizes, including science classroom supplies. Each state’s winner is also invited to the Honors Luncheon held at the NABT Professional Development Conference in the fall and receives additional materials and prizes from national sponsors.

NOTE: A nominee does not need to have a majority of his or her class load in the life sciences, as this can be a challenge in small school systems where a science teacher might teach all of the sciences and sometimes math, etc. He/she just needs to have consistently taught and currently be teaching life sciences (life science, biology, environmental science, AP, dual credit, etc.)

Selection Criteria

  1. Candidates must currently be teaching biology/life science (includes middle school) and must have devoted a significant portion of his/her career to the teaching of biology/life science.
  2. Candidates from public, private and parochial schools are eligible.
  3. A minimum of three years of teaching experience is mandatory before applying for the OBTA award.
  4. Candidates do not need to be members of the National Association of Biology Teachers.
  5. Unsuccessful candidates may be re-nominated from year to year.
  6. Candidates may receive the award more than once, after 10 years.
Selection Process
To nominate a teacher, email the following information to Julie Olson [Julie.olson@k12.sd.us].
  1. Name of nominee
  2. School
  3. Email address of nominee
  4. Phone number
  5. Nominator’s name and email address
Olson will alert nominees via email and send them guidelines for applying. Nominators will be asked to write a letter of recommendation for the teacher being nominated.

Nominees must complete their applications by March 29.

Upcoming Events

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

2019 Winter Assessment Workshop
Feb. 6, Sioux Falls
Feb. 7, Sioux Falls
Feb. 12, Rapid City
Feb. 13, Rapid City

Title Programs Wednesday Café
Feb. 13

SD-STARS topical webinar
Feb. 26

Navigating the South Dakota Comprehensive Needs Assessment
Feb. 28, Fort Pierre

Conducting Functional Behavior Assessments and Writing Behavior Plans
March 8, Rapid City

STARS Account Manager online training
March 13

Board of Education Standards
March 18, Rapid City

2019 South Dakota Special Education Conference
March 19-20, Deadwood

Special Education Advisory Panel
April 3, Pierre

TIE Conference
April 7-9, Rapid City

State Historical Society History Conference
April 26-27, Pierre

SD Dept. of Education Annual Conference
May 29-30, Pierre


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