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SD Department of Education December 2014  


Story revised Dec. 19, 2014

Kelly Stone receives 2014 Governor’s Award in Transition Services
Kelly Stone is a special education teacher at Vermillion High School. She recently received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Transition Services. Congratulations, Kelly!

What do you like about working with special education students?
Weaknesses are how students qualify for special education, but that’s not all they are. I like to identify their strengths, because their strengths help them with their weaknesses. It’s important to help them realize that, too. They might feel like they’re not succeeding; you have to help them see how they are succeeding, and to be proud of that.

How do you help students with transition in the classroom?
We work on job skills and social skills. SDMyLife is a valuable resource in the process.

I also use a simulation program called, “You’re On Your Own.” Essentially, I tell students, “Here’s $1,200. You’re graduating. You’ve got to get a job, find a place to live. How are you going to do it?”

How do you guide your students through transition?
Some students might want a job, some might want to try college, some want to volunteer, some want independent living. It’s trying to help them find all the supports.

They don’t necessarily come to school full-time. Part of their day could be spent in school, part at a job. They might spend some time at home with someone helping them gain independent living skills. Many of my students spend time at SESDAC, Inc., an organization here in Vermillion that provides a variety of services and supports for people with disabilities.

Why are transition services important?
I think of when my own children were in high school. Two of them had no idea what they wanted to do, right up to their senior year. And they were in regular education. With special education students, it takes that much longer.

I think it’s hard for families, too. A lot of my students have been on IEPs since they were quite young, so the question for parents becomes, who’s going to provide these services now that my child is getting older? So my goal in working with students and families is to identify what we can do, how we can do it.

How do you arrange work experiences for your students?
I’ve been very proud of Vermillion employers’ willingness to offer opportunities through Project Skills (https://dhs.sd.gov/drs/projectskills/default.aspx), a program administered through the Department of Human Services' Division of Rehabilitation Services. I have several students involved in this program right now. A wide variety of businesses have participated over the years—manufacturers, daycares, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, the food service company at USD and others. Sometimes this program leads to permanent employment, and it's always a celebration when that happens.

My students also deliver the food bags every week for our district’s backpack program and they help with our school’s recycling program.

We have strong CTE courses, too. Once students complete some of these classes, they can apply for a job at Builder’s Choice here in Vermillion.

So, it’s trying to find all we can, use all we can, to give them valuable experiences that are meaningful to them in making that next step.

Watch Video
Shawn DeWitt and Roxane Dyk discuss instructional coaching in math. View video at: http://youtu.be/OnNWGTBMx3M.

Coaching aims to deepen students’ thinking about math

The South Dakota Department of Education is offering targeted professional development and instructional coaching in foundational math and reading skills for 21 districts this school year. This month, we are focusing on the math program. Math support is offered to teachers of grades 4-8.

Throughout the school year, instructional coaches provide teachers five days of PD in a group setting. Coaches then observe teachers in the classroom and work with them one-on-one to reinforce the PD. Coaches are learning specialists from ESAs. Several math coaches have extensive experience with the South Dakota Counts program. The instructional coaching program utilizes the book 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions by Margaret S. Smith and Mary Kay Stein.

Coaching consists of five components:

1. Designing math lessons in three “acts” (launch, explore, communicate) to develop a classroom with strong student discourse through the incorporation of the five practices defined by Smith and Stein:
   • Anticipating likely student responses to challenging mathematical tasks.
   • Monitoring students’ actual responses to the tasks (while students work on the tasks in pairs or small groups).
   • Selecting particular students to present their mathematical work during the whole-class discussion.
   • Sequencing the student responses that will be displayed in a specific order
   • Connecting different students’ responses and connecting the responses to key mathematical ideas.

2. Strengthening the use and type of deeper level questioning.

3. Implementing formative assessments.

4. Cultivating classroom culture and grouping students effectively.

5. Engaging students in productive struggle and rigorous tasks.

Coaches use the following components from the South Dakota Framework for Teaching to provide teachers feedback throughout the year:
   • Setting Instructional Outcomes (1c)
   • Establishing a Culture for Learning (2b)
   • Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques (3b)
   • Engaging Students in Learning (3c)

For those districts not involved in the instructional coaching program, educators can gain understanding of math concepts through the trainings offered on the PD Menu of Options. The menu options are Understanding Number Concepts & Cognitive Guided Instruction, Concepts of Rational Numbers: Fractions, Decimals, and Percents, and Proportional Reasoning.

