April 2014






Learn about free summer courses on data driven decision making: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzQQHryoXMo&feature=share&list=UUyELvhISGHZs5cb_MT2RFeQ




HEADLINES



Schools across state administering Smarter Balanced Field Test

“Thank you.” That’s the message from the Department of Education to educators across the state who are busy administering the Smarter Balanced Field Test. “The reason it’s working is because everyone is working hard to make it work,” said Jan Martin, the department’s assessment director.

To date, nearly half of the total number of tests in South Dakota have been completed. That’s 132,000 out of 288,000.

As expected, there have been some technical issues, including log-in and online calculator problems. It’s important that districts report recurring issues to the Smarter Balanced Help Desk. “There are 20 states administering the tests to 3.5 million students, which is pretty phenomenal,” Martin said. “While things are going well overall, when a district is having a problem, it’s frustrating, and we really appreciate the patience everyone has shown.”

The next step in test development is determining where cuts will be established to distinguish between the various proficiency levels. K-12 teachers from every state in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium will be key to the success of this important process. More information will be coming soon.

Contact Jan Martin, Department of Education, at (605) 773-3246 or jan.martin@state.sd.us with questions.




Local educators help develop Smarter Balanced Digital Library

Trained educators, including more than 55 South Dakota teachers, are in the process of submitting, vetting and posting resources to the Smarter Balanced Digital Library. This will be an online searchable library of high-quality vetted resources. It will be interactive and allow educators from Smarter Balanced member states to rate resources and collaborate. Tags will allow users to filter search results by standards, grade levels and other key topics.

Educators will be able to use these resources throughout the school year to do the following:
• Advance their use of formative assessment practices
• Gauge student understanding of lessons, concepts and standards
• Make quick adjustments to instruction

The Digital Library will be available to all member state educators in fall 2014.




Sign up today for summer training on SLOs

The Department of Education is hosting a number of trainings related to Student Learning Objectives this summer. Here’s what one South Dakota educator is saying about the use of SLOs:

Linda Mallory, Spearfish Middle School, member of the Commission on Teaching and Learning:

As part of my growth plan this year, I wrote a student learning objective. My co-teacher and I developed a benchmark assessment using questions from the South Dakota Assessment Portal. My students took that test in September and will take it again in May. This is one measure of growth.

I am also using the STAR Math Assessment as a growth measure. We have three testing windows in September, January and May. Mid-year, we looked at those results to make sure we were on track for goal attainment. I will be collecting final data in May and assessing whether my student growth goal was met.

I had a chance to participate in the trainings last summer for writing student learning objectives and the information provided was very helpful in providing me direction to take this step. I am excited to learn more about assessment in my trainings this summer!


Registration deadline is April 18.

Register via the department’s online registration system (https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/calendar/calendarindex). Search for “SLO.” (NOTE: Site is best viewed in a browser other than Internet Explorer.)

IMPORTANT TO NOTE WHEN REGISTERING:

• Once a preferred date/location has been identified, teachers should be sure to register for the specific session that best describes their position (eg., 4th grade, Elementary MS/HS Music, MS/HS Science, etc.) To access a list of specific sessions, go to: http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/documents/SLOSummer2.pdf.

• Public school teachers who attend the state-sponsored trainings will receive a $125/day stipend.

• CEUs will be available.




Making sense of NAEP results: 4th and 8th grade reading

Reading is fundamental to learning. See how South Dakota students are performing on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is one measure of reading proficiency.

Reading Grade 4 (http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/14/april/documents/NAEP_read4.pdf)
Reading Grade 8 (http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/14/april/documents/NAEP_read8.pdf)




Grant to better prepare educators to serve students with disabilities

The goal of a new grant is to ensure general and special educators have the skills necessary to improve educational outcomes of students with disabilities.
http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2014/0403_CEED.pdf




Attend free summer courses on data driven decision making

Data is a powerful tool for improving student outcomes. These courses will take the mystery out of how to use it. Teachers will learn the skills they need to analyze and use data to answer important questions and drive positive change in the classroom. Prior to face-to-face instruction, participants will need to complete some online pre-work.

Classes will be offered statewide:
• Aug. 4, Rapid City
• Aug. 5, Pierre
• Aug. 6, Sioux Falls

Participants will learn about the following topics:
• Creating a data plan
• Understanding types of data
• Understanding the process for collecting data
• Interpreting data
• Creating action plans
• Implementation strategies
• Monitoring and evaluating effectiveness of plans
• Examining and sustaining progress

Courses are free. Mileage and lunch will be reimbursed by the Department of Education. One graduate credit is available through the University of South Dakota at a reduced cost of $40. Those seeking graduate credit will complete an independent project.

To register, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com. Search “Using Data to Inform Instruction.”





