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SD Department of Education
Aug. 2020  
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Back to school: Districts up to the challenge

First, foremost, and finally, thank you. As you make plans, adjust plans, then make new plans for this highly unusual school year, I am constantly reminded of your dedication to South Dakota students. We have a vital job, one I'm certainly glad you're doing, as no one else would be better at it than you who care so deeply about the success and well being of our students.

At the Department of Education, we remain dedicated to providing resources and guidance to assist you in navigating this challenging year. Please avail yourself of the daily office hours we, along with the Department of Health, hold for superintendents and school nurses to answer questions about handling positive cases and close contacts in your schools. Check our Starting Well webpage regularly to keep track of the latest information and updates. And if you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to enroll your district in the sentinel surveillance testing program. This program can play a crucial role in helping you stay on top of COVID-19 in your district.

There's no denying, you are being asked to do a lot. Managing COVID-19 precautions is one more thing on the plates of school administrators. I’m sure you never thought you would know so much about contact tracing, quarantine, isolation, and PPE. This situation is immensely complex and can move quickly. Yet, every time, there you are: logging in for the office hours and other webinars, listening, processing, asking questions. Because you know how vital it is to do everything possible to educate kids and keep them safe and healthy.

School districts across the state have begun opening their doors again, and that is exciting.

What stands out most, though, is the sheer resilience of educators, students, and families. This year will require tremendous flexibility, patience, creativity, and perseverance. I know you are up to the task. So again, thank you. Keep up the great work.

Report Card appeal window open through Sept. 3

Schools now have access to their 2019-20 Report Card data via SD-STARS. At this time, access is being provided to school district personnel only; the public version of the Report Card will not be available until Oct. 7, after any appeals have been finalized.

What districts should do now

  • Your Accountability Team may begin reviewing Report Card data. Log on at https://doestars.sd.gov. If you have problems logging in or accessing the Report Card, please contact STARSHelp@state.sd.us. Only personnel who have been assigned the Accountability role by your district’s SD-STARS Account Manager will have access. For directions on how to assign accountability permissions, go to: https://doestars.sd.gov/ContentDetails.aspx?t=c&id=1119.

  • Aug. 25, 28, Sept. 1, 3 – Take advantage of one of the Accountability Report Card Office Hours offered – the purpose of which is to provide an opportunity for school district staff to ask questions and receive technical assistance regarding the data in the report card. Districts received registration information in an Aug. 20 email from the Department of Education:
    • Aug. 25, 2 p.m. CT, via Zoom
    • Aug. 28, 9 a.m. CT, via Zoom
    • Sept. 1, 2 p.m. CT, via Zoom
    • Sept. 3, 2 p.m. CT, via Zoom
  • Aug. 20-Sept 3, 5 p.m. CT – This is the official and ONLY time period for districts to appeal errors in their 2019-20 Report Card data. The deadline to submit appeals is Thursday, Sept. 3, 5 p.m. CT. An Appeal Form, which includes the instructions for the appeal process, was emailed to districts Aug. 20.

  • Report Card Documents – You can find the updated documents to help you with the validation of your data here: https://doe.sd.gov/reportcard/
  • Questions? Email DOE.Accountability@state.sd.us or call 605-773-3134.

    Zoom licenses available to educators free of charge

    The South Dakota Department of Education has negotiated a three-year agreement at $7.50/per user annually with Zoom to provide licenses to K-12 teachers and school administrators, as those most directly responsible for providing instruction to students. DOE will provide Zoom licenses free of charge for three years to any school that is interested in using Zoom for distance learning.

    In order to utilize these licenses, the individual must have an @k12.sd.us email address. If your school does not utilize the @k12.sd.us email system, you will need to work with the K-12 Data Center to set it up.

    The K-12 Data Center [https://www.k12.sd.us/] will be organizing and assigning the licenses to schools upon their request. The K-12 Data Center will be sending an email to all technology coordinators who currently use the K-12 Data Center services with detailed information on how to request these licenses. If you currently do not utilize the K-12 Data Center services and are interested in taking advantage of this offer, please contact help@k12.sd.us.

    Questions? Please visit with your technology coordinator and contact the K-12 Data Center at help@k12.sd.us.

    Starting Well webpage updated regularly
    The South Dakota Department of Education regularly adds guidance and resources to its Starting Well webpage [https://doe.sd.gov/coronavirus/startingwell.aspx]. Among recent additions is a Parent Toolkit that includes information for families as they prepare for the 2020-21 school year. Resources will be added to this toolkit as well.

    South Dakota awarded $6.9 million Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant

    The South Dakota Department of Education has been awarded a Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant in the amount of $6,883,481 to support the state’s efforts to better serve students during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. This grant project aims to provide a comprehensive road map to successful learning so that students can learn at school, at home, or with blended learning approaches.

    Read more at https://doe.sd.gov/grants/rem.aspx.

    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 2018. The state is one of only 12 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/2020/0713-IDEA.pdf.

    Laura Scheibe Scheibe named to Advance CTE Board

    Congratulations to Laura Scheibe, South Dakota’s state director of career and technical education! She has been named secretary/treasurer of the Advance CTE Board for 2020-21. Advance CTE is the longest-standing national nonprofit that represents state CTE directors and state leaders of career and technical education.

