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SD Department of Education
Aug. 2017  

Welcome back! A message from the Secretary
Watch video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g73N6LPFKI.
Kim Webber TEACHER FEATURE: Rapid City teacher has heart for assessment

For Kim Webber, the Smarter Balanced Digital Library speaks to her belief in the power of good assessment. Having worked at the district level as a math coach and curriculum specialist, Webber returned to the classroom a year ago, as a 2nd grade teacher at Black Hawk Elementary in Rapid City.

Webber is part of the State Network of Educators, or SNEs, who work with colleagues across the country to continually improve the Digital Library, an online repository of formative assessment resources aligned to state content standards, available at no cost to all South Dakota public school teachers.

What makes the Digital Library valuable for teachers?
There’s a stringent review process for resources to be posted to the Digital Library. They’ve been reviewed and vetted by teachers. So there’s that first cut that doesn’t happen when you’re using Google or Pinterest, where sometimes resources either aren’t well-aligned to our state content standards or of high quality.

Is the Digital Library useful for all teachers, not only those who teach grade levels and content areas tested on the statewide Smarter Balanced test?
Definitely, yes. There are resources for pre-K on up. There are science resources, art resources, many subject areas and grade levels. So it’s for all teachers.

For someone who’s tried getting into the Digital Library and had difficulties getting logged in, there have been improvements, right?
Yes, now by simply going to sbdigitallibrary.org, there are two options: to log in with your existing username and password, or if you’ve never logged in before, you can register by using your school-issued email address (i.e. @k12.sd.us).

What other improvements have been made to the Digital Library?
I got involved in the Digital Library several years ago and was part of the first group of SNEs to be trained. Since then, it’s been a continual learning process to make it more useful and user-friendly.

One thing we’ve been working on lately is to deal with resources that were “over-tagged.” They might be labeled as appropriate for several grade levels, but really they’d be best for one grade level. We’re trying to remedy that by reexamining resources and getting more precise about how a resource is described. So now when a teacher searches for resources, fewer will come up. But they should be a better fit for what the teacher is really looking for.

How can teachers search for items in the Digital Library?
Resources are searchable by standard, grade level, subject area and the four attributes of formative assessment (clarify intended learning; elicit evidence; interpret evidence; act on evidence).

There are three broad categories of resources: professional learning, instructional and playlists. Professional learning resources might be videos of teachers demonstrating a formative assessment strategy. I like those because I can watch them, and think about how I could apply the strategy to my own classroom.

Instructional items are more specific resources you can use directly with students. For instance, I might be looking for something to supplement my core curriculum to help me differentiate my instruction or to present material in a different way.

What are playlists?
I’m really excited about playlists. They just started coming out during the last school year. These would be specifically for teachers of Smarter Balanced tested grade levels and subject areas who are administering the Smarter Balanced interim assessments. The playlists connect data from the interim assessments to Digital Library resources.

As an example, let’s say a 5th grade teacher gives a Smarter Balanced interim assessment on fractions. After the teacher gets student results, he or she can use a playlist to find resources within the Digital Library to help students move to the next level, wherever they might be starting from.

There is now a specific Playlist tab within the Digital Library, and we’re working on adding more playlists all the time.

You really seem to have a heart for assessment. Why is that?
I think that when used properly, assessment is what drives the instruction that we need to deliver to help our students achieve. Sometimes people think about tests and more formal types of testing as the only type of assessment. But the Digital Library is more focused on the day-to-day formative assessment that moves our students forward.

Formative assessment can be everything from observations to exit tickets to quick-check self-assessment and student goal setting. All of that working together, it can just become an integral part of what we do, and what our students do all the time.

I’ve been in education for 30 years, and I’ve learned assessment isn’t something that you can do just by feeling. We need to have evidence. I sometimes get surprises when giving formative assessments. There might be a concept or skill I thought my students knew or understood at a different level, or maybe I thought they didn’t and it turned out they had met the target. So I think it’s good to constantly assess how our students are doing.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting Logo.
ICYMI: SDPB story on respect for the teaching profession

Over the summer, South Dakota Public Broadcasting talked to Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp and several teachers from across the state about respect for the teaching profession. Listen to the story on the SDPB website [http://listen.sdpb.org/post/teachers-discuss-respect-profession].

Dyslexia Handbook for Teachers and Parents updated

An updated version of the Dyslexia Handbook for Teachers and Parents in South Dakota is now available on the Department of Education website. This handbook update is part of the five-year plan the Dyslexia Stakeholders Group has developed for ensuring school districts meet the needs of all students with learning disabilities.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2017/0626-Dyslexia.pdf.

DOE offers SDMath and SDSci Leadership program

Applications are due Sept. 7 for SDMath and SDSci Leadership, a pilot program from the South Dakota Department of Education to create and support a dynamic network of math and science educators. Educators who have demonstrated an interest in leadership skills related to math and science education are encouraged to apply.

The program is modeled after a successful leadership program that has been running in Oklahoma since 2013. In April 2014, the National Science Teachers Association featured OKMath and OKSci Leadership as one of only three state-led innovative Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programs of the year.

Application Process:
Participants will be selected based on ability, demonstrated leadership, interest in their community and insight for effective leadership. Applicants must teach or co-teach in a mathematics or science classroom for at least one course during their participation year. The application process is designed to ensure a class that consists of members from diverse backgrounds, experiences and geographical locations. Approximately 20 participants (10 math and 10 science) will be chosen annually.

