March 21, 2012
ABCs of House Bill 1234
A comprehensive education package, HB 1234 received much debate during the 2012 legislative session. What exactly does the bill do? In short, it lays the groundwork for a $15 million investment in the teaching profession. Some of these funds will go to scholarships; others will go to bonuses for South Dakota teachers. The following is a brief summary, but readers are strongly encouraged to view the full bill. Readers should also note that HB 1234 may be referred to a public vote.
HB 1234 establishes a scholarship program designed to draw potential
teachers into critical need areas (not just math and science).
• The state Board of Education will determine critical teaching need areas.
• Scholarship recipients agree to teach in critical need areas in South
Dakota for five years.
• HB 1234 offers $2,500 bonuses for middle and high school math and science teachers to build that pipeline.
• Teachers with a math or science specialist endorsement, including
elementary teachers, also are eligible.
• Teacher must receive distinguished or proficient rating on statewide
• Participation is voluntary for teachers.
• HB 1234 gives local districts the flexibility to create a local plan to give bonuses to teachers based on student achievement, teacher leadership or a district’s high-needs teaching areas. Districts that choose this option would receive approximately $1,000 per teacher.
• A 2nd option for districts is to reward the top 20 percent of its teachers
with a $5,000 bonus (per the original proposal).
• Participation in either of the above options is voluntary for teachers.
• A 3rd option for districts is to opt out of the rewards program. If a district
chooses this option, its funds would be redistributed among participating
• HB 1234 calls for establishment of a common teacher evaluation system statewide, based on the South Dakota standards for teaching (Danielson Framework).
• It also calls for establishment of common standards and a common statewide evaluation system for principals.
• HB 1234 removes the state mandate for continuing contract (also referred to as “tenure”) as of July 1, 2016.
• Local districts may choose to offer continuing contract if they wish.
• Those individuals who have continuing contract by July 1, 2016, are
As part of HB 1234, legislators set up six work groups, consisting of wide representation from the field, to help frame the future of these education reforms. The groups are listed below.
• Critical needs scholarship board
• Local teacher reward advisory council
• Local teacher reward plan oversight board
• Teacher evaluation group
• Principal evaluation group
• Education reform advisory council
Another piece of legislation, SB 192, provides for a comprehensive statewide training effort in four key areas: Common Core, middle and high school science, school counseling, and leadership training for school administrators.
Training dollars support Common Core and more
As part of this year’s education package, the Legislature approved $8.4 million for a comprehensive statewide training effort over the next three years (Senate Bill 192). The funds will be used to support teachers and administrators as they move forward with important work related to the implementation of Common Core standards, a statewide evaluation system and other critical efforts.
Plans for these trainings were recently announced by the Department of Education. A brief summary is below. To learn more, visit http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/investinginteachers.asp#training. Watch our website for more information, as we anticipate frequent updates.
Common Core Training
Target: Elementary teachers, special education teachers, and middle and high school English language arts and math teachers.
Multiple options for districts:
• Summer workshops
• School-year workshops
• Online option: Available after January 2013
• District-created PD plan
Target: Middle and high school science teachers
• Summer 2013 middle school academies
• Summer 2014 high school academies
• Regional locations
Workshops for School Counselors
Target: Middle and high school counselors
• Starts school year 2012-13
• Continues school year 2013-14 and builds on previous year’s training
Leadership training for school administrators
Information coming soon
Additional training related to state standards for teaching (Danielson Framework) anticipated.
CenturyLink awards teachers for innovative technology ideas
The CenturyLink Foundation and the South Dakota Department of Education announced the winners of the 2012 Teachers and Technology grant program last week. Ten projects were selected as winners and the teachers who applied will be awarded $2,500 to implement new technologies in their classroom.
The CenturyLink Foundation Teachers and Technology grant program rewards South Dakota kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers who propose new ways to apply technology in their classrooms to improve student performance.
Congratulations to the 2012 CenturyLink Foundation Teachers and Technology grant winners:
• Sheryl Rehurek, Lincoln Elementary, Yankton
• Shari O’Keefe, Stevens High School, Rapid City
• Angela Fluth, Lowell Elementary, Sioux Falls
• Linda Foos and Clarice Buhler, Milbank Elementary School, Milbank
• Angie Wegner, Estelline School District
• Chris Coughlin, New Technology High School, Sioux Falls
• Kelly Erickson, Tina Kucker and Lisa Riddle; Lowell Elementary,
• Cody Lukkes, Yankton Middle School, Yankton
• Colleen Jensen and Tricia Gerlach, Watertown High School, Watertown
• Erica Kogel, Hayward Elementary, Sioux Falls
For more information, contact Erin Larsen at firstname.lastname@example.org with the Department of Education.