    In addition to Scheibe, officers include:

    • President: Sarah Heath, state CTE director, Colorado Community College System
    • Vice President: Dr. Marcie Mack, state CTE director, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education
    • Past President: Ms. Bernadette Howard, state director for career technical education, University of Hawaii
    “We are grateful for our Board of Directors' expert counsel, time and leadership, ensuring that Advance CTE is focused on service to its members and leading the field of CTE. Working together, we will rise to the challenges before us, turning them into opportunities for growth and redoubling our efforts to ensure that equity and quality are at the heart of all the work we do,” said Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE.

    Learn more about the 2020-21 officers here [https://careertech.org/board-directors].

    Updated graduation requirements take full effect; webinars planned

    Starting with the 2020-21 school year, the graduation requirements adopted in 2018 will take full effect. The new graduation requirements were adopted by the Board of Education Standards in July 2018, with a soft implementation.

    The 2018 High School Graduation Requirements Handbook [https://doe.sd.gov/gradrequirements/documents/GradHandbook.pdf] is a resource to assist educators in implementing the new graduation requirements. Recently, minor updates were made to the “Frequently Asked Questions” section. Updates are summarized below:

    • Two new frequently asked questions about counting dual/concurrent credit and online courses through the South Dakota Virtual School as approved CTE in the “Advanced Career Endorsement” section (also mentioned in the “Online and Dual Credit Courses” section)
    • Three additional courses to constitute a physical science course in the “Math and Science Courses” section
    • Course codes added to the speech and debate courses referenced in the “Language Arts” section
    September webinars are planned to provide an overview of the new graduation requirements:
    • Sept. 1, 10-11 a.m. CT
    • Sept. 8, 2-3 p.m. CT
    • Sept. 18, 10-11 a.m. CT
    • Sept. 23, 2-3 p.m. CT
    For webinar access information, please contact Andrea Diehm [andrea.diehm@state.sd.us].

    Visit the 2018 High School Graduation Requirements webpage [https://doe.sd.gov/gradrequirements/] for more information and resources.

    Changes to dual credit now in effect

    During the 2020 legislative session, SB 142 was passed. This new law went into effect July 1, 2020. It requires that, starting this fall, students participating in the High School Dual Credit program are no longer eligible to participate if they have received a “W” or “F” grade in a high school dual credit course. Learn more about this change in this Frequently Asked Questions document [https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2020/08/documents/DualCredit.pdf].

    Webinars to address suicide prevention policy

    School administrators, counselors, teachers, and board members are invited to attend one of two webinars on Model School Policy: Suicide Prevention to be held in September. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will provide an overview of the Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention [https://afsp.org/model-school-policy-on-suicide-prevention].

    When: Sept. 29, 10-11 a.m. CT or 2-3 p.m. CT

    • Register [https://afspsdmodelschoolpolicy.attendease.com/]
    Developed in collaboration with the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists and The Trevor Project, the program outlined in the model policy is research-based and easily adaptable for middle and high schools. The event is being offered as part of the South Dakota Suicide Prevention State Plan [https://sdsuicideprevention.org/toolkits/strategic-plans/].

    Questions? Contact Andrea Diehm [andrea.diehm@state.sd.us] with the South Dakota Department of Education.

    Reminder of annual home school reporting process

    Families who home school their students must annually report exempt status to the public school district in which they reside. The school district must provide a copy of the notification form to the location where the student is being provided instruction and a copy to the state Department of Education, as per SDCL 13-27-9 [https://sdlegislature.gov/Statutes/Codified_Laws/DisplayStatute.aspx?Type=Statute&Statute=13-27-9]. Encourage home school families to use the current Notification for Public School Exemption Certificate form, posted on the department's Home School webpage [https://doe.sd.gov/oatq/homeschooling.aspx].


    Remember school entry immunization requirements

    As a result of COVID-19, the South Dakota Department of Health reports seeing a decrease in childhood immunizations. In late June and again on Aug. 21, DOH sent a letter to principals reminding them of SDCL 13-28-7.1 [https://sdlegislature.gov/Statutes/Codified_Laws/DisplayStatute.aspx?Type=Statute&Statute=13-28-7.1], which requires any pupil entering school be adequately immunized against certain communicable diseases.

    The letter includes guidelines and instructions for the school immunization auditing submission process for all accredited schools in South Dakota. You may refer to http://doh.sd.gov/family/childhood/immunization/school.aspx for immunization requirements.

    DOH asks school health officials to encourage parents to resume their children’s vaccinations and keep them up-to-date.

    There are school entry immunization requirements for South Dakota kindergarten, sixth grade, and transfer students. This includes students in these grade levels who are enrolled in distance learning. You may have already been contacted by the Community Health Nurse who will be auditing your immunization coverage. If not, you will be contacted soon.

    Questions? Contact Carol Chalcraft [carol.chalcraft@state.sd.us] with the Department of Health.

    Upcoming Events

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

    Please note: Due to the fluid nature of COVID-19 concerns, face-to-face meetings are subject to cancelation, postponement, or shifting to an online platform. Confirm with event organizers before making plans to attend.

    SD-STARS Account Managers (SAM) Training Session
    Sept. 8, online

    Board of Education Standards
    Sept. 21, Aberdeen

    Webinar for SD educators: Model School Policy on Suicide Prevention
    Sept. 29, 10 a.m. CT or 2 p.m. CT

    Community Response to Child Abuse Conference
    Sept. 30-Oct. 1, online

    Northern Plains Law Conference
    Oct. 5-6, online

    Dyslexia Assessment in SD
    Oct. 9, online
    Oct. 16, online
    Nov. 6, online


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