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SD Department of Education November 2014  


LeeAnna Rabine receives $25,000 Milken Educator Award
LeeAnna Rabine, a kindergarten teacher at Hawthorne Elementary School in Sioux Falls, received a $25,000 surprise recently. On Oct. 24, State Education Secretary Dr. Melody Schopp and Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards, presented Rabine with a Milken Educator Award during a school assembly.

“The Milken Award has been called the Oscar of teaching, and it’s so fun to see a teacher get this red carpet treatment,” said Schopp. “LeeAnna’s classroom is her students’ formal introduction to schooling. She embraces that role, setting the stage for their future academic success and engaging their families as well.”

Rabine has taught at Hawthorne for 10 years. A large proportion of her students are English language learners. She uses American Sign Language and a variety of other strategies to serve these students. To enhance her students’ literary skills, Rabine designed a special pen pal program with high school students in Minnesota. She actively encourages parents to read to their children and even makes home visits if a parent misses a parent/teacher conference. Outside of the classroom, she mentors new and veteran teachers. She serves on the district curriculum committee and has recorded a presentation for all kindergarten parents, which is shown on district television.

“LeeAnna sees the ‘big picture’ and works to develop lessons that prepare students for academic and social success in school,” said Rabine’s principal, Dr. June Gaston. “She is a role model and leader in raising teacher effectiveness and capacity for teaching as proven by student achievement.”

The Milken Educator Awards were conceived by Lowell Milken to recognize the importance of outstanding educators and encourage talented young people to enter the teaching profession. Since South Dakota joined the Milken Educator Awards program in 2002, a total of $425,000 has been awarded to 17 South Dakota recipients.

Candidates for the Milken Educator Awards are selected on the following criteria:

• Exceptional educational talent, as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school

• Exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession

• Individuals whose education contributions are largely unheralded yet worthy of the spotlight

• Early- to mid-career educators who offer strong, long-range potential for professional and policy leadership

• Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community

To learn more about the Milken Educator Award, visit www.milkeneducatorawards.org.

See LeeAnna Rabine receive the Milken Educator Award in front of the whole student body at http://www.milkeneducatorawards.org/newsroom/videos/view/5163

American Education Week is Nov. 16-22: Raise Your Hand for Student Success

Thank you to everyone who plays a vital role in the success of South Dakota students: teachers, administrators, support staff, parents and school board members. You are all helping prepare our state’s students for college, career and life. Enjoy the week and let’s celebrate public education!

Watch video at: http://youtu.be/GdSrMWkEClw

CTL begins looking at teacher certification

The Commission on Teaching and Learning met Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 in Pierre to make updates to the Student Learning Objective Handbook and begin discussing teacher certification rules. A final version of the handbook will be completed soon. Certification discussion focused on tiered certification, reciprocity and alternative certification.

“At this point, we’re looking at current policies—what’s working, what’s not, what are the issues,” says Carla Leingang, a commission member representing the South Dakota Department of Education. “We’re having conversation and asking questions like, ‘What might tiered certification and reciprocity look like in South Dakota?’ ‘How is alternative certification working?’ ‘What changes might make sense?’”

The commission includes teachers, administrators and higher education representatives from across the state. The group will meet again in January and continue the discussion begun in October.

DOE Blog: Common Core enhances ‘Camp Math a lot’

Read about how Tammy Jo Schlechter is helping her students develop deep understanding in math at sddoe.blogspot.com. Schlechter is a middle school math teacher in the Custer School District. She was a candidate for 2014 South Dakota Teacher of the Year.

Faulkton dual credit students
Students navigate frontier between high school and postsecondary with dual credit

This fall, students and educators are navigating an exciting frontier between high school and postsecondary with reduced cost dual credit courses. Across the state, approximately 1,100 high school juniors and seniors are taking college-level courses at the rate of $40/credit hour.

Hands-off instruction
While students can attend courses on university or technical institute campuses, distance and scheduling needs prompt many to take the courses online. That’s the case in Faulkton and Jones County, where teachers Nikki Melius and Carmen Miller praise their students’ independence and initiative. As their schools’ dual credit facilitators, the two see themselves primarily as sounding boards.

In Faulkton, Melius says, “After they get enrolled in their course, I am the one that occasionally will release a test or give information from their professors, but besides that, it’s just a lot of conversation with my students. They’re not even really ‘mine,’ I guess.”

