- Programs for Priority and Focus Schools
- McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Liaisons

Programs for Priority and Focus Schools

Under South Dakota’s ESEA flexibility waiver, SD DOE identified priority and focus schools for the 2012-2013 school year. The schools identified will be using two specific programs within SD DOE.

Districts with at least one priority school will be participating in the Academy of Pacesetting Districts during the 2012-13 school year. Last school year (2011-12), SD DOE piloted this program with three districts- Sioux Falls, McLaughlin, and Todd County- during Cohort 1. This year we have two more Cohorts of districts - Cohort 2 includes White River, Shannon County, and Oelrichs School District and Cohort 3 includes Smee, Hitchcock-Tulare, and Willow Lake School District.

The two cohorts of districts started the Academy in November with a 2 day kick-off meeting. Both groups have completed their first Distance Learning Session, and will complete two more Distance Learning Sessions before wrapping the program up with a Summative meeting in June. Each district is provided a mentor by the SD DOE that will guide them through the process. The goal is to achieve efficient and effective district policies, programs, and practices to enhance growth in student learning through differentiated supports to schools.

Both Priority and Focus schools will be participating in SD LEAP (Indistar®). SD LEAP is a web-based tool that guides a district or school team in charting its improvement efforts and manag­ing the continuous improvement process. SD DOE provides a framework for the process and each district team and school team applies its own ingenu­ity to achieve the results it desires for their students. The teams will meet monthly and assess, plan, and monitor indicators of effective practice.

SD LEAP was piloted with three School Improvement Grant (SIG) schools during the 2011-12 school year that are continuing their work during the 2012-13 school year. Currently we have six districts (with at least one priority school) assessing district indicators of effective practice through the Academy of Pacesetting Districts. SD DOE has 31 Focus Schools, 7 Priority Schools, and 1 optional school assessing school level indicators.

If you have any questions on the Academy of Pacesetting Districts or would like more information, please contact Betsy Chapman at (605) 773-4712.

If you have any questions on SD LEAP or would like more information, please contact Shawna Poitra at (605) 773-8065.

McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Liaisons

The 2012-13 South Dakota School District contact list of McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Liaisons is now available.

Unaccompanied Youth in Homeless Situations

South Dakota school districts are increasingly aware of students who are in unstable living conditions. Many older youth are living in a transient state as they are moving from home to home living “doubled-up” with their friends and families. These youth have no permanent home, no financial resources, and lack a strong support system. The school may be the only stable area of their lives.

McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Liaisons are charged with identifying these students and eliminating barriers to school. Liaisons must insure immediate enrollment/full participation (24 hours). School personnel must contact the school district liaison immediately when a student is identified as potentially in a homeless situation. The district liaison may contact the SD DOE with any questions at (605) 773-2491 or at email For information on commonly asked questions about unaccompanied youth, click here.


NCLB, Title I, Part A, Sections 1114 and 1119

Definition: A school with at least 40% low-income is eligible to plan and implement a schoolwide program (SWP). A schoolwide program must upgrade the entire educational program in the school in order to raise academic achievement for all students. A schoolwide program:
• Is based on one year of planning and is built on schoolwide reform strategies, rather than on separate add-on services.
• Provides flexibility in spending Federal, State, and local funds as long as the school engages in strategies that increase the amount and quality of learning time and help provide a high-quality curriculum for all children, according to a comprehensive school improvement plan or a SWP plan to help children meet Kentucky’s standards.
• Focuses on results. The flexibility in the use of funds must result in increased achievement.

Eligible Children: In a schoolwide program the school is not required to identify particular children. All children are to be provided the opportunity to meet the academic expectations. The focus is on the instructional program instead of particular children.

Needs Assessment: As a part of comprehensive school improvement and SWP planning, the school conducts a needs assessment of all children in the school based on their performance toward meeting the academic expectations. The needs assessment should identify priority needs in student performance in core areas of instruction. The priority needs identified must determine how resources are used.

Components of Schoolwide Program: There are 10 components in a schoolwide program, the schoolwide plan must include these components in its program. The schoolwide program must:

1. Be based on a comprehensive needs assessment of the entire school that is based on information on the performance of children in relation to the content standards.

2. Engage in schoolwide reform strategies that:
• Provide opportunities for all children to meet proficient and advanced levels of student performance;
• Are based on effective means of improving children's achievement that strengthen the core academic program;
• Use effective instructional strategies that are based on scientific research that increase the amount and quality of learning time (such as extended school year, before- and after-school and summer programs); help provide an enriched and accelerated curriculum; and meet the educational needs of historically underserved populations;
• Address the needs of all children in the school, but particularly the needs of student populations and determine how these needs are met.

3. Provide instruction by highly qualified professional staff.

4. Provide for high quality and on-going professional development for teachers and paraeducators, parents, principals, and other staff to enable all children in the schoolwide program to meet the state’s challenging academic standards.

5. Include strategies to attract high-quality, highly qualified teachers to high-need schools.

6. Include strategies to increase parent involvement such as family literacy services.

7. Use strategies for assisting children in transition from early childhood programs to public elementary schools.

8. Include teachers in the decisions regarding the use of assessments to provide information on and to improve the achievement of individual students.

9. Ensure that students who experience difficulty mastering any of the standards will be provided with effective, timely additional assistance.

10.May coordinate and integrate Federal, State, and local services.

Teachers in a Schoolwide Program: The focus of a schoolwide program is to raise the performance level of all students by improving the overall instructional program in the school. Each year the principal of a Title I school must certify in writing that the school is complying with NCLB’s mandate for highly qualified teachers. Regardless of funding, all teachers teaching core subjects in a Title I Schoolwide Program must meet the NCLB requirement for highly qualified.
• Must meet the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) definition of “highly qualified;” (All teachers including special education teachers hired in a schoolwide program who teach core academic subjects must be highly qualified.
• Must address identified needs through the comprehensive needs assessment; and
• Assist the school in increasing the effectiveness of the staff, parents, community and agencies in improving the school’s performance.

Paraeducators in a Schoolwide Program: In a schoolwide program, paraeducators may be used to assist with instruction to students. NCLB requirements apply to all paraeducators with instructional duties in a schoolwide program. Regardless of funding, all paraeducators with instructional duties must:
• Be highly qualified under NCLB requirements.
• Be included in professional development activities.
• Be under the direct supervision of a teacher who has primary responsibility for providing instructional services. The following is considered to be direct supervision of a teacher:
- The teacher prepares the lessons and plans the instructional support activities the paraeducator carries out and evaluates the achievement of the students with whom the paraeducator is working; and
- The paraeducator works in close and frequent proximity with the teacher.
&Bull; Provide instructional services to students under the direct supervision of a teacher.

For further questions regarding Title I Part A Schoolwide Programs contact Dawn Smith at (605) 773-2535.

Winter 2013