At the beginning of the instructional coaching process this fall, coaches assisted teachers with data digs of assessment results. Coaches and teachers will perform two more data digs—one in the winter and one in the spring—to gauge student progress.

Watch Video
Jan Martin, with the department’s Division of Assessment and Accountability, talks about achievement levels and cut scores. View video at: http://youtu.be/FLsj4JO0a-g.

Smarter Balanced achievement level cut scores approved by consortium

The Smarter Balanced consortium states met Nov. 14, and approved the achievement level cut scores (1, 2, 3, 4) for the assessment. In the processes leading up to this approval, South Dakota had almost 70 individuals who participated in the online achievement level setting, and 10 who participated in the face-to-face process. Click here to access the press release regarding the achievement level setting.

The current achievement level cut scores are estimates based on field test data. Achievement level descriptors do not equate directly to expectations for “on-grade” performance, but to the range of performance within a grade level. Below are the cut scores (or, threshold scale scores) that have been set for each grade:

Math Threshold Scale Scores
View larger document at: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2014/dec/documents/MathScale.pdf

ELA Threshold Scale Scores
View larger document at: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2014/dec/documents/ELAscale.pdf

The following two charts indicate the percentage of students (across all consortium states) expected to score within each level.

Math: Achievement Level Estimate
View larger document at: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2014/dec/documents/MathEstim.pdf

ELA: Achievement Level Estimate
View larger document at: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2014/dec/documents/ELAEstima.pdf

“Initially, we anticipate that more students will score in the Level 1 and 2 ranges than in the Level 3 and 4 ranges,” says Jan Martin, assessment coordinator for the South Dakota Department of Education. “Long-term, though, we fully expect South Dakota students will adjust to the higher expectations, and we will see more students scoring in Levels 3 and 4.”

According to Martin, the goal is for students to get to those higher ranges, because students achieving those scores demonstrate not only more thorough understanding of the standards, but the ability to apply their knowledge. Scoring in Levels 3 and 4 indicates students are on track to be college and career ready.

It is important not to make comparisons with the Dakota STEP, as the Smarter Balanced assessment measures student proficiency against a new set of standards. The new assessment sets a new baseline.

It is also important to note that the South Dakota Board of Regents plans to use 11th grade Smarter Balanced scores for placement guidelines in the future. So, if a student reaches a certain level (to be determined) on Smarter Balanced, that student can go directly into credit-bearing college-level courses. This will make the state assessment more meaningful to high school students.

Resources for communicating with parents and other community stakeholders are available at: http://commoncore.sd.gov/assessment.aspx. Items are being added to this page regularly.

Teachers needed to disaggregate proposed social studies standards

The South Dakota Department of Education is bringing together 56 teachers to disaggregate proposed social studies standards. The disaggregated (unpacked) standards will be posted as an appendix document. This document will be an optional resource for teachers to use in translating the proposed standards into instruction. It will provide teachers and the public with a deeper understanding of the proposed standards. If any of the proposed standards are changed in response to the Board of Education’s public hearings, changes will be reflected in the disaggregated work as well.

Workgroup members will be asked to incorporate the following elements in the disaggregated standards:

1. Know, Understand and Do statements
2. Student-friendly language
3. Skills of the C3 Framework
4. Connections to literacy
5. Opportunities for connecting to the Oceti Sakowin Standards
    Note: This element will be a priority for a separate workgroup, but the conversation can begin in this disaggregation workgroup.

Who should apply:
Teachers in grades K-12 are encouraged to apply, especially those in grades K-5.

Four teachers from each grade level K-8 will be selected. At the high school level, groups of four teachers will be chosen to disaggregate standards for each of the following areas: World History, U.S. History, World Geography, Civics/Government, and Economics courses.

