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SD Department of Education
Oct. 2017  

Image of Rachel Schaefer with Melody Schopp TEACHER FEATURE: Schaefer named 2018 SD Teacher of the Year

Rachel Schaefer, a kindergarten teacher at Elkton Elementary School, has been named the 2018 South Dakota Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made earlier this month at a banquet at the Best Western Ramkota in Rapid City.

“The Teacher of the Year award is all about celebrating teaching,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp. “Rachel has received this honor not only because of her great work in the kindergarten classroom, but also because she is a strong advocate for the profession as a whole.”

Schaefer has taught in the Elkton School District since 2015. She has also worked at the Boys & Girls Club of Brookings, where she served as an administrator and as a preschool/junior kindergarten teacher. Earlier in her career, at the Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education at South Dakota State University, she collaborated on a research project looking at the influence materials have on children’s learning. This research was published as her master’s thesis and later adapted into an article for Young Children magazine.

A statewide panel of educators selected Schaefer from among six regional finalists. The other finalists were Cara Biegler, science, Timber Lake Middle School; Caitlin Bordeaux, computer science and multimedia, St. Francis Indian High School; Jennifer Mudder, fifth grade, Tyndall Elementary; Jeremy Risty, social studies, Brandon Valley High School; and Jessica Zwaschka, chemistry, Spearfish High School.

As recipient of the honor, Schaefer receives prizes including a $5,000 cash award from the West River Foundation and a $1,000 honorarium from the South Dakota Board of Regents to present a series of professional development seminars to aspiring teachers. Prize packages are made possible through the generosity of private businesses and organizations, including Amplify, Inner Explorer, SMART, the South Dakota Retailers Association and the South Dakota Education Association.

In addition, Schaefer will represent South Dakota as a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year award. The National Teacher of the Year Program began in 1952 and continues as the oldest, most prestigious national honors program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. The 2018 National Teacher of the Year will be announced during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in the spring.

The Department of Education visited Schaefer’s classroom earlier this fall:

Watch video interview with Rachel Schaefer
Rachel Schaefer, kindergarten, Elkton Elementary
View video at: "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-f0fJr7_aE&t=1s.

Stock photo of words Now and Later written on chalkboard. Check mark next to now. Use the buddy system! Join DOE’s NBC cohort

Story revised 10-30-17

Have you been considering National Board Certification? Now is the time. The Department of Education will be facilitating a cohort for teachers who sign up to begin the process in January 2018. The goal of the cohort is to provide support and guidance as teachers move through the National Board Certification process.

Find information on joining the cohort on the Department of Education’s National Board Certification webpage [http://doe.sd.gov/oatq/NB-teachers.aspx]. The registration deadline is Jan. 5, 2018.

South Dakota NBC educators receive $2,000 per year for five years, with $1,000 paid by the Department of Education and $1,000 paid by the educator’s school district, and they can apply to have their National Board Certification fees reimbursed.

Cover of standards page. Origional artwork by Donald F. Montileaux. Getting Started: Ideas for using the OSEU in your classroom
The Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards [http://doe.sd.gov/contentstandards/documents/OSEU.pdf] are state content standards intended to help guide South Dakota K-12 educators in teaching Native American history and culture. A work group has been developing OSEU-aligned sample social studies lessons for teachers of all grade levels [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/lessons-sd-social-studies-standards/]. Here are some samples, developed using the Inquiry Design Model Blueprint™:
  • PK-5: Kinship Terms [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/SS-1-OSEU-4-Kinship-Terms.pdf]
  • 6-8: Manifest Destiny [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/SS-8-OSEU-6-Manifest-Destiny.pdf]
  • 9-12: Citizenship [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/SS-9-12-OSEU-2-Citizenship.pdf]

The Digital Library. Smarter Balanced Logo. October Spotlight: Collaborating across disciplines

On the Department of Education’s Digital Library webpage, this month’s resource spotlight is on helping social studies and English language arts teachers work together in developing students’ research and writing skills. The Digital Library is an online repository of formative assessment resources available at no cost to all South Dakota public school teachers.

Read more at https://doe.sd.gov/assessment/DigitalLibrary.aspx.

Kudos Corner: Teachers winning awards
images of Meri Erickson holding award. Meri Erickson of Groton recently received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Transition Services [http://news.sd.gov/newsitem.aspx?id=22494]. Erickson has assisted more than 100 students with disabilities to transition from high school to the adult world in her 31 years of working at Groton Area High School.

At the recent SD Council of Teachers of English/Speech Communication Association of SD annual conference, the following teachers were honored:

image of Thomas Moudry being presented award.                                                        image of Kayla Mette being presented award.
SDCTE Teacher of the Year:                           SDCTE Young Leader Award:
Thomas Moudry, Brookings High School             Kayla Mette (left), Sioux Valley High School


South Dakota Children's Book Award logo and logo for YARP. Empower student readers: Let them vote for their favorite books

Voting for the South Dakota Library Association’s Children's [http://library.sd.gov/LIB/CYS/prairieawards/index.aspx] and Teen Choice [http://library.sd.gov/LIB/YAS/yarp/index.aspx] Book Awards is open. Students can vote for their favorite nominees. Downloadable award certificates, bookmarks, posters and more are available from the State Library. Voting closes April 1, 2018.

image of Inspiring Partnerships Between Home and School cover. New! Guide to Inspiring Partnerships Between Home and School

The Department of Education announces a new tool for educators to help in establishing and maintaining meaningful, trusting relationships with parents and families: The South Dakota Guide to Inspiring Partnerships Between Home and School. It is made up of two components: a guide that corresponds to tools in a toolkit and the five-section toolkit with links to resources.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/title/toolkit/.

image of Rock in box. Pet Rock manual next to it. Groovy! 1970s exhibit coming to Cultural Heritage Center

The South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre makes a great addition to school trips during legislative session. Give students a hands-on history lesson with interactive exhibits in the museum. A new exhibit about the 1970s opens in mid-November.

There is no charge for student tours, which can be guided or self-guided. To schedule a visit, or for more information, contact Jeff Mammenga [Jeff.Mammenga@state.sd.us] with the State Historical Society at 605-773-6000.

Students can also research history projects in the state archives.

Proactive admission gets state and national media attention

South Dakota’s new proactive admissions initiative, which grants guaranteed general acceptance into South Dakota’s public universities and technical institutes to students with qualifying Smarter Balanced test or ACT scores, is garnering significant attention:
  • The 74: SD to offer college acceptance based on Smarter Balanced scores
  • Education Week: SD Promises College Admission for Good Smarter Balanced Scores
  • Aberdeen American News: SD students with top Smarter Balanced scores can skip ACT
  • KELO radio: New Initiative to Keep South Dakota Students at Home
  • Argus Leader: SD Colleges Guarantee Admission for High-Scoring High Schoolers

Upcoming Events

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

SD-STARS monthly webinar
Oct. 25

School Wellness Policy Training
Oct. 26, Pierre

Dakota TESL Conference
Nov. 8-9, Sioux Falls

Board of Education Standards
Nov. 20, Sioux Falls

Scaffolding Learning Through Language
Dec. 5-6, Sioux Falls

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