Aug. 22, 2012
Limited scholarships available for National Board
Educators interested in pursuing National Board Certification (NBC) may apply for one-time scholarships. Due to the availability of federal funds, the South Dakota Department of Education is offering 25 $2,000 scholarships for teachers to pursue full National Board Certification.
The scholarships are for the 2012-13 NBC candidate cycle only. The deadline to apply is Sept. 15.
The National Board Certification process requires that teachers provide evidence of analysis and reflection on their teaching practice as it impacts students, as well as their record of working within the whole school community, collaborating with colleagues and stakeholders to impact student achievement, and strengthening family/community partnerships.
Go to https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDBEZ05tcTJFclFHTF9GSms3LVJ4amc6MQ to fill out a scholarship application for the 2012-13 candidate cycle.
For more information, contact Lanette Johnston at the South Dakota Department of Education at (605) 773-8415.
ESEA waiver approved, New accountability rules to go before Board of Ed
South Dakota’s flexibility waiver was approved by the U.S. Department of Education over the summer, and that means the administrative rules pertaining to the state’s new accountability system must now go before the Board of Education for public comment.
The state Board of Education is holding a special meeting Aug. 23 to address the rules.
Go to http://www.doe.sd.gov/board/index.aspx to review a copy of the proposed rule changes.
State moving forward with new longitudinal data system
South Dakota was awarded one of 24 state-level grants from the Institute of Education Sciences over the summer. The three-year, $3 million grant will support ongoing development and implementation of a statewide longitudinal data system for the state’s K-12 schools.
Called the Student Teacher Accountability Reporting System, or SD-STARS, the system has been designed with the goal that teachers and administrators will be able to diagnose learning issues faster and pinpoint which particular concepts students are struggling with within a singular content area. All student data will be able to be tracked within the system.
Ten South Dakota school districts have been selected to participate in a pilot project. The pilot is expected to be completed by early 2013, at which point the data management system will be rolled out to other districts.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the new system.
What is a longitudinal data system?
It’s a data system that collects and maintains the history of data for a student. The power of the LDS comes especially from its ability to link student data at multiple levels (classroom, school, district, state) and over multiple years. Think about photography – current systems provide just a snapshot of the student, but the LDS will put those snapshots into a video as he/she goes from grade to grade. If you put students’ videos together into a montage, then you could spot trends in students with different types of experiences.
South Dakota is not the only state to recognize that an LDS will provide powerful tools to inform instruction, guide decisions, and assess the quality of education. At least 42 states and the District of Columbia have created or are taken steps toward creating their own LDS.
What are the data sources used by the SD-STARS?
SD-STARS will bring together historical and current data into one cohesive, consistent, and consolidated environment for analysis and reporting. SD-STARS will be extracting data from different sources already available. These sources include, but are not limited to:
• Infinite Campus
• MIS2000 (Migrant)
• Carl D. Perkins data (CTE)
• Annual Financial Reports
• Personnel Record Form (PRF)
• Teacher Certification
• Assessments (e.g., DSTEP, STEP-A, Access, etc.)
What kind of questions could be answered using data in SD-STARS?
All kinds! These questions can be asked at multiple levels including: individual students; groups of students; teachers; schools; districts; and programs, policies, and strategies. Below are just some of the questions that, with time and accurate data, could be answered by using SD-STARS:
• How did a student perform in this subject in earlier grades? Was there a time when her performance took a turn for the worse?
• Which students are at risk of dropping out in the future?
• How many students who were proficient on the 8th grade math exam were also proficient on the 11th grade math exam? Of those, how many took Algebra 1 freshman year?
What about security?
Security to protect the privacy of individuals within districts is a high priority during the development and implementation of SD-STARS. In addition to other security measures, SD-STARS will also limit the data a person will be allowed to see. For example, a teacher will only be able to view data for the children he/she teaches—nothing else. A principal would be able to see children in his/her school—nothing else. This maintains FERPA compliance.
When will SD-STARS be available to me?
Once the pilot phase is complete, SD-STARS will be rolled out to other districts, starting in the west and moving to the east. SD-DOE is expecting this to be in March 2013.
How can I learn more about SD-STARS?
The Department of Education has set up a webpage that will be frequently updated. In addition, the department intends to put out monthly newsletters via email to districts. These newsletters will be archived and available on the website. In addition, ESAs will be an important contact as SD-STARS project progresses.
Congratulations to 2013 Teacher of the Year nominees
The five South Dakota Teacher of the Year nominees for 2013 are:
• Katie Anderson, Rapid City School District
• Connie Gretschmann, Avon School District
• Shelly Loehrer, Milbank School District
• Carolyn Spielmann, West Central School District
• Kenneth “Lance” VanderVorst, Herreid School District
This year’s Teacher of the Year will be announced during an evening banquet on Thursday, Oct. 11, at the Systems Change Conference in Chamberlain. The winner will receive a prize package and will represent South Dakota as a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year award. You can read more about this year’s candidates for South Dakota Teacher of the Year in the fall 2012 print edition of The Zebra. Visit www.doe.sd.gov to view YouTube videos introducing each of the candidates.
Project will make Common Core resources easily accessible
The South Dakota Department of Education has teamed up with counterparts in Michigan to work on a “curriculum curation” project. The end result will be an open-source portal where the states’ teachers can access quality digital resources aligned with Common Core standards.
In South Dakota, TIE has been leading up this work for the department.
This summer, TIE brought together a group of teachers whose task was to “curate” available resources and attach them to a standard. Because Michigan has already done a lot of work in the mathematics area, South Dakota is focusing on English/Language arts resources.