Time commitment:
This will be a four-day process:

1. One-day meeting in Chamberlain on Feb. 5.
2. Up to four one-hour webinars with a facilitator and other group members.
3. Completion of work on your own, with a partner, or with the entire grade-level group.
4. Work will be completed by May 31, 2015.

How to apply:
Fill out application at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1vZeXzokW8zaOSL0uQpoRzjN8l5-yw1Bwjp-bRQeCj9E/viewform?usp=send_form by Jan. 9.

Additional information:
To access South Dakota’s proposed standards for social studies, go to: http://doe.sd.gov/ContentStandards/documents/15PropdSS.pdf.

Wondering what disaggregated standards look like? See South Dakota’s disaggregated ELA and math standards at http://sdccteachers.k12.sd.us/home/disaggregated-standards.

State Library E-Resources Challenge begins Jan. 26

The South Dakota State Library’s E-Resources Challenge begins Jan. 26, 2015. Learn about online journals, encyclopedias, practice tests and other resources while earning free continuing education contact hours.

The challenge is a self-paced learning opportunity that guides participants in exploring content and features in the library’s statewide subscription electronic resources provided free to all schools. Learn about new ways to integrate technology into lessons and how these resources can be used in conjunction with the Common Core State Standards.

This 10-week course will examine one or two electronic resources per week. The first lesson will be released Jan. 26, 2015. The challenge ends April 13.

To learn more and register, go to: http://sdlibrarychallenge.blogspot.com/. Participants will receive an e-mail when the first lesson is posted.

Scholarships available for students planning to teach

Teacher shortage/pay will be a primary topic of discussion during the upcoming legislative session. One thing educators can do immediately (and on an ongoing basis) is to identify and nurture those young people who show an interest in becoming a teacher by highlighting the positive aspects of a career in education. Some students may qualify for scholarships like these:

   • Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship (http://www.sdbor.edu/students/documents/CriticalTeachingNeedsScholarshipApplication2014.pdf)
   • Dakota Corps Scholarship Program (http://www.sdbor.edu/dakotacorps/welcome.htm)

Experience SD history at Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre

Teachers of all grades are encouraged to bring their students to the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre to experience South Dakota history.

The South Dakota Experience galleries tell the story of the state from American Indian life before the arrival of Europeans in the 1700s through the end of the 20th Century. Students can walk through a tipi, “ride” a train and “milk” a cow, among other activities.

The Hogen Gallery features changing exhibits. Currently, this gallery features “Play Ball! The National Pastime in South Dakota,” an exhibit covering the history of baseball in the state.

Museum hours are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CST, Monday-Friday. There is no cost for tours, which can either be guided or self-guided. For more information, visit www.history.sd.gov/museum. To schedule a tour, email Jeff.Mammenga@state.sd.us or call (605) 773-6000.

Mitchell science teacher finalist for Global Teacher Prize

Julie Olson is one of 50 finalists worldwide for the $1 million Global Teacher Prize, sponsored by the Varkey GEMS Foundation. Olson teaches science at Second Chance High School, an alternative school in the Mitchell School District. To learn more about Olson and the Global Teacher Prize, go to: http://www.globalteacherprize.org/finalist/julie-olson. Congratulations, Julie!

DOE Blog: Editorial in Argus Leader favors proposed science standards

Dr. Jill Weimer and Liz McMillan with Sanford Research explain why they believe South Dakota’s proposed K-12 science standards will prepare students for careers.

Read blog at: http://sddoe.blogspot.com.

Upcoming Events

For a complete listing of events, go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/.

Board of Education meeting
Jan. 15, Pierre

The South Dakota Board of Education is scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. CST, first floor, Library Commons, MacKay Building, 800 Governors Drive. Public hearings will be held related to content standards adoption in the areas of science, social studies, fine arts and K-12 educational technology. An agenda will be posted at doe.sd.gov/board at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Your First Years in CTE: 10 Things to Know
Jan. 28, Mitchell

Are you new to the world of career and technical education? If so, join this session to hear teachers from your content area share lesson plans and give you tips for navigating Perkins requirements.

To register, go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/. Search by course title.

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