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SD Department of Education Dec. 2015  

Special education a team effort in Clark

Earlier this year, special education teacher Susan Schmit and student Michael Bethke accepted the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Transition Services on behalf of the Clark School District. “It was a huge treat,” Schmit says of the award. “And it’s significant that it was awarded to the school district because of how caring our entire district is.”

Jessica Fischer, senior rehabilitation counselor with the Division of Rehabilitation Services in Watertown, nominated the school district: “I nominated the Clark School District because of the exceptional service they provide for students who have disabilities. They go above and beyond to help students reach their goals and be as independent as possible while individualizing each student’s IEP. They provide services to assist the students in learning both independent living skills as well as employment skills so they are ready for the real world of work after high school. I most appreciate the teamwork approach and collaboration the school has with outside agencies to provide the best quality of services for each student.”

Transition about more than academics
Over the course of her career, Schmit has seen transition services expand to include more than academic planning: “If students have adult living goals—obtaining a driver’s license, registering to vote, and so forth—those things can go on their IEP. Transition is about their whole life, not just their academic life.”

Special education students have many of the same aspirations as their peers in general education. They simply require different kinds of support sometimes. “Once my students turn 16, we start doing quite a bit of assessment,” Schmit says. “We talk about their work preferences, likes and dislikes, and go from there to find a career that could fit. Some students require quite a bit of help; others very little.”

Business community an active partner
The school district works with businesses in the community through Project Skills (https://dhs.sd.gov/drs/projectskills/default.aspx), a program administered through the South Dakota Department of Human Services’ Division of Rehabilitation Services.

“Our business community has been very supportive of Project Skills. Students work in the summer, and start with four hours a day. One of our teacher’s aides, Sherry Swanson, stays with students on the job as long as they need help,” Schmit says. “As they’re able to work more independently, Sherry pulls back and monitors through phone calls or whatever the situation calls for. Sometimes this program even leads to permanent jobs for students. The employers provide valuable experience for our students. They’ve been great to us.”

Life lessons in the classroom
In the classroom, reading comprehension is one of Schmit’s highest priorities for her students. “I’m always working to increase their reading levels. They’re going to have to read in all areas of their life,” she says. “We also work on consumer math skills, in addition to algebra and geometry, so they understand consumer vocabulary, practical math they’ll use in the real world with checking accounts and that sort of thing,” Schmit says.

Schmit also commends her colleagues Tammie Paulson and Greg Janisch who teach career and technical education courses in family and consumer sciences and ag. “Students can use the skills learned in those classes all their lives,” she says.

Every Student Succeeds Act signed into law

President Obama has signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/every_student_succeeds_act_-_conference_report.pdf), a bipartisan bill reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The ESSA replaces No Child Left Behind and generally speaking, shifts more of the control for education away from the federal government and back to states.

Many of the efforts South Dakota has already undertaken related to standards, assessment and accountability are in line with the new law.

“We are pleased with the decision to put more control of education policy back in the hands of states and local school districts where it belongs,” said South Dakota Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp. “We will be investigating every opportunity in the bill to pursue state and local decision-making. The new law also ends federal mandates related to teacher evaluation, which has been a sticking point for South Dakota. This would allow us to maintain the model evaluation system we have developed for our state.”

Smarter Balanced Logo

Teachers wanted to score Smarter Balanced constructed response items

Measurement Incorporated is seeking teachers to work during the upcoming Smarter Balanced assessment scoring season. This project requires readers to score student responses to Reading, Research, Brief Writes, and/or Math items. Find more information in this letter from Measurement Incorporated (http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/15/ dec/documents/SBscores.pdf).

SD Capitol Task forces make recommendations in time for 2016 Legislature

Three education-related task forces have worked over the course of the past year to develop recommendations, which will form the basis for policy discussions on several important topics during the 2016 Legislature.

Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teachers and Students
The Blue Ribbon Task Force has evaluated South Dakota’s education funding formula, with a particular focus on teacher pay. Its final report (http://blueribbon.sd.gov/Blue Ribbon Report - Final.pdf)features numerous recommendations, including a significant increase in teacher salaries.

Native American Student Achievement Advisory Council
The Native American Student Achievement Advisory Council was established to identify strategies for changing the current learning paradigm for South Dakota’s Native American students. This group’s final report is available on the NASAAC webpage (http://indianeducation.sd.gov/NASAAC.aspx) and includes four primary recommendations.

School District Boundary Task Force
The School District Boundary Task Force was asked to examine existing school district boundaries as well as recommend possible changes to those boundaries and a process for addressing minor boundary changes in the future. Find this task force’s final report on the School District Boundary Task Force webpage (http://doe.sd.gov/secretary/SDBTF.aspx).

Biology Teacher
Do you know an outstanding biology teacher?

Nominate him/her for the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award. This award is sponsored by the National Association of Biology Teachers and honors teachers of the life sciences in grades 7-12.

