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Letter from the Secretary

SD Department of Education
Oct. 2017  
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images of empty school desks. Text: Attendance gap leads to achievement gaps. #schooleveryday Attendance connected to proficiency in math and ELA
The Department of Education is digging into 2017 Report Card data and finding a strong connection between attendance and proficiency on the state test in math and English language arts. “It’s common sense, and the data reinforces the message—when students miss school, they miss out on vital learning opportunities,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp.

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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:

Image of cover of the South Dakota Guide to Inspiring Partnerships Between Home & School document. 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.
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image of WoLakota coverpage. Native Americans’ Day Oct. 9
Resources abound at WoLakotaProject.org to help K-12 educators across South Dakota incorporate Native American culture and history into their teaching year-round, across all grade levels and content areas. Find resources aligned to the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards, including elder interviews, sample OSEU-aligned social studies lessons and much more.

stock photo of fruit and veggies. Applications open for NSLP equipment grants
Grants are available for schools in need of funding to purchase equipment to serve healthier meals, improve food safety and expand access. Applications are due Oct. 27. Find more information on the Department of Education’s National School Lunch/Breakfast Programs webpage, under “Fiscal Year 2017 Equipment Assistance Grants.”
Governor proclaims October Dyslexia Awareness Month
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proclaimed October Dyslexia Awareness Month. Earlier this year, The Dyslexia Handbook for Teachers and Parents in South Dakota was updated. The handbook is intended to help parents and educators learn more about dyslexia and includes additional resources for teachers to access if they suspect a student may have dyslexia.
Logo for National Blue Ribbon School Three SD schools named National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2017
Across the country, 292 public schools and 50 private schools have been named National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2017. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Honorees will be celebrated with an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 6-7. Congratulations to these South Dakota honorees!
  • Robert Bennis Elementary School in Brandon
  • Frederick Area Elementary School
  • Immaculate Conception School in Watertown
School Wellness Policy Training Oct. 26 in Pierre
The school health program in the South Dakota Departments of Education and Health, in collaboration with Action For Healthy Kids, will offer training designed to provide continued support to schools/districts as they work to comply with the new wellness policy rules and to help schools/districts strengthen and effectively implement their wellness policies.
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Upcoming Events

A complete listing of events is available at GoSignMeUp.

SDMyLife Student View for New Users
Oct. 4, webinar

SDMyLife Portfolio Administrator View for New Users
Oct. 11, webinar

Title Programs Wednesday Café
Oct. 11, webinar
Nov. 8, webinar

School Counselor Best Practices Share Session
Oct. 12, Sioux Falls
Oct. 19, Rapid City

SD-STARS Training for Data STARS
Oct. 12, Rapid City
Oct. 17, Sioux Falls
Oct. 23, Aberdeen

SD-STARS Training for STARS Account Managers
Oct. 12, Rapid City
Oct. 17, Sioux Falls
Oct. 23, Aberdeen

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)

Systems Change
Annual conference, featuring Teacher of the Year Banquet
Oct. 18-20, Rapid City

SD-STARS monthly webinar
Oct. 25

Explicit Instruction: What do administrators need to know?
Oct. 25, Rapid City
Oct. 26, Sioux Falls

School Wellness Policy Training
Oct. 26, Pierre

New Special Ed Directors Webinar Series
Oct. 30
Nov. 14
Dec. 12
Jan. 23, 2018

Dakota TESL Conference
Nov. 8-9, Sioux Falls

Board of Education Standards
Nov. 20, Sioux Falls
Printable version of this newsletter.

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