The theme for this newsletter has evolved over the past week to that of change for our office through the notification of flexibility waivers from USED. There are ten waivers from NCLB that focus around four basic principles:
• College and career ready expectations for all students
• State-developed differentiated recognition, accountability and support
• Supporting effective instruction and leadership
• And reducing duplication and unnecessary burden

It seems impossible that we are nearly half way through the 2011-2012 school year. As I sit here writing this letter the weather couldn’t be nicer with record highs predicted.

As we transition into 2012 it gives us a few minutes to reflect on the many changes from this past year and the expected changes for the coming year. The implementation of the Title Time calls has been a positive boost to the communication between our office and the participating districts. Next week’s call will focus around policies regarding highly qualified teachers and paraprofessionals, with February focusing on parent involvement policies. If you have a topic you would like to see us cover, please let us know. The Academy of Pace Setting Districts and the Indistar web-based tool for evaluation of effective practices are in their first year of service to schools and both are proceeding along with great success.

The onsite monitoring for this year is well underway and with the end of this three year cycle you will find the next three year cycle on our website. We always enjoy visiting the schools and are very interested in the new innovations occurring in the classrooms.

As always we are interested in your ideas on how to make the compliance piece of the Title puzzle work in better and more efficient manner.

Have a great month and best regards,
Dr. Kristine Harms, EdD.
State Title I Director


New Title I Review Schedules Released

The new 3-year Title review schedule for both on-site and regional reviews has been posted on the DOE’s website at These include reviews scheduled for school years 2012-2013 through 2014-2015. These schedules are based on Title I Part A school district allocation for the school year 2011-12.

Any district that receives $70,000 or less for a regular Title I Part A allocation will participate in a regional review once every three years. If there are significant findings from the regional review, those districts could be included on the list for an on-site visit during the next school year. Three random selections are made from schools listed under each year’s regional review schedule and those districts selected will be reviewed on-site instead of participating in a regional review.

All other districts (over $70,000) will be reviewed on-site once every three years. If there are significant findings at a district, they could have another on-site review the next year.

Districts will be advised via the DOE’s website, if they are scheduled for either an on-site visit or a regional review.

Technical assistance sessions, focusing on weaknesses being identified during reviews, will be provided throughout the year via either Live Meeting or DDN sessions. Schools slated for reviews during the next calendar year are highly encouraged to participate in these sessions.

Questions/concerns regarding the review schedule may be directed to the Title I programs representatives by calling (605)773-6400.

Potential Warning Signs of Homelessness

(These warning signs were adapted from flyers developed by Illinois and Pennsylvania Departments of Education)

Note: While these are considered warning signs, please recognize that they only offer general guidance. There is significant variability within the school-age homeless population. Individual students may differ significantly from the following general characteristics.

Lack of Continuity in Education
• Attendance at many different schools
• Lack of personal records needed to enroll
• Inability to pay fees
• Gaps in skill development
• Mistaken diagnosis of abilities
• Poor organizational skills
• Poor ability to conceptualize

Poor Health/Nutrition
• Lack of immunizations and/or immunization records
• Unmet medical and dental needs
• Increased vulnerability to colds & flu
• Respiratory problems
• Skin rashes
• Chronic hunger (may horde food)
• Fatigue (may fall asleep in class)

Transportation and Attendance Problems
• Erratic attendance and tardiness
• Numerous absences
• Lack of participation in after-school activities
• Lack of participation in field trips
• Absences on days when students bring special treats from home
• Inability to contact parents

Poor Hygiene
• Lack of shower facilities/washers, etc.
• Wearing same clothes for several days
• Inconsistent grooming – well-groomed one day and poorly groomed the next

Lack of Privacy/Personal Space After School
• Consistent lack of preparation for school
• Incomplete or missing homework (no place to work or keep supplies)
• Unable to complete special projects (no access to supplies)
• Lack of basic school supplies
• Loss of books and other supplies on a regular basis
• Concern for safety of belongings
• Refusing invitations from classmates

Social and Behavioral Concerns
• A marked change in behavior
• Poor/short attention span
• Poor self esteem
• Extreme shyness
• Unwillingness to risk forming relationships with peers and teachers
• Difficulty socializing at recess
• Difficulty trusting people
• Aggression
• “Old” beyond years
• Protective of parents
• Clinging behavior
• Developmental delays
• Fear of abandonment
• School phobia (student wants to be with parent)
• Need for immediate gratification
• Anxiety late in the school day

Reaction/Statements by Parent, Guardian, or Child
• Exhibiting anger or embarrassment when asked about current address
• Mention of staying with grandparents, other relatives, friends, or in a motel or comments, such as:
   - “I don’t remember the name of our previous school.”
   - “We’ve been moving around a lot.”
   - “Our address is new; I can’t remember it.” (may hide lack of permanent address)
   - “We’re staying with relatives until we get settled.”
   - “We’re going through a bad time right now.”
   - “We’ve been unpacking, traveling, etc.,” to explain poor appearance and/or hygiene.

