April 17, 2013


Growth Model work group narrows down studies

South Dakota’s Growth Model work group met via conference call last month to discuss further analysis of the seven growth models selected for consideration for use in the state’s new accountability system.

The work group discussed the pros and cons of each of the seven models and then came to a consensus to eliminate the Projection, Categorical and Trajectory models. The Gain Score model was also tentatively taken out of consideration for the time being.

Group members felt the Projection Model was similar to the Residual Gain Model but believed the Residual Gain Model would provide a truer measure of student growth. Overall, group members had problems with the Categorical Model because it didn’t do enough to help or take into account those students who were “in the bubble” between Basic and Proficient categories.

Group members particularly liked the Student Growth Percentile Model and felt no matter which model they end up choosing, it is important to select a model that accurately measures students’ academic achievement and will also be easy for parents and the public to understand.

Finalized Next Generation Science Standards released

The final Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a set of voluntary, rigorous, and internationally benchmarked standards for K-12 science education, were released earlier this month. South Dakota will now consider whether to adopt the new content standards in science.

Twenty six states and their broad-based teams worked together for two years with a 41-member writing team and partners to develop the standards which identify science and engineering practices and content that all K-12 students should master in order to be fully prepared for college, careers and citizenship. The NGSS were built upon a vision for science education established by the Framework for K-12 Science Education, published by the National Academies' National Research Council in 2011.

Besides South Dakota, the lead state partners include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

The creation of the NGSS was entirely state-driven, with no federal funds or incentives to create or adopt the standards. The NGSS are grounded in a sound, evidence-based foundation of current scientific research-including research on the ways students learn science effectively-and identify the science all K-12 students should know.

For more information, go to: www.nextgenscience.org

Burke educators receive $2,000 grant

First-grade teacher Sandy Williams and co-applicant Susie Karbo of Burke Elementary School have received a $2,000 Student Achievement Grant from the NEA Foundation to partner with students and the community to create a compost garden. Students will learn about the effects of waste on their environment and ways to decrease the amount of waste that is sent to landfills. Students will then use critical thinking skills and problem solving to find waste disposal solutions the can be incorporated locally.

The grant is one of 55 grants awarded nationwide by the NEA Foundation last month. The grants all support educators’ efforts to improve teaching and learning and total $176,000. The NEA Foundation awards two levels of funding, $2,000 or $5,000, in two categories: Student Achievement Grants, and Learning and Leadership Grants.

The latest grants were awarded to educators in 28 different states.

The NEA Foundation awards its grants to educators three times a year. The next grant deadline is June 1, 2013. Application forms and a video with step-by-step instructions on how to apply can be found in the Grants to Educators section of www.neafoundation.org.

Slots still open in Science Academies trainings

The April 26 deadline to register for this summer’s Science Academies is quickly approaching, and there are still several slots available for interested middle and high school teachers.

Various dates are available and trainings are being held at multiple locations across the state in an attempt to accommodate as many teachers as possible. Because these trainings are part of the Investing in Teachers initiative, participants will receive a daily stipend of $125 for their attendance, with a maximum of $250.

Graduate credit is available. For more details, visit the Department of Education website or contact Sam Shaw.

Check certification status on Teacher411

If you’re not sure when your certification expires, visit http://teacher411.sd.gov/ to find out. The 411 system lists information from your certification record, including the expiration year, and core content teaching assignments you can accept as a highly qualified teacher.

You can submit your renewal application at any point before July 1, as that is the date when all certificates expire. If you still have credits to complete over the summer, your application will be held for processing until final credit documentation is received. However, earlier is better because summer processing can take as long as 12 weeks.

Commission on Teaching and Learning continues work

The Commission on Teaching and Learning met earlier this month and is getting closer to its goal of having a draft evaluation model for teachers out for review by South Dakota’s education community later this year.

The commission is a partnership of the state’s education organizations and the state Department of Education. The group includes educators from around the state. For more information, go to: http://sdea.org/home/587.htm


CTE 101 Training
May 31, Rapid City

CTE 101 training fulfills the requirement for secondary teachers to become South Dakota Career & Technical Education (CTE) Qualified teachers for approved CTE programs.

Those teachers who are 1) new to teaching in approved CTE programs, 2) in their early years of teaching (either from teacher preparation programs or via alternative certification) or 3) who teach career or technical courses that are being added to approved CTE programs need to take this one-day qualification training.

The training will explore CTE initiatives, resources and program requirements. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion, CTE Qualification certificate and are eligible for Continuing Education hours.

Participants should bring a laptop computer equipped with Internet Explorer and Microsoft Excel.

To register, go to: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dE16aDFCbHJJOHBVWTBna0tUejFCUlE6MQ.

2013 Middle/High School (6-12) Science Academies
June 12 – July 11, Various locations statewide

South Dakota teachers will model three-dimensional instruction (Three Dimensions: Scientific and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts from the Framework for K-12 Science Education and NGSS) through activities and provide video evidence of this instruction occurring in South Dakota classrooms. The video footage is based on model lessons that have been aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and South Dakota Science Standards.

