January 2014


Certificate renewal applications due July 1

Teachers whose certificates expire July 1 of this year are strongly encouraged to submit their renewal applications as soon as possible. Early application ensures optimal processing. Processing time is typically four to six weeks, but during the summer months, can take up to 10 weeks. By waiting too long, teachers risk not having their certificate updated before the start of the school year.

State regulations require educators whose certificates have lapsed to obtain six university transcripted credits to renew.

The Teacher 411 system at http://teacher411.sd.gov lists information from teachers’ certification records, including the expiration date and core content teaching assignments that teachers are qualified to accept. Go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/oatq/teachercert.aspx for more information or to apply online. Questions can be directed to certification@state.sd.us.

Applications open for National Youth Science Camp

Two South Dakota high school seniors will have an opportunity to travel to West Virginia this summer for the annual National Youth Science Camp, a residential science education program.

Two seniors from each of the 50 states and students from several other countries will receive full scholarships to attend the camp sponsored by the National Youth Science Foundation. Recipients will get to complete hands-on research projects and exchange ideas with scientists and other professionals from academia and industry during the nearly month-long experience, from June 27 to July 20.

The NYSC program covers a broad spectrum of natural, physical, and applied sciences including biology, physics, chemistry, math, geology, astronomy, environmental science, engineering, medicine, space science, and technology.

Participants spend most of their time at the camp in West Virginia. In addition, they spend three days in Washington, D.C., studying national science concerns in meetings with scientists and with behind-the-scenes visits to sites like NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the National Academy of Sciences.

Applicants must be South Dakota residents in their senior year of high school and demonstrate superior academic proficiency, particularly in math or science; eagerness to explore varied topics; and leadership abilities.

Applications are available at www.nysc.org and must be submitted online by March 1. For more information, contact South Dakota’s state selection coordinator, Sam Shaw, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-5229, or sam.shaw@state.sd.us.

Four South Dakota teachers earn profession’s top honor

Four South Dakota classroom teachers are among the nearly 4,120 elementary and secondary school teachers nationwide to achieve National Board Certification in 2013.

“These teachers should be very proud,” said South Dakota Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp. “National Board Certification is not a process to be taken lightly. It is time-intensive, challenging, and clearly indicates teachers’ deep commitment to their students and to their own professional growth.”

The achievement raises the number of National Board Certified Teachers in South Dakota to 103.

South Dakota’s 2013 recipients include:

• Anne Moege, English Language Arts/Early Adolescence, Mitchell School District

• Rebecca Kline, Mathematics/Early Adolescence, Rapid City Area School District

• Ruth Conway, Mathematics/Adolescence and Young Adulthood, Rapid City Area School District

• Kelly Assman, Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood, Winner School District

In addition, Lori Keleher, Mathematics/Adolescence and Young Adulthood, Huron School District, renewed her National Board Certificate.

National Board Certification is achieved through a rigorous, performance-based, peer-reviewed assessment of a teacher's pedagogical (teaching) skills and content knowledge. The certification process takes one to three years to complete. While licensing standards set the basic requirements to teach in a state, National Board Certified teachers demonstrate advanced teaching knowledge, skills and practices similar to the certifications earned by experts in law and medicine.

To learn more about National Board Certification, call the South Dakota Department of Education at (605) 773-3134 or go to www.doe.sd.gov.

Teachers encouraged to highlight student work at State Fair

Teachers have the opportunity to highlight their students’ best work in art, literature and photography at the 2014 South Dakota State Fair. The work must be from the 2013-14 school year and entries must be submitted no later than April 16.

In addition, students in 1st-6th grades may enter an essay contest. This year’s topic is “A Healthy Me is Drug Free.” Students in 5th-8th grade may enter poetry in the Prairie Winds Competition. Winners have their work submitted for publication in the Prairie Winds magazine.

Teachers are also encouraged to nominate outstanding fellow educators for the Most Valuable Educator Award.

And “South Dakota’s Largest Classroom” will again be part of the State Fair in 2014. In 2013, schools from across the state participated with approximately 1,000 students and teachers attending. Learn more about this program at: http://www.sdstatefair.com/around/classroom.asp.