Regional Review Highlights

Whew! It sure has been a whirlwind fall this year around our office. The team has been out in full force trying to complete as many reviews as possible before the snow flies and the roads get harder to travel on. I think we ran into a run of luck with the weather this year. We have finished more than half of our reviews and wanted to thank the districts for being so prepared and working with us.

This year we piloted a new process called the Regional Review. It took the place of and “beefed up” the traditional desk review. The meetings were held at five locations across the state with 23 districts attending the meetings. There have been some large benefits gained from this process. All districts were able to view and help review another district. Great examples of policies and plans were shared among them. Fewer findings resulted due to the technical assistance and time to complete the requirements. Letters are still being written and corrective action plans are still being submitted, but it is turning out to have many benefits for both sides of the review.

The Title I team was not sure how this endeavor would actually turn out, but with a few glitches worked out early; the process was able to be streamlined by the last meeting. There were a few adjustments made based on district input and needs that came out of each meeting. Districts attended with a team, reviewed another district’s program, gain technical assistance, learned how to avoid the top findings, saw excellent samples and examples, had time to work together, reviewed their own program, and left with a final “to do” list to be completed within a two week period. Many districts actually left having completed most of the process without a “to do” list. The response was wonderful. Even with the busy time of year, everyone was timely and pleasant to work with.

Evaluations about the process will be sent out later to districts that attended these meetings. Once the process is completed it will be nice to have some feedback to help shape the next round. Thank you for the great efforts!

Districts Piloting New Programs

A few school districts in South Dakota are piloting two programs this school year new to our state. One program, called Indistar, targets South Dakota’s Tier I and II schools that received a School Improvement Grant either for the 2010-11 or 2011-12 school year. The other program, called the Academy for Pacesetting Districts©, is for districts either in district improvement or with schools in improvement. Both programs were developed by the Center for Innovation and Improvement, which works with one of the regional labs developed by US Ed.

Indistar is a web-based system implemented by a state education agency for use with district and/or school improvement teams to inform, coach, sustain, track, and report improvement activities. The tool contains indicators of evidence-based practices at the district, school, and classroom levels to improve student learning. Indistar will guide improvement teams — whether district, school, or both — through a continuous cycle of assessment, planning, implementation, and progress tracking.

The Indistar program has several different sets of indicators of effective practice including Rapid Improvement Indictors, District Improvement Indicators, School Improvement Grant Indicators, Special Education Indicators, and Response to Intervention Indicators (RTI). At this time, six schools from four districts are piloting the School Improvement Grant Indictors of Effective Practice. The process will run the length of their grant, which is two or three years depending on when the school received the grant.

The Academy for Pacesetting Districts is a year-long opportunity for districts to explore their current district operations with a particular focus on district support for school improvement. The goal is to develop efficient and effective district policies to enhance growth in student learning through differentiated supports to schools. School districts either in improvement or with schools in improvement were invited to join the Academy experience. McLaughlin, Todd County, and Sioux Falls have chosen to participate.

Along with the Academy, Indistar will be used to help the districts with the process. The three districts will use the District Improvement Indicators of Effective Practice.


Active Kids & Academic Performance

Children need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day to achieve a healthy weight and prevent a range of chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer and stroke. This might seem like a lot of time, but it all adds up. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends that at least 30 minutes, or half of the recommended daily physical activity time, be accrued during the school day (Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance, 2005). A Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program is the best way for schools to ensure that students get enough physical activity to positively affect their health and academic performance. Components include:

• Quality Physical Education
• Physical Activity Integrated into Classroom Learning
• Physical Activity Breaks
• Recess
• Before-and-After School Programs
• Intramural Sports
• Interscholastic Sports
• Walk- and Bike-to-School Programs

The Positive Impact of School-Based Physical Education and Physical Activity
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reviewed studies about school-based Physical education and physical activity and their effect on academic performance, with overall positive results.