Melius explains that while school districts coordinate enrollment, once courses begin, students have campus advisors and work directly with their instructors. This requires an adjustment to the more hands-off nature of online college-level instruction. Students primarily ask questions of instructors via email or text.

Faulkton student Cole Baloun says, “It’s different learning. Like, math, it’s coming from a classroom where your teacher’s standing up there and writing on the white board and if you don’t understand, you can say, ‘Hey, can you go through this with me?’ And now you’re kind of on your own, but you get used to it.”

Balancing high school and postsecondary
Students must also juggle schedules. For instance, Baloun recently found himself taking a test in his dual credit course on a day when his high school wasn’t in session.

In Jones County, Miller requires students to maintain a weekly log that helps them track their high school schedule alongside their dual credit schedule. She says students have appreciated the tool. Both districts want to ensure dual credit students successfully mesh the two schedules and don’t feel separated from the traditional high school experiences of their peers.

Time management
College-level work also demands students effectively manage their time. “It’s kind of a learning curve to change, because you go from having daily assignments to, ‘Okay, this is what you have for these next two weeks. Get them done,’” says Kaci Clement, a junior in Faulkton.

Faulkton senior Maddy Aesoph agrees: “You have to manage your time a lot better.” She acknowledges it can be tempting to procrastinate.

“They really feel like they have autonomy, like they’re in control of their own coursework,” Miller says. “Because we’re a small school, this program is allowing us to challenge our students in ways we couldn’t before.”

Both districts have been working to communicate with students and parents about what it takes to succeed in a dual credit course. As Melius notes, the prospect of avoiding a high school course can be intriguing to students and the significant cost savings appeal to students and parents alike. But it’s important that both parties understand the level of rigor involved.

“These students are now our best advocates for the program because they’re very honest and they’ll tell fellow students that there are a lot of benefits, but it does change your learning,” says Melius.

Before a student enrolls in a dual credit course in Jones County, his or her parents must meet with appropriate staff members and sign forms outlining distance learning methodology and behavior expectations. Students sign the forms as well.

Policy decisions
As the name implies, dual credit means that students earn both high school and postsecondary credit. It is up to local districts, though, how much credit students earn at the high school level. For instance, in Faulkton, administrators have consulted the South Dakota Board of Regents and gotten local school board approval, to have a semester-long dual credit composition course count as one credit of senior English at the high school level.

Future implications
Because ACT scores are one way in which students can qualify to enroll in dual credit courses, staff at Faulkton and Jones County anticipate students will start taking the ACT earlier in their junior year.

And as more students continue to take more dual credit courses, some college freshmen will begin entering postsecondary institutions with a different perspective from their predecessors.

“Something we’ll learn more as a district, is counseling students what to take,” says Melius. “We want the process to be seamless for them, interesting and beneficial for them academically. And we want them to be with their peers once they get on campus.”

Go to: http://www.sdmylife.com/educators/advanced-education-opportunities/ to learn more about dual credit. Registration for spring 2015 technical institute courses is open now. Registration for spring courses at Board of Regents schools begins Nov. 17.

Voting is open for children’s book awards

Voting is open for the Prairie Bud and Prairie Pasque Children’s Book Awards, sponsored by the South Dakota Library Association. Now voting is easier than ever before. All South Dakota students in grades K-2 can cast votes for the Prairie Bud Award, and students in grades 3-5 can vote for the Prairie Pasque. Voting closes March 31, 2015. Winning books will be announced in April during National Library Week. Go to: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2014/1031_book.pdf to learn more.

DOE offers student infographic contest

The South Dakota Department of Education has partnered with Lemonly, a Sioux Falls infographic design and advertising firm, to create an infographic contest for students. Lemonly has created graphics for clients including Target Field, Pepsi, Toyota and the Green Bay Packers.

The goals of this contest are to raise awareness of career and technical education and get CTE teachers and students thinking about how their classrooms can share the CTE message in a fun, creative way.

Find more information about the CTE Infographic Contest on the Department of Education or SDMyLife websites:
• http://www.doe.sd.gov/octe/contest.aspx
• http://www.sdmylife.com/students/cte-infographic-contest

Lemonly is also offering an online infographic course at no cost to CTE teachers, and at a reduced cost to students. The course can be previewed at https://www.udemy.com/infographics/.

Contact kara.schweitzer@state.sd.us with questions and for redemption codes to access the course at the free or reduced rate.

Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian offers new e-newsletter for teachers

Representatives of the National Museum of the American Indian spoke at the recent Indian Education Summit in Pierre. The NMAI now offers a free, quarterly e-newsletter. The newsletter covers the NMAI’s educational resources—including curriculum for the classroom, teacher workshops and educational strategies. To see the latest issue, go to: http://go.si.edu/nmai_teacher_fall_14.

Miss Oahe invites schools to participate in Veterans Holiday Relief Drive

Miss Oahe Autumn Simunek, a representative of South Dakota Operation: Military Kids, invites schools to fill Buddy Baskets, an American Legion Auxiliary project to aid homeless veterans and service members’ families in need.

Each contributing group will receive a certificate of recognition. The top contributor will receive an American flag and a tablet for classroom use, which will be presented by The American Legion Auxiliary Family and Miss Oahe.

Participants can email a photo of relief items collected with their group, along with an estimated value of the donation, a contact name, address, and phone number to Autumn.Simunek@gmail.com by Jan. 15, 2015. Participating schools and photos will be shared on social media and may be mentioned in public service announcements.

Drop-off locations are available statewide. For more information, go to: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/14/nov/documents/VetsRelief.pdf. Contact Autumn.Simunek@gmail.com with questions or for a take-home flier for students.

Upcoming Events

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

Board of Education meeting
Nov. 17, Pierre

The South Dakota Board of Education is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. (CST) in the Library Commons, first floor of the MacKay Building, 800 Governors Drive. The first of four public hearings will be held, related to content standards adoption in the area of social studies. The second of four public hearings will be held on proposed content standards in the areas of science, fine arts and K-12 educational technology. The board will also consider a proposed administrative rule that establishes performance standards for principals, as well as requirements for evaluation. In addition, the board will get an update on the statewide assessment and the achievement level setting process.

An agenda is available at doe.sd.gov/board.

Secondary/Post-Secondary Collaborations
Nov. 25-Dec. 5, various locations statewide

The Literacy Collaborative event is funded by a Bush Grant. Funding is available to reimburse participants for mileage and districts for substitute expenses.

The Board of Regents and the South Dakota Department of Education have partnered to provide educators from the secondary and post-secondary levels the opportunity to participate in collaborative discussions surrounding college and career readiness for all students.

Participants will receive information on the Smarter Balanced Achievement Level Descriptors and how the descriptors impact college readiness. Discussions will also center around the South Dakota College and Career Ready Definition and the skills students need to successfully transition from secondary to post-secondary classrooms and to become career and life ready.

In addition, the one-day collaboration will provide a mini-workshop setting with participants focusing on literacy in the disciplines.

Go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/ to register. Search by course title.

Career and Technical Education Program Improvement meetings
Dec. 1-5, various locations statewide

The South Dakota Department of Education’s Division of Career and Technical Education will be hosting a series of program improvement meetings for district CTE teams. Districts with approved CTE programs are required to attend one program improvement meeting in order to meet federal Perkins requirements for program improvement. The program improvement meeting takes the place of the Progress Report and PIP form school districts have submitted to the office in the past. A team of individuals, including CTE teachers, the Perkins coordinator, a school administrator and the school counselor, should plan to attend. At least two members from each district CTE team must be in attendance in order to meet the requirement.

During the meeting, district teams will review historical CTE performance in order to inform future priorities and set goals. The goals developed at the meeting will be submitted to the Career and Technical Education Office.

Go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/ to register. Search by course title.

Regional Meetings 2014: Career Exploration
Dec. 2-5, various locations statewide

The South Dakota Department of Education's Division of Career and Technical Education is partnering with the State Library to host School Library Regional Meetings during the first week of December. From those "What do you want to be when you grow up?" conversations with preschool and elementary students to high school Capstone experiences, career exploration is important to guide students of all ages as they prepare for college, career, and life.

During this year's regional meetings, you will learn how school libraries can provide a wealth of resources to help students along the way. The regional meetings, hosted at South Dakota's four technical institutes, will serve as a platform to plan for career exploration for all grades. Each meeting will include training on SDMyLife by Regional Career Development Specialists and a showcase of free online resources provided by the State Library for all grades as they learn about careers, develop skills, and practice for exams. Participants will also receive a tour of the technical institute.

All librarians are encouraged to bring a teacher along to this year's regional meetings to open doors to classroom collaboration. Join us for this opportunity to engage in conversations and learn ways to incorporate these resources into library lessons and partnerships with classroom teachers.

Go to: http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/ to register. Search by course title.

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