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SD Department of Education
Aug. 2019  
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Dr. Jones SECRETARY’S COLUMN: Supporting educators; supporting students

Welcome to a new school year. I hope you had some time to relax and rejuvenate over the summer.

First, please allow me to formally introduce myself. I stepped in as Interim Secretary of Education in January and had the opportunity to meet a few of you through the spring. In May, I accepted the position on a permanent basis. Previously, I served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Dakota State University. I hold a Ph.D. in history from the University of Kansas.

I couldn’t pass up this chance to impact K-12 education in our state, and I’m eager to get to know all of you better as we work together for South Dakota students.

Just as summer was getting underway, I had the opportunity to attend the Statewide Mentoring Program Summer Academy in Sioux Falls, where more than 700 teachers—mentors and first- and second-year teachers—gathered to celebrate, reflect, and learn. Having been in that convention hall, I can tell you, the enthusiasm for teaching was palpable among mentors and mentees.

As we know from the research, students do best when they’re supported by excellent classroom teachers. To get excellent classroom teachers, we must first keep them in the profession. That is the primary goal of the mentoring program.

Through the program, trained mentors support new teachers for two years in a structured, meaningful way. Mentoring pairs establish goals together and meet for a minimum of 34 hours per year, with 18 of those hours face-to-face.

As the program enters its fourth year, we are seeing increasing percentages of new teachers participating.

2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
New teachers in Mentoring Program 180 220 239
Total number of new teachers 590 558 549
Percentage participating 30.51% 39.43% 43.53%

Even more importantly, we are seeing promising retention numbers. Of first-year teachers in 2016-17 who completed the mentoring program, 88% are still employed in education in South Dakota. Of first-year teachers in 2016-17 who did not participate in the mentoring program, 81% are still employed in education in South Dakota.

If you have first-year teachers starting their careers in your district this year, I hope you’ll encourage them to sign up for this powerful program if they haven’t done so already. Time is running short to register as kick-off events have already begun, but our staff will do their best to accommodate those who still wish to enroll.

We are also continuing a partnership with School Administrators of South Dakota to offer the Principal Leadership and Development program for a third year. Research indicates that principals are more effective when they develop instructional leadership skills and understand how instructional leadership impacts student achievement and school culture. This program supports early-career principals in their growth through professional development, resources, and a network of support.

Georgia Morse Middle School (Pierre) Principal Dr. Kyley Cumbow has participated in the program as a mentor. “The principal mentoring program is a great professional development opportunity for both new principals and for mentors,” Cumbow says. “The greatest outcome for the program is the ‘cohort’ that naturally develops and creates a greater networking system for both principals. This is an avenue that helps alleviate some of the isolation that principals in South Dakota can experience.”

This year’s PLD kick-off is being held in conjunction with the ASBSD/SASD Convention in Sioux Falls, with a number of events scheduled throughout the coming school year.

When educators invest in themselves, we see the payoff in student success. These programs are just a couple of ways the South Dakota Department of Education is here to support you. Please reach out any time you have questions or concerns.

Thank you for all you do for South Dakota students.

Jason Bailey LEADER FEATURE: Superintendent Jason Bailey, Bridgewater-Emery School District

When Bridgewater-Emery School District Superintendent Jason Bailey talks with administrator colleagues, it’s not uncommon to discuss the challenges of providing the mental health support students need to be successful.

The Bridgewater-Emery School District is one of the first four school partners in South Dakota’s Project AWARE, which stands for Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education. We recently checked in with Superintendent Bailey to learn more about how things are going as the district begins its first full school year of the program.

“Our hope is to give our staff the tools necessary to recognize and respond to these behavioral health issues,” Bailey says. “A wide variety of training opportunities have become available to us through the Project AWARE grant. We are hoping to provide mental health services previously unavailable to students and families in our community.”

The need
According to the Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health, over 20% of students in public schools nationwide have a diagnosable mental health disorder that warrants additional supports. Of that 20%, more than 70% receive interventions in a school setting.

In South Dakota, 10.4% of children ages 2-17 have been diagnosed with one or more emotional, behavioral, and/or developmental conditions. That means there is an estimated gap of 9.6% of students in need of support who are not identified for care.