Go to: http://www.sdstatefair.com/docs/exhibitors/education/Education%20Book%202014.pdf for more information on all of these educational opportunities.

ELL student population growing in SD

This story is the first in a series on English Language Learners (ELLs) in South Dakota. Next month, learn more about professional development, consortium partnerships and other resources available to help schools meet the needs of ELL students.

It is difficult to define ELLs as a group other than to say that they are students whose native language is not English and that they are not yet proficient in English. Often, the commonalities end there. That’s because ELLs come from nearly every continent, and represent dozens, if not hundreds, of countries. They speak hundreds of languages, dialects and tongues.

In the United States, ELLs are more likely to be native born than to be immigrants or refugees. They come from every socioeconomic class within American society. Those who come from outside the United States may or may not have been receiving a formal education in their home country, may or may not be literate in their home language, and may or may not know some English.

There are three distinct populations of ELLs in South Dakota:

1) Hutterite colony students who have spoken only German until the time they enter school

2) Native American students

3) Refugees and immigrants

As of December 2013, 101 South Dakota school districts had at least one English Language Learner enrolled. The number of ELLs in South Dakota has grown from about 3,500 to approximately 5,000 in the past five to seven years. Shannon Malone, Title I Director for the South Dakota Department of Education, predicts that number could grow another 20 percent in the next five years.

“The growth in South Dakota’s refugee and immigrant student population is similar to what is happening in other parts of the country,” says Malone.

Industry is the primary factor driving the growth of the state’s ELL population. The largest immigrant and refugee populations are found in Sioux Falls and Huron, partly because of employment opportunities at meatpacking and processing plants. The Aberdeen area is also experiencing growth. The impact is being felt in smaller surrounding communities as well.

The federal government recently made a change regarding Native American students. Schools are no longer required to automatically identify Native American students as ELLs upon their entrance into school.

Meeting the needs of ELL students presents challenges for schools, not only in developing necessary programming but training teaching staff. Recognizing the unique challenges of educating ELLs, the 2013 South Dakota Legislature passed legislation that provides additional funding for students who are considered limited English proficient (LEP). The funding amounts to 25 percent of the current per-student allocation.

Learn more about resources available to schools as we continue our series in February.

For more information, contact Yutzil Rodriguez, South Dakota Department of Education Title Program Specialist, at (605) 773-4698, or Yutzil.Rodriguez@state.sd.us.

Miss South Dakota available to read in classrooms

Tessa Dee is Miss South Dakota 2013 and her platform is children’s literacy. She has been traveling the state, reading to kids and donating books. If you are interested in having Miss Dee visit your classroom or if you would like more information about her statewide book drive, you can email her at tessa.dee@misssd.org, or call her at (605) 999-1732.

Learning Express Library 3.0 available now

Learning Express Library, the practice exam online resource available through the South Dakota State Library, has been updated. This online resource offers a variety of practice tests, including the ACT and ASVAB. Students can also take resume writing and interviewing courses as well as practice tests for career licensure.

Users can now browse the site without logging in to individual accounts. Three test mode options are available. The new version is arranged by centers and each center has its own homepage. “My Center” keeps user profiles and saved work secure.

To get started in Learning Express 3.0, students must create new accounts. Previous accounts and tests do not transfer from the old platform. Learning Express 2.0 (old platform) will only be available through June.

Learning Express Library is directly available within schools and public libraries and available from home with barcode and password. The State Library provides free in-service training on statewide online resources to school librarians, administrators and faculty. Call 1-800-423-6665 for more information.

Contact Julie.erickson@state.sd.us or Jane.healy@state.sd.us with questions.


CTE 101 Qualification Training
Jan. 18, Pierre

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.

Go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for more information.

Behavior Plan Writing Process Workshop
Jan. 21, Rapid City

This course walks participants through the process of writing positive, proactive and effective behavior plans. There is no magic wand or one plan that fits all, but there is a proven process a team can use to problem solve and come up with a plan for almost any behavior. Participants will become familiar with the entire process starting with data collection, using that data in the Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA), then taking the FBA and turning it into a Behavior Support Plan (BSP).

Go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for more information.

