May 2014

End of the year checklist:

Encourage students to read 20 Minutes, 24/7

The Department of Education is launching 20 Minutes, 24/7 as this summer’s Read!SD reading challenge. Read!SD is aimed at curbing summer reading loss and promoting student achievement. The challenge encourages students to read engaging material for at least 20 minutes a day.

At students can sign and print a pledge to read 20 minutes every day this summer. By linking to South Dakota’s Find-a-Book website, they can also create book lists on topics that interest them, at their reading level. has information and resources for librarians, teachers and parents as well.

Certificate renewal applications due July 1

Educators whose certificates expire July 1 of this year need to submit their renewal applications as soon as possible. Processing time is around 10 weeks. By waiting too long, educators risk not having their certificate updated before the start of the school year.

The Teacher 411 system at lists information from educators’ certification records, including the expiration date and core content teaching assignments that teachers are qualified to accept. Go to: for more information or to apply online. Questions can be directed to

Save the Date: Indian Education Summit Sept. 28-30 in Pierre


Educators wanted to help set Smarter Balanced achievement level descriptors

Once the Smarter Balanced Field Test concludes, achievement levels must be set for next year’s fully operational assessment. This process will include an online panel, scheduled for Oct. 6-17, that will allow up to 250,000 K-12 educators, higher education faculty, parents and other interested parties to participate virtually in recommending achievement levels. This is a critical opportunity to collect input from a diverse group of participants and establish consistent measures of progress.

By participating in the online session, panelists will recommend an achievement level score that demonstrates how much students should know or be able to do in order to reach Achievement Level 3 (proficient) at the grade-level standards and to be on track for eventual college and career readiness. It is important to have as many participants as possible, from as many backgrounds as possible, provide these recommendations.

The process of setting achievement levels will establish performance standards that are rigorous, fair and accurate. The recommendations will be based on achievement level descriptors written and approved by Smarter Balanced governing states last year, the claims and targets defined for each content area and grade level, as well as educators’ expertise in their content area and experience with students. Acceptance of recommended scores is subject to existing approval processes within the individual consortium states.

The online panel to recommend achievement levels will occur during a two-day window within the October 6–17 time period. It will take panelists up to three hours to complete the orientation process, review test questions, and recommend a score for Achievement Level 3.

Interested participants can register at:

On the registration site, you will be asked to choose the grade and content area (English language arts/literacy or mathematics) in which you want to participate. You will be asked to provide an email address, role and demographic information. You will then be asked to verify your email and select a two-day window for participation.

Registrations must be submitted online by September 19.

It is very important to keep your registration confirmation email. The Department of Education will not be able to retrieve it for you.

Contact Jan Martin, Department of Education, at (605) 773-3246 or with questions.

Teachers and administrators reflect on this year’s teacher effectiveness pilot

At Bridgewater-Emery High School, we talked about the pilot year with teachers from four different content areas: family and consumer sciences, agriculture, math and English language arts. Jean Clarke, Karen Roudabush, Linda Byington and Patti Lager talk about the roles of the Danielson Framework and Teachscape in the new evaluation system:

View at:

Fred Assam Elementary is a pilot school in the Brandon Valley School District. Principal Susan Foster and 2nd grade teacher Missy Livingston discuss student learning objectives and how teacher effectiveness will be rolled out districtwide next year:

View at:

Board holds first public hearing on new physical education standards

The South Dakota Board of Education held the first of four public hearings on proposed K-12 physical education standards at its March meeting.

A group of 24 individuals, primarily physical education teachers from across South Dakota, participated in the review and revision of the standards. Their recommendations were brought before the board for first consideration. Three additional public hearings will be held at state board meetings May 19 in Aberdeen, July 21 in Pierre and Sept. 15 in Rapid City.

The proposed standards provide the framework for what students in grades K-8 and two levels in high school should know and be able to do in the subject area of physical education. At the elementary level, the focus is on fundamental motor skills. Middle school standards focus on application of fundamental motor skills and finding a balance of activities to keep all students engaged. In high school, the standards focus on fitness, wellness and lifelong activity.