The framework
The Project AWARE grant, a partnership between the South Dakota Departments of Education and Social Services – Behavioral Health, is built on an interconnected systems framework, the base of which is home and community awareness, with the goals of de-stigmatizing mental health issues through awareness training, building self-healing, trauma-informed communities, and creating community partnerships.

“Continued outreach and community engagement to promote positive mental health will be a goal this coming school year,” Bailey says. “In addition, a general increase in awareness of mental health issues will continue to be a major focus. We’re partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness for this aspect of the work.”

NAMI gave three presentations to staff, middle school students, and parents in spring 2019 and will be back with a booth providing information for families at the open house in Emery Aug. 19. In addition, NAMI will give a presentation to all students in grades 6-12 in September. The Ending the Silence presentation features individuals whose lives have been affected by mental illness and provide real-life perspectives based on personal experiences.

Tier 1 of the framework is universal prevention, incorporating universal behavioral health screenings and support for school/home partnerships, trauma-informed training for school staff, Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports, and other prevention activities.

Bailey says all Bridgewater-Emery staff is currently receiving training in PBIS and is excited to get started on implementation. During the 2018-19 school year, the district also began using a universal screening tool to assess students’ risk level for behavioral health issues and helped those who needed assistance to access services.

The local Community Project AWARE Manager, Jenelle Sigler, is on-site daily at the Bridgewater-Emery School District and provides prevention-based social-emotional learning lessons and training at the classroom level, using a program called Second Step. Sigler is a certified school counselor and also provides targeted interventions, such as counseling, for students with Tier 2 needs.

Tier 3 of the framework encompasses supports for students in need of wraparound services. The district works with Systems of Care Coordinator, Dena Smith, through Southeastern Behavioral Health to assist students with these kinds of needs.

Data component
Bailey is also looking forward to working with the data component of the project: “There’s a data component that will help us see how things are going by looking at our own local data to ask, ‘What’s working?’ ‘What do we need to get better at?’ ‘Where do we go from here?’”

The first cohort of school partners involved in Project AWARE, which also includes Black Hills Special Services Cooperative, the Sioux Falls School District and the Wagner Area School District, began receiving behavior and mental health supports through the grant in October 2018. More schools will have the opportunity to receive supports through the grant in subsequent years.

Partners including the National Council of Behavioral Health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI South Dakota) and Prevention Resource Centers are helping deliver evidence-based training for schools and communities.

SPED Interim Legislative Committee to meet Aug. 27
The Special Education Interim Legislative Committee will hold its next meeting Aug. 27. Minutes and audio from the committee’s July 11 meeting can be accessed on the committee’s webpage [http://sdlegislature.gov/Interim/Documents.aspx?Committee=215&Session=2019&tab=Meetings]. The committee was established by SB 3 [http://sdlegislature.gov/docs/legsession/2019/Bills/SB3ENR.pdf] during the 2019 session, and its purpose is to study the cost and coordination of special education services in the state.

ESSA State Plan Revision Workgroup to meet Sept. 3
The ESSA State Plan Revision Workgroup will hold its next meeting Sept. 3. This group has been meeting with the intention of submitting a revised State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education by early 2020. A list of group members, along with notes from the group’s previous meetings are posted on the department’s ESSA Implementation webpage [https://doe.sd.gov/ESSA/].

Save the Date! Dyslexia trainings starting in October
Dr. Kari Oyen and Dr. Daniel Hajovsky from the University of South Dakota will offer day-long dyslexia trainings for district/school teams of two to four staff members. The trainers will also provide follow-up consultation on a case of suspected dyslexia in the team’s district to help ensure the training transfers into effective practice. Registration will be available soon via GoSignMeUp [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/Public/Course/Browse].
  • Oct. 11, Rapid City
  • Oct. 22, Aberdeen
  • Nov. 8, Sioux Falls
Webinar scheduled on Comprehensive Needs Assessment regional workshops
We’re offering a year-long regional workshop series leading schools and districts through the newly developed South Dakota Comprehensive Needs Assessment Framework and Process. Need more information? Join us for a webinar Aug. 15, 9:30-10:00 a.m. CT. Questions about the webinar? Contact Jordan Varilek [Jordan.varilek@state.sd.us].
English Free PD available to build your staff capacity to work with English learners

The South Dakota Department of Education has partnered with WIDA Professional Learning to offer two free extensive learning opportunities for educators over the course of the 2019-20 school year. Both opportunities are online, so there is no need for staff to travel offsite. These e-learning opportunities are for all teachers and administrators, not only teachers currently working with English learners.