Program Improvement Follow-up:
• Business & Industry Partnerships
• Dual Credit & Industry Certifications
• Reading & Math Skills for the CTE Classroom
• Work Based Learning
• District Collaboration

Sessions offered Feb. 10-14, online

These two-hour webinars are follow-up to the CTE Program Improvement meetings held in November 2013. Participants from approved CTE programs will be reimbursed for substitute teachers. Following each webinar, two $1,500 Perkins reserve grants will be awarded to assist districts in implementing their program strategies. Participation in a webinar is required prior to applying for a grant.

Go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for more information.

Building a Standards-Based Report Card 101
Feb. 13 and June 3, Rapid City
Feb. 20 and June 5, Sioux Falls
Feb. 26 and May 21, Mobridge
Feb. 27 and June 9, Mitchell

The South Dakota Department of Education is offering an opportunity to learn the essential steps in building an effective standards-based report card. This training will get your school/district on the right track to implementing a standards-based report card. It will focus on purpose, help align standards to student learning and assist in recording students’ progress and achievement based on standards. The intent is to offer one approach to developing a standards-based report card through thoughtfully planned efforts and practical ideas.

The training will be on the two separate dates listed for each location with time allotted in the interim to work on the report cards (homework for obtaining 1 graduate credit).

School Health Guidelines training
March 17, Pierre

Schools interested in learning how to develop or enhance their School Wellness Policy are encouraged to attend the “School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity” training to be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 17 at the Kings Inn Conference Center in Pierre.

The School Health Guidelines (http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/npao/strategies.htm), developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provide evidence-based guidance for schools on how to most effectively promote the health of children and adolescents aged 5 to 18 years.

Physical education and health teachers, school nutrition directors, school health council members, other school staff, community members, policy makers, parents, and students are all encouraged to attend this FREE training.

Sponsors include the South Dakota Departments of Education and Health and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation - South Dakota. For more information, call Karen Keyser at (605) 773-6808, or email Karen.keyser@state.sd.us.

For more inforamtion and to register, go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/14/jan/documents/SHtraining.pdf

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


In December, Erin Marsh received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She is one of two South Dakota recipients. (The other, Ann Anderson of Belle Fourche, will be featured in the February issue of the Online Zebra.) Marsh teaches a combined classroom of 2nd and 3rd graders and is one of two math coaches at the Pierre Indian Learning Center (PILC).

Marsh was attending Penn State when she came to the PILC to student teach. At first, she thought she might leave the Midwest after that first school year, but then she got to know the students. When the school offered her a full-time job after completing her student teaching, she couldn’t turn it down. She’s been at the PILC for eight and a half years now.

The PILC is a private boarding school for children in 1st through 8th grades. Students come from 15 tribes and three states (South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska). The school has a high population of special education students with social, emotional, and learning disabilities. There is a high turnover rate among students, but Marsh says for those that make it through all eight grades, “They’ll tell you, the PILC is one of the best things that’s ever happened to them.”

“Because the students live at the school,” Marsh says, “I feel like I have a family here, in addition to the one I have at home. Kids will tell me, ‘You’re just like my mom.’”

That home-like setting also means classroom lessons go beyond the traditional content areas to incorporate things like social skills and manners.

Marsh explains that building trust is her first step in teaching: “Once that’s built, then the learning starts. Then students will work to their potential for you.”

When asked how she gets her students excited about math, she says that the key is to make it relatable. She might do this by putting her students’ names into story problems or writing problems that incorporate their interests, like basketball and Matchbox cars. Her approach seems to be working: “I’ll give them a challenge problem and they’ll say, ‘Yes!’ I don’t ever want my students to get the message from me that they can’t do something.”

“The change to Common Core is a good shift. We’re teaching them to be problem solvers, deeper thinkers. It’s not me showing them, it’s them figuring it out on their own,” Marsh says. “We’re changing our methods and teaching the ‘why’.”

What excites Marsh most about this award is the opportunity to network with other educators. She will get to meet winners from across the country at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., and she will receive some professional development. She’ll take that information, put it to work in her classroom and school, then she will be on to her next opportunity for growth.

Marsh says when she was in college, she used to get frustrated with how much she and her fellow students had to write about reflecting on their teaching practices: “I’d think, ‘Why do we have to do all this reflecting?’ But now I get it. Now, I’m constantly reflective. That’s what makes you better.”