Decisions regarding curriculum and instruction are made by local school districts.

The last review of South Dakota’s physical education standards was conducted in 2000. The South Dakota physical education course standards for high school graduation were developed in 2006.

To view the proposed standards, go to:

To learn how to submit public comment, go to:

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

High school students who take higher-level math courses are more likely to succeed at the postsecondary level. See how South Dakota students are performing on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is one measure of math proficiency.

• Math Grade 4 (
• Math Grade 8 (

Statewide Education Conference scheduled for June 2-3 in Pierre

The Department of Education invites you to attend the Statewide Education Conference June 2-3 in Pierre. Keynote speakers Richard M. Cash and Lori Laughlin will lead two dynamic days of professional development and discussion. The conference offers all South Dakota educators the opportunity to gain new tools for the classroom and school.

Register for one day or both. The registration fee includes breakfast, lunch and a book for each day of attendance. Monday’s book is Advancing Differentiation by Richard M. Cash, and the book for Tuesday’s presentation will be Beyond the Bake Sale by Anne Henderson, Karen Mapp, Vivian Johnson and Don Davies.

For more information and to register, go to:

The registration deadline is May 24.

CenturyLink Teachers & Technology grant winners announced

CenturyLink has awarded $1,500 grants to five South Dakota educators who are innovating with technology in their classrooms.

Congratulations to these educators!

Donna Dowling, Pierre School District
E-Reader Literature Circle
Elementary students will access a set of e-readers during literature circles.

Marletta Eich, Madison Central School District
One iPad Classroom for STEM
Elementary students will engage with STEM-related content using a variety of iPad apps.

Colleen Jensen, Huron School District
English as a Second Language Program
Students enrolled in the ESL program will use new computers and software to participate in project-based learning and develop their English language skills.

Marica Shannon, Mitchell School District
Furthering Opportunities Graphic Design Project
Visual arts students in photography and graphic design courses will work collaboratively with students enrolled in the alternative school to create posters using digital cameras and editing software.

Judith Wright, Rapid City Area School District
Digital Citizens Who Creatively Collaborate
High school students will participate in book clubs using e-readers.

South Dakota students recognized as US Presidential Scholar Semifinalists

The United States Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by Executive Order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. Each year, up to 141 students are named as U.S. Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students. The Scholars represent excellence in education and the promise of greatness in young people.

Congratulations to South Dakota’s semifinalists!

• Nicholas Bien, Brookings High School
• Mary Billion, O’Gorman High School
• Yixuan He, Brookings High School
• Hunter Koch, Yankton High School
• Gabrielle Metzger, Brookings High School
• Nicholas Sieger, St. Thomas More High School


In the span of just 24 hours, Justin Speck got a lot of great news this spring. He became the Section 5 (SD, ND, MN, MO, KS, NE) recipient of the first-ever Heart of the Arts Award from the National Federation of High School Associations, and the Rapid City Public School Foundation named him Educator of the Year. Speck is the Artistic Director of Theatre at Central High School in Rapid City.

When Speck started teaching at Central (his alma mater) 10 years ago, he took over from his own former theatre teacher. The school’s theatre curriculum was already strong, and it has grown under his direction. Drama Club membership has increased from a few dozen to more than 200 students.

Central students can participate in drama in a variety of ways: by taking a class, joining Drama Club, auditioning for a main stage show, or any combination thereof. The curriculum consists of six courses, covering theatre orientation, history, acting, stagecraft, advanced theatre production and advanced stagecraft.

In 2006, Speck founded Advocates for Creative Theatre Students (, an achievement that played a big role in his winning the Heart of the Arts Award. ACTS is a booster club that serves the Central theatre department exclusively. The club sponsors two college scholarships annually for students in the Rapid City Area School District. Every three years, the club also helps make possible an international trip. Central students have studied the origins of theatre in Greece and the works of Shakespeare in London. This summer, 40 students and eight adults will learn about opera on a 12-day, nine-city tour of Italy.

