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SD Department of Education March 2015  

TEACHER FEATURE: Robin Cochran Dirksen

Lead-Deadwood project named state finalist in Samsung contest

Robin Cochran Dirksen teaches science at Lead-Deadwood High School. She loves growing two things: plants and scientists. In the Englewood Springs Botanical Area near Whitewood Creek, she’s trying to do both with a project that engages students at all grade levels.

Answering parent questions as Smarter Balanced testing window opens

The Smarter Balanced statewide assessment was a subject of discussion during this year’s state legislative session. As a result, you may be getting some questions from parents about the assessment. This month, we’re providing a brief synopsis you can use to help parents understand the importance of this new test, along with several resources for parents.

Graduate credit available for teachers who complete Teachscape training

Through Teachscape, all South Dakota public school districts have access to in-depth, high quality training on the state’s teaching standards (Danielson Framework) and how the standards are used for teacher evaluation. Teachers now have an opportunity to earn graduate credit for this work.

New advanced data use course available this summer

Advanced Data Use Skills for Educators, a new online course, will build upon skills taught in the prerequisite course, Fundamentals of Using Data for Educators. Participants will apply fundamental skills to an individual project using data. The Fundamentals course will also be available again this summer.

SD educators discuss dual credit and college readiness courses in Expect More videos

Hear what your colleagues are saying about how dual credit and college readiness courses prepare students for postsecondary.

            College readiness courses                         Dual credit

Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship deadline April 18

The 2015 State Legislature appropriated an additional $150,000 for the Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship Program. This program is aimed at encouraging South Dakota high school graduates to obtain their postsecondary education in-state and then stay in South Dakota to teach in a critical teaching need occupation. Click here for more information.

Governor issues executive order establishing council to study Indian education

The Native American Student Achievement Advisory Council will study methods designed to improve the achievement levels and graduation rates of Native American students. The council will consist of stakeholders including tribal leaders and representatives from the Indian Education Advisory Council, the South Dakota Departments of Education and Tribal Relations, and various education groups.

Todd County JAG students make video promoting sportsmanship

To encourage sportsmanlike conduct from spectators, Todd County students in the Jobs for America's Graduates program recently made a video that now gets played before games at the school and during parent/teacher conferences. Kudos to these student role models!

SDMyLife magazine available now

SDMyLife is a career development program that assists South Dakota students with navigating the career development process. The South Dakota Department of Education publishes an SDMyLife magazine every two years and makes it available for free to South Dakota educators.

Digging Deeper sessions now archived for easy access

Digging Deeper into Primary Sources was an online learning day intended to give educators tools to help students analyze, evaluate and differentiate primary and secondary sources. Speakers included Dr. Peggy O’Neill-Jones, director of the Teaching Primary Sources Teachers Network; South Dakota author Jean Patrick; representatives of state agencies, universities and more. Click here to access the day’s presentations.

Upcoming Events

Click here for a complete listing of events.

South Dakota Early Childhood Education Conference
April 9-11, Rapid City

TIE Conference
April 19-21, Rapid City

Board of Education meeting
May 18, Aberdeen

2015 Summer Education Conference: Multi-Tiered System of Supports
June 3-4, Pierre

Save the Date: 2015 Indian Education Summit
Nov. 1-3, Pierre

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