Teachers will leave with three-dimensional lessons that can be immediately implemented and will gain an understanding of the vision for science education in South Dakota. Teachers also will leave the training with knowledge of the three-dimensional lesson-building process, which they can use to advance their curriculum.

This is a two-day regional training for middle school and high school science teachers. There are 10 locations with two trainings occurring per location. At each location, one training will be for middle school and one training will be for high school. Up to 60 teachers will be accommodated at each location, with 30 at each training. Stipends of $125/day, available through the Investing in Teachers effort, will be paid to each attending science teacher, for no more than two days of training. Therefore, teachers should only sign up for one training. A minimum of 20 teachers will be required to host a training.

Graduate credit will be available. More information will be sent out, post-registration, including what to bring, graduate credit information, specific location details, etc.

Go to: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dFF2dHJoZXhmUDE3S3pfVUZyTHNMY0E6MA TO REGISTER Note: Registration closes April 26.

A complete calendar of Science Academy training dates is listed below:
June 12-13 – Aberdeen
June 12-13 – Rapid City
June 12-13 – Sioux Falls
June 19-20 – Mitchell
June 19-20 – Mobridge
June 19-20 – Pierre
June 26-27 – Watertown
June 26-27 – Yankton
July 10-11 – Rapid City
July 10-11 – Sioux Falls

For more details, visit "http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/investinginteachers.aspx or contact sam.shaw@state.sd.us.

Harvest of the Month training
July 9-10 in Sioux Falls OR July 23-24 in Rapid City

Learn how to organize a Harvest of the Month Team for your school or community. Attendees will prepare recipes, create lessons and evaluation, discuss food-to-table demonstrations, and learn about growing and transplanting.

Participating teams are also eligible to apply for a $500 Team Nutrition mini-grant for implementation of a Harvest of the Month project. CEUs are available. Go to http://doe.sd.gov/cans/teamnutrition.aspx#workshop for details on how to register, or contact Mary Kirk for more information.

School Library Boot Camp
July 21-24, Vermillion

The second annual School Library Boot Camp will be held on the campus of University of South Dakota, with the theme of Multiple Literacies in the 21st Century School Library. Graduate credit is available. For more information, go to: http://library.sd.gov/LIB/DEV/training/bootcamp/index.aspx

CTE Conference
July 29-30, Mitchell

The 2013 conference will be all new – New location! New format! New schedule!

The conference is designed for CTE teachers, Technical Institute instructors, school administrators and school counselors. This year’s event will be held on the campus of Mitchell Technical Institute. The annual CTE conference provides attendees with innovative and rigorous, cluster-specific training that can be implemented as the school year begins. Join your colleagues to learn, network and grow.

The conference is held as a partnership activity between the South Dakota Department of Education and the South Dakota Association for Career & Technical Education. For more information, including registration, schedule, call for presentations, and more, visit lakeareatech.edu/sdacte.

10th Annual Indian Education Summit
Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, Chamberlain

This year’s Indian Education Summit will be held at the Cedar Shore Resort, located on the Missouri River near Chamberlain and Oacoma. This is the 10th consecutive year the summit is being held, bringing together partners from across South Dakota and the U.S. to learn and share ideas and insights about the educational needs of American Indian students. Many sessions will be geared for K-12; many others will emphasize preschool and higher education strands.


First year elementary teacher celebrates students’ small victories

Almost through her first full year, Pierre’s McKinley Elementary teacher Jessica Callahan has learned to celebrate the small victories.

Callahan is the school’s only third grade teacher, but has looked to the guidance of teacher mentors in the second and fourth grade classrooms.

“I do enjoy the close knit environment of a smaller school. It would be nice to go to another third grade teacher, and ask where they’re at right now, but one of the teachers taught third grade before, so she was able to give me feedback,” Callahan said. “The other teachers are such a valuable resource when you’re first starting out.”

Callahan spent part of a previous year as a long-term substitute at McKinley, which helped her transition into the position, but still there were some things she felt less prepared for. Students at McKinley come from a wide array of varying backgrounds.

“It was challenging, especially at first, but you just learn to focus on the progress each child makes at their own level,” Callahan said. “I quickly realized I had to learn to meet my students where they’re at when they first walk through the door.”

From helping a child learn to control his temper, to working one-on-one with students who really struggled with reading at the beginning of the year, Callahan remembers those moments of success.

“I had a student who wrote me a letter and thanked me for everything he had learned in math that year, complete with a list. It was the nicest thing,” Callahan said.

She also helps out with the school’s 21st century after-school program, and spends two afternoons working with the first graders who attend.

“The after-school program is great because I can be a little more relaxed and have fun with the kids at the end of the day,” Callahan said. “I enjoy the variety too – getting to see kids in a slightly different age group.”

Though she’ll be transferring within the district to Jefferson School next year, her time at McKinley has spurred her to pursue her master’s in differentiated instruction. She started an online program earlier this spring.