The Brain Game
Research shows that physical activity can positively affect:
• Blood flow and oxygen to the brain, thereby improving mental clarity.
• The part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
• Connections between nerves in the brain, thereby improving attention and information processing skills.

Physical activity also:
• Builds strong bones and muscles.
• Decreases the likelihood of developing obesity and risk factors for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
• Promotes positive mental health and can reduce anxiety and depression.
• Positively affects classroom behavior and can help youth improve their concentration and memory.

The Bottom Line
• Substantial evidence suggests that physical activity can be associated with improved academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores.
• Increasing or maintain time dedicated to physical education can help – and does not adversely affect – academic performance.

Whether you are a parent, principal, superintendent, school board member, legislator or concerned citizen, you have a role to play in helping our youth become active and in making quality physical education and physical activity a reality in your local school.

Together, we can put research into action to develop active, healthy kids in our nation’s schools. For more information go to: or

“We know that physical activity is critical ...not just for better health but for better academic achievement.” - First Lady Michelle Obama

Winter Ways to Keep Moving

Physical activity is one of the most important parts of being a healthy family. It helps with mood, school performance, health and overall well-being. Children should strive for 60 minutes of fun fitness every day. Adults ages 18 and over should achieve 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity a week.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Try indoor ice-skating or a family adventure walk in place of going out to a movie. Just calling it an adventure makes it more fun.

2. If it’s cold outside break-up your outdoor activities. Try adding three 10-minute bursts of physical activity throughout the day. A quick game of tag or running around the block.

3. Park further away when running errands so you have to walk further to the store, just remember to bundle up.

4. Limit TV time and keep the TV out of your child's bedroom.

5. During TV commercials, take turns choosing an exercise: sit-ups, push-ups, toe touches, or jumping jacks. See who can be the fastest, silliest, or sweatiest.

6. Have a dance party, take out the flashlights and make it a disco night.

7. More ideas for fitting exercise into your family’s schedule.

Motivating Your Child

Motivation is key to your child's school success
You don't just want your child to learn. You want your child to want to learn! Motivation is part of being a successful student. Thankfully, studies show that parents can help if they:

- Stay involved. When parents are involved in education, kids do better in school. Make sure you monitor study time and communicate with the teacher regularly.

- Remember that kids are adaptable. If your child struggles in school, stay positive. Work with his teacher to find solutions.

- Promote independence. Give your child age-appropriate freedoms. You might let him choose between two places to study.

- Limit criticism. School is challenging. Instead of criticizing, use positive words to boost your child's self-confidence.

- Correct mistakes in an encouraging way. Don't say, "You have poor spelling." Try, "You spelled everything right except these two words! I bet you can fix them!"

- Give specific compliments. It's better to say, "Your report is so neat. I can read the whole thing," than, "I like your handwriting."

- Get more out of learning. Let classroom lessons spark your imagination. You might visit the state capital, do a science experiment or figure out a waiter's tip together. The key is to have fun!

Reprinted with permission from the February 2012 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2012 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Sources: E. Pomerantz, "Research: Motivating Children to do Well in School,"; K. Seal, "Raising Self-Motivated Children," HighScope,

Make homework time easier for your child with motivation!

Sometimes getting kids to do homework is tougher than the homework itself! To increase your child's motivation:

- Develop organization skills. Help your child devise a system that works for her. She might use a homework folder and make daily to-do lists.

- Replace "homework time" with "study time." If your child doesn't have assignments, she can read or review.

- Stick to a routine. Kids resist less when they're used to studying at the same time every day. Let your child choose a quiet, comfortable place to work.

- Help without taking over. Encourage and guide your child through tough problems. But don't ever do the work.

- Be a role model. While your child studies, finish important tasks yourself, such as paying bills or straightening up.

- Offer praise, not prizes. This helps your child become self-motivated--not motivated by things. You might say, "Wow! You kept trying and it paid off!"

Reprinted with permission from the February 2012 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2012 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: C. Moorman and T. Haller, "How to Motivate Your Kids to Do Homework,",

Setting Expectations

Studies show expectations are powerful motivators

Research links high expectations to high accomplishment. In addition to setting high (yet reasonable) expectations, it's important to:

- Look for progress, not perfection. Keep in mind that goal-setting encourages kids to work hard. Even if your child doesn't reach his final objective, consider his efforts a big success!

- Celebrate often. There are many steps along the way to reaching a goal. Whenever your child passes a milestone, take note. "You're halfway done!"