WIDA Professional Learning Option #1: Self-paced, on-demand eWorkshops
Educators will have access to six, self-paced, on-demand eWorkshops beginning Sept. 1, 2019. Professionally developed by WIDA, a trusted name in the field of multilingual learner education and assessment, these eWorkshops cover a range of topics intended for a variety of audiences. We’re excited to offer this opportunity for several reasons:

Unlimited enrollment – With no limit on the number of participants, these eWorkshops are ideal for a district looking for high quality professional development for their entire staff.

Easy to access – Log in at any time, from any place. No need to spend extra money and time on travel. WIDA’s eWorkshops are a great option for rural districts. A WIDA account is needed to log in. If an educator doesn’t have an account already, they can contact their district assessment coordinator.

Professional learning for everyone – Not just for teachers of multilingual learners—everyone from administrators and facilitators to content teachers and specialists can find an eWorkshop relevant to their goals.

Actionable content – School leaders, general classroom, and ESL teachers will be introduced to strategies and resources they can put to use in their instruction right away.

Flexibility – WIDA’s eWorkshops can be taken individually at an educator’s own pace or utilized by a larger group or professional learning community.

Contact hours and graduate credit available – Once a participant completes an eWorkshop, they will be asked to complete a workshop evaluation and survey. Upon completion of the evaluation and survey, they will receive a certificate that they can email to Yutzil Becker [yutzil.becker@state.sd.us] at the South Dakota Department of Education to earn contact hours. Graduate credits will also be available through the University of Sioux Falls. One graduate credit can be earned for completion of 15 hours of workshops; two graduate credits can be earned for completion of 30 hours of workshops. Graduate credit registration information will be available soon.

See this flyer for detailed information on these WIDA eWorkshops [https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2019/Aug/documents/WIDA.pdf].

WIDA Professional Learning Option #2: Webinar Series
The Educator Collaboration to Support Multilingual Learners Webinar Series is designed for teams of two to five educators with diverse roles who work with multilingual learners. It will be open to up to 35 participants, and registration is available on GoSignMeUp [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=12665].

Contact hours and graduate credit available – Participants can earn one graduate credit through the University of Sioux Falls or 10 contact hours for these webinars. To earn two graduate credits, participants can combine the webinars with enough of the eWorkshops explained in Option #1 above to total 30 hours. Graduate credit registration information will be available soon.

Questions about these professional development opportunities? Contact Yutzil Becker [yutzil.becker@state.sd.us] with the South Dakota Department of Education.

New laws in effect
Most bills passed during the 2019 legislative session became law on July 1. For schools, these laws cover a range of topics, from a requirement to display the national motto of the United States to authorizing children who are subject to a pending military relocation to apply for enrollment in a school district. Here is a summary of education-related bills that became law on July 1 [https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2019/Aug/documents/2019BillSummary.pdf].
View videoView video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPInTwy8VnA New teachers can still sign up for Statewide Mentoring Program
If you have first-year teachers this school year, there’s still time to sign them up for the Statewide Mentoring Program. Kick-off events are underway and scheduled into September. Check out this video from June’s Mentoring Program Summer Academy [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPInTwy8VnA], the annual celebration and professional development event that caps each year of participants’ two years in the program. Questions? Contact Matt Gill [matthew.gill@state.sd.us] or Kelly Royer [kelly.royer@state.sd.us].
Announcing changes to statewide assessment names

The South Dakota Department of Education is updating the names of statewide assessments in English language arts, math, and science as noted below. The goal is to create clarity and consistency, so that assessment names are not tied to vendor or consortium names (i.e. AIR, MSAA, Smarter Balanced Consortium), which can change over time.