Support Common Core Literacy with Electronic Resources, Part 1
NOTE: This is the beginning of a three-part series on how the State Library’s electronic resources can support the Common Core.
Teachers can help students become college and career ready and master Common Core standards by using State Library electronic resources.
Common Core English Language Arts is comprised of 6 strands. We’ve made some connections between the strands and State Library electronic resources. What other connections can you make?
1) Reading for Foundational Skills
The emphasis here is on learning to read, especially kindergarten through 2nd grades. World Book Kids promotes foundational reading with large font, images and videos, read aloud, and reading games.
2) Reading for Literature
This strand emphasizes reading for different purposes and in different formats.
All World Book modules, SIRS Discoverer and SIRS Issues Researcher give Lexiles to help readers find the right article for their reading level.
SIRS Discoverer contains short fiction stories for grades K-9 from popular children’s magazines such as Highlights.
Let the South Dakota State Library e-resources found at library.sd.gov help you meet Common Core standards and enhance learning for all ages.
South Dakota Highway Patrol looking for future troopers
South Dakota students will have an opportunity to participate in the first-ever Youth Trooper Academy this summer. To qualify, students must be entering their senior year of high school, must be in good academic standing, as well as good physical condition, and must possess a valid driver’s license.
The camp, which will run June 25 to June 29, is open to both male and female students and will be held at the George S. Mickelson Criminal Justice Training Center in Pierre. Interested students will get an opportunity to learn about law enforcement and experience life similar to that of a Recruit Trooper.
There are a limited number of spots available, and the deadline to apply is April 20.
Go to: http://doe.sd.gov/documents/Trooper12.pdf to learn more, or contact Sgt. Doug Coughlin with any questions at Doug.Coughlin@state.sd.us.
Nominate your teachers for Dakota STEP work groups
While South Dakota is moving to a new state assessment in 2014-15, the state is still required to conduct an annual data review of the existing Dakota STEP.
The South Dakota Department of Education is looking for teachers to serve on the groups listed below. A diverse group of dedicated teachers representing both large and small districts across the state, from various grade levels along with special education and English language learners teachers, is needed.
The department will reimburse all selected participants for mileage, meals and lodging (at state rates) and will also pay a small stipend of $125 per work day.
The Data Review Work Groups are charged with the important task of reviewing Dakota STEP field test items to determine whether they should be included in future years’ tests.
The Data Review Work Groups will be separated into the following grade spans:
--Reading (grade spans of 3-6; 7-8 and 11)
--Mathematics (grade spans of 3-6; 7-8 and 11)
--Science (grade spans of 5, 8 and 11).
The Data Review work groups will meet July 10 in Sioux Falls.
Teachers may be nominated for this work using the links below. Selected participants will be notified with more details via email once the work groups have been selected. April 30 is the deadline to nominate. Email Gay Pickner with any questions.
Mathematics Data Review
Reading Data Review
Science Data Review
Cast your votes – Bud, Pasque winners to be announced next month
Elementary teachers – the March 31 deadline for students to vote for their favorite book in the 2012 Prairie Bud and Prairie Pasque state book award contests is rapidly approaching. Be sure to let your school librarian know about your students’ votes soon.
Prairie Bud winners are determined by South Dakota kindergarten, 1st- and 2nd-grade students. Prairie Pasque winners are determined by South Dakota 3rd-, 4th- and 5th-grade students. Students are encouraged to read and vote for their one favorite book of the year from the master list of titles. The books receiving the most student votes win the awards. A committee of educators and librarians select the books nominated for the awards. Students must read at least five of the books on the list in order to be eligible to vote.
For more information about those contests, including online voting, visit http://library.sd.gov/LIB/CYS/prairieawards/voting.aspx.
Winners will be announced in April, which is School Library Month.
State Fair looking for student participants, work submissions
The South Dakota State Fair is once again asking teachers for help in submitting student artwork or class projects for display at the fair. There are exciting new things happening in the fair’s Arts and Education Department this year. Check out the Education Book and Entry Form for a full list of categories for submission and find out how your class can help at http://sdstatefair.com/exhibitors.asp.
Once you’ve clicked on the live link, scroll down to the chart and look for the Education row for necessary materials.