State Library e-resources help students with year-end projects

The State Library offers a number of e-resources that can help students doing biography and science projects:

World Book Kids (grades K-5)
   • Important People feature
   • Science Projects
   • World of Animals
   • Games and Activities

World Book Students (grades 5-9)
   • Biography Center feature

SIRS Discoverer (grades K-9)
   • Magazine articles
   • Links to websites
   • Biographies database
   • Science Fair Explorer
   • Activities link featuring science and nature projects
   • Nonfiction Books link featuring full-text e-books

SIRS Issues Researcher (grades 6-12)
   • Leading Issues section
   • Topic overviews
   • Up-to-date articles
   • Curriculum Pathfinders feature answers questions like, “How do I start a science project?” and includes links to science fair projects

Gale Virtual Reference Library (middle school and up)
   • 23-volume Encyclopedia of World Biography

World Book Online Reference Center and World Book Advanced (grades 9-12+)
   • Articles and primary sources

World Book has also enhanced its Timelines feature, which is available in many of the World Book e-resources. Timelines are compatible with iPad and many Android devices. World Book has created more than 400 Timelines on many topics, including science. Students can also create Timelines and upload images to enhance science presentations.

All of these resources offer read-aloud options, citation help and more. They are available from the Online Resources tab on the State Library website (http://library.sd.gov/LIB/ERD/onlineresources.aspx#.UwPn9_l3Ork). They are directly available within the State Library and on school and academic campuses and available from home with barcode and password.

Contact Julie Erickson (Julie.erickson@state.sd.us) or Jane Healy (jane.healy@state.sd.us), State Library Electronic Services Coordinators, for more information.




TEACHER FEATURE



Ramona Lundberg has a deep love for the outdoors and animals, so she decided to become a science teacher. Once she started teaching, though, she found that the subject didn’t really matter: “Teaching is about the person and helping students, and you can do that in any subject.”

Teaching at Deuel High School, Lundberg gets to know a lot of her students well: “I’m really fortunate in this smaller school. I can have one individual student in four different classes, and my classes are small.”

Lundberg takes that opportunity to talk to her students about their futures. “I tell my students, ‘It costs a lot of money to have fun, to keep your house, your car. You’ve got to try to get the best job you can, so education is your key,’” she says. “I like that about being a teacher. I think I can have an influence on kids.”

In 2006, Lundberg began examining that influence more intensely when she started the process to achieve National Board Certification. “I would consider it the best professional development I’ve ever done,” she says. “It requires you to get into your own teaching in a very critical way.”

Lundberg says the whole process made her a better teacher by causing her to think deeply about her planning, instructional decisions and if she’s effectively reaching students at different levels.

Now Lundberg mentors other teachers seeking certification: “I like mentoring because I understand that it’s very difficult to write about yourself this way.” Lundberg passes on the advice she got from her own mentor, encouraging her mentees to write more confidently and strongly about the good decisions they make and the things they do right—for example, not writing “I hope I do this,” but instead, “I do this because…”

So, what does Lundberg do? She has taught at Deuel for 35 years. Currently, she teaches sophomore biology and three sections of dual credit biology and chemistry through Northern State University’s Rising Scholars Program. And she hopes her enthusiasm for science rubs off on her students.

“I think high school should be just as fun as second or third grade,” she says. “We do as many labs as I can fit in and my budget can support. I want students to be able to see and feel science as much as they can.”

No doubt her enthusiasm rubs off on colleagues, too. She mentors other science teachers through her membership in the National Science Teachers Association. She is the state coordinator for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, and she is serving as a curator to find resources that support the Next Generation Science Standards.




UPCOMING EVENTS


Perkins Data Collection Training
April 23, Mitchell
April 24, Aberdeen
April 25, Rapid City
April 28, Pierre
April 28, Sioux Falls


Training sessions on the Perkins Data Collection system will provide career and technical education teachers and administrators in approved CTE programs (school year 2013-14) the following:

1. Instructions for entering Perkins Data via Mass Enrollment and Individual Enrollment (if your school enters data through the Upload process, contact Jake Cummings for training information at jake.cummings@state.sd.us).

2. Updates on modifications to the data system for 2013-14.

3. Tips to ensure data is entered comprehensively and accurately.

4. Ideas for getting the most out of your Perkins data.

To register, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com.




South Dakota Early Childhood Education Conference
April 24-26, Sioux Falls

This year’s conference will be held at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. There will be several keynote speakers, including occupational therapist Dr. Marianne Gibbs and early childhood mental health specialist Rachel Sperry. Keith Pentz will talk about the body-brain-mind connection. Andrew J. Stremmel, Ph.D., will also speak. He heads South Dakota State University’s Department of Teaching, Learning and Leadership.

For more information, go to: http://sdececonference-org.doodlekit.com/home/index or call (605) 224-4161.