Ask Speck why he enjoys teaching theatre and his heart for the arts is obvious: “Oh my goodness, I love teaching theatre. It gives kids an opportunity to develop creative problem-solving skills, to work together toward a common goal with clear deadlines. I like teaching theatre because we’re accepting of everyone. They don’t need a particular set of skills. There’s a sense of family.”

That theatre family is indeed open to everyone. Speck has directed state wrestling champs, varsity basketball players, gymnasts, cheerleaders and more. “Every single year, we will get a couple of star athletes who will be talked into auditioning for a show,” he says. “Without fail, those star athletes will announce, ‘I have one regret about doing this show, and that’s the fact I didn’t do it sooner.’”

At parent/teacher conferences, Speck says he often hears, “I have no idea how you do it, but I had no idea my son/daughter could sing, act, dance...”

So, how does he do it? Speck says, “If you give a student a chance to try in a safe environment, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. They rise to the occasion time and time again.”


The school year is quickly coming to a close. Click here for a complete list of summer learning opportunities!

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 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

CTE 101 Qualification Training
May 30, Rapid City
July 30, Mitchell

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: Search by course title.

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 and to register, go to:

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.

For more information and to register, go to: Search for “Science Academies.”

Seamless Transition workshop
June 12, Sioux Falls

Dr. Paul Wehman will be the presenter. He is the director of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center and the new Autism Center for Excellence at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has written extensively on issues related to transition from school to adulthood and special education as it relates to young adulthood. He has published more than 200 articles, 114 book chapters, and authored or edited 43 books.

The purpose of this presentation will be to discuss the key predictors of employment as students move from school to work. The workshop will also provide a brief overview of the different models of employment intervention that can be used as a seamless transition to employment. The predictors will be drawn from research from the NLTS2 database. The models include internships, customized employment, supported employment, college and business partnerships, including a presentation of the Supported Employment Fidelity Scale.

To register, go to: Search by course title.

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: or contact Sue Burgard, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-5238 or

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:

Understanding Whole Number Concepts K-5
June 17-20, Sioux Falls
July 8-11, Rapid City
July 15-18, Aberdeen

This course is intended for K-5 educators with the purpose of expanding teachers’ understanding of K-8 number concepts as outlined in the Common Core State Standards for math. In order to fully understand the implications for teaching number concepts in grades K-8, it is essential that all teachers have a firm grounding in how those concepts develop in grades both before and after the actual grade they teach. Class participants will find content from across all grade levels. Topics covered in this class will include:

• Number relationships and place value
• Base 10 number system
• Whole-number computation using the mathematical properties
• Different meanings of multiplication
• Division
• Integers and operations with integers

Intended Audience: While teachers from K-5 are the target audience, all teachers from grades K-8 can benefit as concepts at higher grade levels build on these concepts. Ideally, this course would best serve instructional leaders in mathematics who can support other teachers in their building or school district.

Two graduate credits will be offered for this course or it can be taken for 30 hours of CEUs (not both). There will be homework required to receive either type of credit.

To register, go to: Search by course title.

Middle School CGI
June 23-24, Mitchell

This two-day training is designed to introduce middle school math teachers to the fundamental concepts of Cognitively Guided Instruction. Based on research and implementation of this pedagogy, CGI has proven effective in increasing student understanding and achievement of mathematics. This training is designed to build on a series of courses, based on CGI, that were provided to elementary teachers over the last eight years through SD Counts. Participants will engage in hands-on problem solving using a constructivist approach with a mathematical content emphasis on proportional reasoning. Additionally, this course will focus on applying the CGI theory to middle school content.

To register, go to: Search by course title.

