Education reform: Beyond the teacher pay increase
This year’s legislative session was a historic one for education. The teacher pay increase garnered the most attention, but the education reform package passed by this year’s legislature also seeks to bolster the teaching profession in other ways.
The legislature appropriated approximately $1.2 million in ongoing funds for the purpose of establishing a teacher mentoring program in South Dakota. This program will pair experienced trained mentors with first- and second-year teachers. A new teacher summer academy will also be developed for first- and second-year teachers.
The Department of Education is in the beginning stages of this work. Right now, the focus is on identifying existing mentor programs in South Dakota school districts, working with higher education faculty, agencies and other organizations in South Dakota as well as the Council of Chief State School Officers.
“The first step will be to pull everyone together for a face-to-face meeting to understand what we currently have in place and then determine how to move forward to create the South Dakota Teacher Mentorship Program,” said Carla Leingang, the Department of Education’s administrator of certification and teacher quality. “The 2016-17 school year will be a learning year as we work to ensure we have a strong program.”
National Board Certification
The bonus for achieving National Board Certification has been reestablished. More information on this funding will be forthcoming.
Classroom Innovation Grants
SB 133 included establishment of a “classroom innovation grant fund” to develop teacher training and classroom access to virtual education and customized learning tools. Schools/school districts may apply for these funds. The application period is now open. Learn more.