A completed application requires submission of the following three components by 5 p.m. CDT on Sept. 7:

  • Application: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PVTFBJB
  • Letter of Recommendation: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/P83V9X6
  • Administrator Support Letter: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PVYQDRJ

Program Meeting Dates
Upon selection, participants will be expected to attend the following meetings:

  • Virtual Orientation – Sept. 26, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. CDT
  • Alpha Retreat – Oct. 21-22, Chamberlain
  • Beta Retreat – Feb. 10-11, 2018, Huron
  • Gamma Retreat – March 24-25, 2018, Chamberlain
  • Delta Retreat – June 4-5, 2018, Chamberlain

There is no registration cost. The South Dakota Department of Education is able to cover hotel, mileage and meals for each of the four retreats.

Questions? Contact Sam Shaw [Sam.Shaw@state.sd.us] or Nicol Reiner [Nicol.Reiner@state.sd.us] or call 605-773-2490.

2017-18 teacher shortage areas announced

Each year, the U.S. Department of Education designates teacher shortage areas. This federal designation may qualify borrowers for deferment or forgiveness of outstanding Federal Family Education Loans, Federal Stafford Loans or Federal Perkins Loans. Qualification depends on the type of loan and the date issued.

These designations may also enable grant recipients to fulfill their teaching obligation under the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program.

Individuals teaching in one of the designated areas can contact the lender holding their loans to determine whether the loans qualify for deferment or forgiveness. The Federal Student Aid Hotline at 1-800-4FED-AID is also available to answer questions.

School principals are delegated authority to provide certification that eligible borrowers are teaching in a designated teacher shortage area.

Statewide Academic Disciplines or Subject Matter:
Career and Technical Education
English Language Learners
Fine Arts
Language Arts
Physical Education/Health
Social Science
Special Education (Non-Core)
World Languages

Geographic Areas:
Bennett County
Cheyenne River Reservation
Corson County
Crow Creek Reservation
Jackson County
Lower Brule Reservation
Mellette County
Roberts County
Oglala Lakota County
Todd County

Make this the year you begin your NBC journey

In 2016, stipends were reinstated for public school teachers and counselors who seek National Board Certification. Students, educators and schools benefit from this highly respected national certification. Consider starting the certification process this year!
  • Why National Board Certification? [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/17/Aug/documents/NBC.pdf]
  • What do your National Board Certified colleagues say about the process? [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SLgb0e4vVI]
  • How do the stipends work? [http://doe.sd.gov/oatq/NB-reimbursement.aspx]

SD Indian Education Summit 2017 Hattie Kauffman to speak at 2017 Indian Education Summit

Register today for the 2017 Indian Education Summit. Longtime CBS broadcaster Hattie Kauffman will be one of the keynote speakers. The event will also feature a screening of the new film “Neither Wolf Nor Dog,” along with an appearance by Kent Nerburn, author of the book upon which the film is based.

Read more at http://indianeducation.sd.gov/summit.aspx.

image of two teachers Year in Review focuses on education stories from across SD

DOE has developed an online annual report examining what has happened in the year after legislation was passed, which aims at increasing the statewide average teacher salary, and recruiting and retaining high quality teachers in the state. Read stories of how students, educators and schools across South Dakota are benefiting.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/2016-17.

photo of two teachers at training K-3 educators gather in Pierre for foundational reading training

Image of two women at training. One pointing to paper with ant, toy, cake, bone, train written on it.

In late July, nearly 50 K-3 educators, reading specialists, instructional coaches, para-educators, special education teachers, Title teachers and elementary administrators from across South Dakota attended the first two days of a foundational reading training in Pierre.

Based on the “Teaching Reading Sourcebook (Updated Second Edition),” the training focuses on the five main literacy skills: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension. Attendees will gather again in October to conclude the training.

The training includes both a research-informed knowledge base and practical sample lesson models. The training day in October will allow teachers to share with their colleagues how the implementation of the Big 5 is working with their students and to model activities/lessons they have created.

image from training. woman writing letters on wheel.

image from training. woman making words with letter wheels.

Upcoming Events

Except where otherwise noted, details on the following events are available at GoSignMeUp [http://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/].

IEP Back to Basics
Aug. 21-Sept. 13, various locations statewide

IEP Process in Action
Aug. 22-Sept. 14, various locations statewide

IEP Transition
Aug. 23-Sept. 15, various locations statewide

Overview of the new WIDA Screener
Aug. 24, 10 a.m. CDT, webinar
Aug. 24, 1 p.m. CDT, webinar

Youth Mental Health First Aid
Sept. 13, Chamberlain [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/17/Aug/documents/YMHFA2.pdf]

Board of Education Standards
Sept. 18, Aberdeen [http://doe.sd.gov/board/]

Indian Education Summit
Sept. 24-26, Pierre [http://indianeducation.sd.gov/summit.aspx]

Effective Instruction for Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education
Oct. 16, Watertown (for Statewide Title III members only)
Oct. 17, Mitchell (for teachers of English learners and content teachers)

Dakota TESL Conference
Nov. 8-9, Sioux Falls [http://dakotatesl.com/upcoming_conferences]

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