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SD Department of Education
May 2017  

Summer learning opportunities! Check them out under Upcoming Events
Cathy Smith Dee Quinnett TEACHER FEATURE: Unlikely pair finds mentoring success

“If I wouldn’t have had Cathy as a mentor, I wouldn’t be teaching today,” said Dee Quinnett, a first-year culinary teacher with the Northwest Area Schools Education Cooperative. Her mentor is Cathy Smith, a special education teacher in the Faith School District.

Quinnett’s path to teaching is a unique one, as was the path to her and Smith’s mentoring relationship. Not the traditional fresh-out-of-college 20-something new teacher, she entered the profession last fall after a 20-year career as a paramedic, graduation from culinary school and two years as a chef in a Scandinavian restaurant in Minnesota. She is pursuing alternative certification.

As a teacher with Northwest Area, Quinnett teaches culinary courses out of a mobile unit and moves to a different school each semester. Northwest Area mobile units serve a total of eight school districts. Quinnett met Smith during her first semester of teaching, when she was stationed in the Faith School District. Smith’s son was in Quinnett’s class.

“I was nervous about who I might get paired with for the mentoring program,” Quinnett said. “When Cathy was chosen as my mentor, I was really happy. She was actually one of the first people to come and welcome me to the school in Faith.”

“As a special education teacher, I have a small number of students and usually work with them one-on-one, so I wasn’t sure I would have anything to offer Dee, since she teaches CTE in a general education setting,” Smith said. “I ultimately found that she needed a listening ear and someone ‘safe’ to ask questions of. We have a lot in common and quickly built a relationship of trust.”

Confident in her ability to teach her content, Quinnett says what she most needed help with was navigating the world of education, including its jargon and acronyms. Smith was a sounding board for some of the challenges Quinnett encountered with student behavior issues. And Smith was able to help Quinnett make some modifications to her lessons for students with special needs.

Seven Faith students cooking in classroom
Faith students
 A Faith student shows off his gingerbread house
A Faith student shows off his gingerbread house

Quinnett says she has a lot of fun with her students. She frequently teaches theme weeks, like egg week, burger week, Mexican week and Italian week. During burger week, students developed schematics for the kinds of burgers they wanted to make. They named their burgers and wrote menu descriptions. The week culminated with making not just burgers, but the buns too.

Sometimes Quinnett will simply give students a few ingredients and challenge them to decide what to cook. “I gave them grits one day,” she said. “One of my classes turned those into the best barbecue chicken grits I’ve ever tasted. Before that day, I don’t think many of them even knew what grits were.”

10 students from Dupree in kitchen
Students in Dupree, where Quinnett taught during the spring 2017 semester

Suicide prevention training requirement begins in July

Beginning July 1, 2017, anyone applying for an initial or renewal certificate as a teacher, administrator or other education professional must participate in a minimum of one clock hour of suicide awareness and prevention training. Find more information on the DOE website [http://doe.sd.gov/suicideprevention/].

SDSci logo

Teachers wanted for SD Science Standards Framework Project

DOE is seeking science educators to participate in the development of the South Dakota Science Standards Framework. The framework will provide educators with information and resources to help develop curriculum aligned to South Dakota’s science standards. Applications are due May 26.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/17/May/documents/SDSCI-app.docx

Teacher of the Year Candidates for 2018 South Dakota Teacher of the Year announced

Six individuals have been named South Dakota’s Regional Teachers of the Year for the 2016-17 school year. A statewide panel of educators will select one of these regional finalists to represent the state as the 2018 South Dakota Teacher of the Year. The 2018 South Dakota Teacher of the Year will be announced Oct. 19, 2017, at the Systems Change Conference in Rapid City.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2017/0510-TOY.pdf.

CTE Logo. Learning that works for South Dakota. Board adopts new content standards in CTE career clusters

The South Dakota Board of Education has adopted new career and technical education standards in six career clusters. New standards include Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications; Finance; Health Science; Human Services; and Manufacturing.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2017/0515-BOE2.pdf.

South Dakota to release education plan, Board receives high-level summary

A summary of South Dakota’s plan for educating students under the Every Student Succeeds Act is now available [http://doe.sd.gov/board/packets/documents/051517/item6doc1a.pdf]. It was presented to the state Board of Education at its recent meeting in Rapid City. The full draft of the state’s plan is expected to be released before month’s end – kicking off an official public comment period.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2017/0515-BOE1.pdf.

Photo of teachers in Oval Office standing around President Trump.
Photo credit Ronald Sachs

Beth Kaltsulas among State Teachers of the Year honored in Washington, D.C.

2017 South Dakota Teacher of the Year Beth Kaltsulas recently joined her fellow State Teachers of the Year for a week of events in Washington, D.C. President Trump recognized the teachers in the Oval Office. Kaltsulas is standing immediately to the right of the Resolute desk, wearing a scarf.

image of Beth Kaltsulas Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week in South Dakota

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, several South Dakota teachers, including 2017 State Teacher of the Year Beth Kaltsulas and Milken Educator Award winner Amanda Christensen, wrote guest editorials for their local newspapers. Find links to these columns on the DOE Blog [http://sddoe.blogspot.com/2017/05/celebrating-teacher-appreciation-week.html].