- Communicate clearly. You might say, "I want you to do well in math. I believe you can raise your grade above a C."

- Learn from mistakes. Help your child see that mistakes are opportunities to learn, persevere and improve. Good can always come from them. Discuss how to stay positive.

- Be flexible. What if an expectation was too high or too low? If necessary, adjust the expectation, but keep it challenging.

Reprinted with permission from the February 2012 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2012 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: W. Parker, "Setting Appropriately High Expectations for Children,",

Working Together

Get parent support for new approach

You may be trying out a new textbook this year. Or you may have adopted a new teaching style you think will help students achieve more. But if parents feel you are experimenting on their kids, there is bound to be contention. Here are some tips for enlisting parental support instead:

- Write a newsletter that spells out what you're doing. Address parents' concerns directly. Share some of the research that informed your decision to adopt this new approach. Share specific examples of the success of what you are doing.

- Give parents some hands-on responsibilities at home. Include discussions with parents as a regular part of your students' homework.

- Offer parents many options for contacting you--your phone number, your school email and other applicable ways of reaching you. If your school policies permit, invite parents to visit your class to see what's going on.

Reprinted with permission from the December 2011 issue of Better Teaching® (Secondary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2011 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: B. Geuder et al., A Life Saver for New Teachers: Mentoring Case Studies to Navigate the Initial Years, Roman & Littlefield Education.

Raising Performance of ELL Students

Focus on developing good homework habits

One of the challenges of teaching English learners is that they often fail to meet their homework obligations. There are plenty of explanations: Students may not understand the work. They may need to work to help support the family. Or the family may simply not recognize the benefits of doing homework. So getting students to complete nightly work is a project that should involve both the students and their families. Here are some suggestions:

- Teach the importance of homework. Help students see that by practicing a skill they have learned in class, they will improve that skill. Once you have taught the lesson, send a letter home to parents making the same points.

- Do more in class to help students prepare. If students don't have an agenda book, consider a two-pocket homework folder. This will also give parents a chance to see completed and graded work.

- Teach homework and study skills. Have students read along as you give a homework assignment and underline the words that tell them what they should do. Also teach them to ask questions like, "How does this assignment relate to what we did in class today?"

- Write an occasional note to parents when students are showing effort and progress on their homework.

Reprinted with permission from the December 2011 issue of Better Teaching® (Secondary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2011 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: D. Campos et al., Reaching Out to Latino Families of English Language Learners, ASCD Books.


Nominations Needed Committee of Practitioners

The SD Department of Education’s Committee of Practitioners is currently seeking additional members. The Committee meets twice a year in the fall and in June with other phone meetings as required. This advisory committee provides input for the Department by reviewing proposed or final state rules or regulations and giving comments to the Department. Items of discussion recently were: DOE Accountability Workbook, School Improvement Grants, and program area plans such as Even Start guidelines and grants, McKinney-Vento State Plan, etc.

The committee is composed of twelve to fifteen members as necessary. As this is an advisory committee, members are not compensated for their time, however, all expenses are paid. The committee must be composed of administrators, teachers, vocational educators, parents, school board members, private school representatives, and pupil services personnel (i.e. counselors).

The Committee seeks membership from across the state and from large and small districts. Additional members to be added this fall are parents, school board members, pupil services personnel.To to to view the current list of the members.

The Committee wishes to have additional appointees in place as soon as possible. Self-nominations are appropriate or districts may wish to nominate someone to the position. The Department Secretary has final authority on nominations. Go to to download an application.

The Committee is defined in ESEA Section 1903(b) and Title I Section 1111(c)(11).

Proposed Accountability Model for South Dakota

To read the Proposed Accountability Model for South Dakota go to:


- National Title I Conference: > - Jan. 21-24, 2012

- South Dakota Council of Teachers of Math and Science Conference > - Feb. 2-4, 2012

- National Conference on Family Literacy - March 25-27, 2012

- SD NAEYC/SDHSA Conference for Early Childhood Educators - April 12-14, 2012

- 26th Annual TIE Conference - April 15-17, 2012

- Parent Involvement Summit - April 24, 2012
Cedar Shores Resort, Chamberlain, SD

- International Reading Council Convention - April 29-May 2, 2012

- DOE Online Calendar of Events

- Monthly Title Time Phone Calls
    January 10, 2012 - Topic: Highly Qualified Teachers and Paraprofessionals,
    February 14, 2012 - Topic: Parent Involvement
    March 13, 2012 - Topic: TBD