Rational Number Concepts for Grades 3-8
June 24-27, Aberdeen
June 24-27, Sioux Falls
July 29-Aug. 1, Rapid City

This course is intended for educators from grades 3-8 with the purpose of expanding teachers’ own understanding of rational numbers concepts as outlined in the Common Core State Standards for math. In order to fully understand the implications for teaching rational number concepts in grades 3-8, it is essential that all teachers have a firm grounding in how those concepts develop in grades both before and after the grade they teach. Class participants will find content from across all grade levels. Topics covered in this class will include:

• Developing an understanding of fractions as numbers

• Equivalence and ordering

• Computation with rational numbers including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division

• Building and extending on previous understanding of whole number operation, decimals and percentages

Intended Audience: Teachers of math in grades 3-8 including special education, Title math, and math coaches.

Participants can receive two graduate credits or 30 CEUs for this course (not both). There will be homework assigned with this course in order to receive graduate credit or 30 CEUs.

To register, go to: Search by course title.

Math Instruction for Secondary CCSS (6-12)
June 26-27, Rapid City
July 24-25, Sioux Falls

This practical class is geared toward deepening secondary math teachers’ professional knowledge base while enhancing their ability to design and deliver math instruction that aligns with the Common Core State Standards for math and the Standards for Mathematical Practices. Topics to be covered include:

• Strategies for increasing real-world application of math

• Strategies for increasing student problem solving through mathematical reasoning, proof and models

• Strategies for creating/strengthening a community of learners while engaging in mathematical discourse

• Formative assessment strategies to help secondary teachers determine students’ grasp of core math concepts in order to modify instruction and improve student achievement

Intended Audience: math teachers from grades 6-12 including special education teachers.

One graduate credit or 15 CEUs (not both) will be offered for this course. Some homework will be expected to receive the credit or CEUs.

To register, go to: Search by course title.

Orientation to SLOs for Teachers
June 30-Aug. 1, various locations statewide
July 24-25, Sioux Falls

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. 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 ( Search for “SLO.” (NOTE: Site is best viewed in a browser other than Internet Explorer.)


• 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:

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

• CEUs will be available.

Top 20 Training
July 21-22, Rapid City
July 23-24, Sioux Falls

Rest assured that when you attend a Top 20 Training seminar, you won’t find yourself staring at the ceiling or watching the clock. The presentation team is a high-energy group dedicated to helping schools reach their full potential.

Top 10 seminar benefits:
1) Eliminating negative mental habits (apathy, boredom, procrastination)
2) Learning to live above the line
3) Learning from mistakes
4) Developing star qualities
5) Discovering hidden relevancy
6) Breaking out of the comfort zone
7) Resolving conflicts effectively
8) Mastering the art of bettering yourself
9) Identifying and overcoming self-destructive beliefs
10) Taking responsibility for and discovering your true self

To learn more about Top 20 Training, go to:

To register, go to: Search by course title.

CTE Standards Implementation
July 27, Mitchell

This CTE Standards Implementation training is designed for those who are new to teaching approved Career & Technical Education courses or those who are looking to revamp current courses.

Throughout training, participants will learn about the latest South Dakota labor market projections in their content area, evaluate current course offerings and align courses to appropriate CTE standards. By the end of training, participants will complete at least one course's curriculum plan and receive guidance on doing the same for other courses.

This training would also be useful for school administrators who want to learn more about the knowledge and skills students should master within the approved CTE program(s) at their school/district. Administrators and teachers could work together on program and curriculum planning throughout the day.

The training is scheduled from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. local time. Please bring a laptop and any course materials you would like to reference (online content subscriptions, course syllabi, unit outlines, current curriculum map, lab/project outlines, texts or manuals, etc.).

Participants will receive continuing education hours. Career Cluster Specialists from the Department of Education will be on hand to guide participants through the standards implementation process and to answer questions.

To register, go to: Search by course title.

SDACTE Summer Conference
July 28-29, Mitchell

The South Dakota Association for Career and Technical Education Summer Conference will be held at Mitchell Technical Institute and will include numerous professional development opportunities, including keynote speakers, tours, in-depth sessions and breakouts.

Registration is by mail only. For more information, go to: Look under the “Conference” heading.

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: Search by course title.