Early Childhood Education Conference
April 12-14, Spearfish
The theme for this year’s conference is “Planting the Seeds of Change.” There are tried and true best practices available to parents and early childhood education professionals alike, but there are always new and improved methods we may utilize to develop our future leaders.
Go to http://sdececonference-org.doodlekit.com/home for more information or to register.
South Dakota History Conference
April 13-14, Pierre
The South Dakota State Historical Society is hosting its annual history conference April 13-14 at the Ramkota Inn in Pierre. The theme is Playing on the Plains: Sports and Recreation in South Dakota. Featured speakers include former USA Today baseball writer Mel Antonen, former Game, Fish & Parks Secretary John C. Cooper and South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard.
There will be a reception open to all conference attendees at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center on Friday. During Friday’s luncheon, attendees will view the South Dakota Public Broadcasting documentary, “Kings of the Court.” Over the lunch hour on Saturday, Gov. Dennis Daugaard will present the Governor’s Awards in History and give a keynote address on the importance of pheasant hunting to South Dakota.
Teachers attending the conference can receive 12 continuing education contact hours. To learn more about the conference or to register, go to http://history.sd.gov/aboutus/HistoryConference/default.aspx.
26th Annual TIE Conference
April 15-17, Sioux Falls
The annual TIE Conference has gained a reputation for having the best classroom teachers, network administrators and education administrators share their strategies, methods and best practices. This year’s event will feature dozens of four-hour, in-depth workshops, nearly 100 breakout sessions, three world-class keynote speakers, an expanded exhibit hall, prizes and much more.
Visit http://conference.tie.net/ for more information.
21st Century Community Learning Centers Conference
May 29-30, Pierre
Attend the annual 21st CCLC conference to learn how to provide students with the best possible learning experience – inside and outside the classroom. Find out how to build on, enhance and support academic enrichment outside of school time through communication and community involvement strategies.
Preference is given to 21st CCLC grantees, but registration is open to other schools or organizations as well. Renewal credit is available for educators.
Go to https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dE82Y2VkYUZTSDNaZnBHeWJmYzVYckE6MQ to register or contact Jill.Cotton@state.sd.us for more information.
Teaching: Not just a job for Gardner-Fink
Elementary teacher Nicole Gardner-Fink, of Sioux Falls, was pulled to the profession from an early age. She spent her teenage years babysitting and teaching swimming lessons – even volunteering in the resource room during her senior year of high school.
“I found such enjoyment in helping students learn – especially students who really struggled,” she said. “I just wanted them to feel success! This experience showed me that my desire was to work with children, and the teaching profession was the way I wanted to be involved in the lives of children.”
It’s been almost 20 years since her first teaching assignment, but Gardner-Fink still approaches each new day with the same amount of passion.
“Being a teacher is not a job; it’s an opportunity,” she said. “Every day I come to work and have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children. I am proud that I am in a profession where we not only teach students the academic skills that students need to succeed, but we also help develop students who become good citizens and productive leaders in a world that is ever-changing.
“We help students learn to collaborate, to take chances, and to fail and persevere. I get the chance to support children in developing self-confidence, being happy and proud of who they are, and to celebrate their differences. I am in a profession where I can encourage and support each child and to unlock his or her special gifts.”
Gardner-Fink has done plenty of projects that have been engaging, challenging and fun for her students. But when they can think beyond themselves and even beyond the walls of their school building, that’s when Gardner-Fink finds the most fulfillment because then her students are learning about the world. Last year during a health unit, she had her 2nd-grade students write their own “Healthy Cookbook.” During the course of the unit, nonprofit agencies from the community visited her classroom and explained their charity and how they helped people in the community. The students voted on one of the charities, sold their cookbooks, and donated the money they raised to that organization.
“As their teacher, it was so fulfilling to listen to their discussions about what charity should receive the money and why. It was a difficult decision for many,” she said. “Not only were they learning about helping others, but many math, writing and reading standards were covered in the process of making and selling the cookbooks.”
Gardner-Fink also incorporates lots of technology into her lessons. Her classroom is equipped with an interactive Smart Board, an Ipad and three Ipods. The students also are able to use the computer lab and the mobile lab to assist in learning.
“Kids learn differently today than they did even five years ago. They are living in an age of technology. Everything they need is at their fingertips, and it is immediate,” Gardner-Fink said. “As an educator, I need to change my teaching style to meet the needs of my learners. Technology can be used as a very successful tool in the classroom. It keeps students engaged, it is part of their learning style; they are not afraid to use it. I try to incorporate technology into my teaching every day and in different ways.”