Nov. 16, 2012
Teacher provides South Dakota perspective on Smarter Balanced writing team
South Dakota teacher Meghan Wounded Head provided representation on one of the task writing teams for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. SBAC recently released sample items and performance tasks (http://www.smarterbalanced.org/sample-items-and-performance-tasks/) related to the new assessment aligned to the Common Core, which will be used beginning in 2014-15. Wounded Head wrote a guest column about her experience for this month’s Teacher Feature.
Partnership to help struggling college-bound students catch up
A collaborative effort between the Department of Education and Board of Regents will help the state’s college-bound juniors and seniors who may need some assistance to get up to speed before hitting campus for the first time.
The Board of Regents requires students whose ACT sub-scores fall below 20 in math and 18 in English to take remedial courses prior to entry into college-level courses.
The new partnership will allow students to complete remedial coursework before entering one of the Board of Regents’ institutions.
The new program, available through the South Dakota Virtual School, uses a diagnostic assessment to generate online coursework tailored specifically to each student’s needs. The Board of Regents will honor successful completion of the tailored coursework, allowing students who successfully complete the coursework to enter directly into college-level courses.
The online remedial courses are scheduled to be available to students beginning in January 2013, and will be offered in both 10-week and 12-month options. Students must register for the courses through their local school district, similar to other online courses offered through the South Dakota Virtual School. The cost of any coursework would be the responsibility of the student and his or her family.
For more information, visit the South Dakota Virtual School website at www.sdvs.k12.sd.us.
Common Core and school libraries: Come one – come all!
The South Dakota State Library, in conjunction with the South Dakota Library Association, will be holding regional meetings at six locations for certified-teacher librarians, paraprofessional librarians, district librarians, library aides, and administrators who wish to learn more about the Common Core State Standards, and specifically the “4th R” – Research, as they relate to school libraries.
The regional meetings will be held from 1-4 p.m. as follows:
Tuesday, Dec. 4 – Winner High School Library, Winner
Wednesday, Dec. 5 – Douglas High School Library, Box Elder
Thursday, Dec. 6 – Agar-Blunt-Onida School Library, Onida
Tuesday, Dec. 11 – Watertown High School Library, Watertown
Wednesday, Dec. 12 – Brookings Middle School Library, Brookings
Thursday, Dec. 13 – Roosevelt High School Library, Sioux Falls
These meetings came about as a group of library professionals met for a School Library Summit in Pierre in August to discuss current services within the state’s school libraries. As one of four goals set by the summit group, regional meetings were indicated as a way to provide training on the Common Core, as well as to provide a time for networking and collaboration for school librarians around the state.
To register for this free event, go to: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SDregional2012
Please contact Mary G. Johnson at (605) 295-3173 or email@example.com if you have questions or need further information.
Winners of EPSCoR funds announced
Twelve science, technology, engineering and math projects will be funded this year in South Dakota as part of a new round of EPSCoR grants.
School districts and other educational organizations across the state will receive a total of $200,000 to enhance, expand and develop new opportunities in those areas.
Funding for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR, grants is provided through the National Science Foundation. Projects range from dual-credit opportunities in the information technology field and robotics to cutting-edge courses in pre-engineering and biosciences.
Applicants were encouraged to collaborate by combining resources to provide secondary career and technical education opportunities in regional, multi-center or cooperative approaches. The Department of Education received 19 applications to fund projects.
EPSCoR funds were awarded to the following:
• Brookings School District
• Canton School District
• East Dakota Educational Cooperative
• Harding County School District
• Lake Area Multi District
• Mitchell School District
• Rapid City School District
• Sioux Falls School District – Gateway Camps
• Sioux Falls School District – Information Technology program
• Sioux Falls School District – Project Lead The Way Teacher Training
• Sioux Falls School District – VEX Competition
• Sisseton School District
Planning a visit to Pierre? Consider the Cultural Heritage Center
Are you bringing a group of students to Pierre to see the State Legislature in action? Make a stop at the museum in the Cultural Heritage Center a part of your day. The museum features The South Dakota Experience, covering the history of the state from its earliest inhabitants to present day. The Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota culture, stories of explorers, settlers and statesmen – find it all in the museum. To see highlights from the exhibit, go to: http://history.sd.gov/Museum/Exhibits/gallery.aspx
In the changing gallery, enjoy Our South Dakota: Big Land / Big Ideas / Big Heart. The hands-on exhibit explores the physical realities of our state through activities such as driving a combine, dishing out ice cream, or playing games with friends. Visit Our South Dakota and feel how the land helps shape our lives.
The Cultural Heritage Center museum is set up for a good self-guided experience. Guided tours can also be arranged. To schedule your visit, please contact Jeff Mammenga at
605-773-6000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New, updated full-text reference books available online
Need authoritative information that all your students can access simultaneously? Need informational text resources to plan for Common Core? Gale Virtual Reference Library, provided free to schools by the South Dakota State Library, contains new and updated titles in education, health/science, business and social studies. See detailed lists below.
The full-text Gale Virtual Reference Library is more user friendly than ever, showing book covers and copyright dates on the home page. All articles have read aloud, downloadable PDF and downloadable mp3.