A candidate must currently be teaching biology and/or other life sciences and must have devoted a significant portion of his or her career to teaching life sciences. A minimum of three years teaching experience in public, private or parochial schools is mandatory before applying for the award. Candidates need not be members of NABT, and unsuccessful candidates may be re-nominated from year to year.

Sanford Health sponsors a $1,000 grant for the winning teacher to use for professional development and/or classroom materials. Winners are also invited to the Honors Luncheon held at the NABT Professional Development Conference in the fall and receive additional materials and prizes from national sponsors.

Nominations containing the following information should be submitted to Julie Olson (julie.olson@k12.sd.us), director of the South Dakota OBTA award:
• Name of nominee
• Email address of nominee
• Name of nominator
• Email address of nominator

Olson will forward the necessary application forms to the nominee.

The nomination deadline is March 31.

South Dakota CTE teachers receive national recognition

The joint Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) convention took place Nov. 18-21, in New Orleans. South Dakota was well represented, with teachers earning recognitions and serving as office holders.

Cayla Graves
Cayla Graves, Platte-Geddes, received the NAAE Teachers Turn the Key professional development scholarship (http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/15/dec/documents/NAAE-release.pdf). The Teachers Turn the Key scholarship brings together agricultural educators with four or fewer years of experience and immerses them in three days of professional development that addresses issues specific to the early years of teaching agriculture.

CTE Teacher
Kelly Keller, Arlington, was awarded the ACTE Carl Perkins Community Service Award. As the Region V winner of ACTE’s Carl Perkins Community Service Award (http://www.acteonline.org/uploadedFiles/Who_We_Are/Press/keller_CPCS_FINAL.pdf), she was one of five finalists considered for the national title. The Carl Perkins Community Service Award is presented to ACTE members who have used CTE to make a significant impact on a community/humanitarian cause through leadership in programs and activities that promote community involvement.

Terry Rieckman
Terry Rieckman, McCook Central, finished his year of service as NAAE president-elect and has now stepped into the role of NAAE President. He also served as Region III Vice-President from 2011-2014.

CTE Logo
Board holds first public hearing on proposed CTE standards

In November, the South Dakota Board of Education held the first of four public hearings on proposed career and technical education standards in six career clusters. The remaining three hearings on these standards will be held in 2016 at board meetings around the state.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2015/1116-BOEr1.pdf.

Diggin Deeper 2
‘Digging Deeper 2’ sessions now archived for easy access

‘Digging Deeper 2’ was an online learning day that featured special guests discussing how teachers and students can find and use primary sources. Chat history, resource links and videos of the sessions are now archived online (http://teachingprimarysources.wikispaces.com/ Digging+Deeper+into+Primary+Sources+2).

SD Commission on Teaching and Learning
CTL preparing to recommend framework of changes to certification

At its December meeting, the South Dakota Commission on Teaching and Learning began examining administrative rules related to the framework of changes to general education certification it plans to recommend. Members will begin discussing special education certification at the commission’s next meeting, Jan. 8-9, in Pierre.

Upcoming Events

A complete listing of events is available at http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/.

Board of Education
Jan. 7, Pierre

The South Dakota Board of Education will meet in the MacKay Building, Library Commons, 800 Governors Drive, in Pierre, at 9 a.m. CST. The second of four public hearings will be held on proposed career and technical education standards in several career clusters. An agenda will be posted on the Boards and Commissions portal (http://boardsandcommissions.sd.gov/Template.aspx?id=32) at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

How to REACH those you TEACH
Webinars for general educators

• Jan. 11: Disability Categories
• Feb. 1: Differentiated Instruction
• Feb. 29: Behaviors and Behavior Plans
• March 14: Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Office of Special Education is excited to offer webinars specifically designed for general educators to help them reach all the students in their classrooms. Over the past year the office received a number of requests from teachers and administrators asking for professional development in assisting with students with disabilities who are integrated in the general classroom. Participants will learn tips, tricks and the basics of special education.

Webinars begin at 3:30 p.m. CST. A computer with Internet access and a phone line will be needed.

Connect through Skype for Business at: Join Skype Meeting (https://meet.lync.com/southdakotastateof /arlene.maxfield/K72GC4RZ)

Participants unable to join through Skype for Business can dial direct:
1(866) 410-8397
Participant code: 7643921055

Find more information on the Department of Education's website (http://doe.sd.gov/oess/SPED-webinars.aspx). Contact Arlene Maxfield (Arlene.Maxfield@state.sd.us), South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-2594 with questions.

24th Annual Joint Professional Development Conference: SD Science Teachers Association & SD Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Feb. 4-6, Huron

Bring your best Supermarket Science lab/demo or favorite math activity/handout to Thursday night sharing sessions. Other conference highlights will include:
• ARTsome Astronomy
• Not Your Mother’s Microscope
• Fun with Fractions
• Science + Math + SD History = FUN!

Find registration information, learn about featured speakers and much more on the South Dakota Council of Teachers of Mathematics website (http://www.sdctm.org/conference/annualconference.htm).

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