  • South Dakota English Language Arts Assessment
    • South Dakota English Language Arts Alternate Assessment
  • South Dakota Math Assessment
    • South Dakota Math Alternate Assessment
  • South Dakota Science Assessment
    • South Dakota Science Alternate Assessment
South Dakota will continue to use ELA and math assessment items from the Smarter Balanced Consortium. Science assessment items will come from an item bank developed by South Dakota educators and educators from a pool of several other states.

As a reminder, AIR was recently announced as the selected vendor to administer South Dakota’s state assessments beginning in spring 2020 for grades 3-8 and 11 in English language arts and math and grades 5, 8, and 11 in science and science alternate. AIR is the state’s current vendor for ELA and math (since 2014-15), but additionally, AIR will now also administer the science and science alternate assessments.

South Dakota again receives highest ratings under IDEA

South Dakota has received the highest rating possible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, for both Parts B and C for the most recent reporting year of federal fiscal year 2017. The state is one of only 14 across the country to meet the requirements and purposes of IDEA under both Parts B and C, according to information released recently from the U.S. Department of Education.

Read more at https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2019/0717-SPED.pdf.

Civics Summit Civics Summit held July 25

On July 25, nearly 40 K-12 teachers and administrators and three professors came to Pierre to discuss civics education as part of a well-rounded approach to preparing students. A smaller group will be asked to continue meeting to develop a definition and vision for civics education in our state. We will share the members of this smaller group (once selected) and summaries of their progress.

Refresher: SD’s model teacher evaluation system and process

South Dakota's model system for teacher evaluation was developed by the South Dakota Commission on Teaching and Learning. It includes a focus on professional practices and a focus on student growth as measured by student learning objectives, or SLOs. As you prepare for the 2019-20 school year, now is a great time to review this model.

Read more at https://doe.sd.gov/effectiveness/teacher.aspx

School culture, safe schools, and poverty-in-schools resource kits available

The South Dakota Department of Education is offering resource kits to help schools work with students in poverty and improve school culture and safety. Make these kits part of your back-to-school planning:

  • Poverty in Our Schools resource kit [https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2019/July/documents/Poverty1.pdf]
  • School Culture resource kit [https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2019/July/documents/SchoolCulture.pdf]
  • Safe Schools resource kit [https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2019/Aug/documents/SafeSchools.pdf]

Upcoming Events

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

Frontline Training for New Users
Aug. 7, Sioux Falls

Frontline Training for Returning Users
Aug. 7, Sioux Falls

Aligning Instructional Practices to ELA and Math Standards Using the Unpacked Documents
Aug. 7, Sioux Falls
Oct. 9, Chamberlain (registration information coming)

2019 IEP workshops
Various dates and locations statewide, summer and fall

Active Shooter Workshop
Aug. 13, Pierre

SD-STARS for Beginners webinar
Aug. 28

New Special Education Directors Webinar Series
Sept. 11 – Leadership and Management
Oct. 9 – Accountability/RDA
Nov. 14 – Child Count
Dec. 12 – Dispute Resolution
Jan. 9, 2020 – SPP/APR
Feb. 6, 2020 – Fiscal/Budget

Board of Education Standards
Sept. 16, Aberdeen

Fall DOE/Infinite Campus user groups
Sept. 16-20, various locations statewide

(For more information, contact Judy Merriman [judy.merriman@state.sd.us] or Teri Jung [teri.jung@state.sd.us])

Indian Education Summit
Sept. 22-24, Pierre

Accreditation Support Training
Sept. 23, Pierre

SD-STARS topical webinar
Sept. 25

School Library Boot Camp
Sept. 25, Spearfish, and online

Northern Plains Law Conference
Sept. 30-Oct. 2, Bismarck, ND

Educator Collaboration to Support Multilingual Learners: Webinar Series
Oct. 1, Oct. 29, Dec. 3, Jan. 21

Community Response to Child Abuse Conference
Oct. 3-4, Sioux Falls

Systems Change
Annual conference, featuring Teacher of the Year Banquet
Oct. 9-11, Oacoma

SD-STARS Training for STARS Account Managers
Oct. 29, Rapid City
Nov. 5, Aberdeen
Nov. 7, Sioux Falls

SD-STARS Training for District Users
Oct. 29, Rapid City
Nov. 5, Aberdeen
Nov. 7, Sioux Falls


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