Logo for the US Department of Education Two SD students named U.S. Presidential Scholars

Jacksyn Bakeberg (Spearfish) and Lexis Sherron (Brandon Valley) have been named among 161 U.S. Presidential Scholars [https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/161-students-across-country-named-2017-us-presidential-scholars]. Nine South Dakota students were semifinalists for this distinction [https://www2.ed.gov/programs/psp/2017/semifinalists.pdf]. Congratulations to all of these outstanding young men and women!

Image of a spotlight Spotlight: Sturgis Brown High School

Auto shop at Sturgis Brown High School
Auto shop at Sturgis Brown High School

Spotlight: Sturgis Brown High School

This spring, more than 100 business and postsecondary representatives gathered in the Sturgis Brown High School gym, marking the 10th Annual SBHS Career Fair. Surrounding districts are taking notice, with several busing in students, and teachers visiting to learn how they might do something similar in their own schools.

All Sturgis Brown High School students attend the fair, and teachers help them prepare for the day with tips on dressing professionally and asking good questions. Coleen Keffeler, the school’s director of career and technical education, leads the effort and has built relationships with many Black Hills area businesses over the years.

“We have a very active advisory board, who helps us plan the fair,” Keffeler says. “The community as a whole is also very supportive of our CTE program. For instance, Pat Kurtenbach with the Sturgis Economic Development Corporation is good about letting me know when a new business comes to town and inviting me to talk to them about our Youth Internship program.”

The career fair is one of many ways SBHS works to help students determine what careers they’re interested in and what they need to do to prepare to go into that field.

Photo of student welding. Caption: A first-year industrial technology student works on a welding project.
A first-year industrial technology student works on a welding project.

With 10 career clusters represented, the school’s CTE program is extensive. It was also the first in the state to offer students Youth Internship, back in the early 1990s.

One benefit of having such a large program, SBHS Principal Pete Wilson explains, is the ability to offer multiple levels of courses, from beginner to advanced. For instance, in the auto shop pictured above, freshmen work on small engines on the tables to the right. If they continue taking the automotive technician sequence of courses, eventually they get to bring in their own cars to practice routine maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations.

Photo of a baby chick in classroom. Caption: Some Sturgis Brown agriculture students raise animals like chicks and pigs.
Some Sturgis Brown agriculture students raise animals like chicks and pigs.

“We have awesome staff here, both in CTE and non-CTE areas. There are a lot of partnerships and collaboration between CTE and other departments,” Keffeler says. “Probably about half of our seniors use either their Youth Internship, CTE classes or CTSO [career and technical student organization] membership as the basis of their Senior Experience. That’s pretty exciting.”

One example of this collaborative effort, Keffeler says, is fitness/weight lifting teacher Sage Robinson-Miller, who incorporates the Senior Experience into her Level 3 course. In addition to teaching proper lifts and mentoring less experienced lifters, Level 3 students study an area that they can use for their Senior Experience research paper.

Keffeler says a cross-curricular project in previous years involved AP English students teaming up with culinary, journalism, music and photography students to put on a medieval fair.

Photo of a shed. Caption: Geometry in Construction students are building this shed.
Geometry in Construction students are building this shed.

SBHS students have also had the opportunity to obtain the National Career Readiness Certificate for the past several years. “I have seen more and more students getting their NCRC,” Keffeler says. “I stress to them that it’s something they can put on their resume and scholarship applications. They’ve really been taking it seriously. Those who end up just one or two points away from earning the next certificate level often ask to retake the test.”

Photo of the Wood shop at Sturgis Brown High School.
Wood shop

So, what happens after Sturgis Brown graduates leave the school? Perhaps one of the greatest testaments to the power of the Sturgis CTE program is when graduates come back and visit with current students.

“A lot of the businesses that we call to come to the career fair know us pretty well, and they’ll bring in one or two former Sturgis students who are now working for them,” Wilson says. “Coleen also organizes a reverse career fair, where students go and tour businesses in the Sturgis industrial park. They get to hear from Sturgis graduates working at a number of those businesses, too.”

Upcoming Events

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

Fundamentals of Using Data for Educators
June 5, Vermillion
June 6, Watertown
June 9, Rapid City

2017 SDASRO/SDDOA Safe Schools Summer Conference
June 6-8, Pierre

  • Schedule
  • Registration form

CTE 101
June 19, Rapid City
July 11-13, online
Aug. 2, Brookings
Aug. 9, Chamberlain

Advanced Data Use Skills for Educators
(Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Using Data for Educators. Educators may sign up for both courses in the same summer.)
June 26-Aug. 11, online

MTSS Summer Education Conference
June 28-29, Chamberlain
(Note: This conference is on as scheduled. Any link indicating that it has been canceled is wrong.)

South Dakota Education Conference
July 11-12, Pierre

Board of Education
July 17

School Library Boot Camp
July 17-20, Pierre

SD CTE Conference
July 31-Aug. 1, Brookings

Behavior Training for Educational Assistants
Aug. 8, Sioux Falls
Aug. 10, Pierre

Save the Date!

  • Indian Education Summit
    Sept. 24-26, Pierre

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