2014 National Forum on Dropout Prevention for Native and Tribal Communities
April 27-30, Prior Lake, MN

The 2014 National Forum on Dropout Prevention Strategies for Native and Tribal Communities is titled "Building Engaging Educational Communities for Native Students." Hear from nationally known keynote speakers as well as professional educators. Presentations will emphasize a variety of strategies for working with Native students who are at risk of dropping out before high school graduation. Conference strands include the following:

• Addressing the opportunity gap
• Instructional strategies to increase learning
• Emotional supports
• School climate: safety and student wellness
• Service-learning and restorative justice
• Digital communication and engagement
• Re-engagement and recovery strategies
• Culture and language

For more information, go to: http://www.dropoutprevention.org/conferences/2014-national-forum-dropout-prevention-strategies-native-and-tribal-communities




Board of Education meeting
May 19, Aberdeen

The South Dakota Board of Education is scheduled to meet at Northern State University at 8:00 a.m. (CDT), Centennial Room, the Student Center, 1200 S. Jay St. An agenda will be posted at doe.sd.gov/board at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.




CTE 101 Qualification Training
May 30, Rapid City

CTE 101 training fulfills the requirement for secondary teachers to become SD Career & Technical Education (CTE) Qualified teachers for approved CTE programs. It is intended for teachers who fit the following criteria:

1) New to teaching in approved CTE programs

2) In their early years of teaching (either from teacher preparation programs or via alternative certification)

3) Teach career or technical courses that are being added to approved CTE programs

The training will explore CTE initiatives, resources and program requirements. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion and continuing education hours. Bring a laptop computer equipped with Internet Explorer and Microsoft Excel.

To register, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com




Statewide Education Conference
June 2-3, Pierre

Mark your calendars for the 2014 Statewide Education Conference to be held this June in Pierre. Keynote speakers Dr. Richard Cash and Lori Laughlin will each lead day-long workshops. Cash is an internationally recognized expert on differentiation and learning. Laughlin’s workshop is titled “The Essential Conversation – What Parents and Teachers can Learn from Each Other.”

College credit will be available when required hours of attendance are met.

For more information, go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/14/april/documents/SWconf2014.pdf

To register, go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/14/april/documents/SWconfreg.docx




Science Academies for elementary teachers
June 11-25, various locations statewide

These academies are intended to create a shift in instructional practice to challenge students to higher levels of understanding and performance. Through these trainings, South Dakota will build capacity in science instruction for elementary teachers. Academies will help teachers build a base-level understanding of student performance at the intersection of the three dimensions from the Framework for K-12 Science Education, integrated literacy standards and corresponding strategies.

Participants will be paid a $125 stipend for each day of attendance.

The registration deadline is May 1.

For more information and to register, go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/. Search for “Science Academies.”




21st Century Community Learning Centers Conference
June 16-17, Pierre

The focus of this conference is supporting the efforts of those working with afterschool and summer programming, but the material presented is also valuable for anyone who works with young people.

Getting youth interested and involved in their communities has global implications, according to keynote speaker Steve Culbertson. Culbertson is the developer of Global Youth Service Day, which is now active in 100 countries.

T. Woody Sobey, education director at the Discovery Center of Idaho, will encourage conference participants to celebrate science through hands-on activities.

For more information go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com, or contact Sue Burgard, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-5238 or sue.burgard@state.sd.us.




Lakota Arts + Identities Workshop
June 17-19, Brookings

This workshop is hosted by the South Dakota Art Museum on the campus of South Dakota State University.

For more information, go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/14/april/documents/LakotaArts.pdf




Orientation to SLOs for Teachers
June 30-Aug. 1, various locations statewide

The deadline to register is April 18.

For each training location (eg., Mobridge, Watertown), participants will be divided according to grade level and content area. For example, all 4th grade teachers will meet in one location, while all 6-12 social studies teachers will meet in another location. This has been done to encourage optimal collaboration and learning. Teachers will learn the basics of setting appropriate SLOs and how to identify appropriate measures to assess progress. There will also be time to practice writing quality SLOs with peers.

Registration is now available via the department’s online registration system at http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/. Search for “SLO.” (NOTE: Site is best viewed in a browser other than Internet Explorer.)

IMPORTANT TO NOTE WHEN REGISTERING:

• Once a preferred date/location has been identified, teachers should be sure to register for the specific session that best describes their position (eg., 4th grade, Elementary MS/HS Music, MS/HS Science, etc.) To access a list of specific sessions, go to: http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/documents/SLOSummer2.pdf.

• Teachers who attend the state-sponsored trainings will receive a $125/day stipend.

• CEUs will be available.




Using Data to Inform Instruction
Aug. 4, Rapid City
Aug. 5, Pierre
Aug. 6, Sioux Falls


Data is a powerful tool for improving student outcomes. These courses will take the mystery out of how to use it. Teachers will learn the skills they need to analyze and use data to answer important questions and drive positive change in the classroom. Prior to face-to-face instruction, participants will need to complete some online pre-work.

Participants will learn about the following topics:

• Creating a data plan
• Understanding types of data
• Understanding the process for collecting data
• Interpreting data
• Creating action plans
• Implementation strategies
• Monitoring and evaluating effectiveness of plans
• Examining and sustaining progress

Courses are free. Mileage and lunch will be reimbursed by the Department of Education. One graduate credit is available through the University of South Dakota at a reduced cost of $40. Those seeking graduate credit will complete an independent project.

To register, go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com. Search “Using Data to Inform Instruction.”






These are only a few upcoming events. Go to https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for a complete listing.