Gale Virtual Reference Library is available on the State Library website directly from school or library, and at home with barcode and password. LINK TO http://library.sd.gov
The College Blue Book
Gale E-Commerce Sourcebook
The Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer
The Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine
The Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health (due 6/2013)
Gale Encyclopedia of Science
Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery
Scholarships, Fellowships & Loans
Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America
Fashion, Costume, and Culture
Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Foods & Recipes of the World
Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations
Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures
Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Holidays
UXL Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes
Check out grant opportunities to promote healthy students
The November issue of the TEAM Nutrition Newsletter is now online, and is packed with information, mini-lessons and recipes that can help educators introduce students to healthy foods. The newsletter also contains information about various grant opportunities throughout the year.
In this month’s newsletter, find out how your school could earn up to $10,000 through a SPARK grant to promote physical fitness and overall healthy lifestyle changes.
To access the November TEAM Nutrition newsletter, go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/cans/documents/TNnew1112.pdf.
State Fair starting preparations early, asking for school submissions
While it may seem like a long way off, the South Dakota State Fair is once again asking teachers for help in submitting student artwork or class projects for display at the 2013 fair. There are exciting new things happening in the fair’s Arts and Education Department. To check out the Education Book and Entry Form for a full list of categories for submission and find out how your class can help, go to: 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.
South Dakota Board of Education meeting
Nov. 26, Various locations via DDN
This regularly scheduled meeting of the state Board of Education will be held via DDN. More information will be provided on the board’s webpage as it becomes available.
Differentiating Workshop for ELL teachers
Dec. 11 in Fort Pierre OR Dec. 13 in Brookings
The South Dakota Department of Education, along with WIDA, will hold a face to face workshop on Dec. 11 in Ft. Pierre at the AmericInn and on Dec. 13 in Brookings at the Days Inn.
This workshop, The More, the Merrier in Differentiating for English Language Learners, is designed as an introductory level training for content and ESL teachers in meeting the needs of ELLs. It will provide teachers opportunities to explore academic language differentiation during content instruction and assessment. Participants will explore the use of WIDA’s English language proficiency data and the CAN DO Descriptors.
Sessions begin each day at 8:30 a.m., with registration at 8 a.m., and will run until 4 p.m. There will be an hour break for lunch on your own.
Attendees should bring their ACCESS 2012 Student Roster Reports and/or Teacher Reports and an assignment or task recently used with their mainstream students in a content class. Teachers should also download the CAN DO Descriptors for the grade levels of their ELLs prior to attending. (To download, go to: http://wida.us/standards/CAN_DOs/index.aspx)
To register for either workshop, go to: http://tinyurl.com/9klwxu5.
2012 Regional Transition Forums
Dec. 14, Rapid City
Transition Forums are informal, interactive meetings to discuss collaboration between agencies, schools, and families so students with disabilities can receive appropriate services and supports during the transition to adulthood process. Check out the DOE Calendar of Events for start time and exact location. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Work-Based Learning Opportunities Training
Jan. 23, Pierre
Come and learn all about Entrepreneurship Experience, Senior Experience, Service Learning and Youth Internship, the opportunities that await your school, strategies for implementation and resources to get started. This training is designed for those who are new to work-based learning or those who would like to revise their current program to meet high school graduation requirements.
This training is designed for the teams of educators that will be implementing the Capstone experiences or Service Learning. Plan to bring individuals that will be involved locally – teachers, administrators, counselors and/or community partners. All team members should bring a laptop to the training.
Beginning in school year 2013-14, schools must offer a Capstone Experience (Senior Experience, Youth Internship or Entrepreneurship Experience) OR Service Learning. Not all of the options have to be offered, though a school could choose to offer them all if they wish.
Check out the DOE Calendar of Events for more information at: http://www.doe.sd.gov/onlinecalendar/index.aspx.
NOTE: This month’s Teacher Feature is a guest column written by Meghan Wounded Head. Meghan is a high school English teacher in the Hamlin School District, and was part of one of the teams working to create sample items for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
Involvement, collaboration ease assessment concerns for South Dakota educator
Common Core Standard implementation is in full swing, and at my school district we are updating our current curriculum to align to the CCSS. Yet, a question for me remains: In the midst of adding rigor and text complexity to my curriculum, what is the assessment by which students will be measured?
I was able to answer my assessment concern when I attended the Initial Achievement Level Descriptor (ALD) drafting workshop for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. In short, a group of educators including K–12 educators, specialists in curriculum and instruction, and content experts from each governing state collaborated to write rubric-like performance descriptors for each Common Core standard.
The highlight for me in my ALD experience is developing an understanding of the potential assessment for Common Core Standards. I feel it is important for me as an educator to know what the assessment could look like. And after seeing Smarter Balanced sample test items, I feel the test potential is amazing! I am taken aback at the possibilities of how children could be assessed. For me, it seems a much more authentic assessment with a truer measure of where students are as learners.
The ALD drafting workshop for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium was an excellent experience for me, as I collaborated with educators from various levels. I now have a firm grasp of college and career readiness expectations because of working with college professors. In addition, I further understand alignment as I was able to collaborate with 6-12 educators and content specialists in developing ALDs.
Finally, I look forward to the potential for an authentic measure of learning after seeing Smarter Balanced assessment possibilities. Overall, after the Smarter Balanced workshop, I feel positive that my implementation of CCSS is headed in the right direction, giving me a sense of confidence as I continue to lead my students to college and career readiness.