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For Immediate Release: July 11, 2006
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Board of Education approves guidelines designed to help educators

The South Dakota Board of Education put its stamp of approval on three sets of guidelines yesterday. The guidelines cover preschool, school counseling, and health and physical education standards related to South Dakota’s new graduation requirement.

Early Learning Guidelines

The board approved Early Learning Guidelines that will assist preschool providers in developing curriculum for children ages 3-5. This is the first time South Dakota has had early learning guidelines in place. As part of the 2010 Education Initiative, a work group is developing preschool accreditation and certification standards. These new guidelines could help to define what constitutes a quality preschool.

The new guidelines cover eight areas of learning: social/emotional development; approaches to learning; language and literacy; mathematics; science; health and physical development; creative arts; and social studies. Benchmarks within each area identify skills that are considered achievable by most children prior to entering kindergarten. The guidelines also address effective learning environments and teaching strategies to help children reach the benchmarks.

The panel that developed the guidelines began its work in the spring of 2003, under the leadership of Dr. Gera Jacobs, a professor at the University of South Dakota. The process was funded by the Head Start Collaboration Grant.

Comprehensive School Counseling Program Model

The Board of Education voted to approve a model of a Comprehensive School Counseling Program. School counselors and administrators can use the resource when developing their own local Comprehensive School Counseling Program. The model considers students’ academic development, career development and personal/social development. Dr. Kelly Duncan, Northern State University, led the group that developed this framework.

Health and Physical Education

The board also approved standards for health and physical education at the high school level. New graduation requirements, which are part of the 2010 Education Initiative, require that students take a half-credit of health or physical education prior to graduating from high school. (The requirement takes effect with students who are freshmen in the 2006-07 school year.) The newly adopted standards for this requirement provide schools with an outline to follow when designing courses in health and physical education at the district level.