To learn more about this important project, read the article at http://www.convergemag.com/policy/Common-Core-Collaboration-Culls-Content.html that recently appeared in Converge magazine, or to check out the portal, go to http://myoer.org.
Sioux Falls teacher receives Gilder Lehrman award
Roosevelt High School teacher Mary Schmitz has received the Gilder Lehrman National History Teacher of the Year award. As a state winner, Schmitz received $1,000, and an archive of books and other resources to use in the classroom. She is now representing South Dakota in the National History Teacher of the Year competition.
The National History Teacher of the Year is chosen from outstanding teachers of American history in each state, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and Department of Defense Schools. Each year, the award alternates between an elementary teacher and a middle or high school teacher. Nominations for the National History Teacher of the Year can be made by any student, parent, colleague or school administrator familiar with the teacher’s work.
For more information, go to: http://www.gilderlehrman.org/programs-exhibitions/national-history-teacher-year
State Report Card: No AYP determinations, D-STEP scores relatively unchanged
The 2012 Report Card, which details student progress on South Dakota’s state assessment, is now online.
There was a slight uptick in reading and math scores on this year’s assessment, with 75.5 percent of students scoring either proficient or advanced in reading. That was up about one-tenth of a percentage point from last year. The percent of students scoring proficient or advanced in math went from 76.5 percent a year ago to 76.7 percent this year.
The Dakota STEP and Dakota STEP-A were administered to about 62,000 students in grades 3-8 and 11 last spring. The Dakota STEP-A is an alternate version of the assessment for students who have a significant cognitive disability.
South Dakota’s statewide graduation rate was 83.16 percent, down only slightly from 83.39 percent last year. The graduation rate was calculated using the federally mandated four-year cohort model.
Aug. 28 – Nov. 29, Various locations statewide
The IEP workshop will take you through all the essentials needed to provide students with a program that results in educational benefit. Workshops run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in their respective time zones and six contact hours will be offered. Presenters will cover all areas of special education, from referral to placement to IEP development. This interactive workshop will help you analyze data and write appropriate IEPs for students with varying disabilities. Registration is limited to 50 participants. For registration and a complete list of dates and locations, go to: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDRVcTFFNVVfcktJc284REhaTzlfaXc6MA
9th Annual Indian Education Summit
September 23-25, Chamberlain
This year’s Indian Education Summit will be held at the Cedar Shore Resort, located right on the Missouri River near Chamberlain and Oacoma. This event is quickly becoming a staple to bring partners from across South Dakota together to learn and to share ideas and insights to address the educational needs of American Indian students. Many sessions will be geared for K-12; many others will emphasize preschool and higher education strands. Watch www.doe.sd.gov for more information.
13th Annual Systems Change Conference
Oct. 10-12, Chamberlain
This year’s Systems Change Conference will be held at the Cedar Shore Resort, located on the Missouri River near Chamberlain and Oacoma. Long regarded as one of the region’s premier professional development events for educators, this event also features the announcement of the South Dakota Teacher of the Year, during a special recognition banquet. Graduate credit and DOE contact hours are available. For more information, or to register, watch www.systemschange.midwestmaple.org.
5th Annual Parent Conference
Oct. 27, Rapid City
This year’s Learning Starts at Home Conference for Parents will take place in Rapid City. The conference is free to attend but preregistration is requested. Cosponsored by the South Dakota Department of Education and the Parent Information Resource Network, the event provides parents and educators with resources to help reach their children and foster student learning. For more information, go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/onlinecalendar/102712.aspx
Mitchell science teacher helps shape future curriculum
Veteran teacher Julie Olson, of Mitchell, is lending her experience as a member of the Life Science writing team for the Next Generation Science Standards. As one of a handful of lead states, the work being done by Olson and others is invaluable as educators work to shape the science curriculum of the future.
“The standards will not only include scientific concepts but will emphasize the connections to process skills and cross cutting concepts across the curriculum. Since science is always changing, these skills will enable our students to make sense out of anything new that comes their way,” Olson said. “The NGSS will also incorporate engineering – the use of science to analyze and solve problems.”
An entirely state-led effort, one of the benefits of the Next Generation Science Standards will include more consistency from state to state.
“Our population is so mobile now that having a widely accepted science curriculum would make it easier for kids to pick up right where they left off as they move around,” Olson said.
Olson has been teaching for 24 years, the last 20 in the Mitchell School District. Her first teaching experience was teaching freshman biology lab in graduate school.
“What made it more interesting and challenging was that I had a visually impaired student. It really made me stretch to find adequate, meaningful ways to teach the concepts to this student, as well as others. I wasn’t done with my Master’s thesis but didn’t have any more courses I needed to take. I got my secondary teaching certification while finishing my thesis,” Olson said. “I was lucky enough to get to student teach with my high school biology teacher, Jerry Opbroek. I’ve always liked science but he had us do science that really applied to our lives. I wanted to be a science teacher like him.”
Each year, Olson looks forward to trying a new science lab, activity or analogy with her students. She enjoys science because it requires her to be constantly learning as well.
“There is always something new, it’s hands-on, and is easily applied to our daily lives. It’s a challenge to find ways to make complex topics interesting, relevant, and easier to understand,” Olson said of science. “I enjoy finding concrete ways to describe those sometimes abstract scientific ideas. It’s always fun to talk to former students to see what they are learning in their college or technical education science classes. I’ve had students send me copies of their research papers and they are really doing some amazing things.”
At the end of the anatomy unit in her advanced biology class, Olson takes her students to the SDSU campus to visit their anatomy lab. “I see these students go from ‘I don’t know if I am sure what I want to do after high school,’ to ‘I can do this. I really knew that!’”