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SD Department of Education
Jan. 2020  
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Dr. Jones SECRETARY’S COLUMN: Championing excellence in South Dakota’s K-12 education system

I hope you had a relaxing holiday break and are beginning the new year feeling refreshed and energized.

The South Dakota Department of Education has released its strategic plan, which will guide the department’s activities through 2024 [https://doe.sd.gov/publications/documents/StrategicPlan.pdf]. Based on our professional experience, judgment, and knowledge, we believe the plan provides a concise illustration of the department’s future and work for our next generation. Chief among our priorities is championing excellence in South Dakota’s K-12 education system.

As part of our strategy, the department has initiated two implementation plans focused on decreasing the opportunity gap for students in poverty and establishing a networked community of allies focused on serving Native American learners to improve academic outcomes.

These initiatives have key points of overlap and will be primary efforts of the department and our partners in the coming years. Other priorities are expanding work-based learning and enhancing civics education.

The plan consists of four strategic directions: championing excellence, maximizing and building relationships, achieving effectiveness, and cultivating our professional culture. The strategies are intended to achieve the department’s vision of supporting local educators, investing in talent development, fostering research and innovation, supporting the whole learner, and reinventing accountability.

The department’s strategic plan clearly defines what we hope to be as a department in five years, and it describes who is working on which initiative and when. This is a living plan, to change as the needs of students change while keeping standards high and ensuring that a diploma is meaningful.

It is also important to note what this strategic plan is not. It is not the statewide plan driven by student achievement goals for South Dakota students. That is our state’s current Every Student Succeeds Act Plan. Instead, the department’s strategic plan details steps the department will take, as part of the wider effort of supporting South Dakota’s accredited schools, to improve our state’s educational environment. We will monitor progress on the ESSA plan, and make efforts to improve where there is need.

Together with our state’s educators and other important partners, our professional staff will begin to move in the strategic directions of maximizing and building relationships, achieving effectiveness, championing excellence, and cultivating our professional culture.

We embrace the work ahead, and we appreciate everything you do for South Dakota students.

Leader Feature LEADER FEATURE: ‘Our children are sacred, our family is our priority, our elders are precious’

Juliana White Bull-Taken Alive became the director of South Dakota’s Office of Indian Education in May 2019. We recently talked with her about her vision for the office and how her extensive experience in education is informing her work at the state level.

White Bull-Taken Alive has been a middle school teacher, an elementary school principal, and a school board member. She has worked in higher education at Sitting Bull College, where she led student support services. She has also managed teacher leadership development for Teach for America, and most recently led the tribal education department on the Standing Rock Reservation. She is currently a doctoral candidate in transformational leadership at Concordia University – Portland.


Tribal consultation
In her role as director of the Office of Indian Education, White Bull-Taken Alive sees an opportunity to apply her previous experience leading the tribal education department of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. She helped develop the tribe’s framework for tribal consultation as required in the Every Student Succeeds Act.

On the Standing Rock Reservation, the tribal council now invites public school districts on the reservation to its office to share how their schools are meeting the needs of the tribe’s students in the areas of language, culture, and the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings. White Bull-Taken Alive feels the process is leading to meaningful dialogue between the tribe and schools:

“That conversation has created such a connection for those schools that had never actually been to the tribal office or were unfamiliar with how tribal government worked. It’s empowered our tribal council and enlightened our school leaders.

“So this is something that really pushes me to do this work [at the state level]. I understand there is this whole system on the reservations where there’s a tribal education department doing its work. And then the state is doing its work. In my new role, I want to help make that connection, so that everybody is on the same page, and that we’re not doing separate things for the same reason.”

Now at the state level, White Bull-Taken Alive has also helped the South Dakota Department of Education do consultation with tribes: “I believe that as time goes on, students are really going to benefit from everybody having these conversations and actually talking and having meaningful dialogue and informing and being transparent about what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it – state to tribe and tribe to schools and local levels. It’s a good energy. It’s got momentum, and I hope to keep moving in a good direction.”

Educational equity
Educational equity is also important to White Bull-Taken Alive. She sees equity as all students having the same access to resources and opportunities, and for all students to be aware of their options. “In educational equity, there are meaningful conversations happening that are really going to impact lives—not only students’ lives, but families and communities,” she says. “Everybody is communicating. Equity helps to get that information out to everybody and considers everybody in education, where they are.”

Poverty: Monetary or spiritual?
When White Bull-Taken Alive considers the role of poverty in discussions of equity, she looks at two senses of the word: “Is it monetary poverty or is it spiritual poverty?” she asks. “Because the whole Lakota culture is based on spirituality and prayers, and when we have to separate that and make our culture academic, we’re dismantling what we know and what our ancestors knew. But I think educational equity will be when we can put it all back together and it can serve all of our indigenous students in every way that it was supposed to, in terms of academics and spirituality.”

In preparation for more in-depth strategic planning, White Bull-Taken Alive has outlined four priorities for the Office of Indian Education:

  1. Collaborate with tribal education departments to ensure strong communication among tribes and the state departments of Tribal Relations and Education.
  2. Manage and facilitate the South Dakota Indian Education Advisory Council [https://indianeducation.sd.gov/advisorycouncil.aspx], whose role is to promote the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and make recommendations to improve indigenous education in South Dakota.
  3. Monitor and manage grant opportunities to improve indigenous education.
  4. Host the annual Indian Education Summit.
The Department of Tribal Relations was recently awarded Bush Foundation funding for the Wóokiye teacher project. Wóokiye is a Lakota term that means to help, aid, assist. The goal of this project is to create and implement a network of support that will help, aid, and assist teachers as they become proficient in using the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings [https://doe.sd.gov/ContentStandards/documents/18-OSEUs.pdf].

In talking with White Bull-Taken Alive, one notices her emphasis on the phrase, “indigenous education.”

Why indigenous education?


Proud to be an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, White Bull-Taken Alive continues to live on her home reservation. Learn more about her perspective on success on the reservation:


Teaching is the family business for White Bull-Taken Alive. Her father was a long-time teacher, and her son is currently student teaching.

Three generations of teachers


ESSA State Plan Revisions: Now taking public comment
South Dakota is proposing changes to its ESSA State Plan, which is required under the Every Student Succeeds Act. If approved by the U.S. Department of Education, the changes would be reflected in the SY 2019-20 Report Card. View proposed revisions and find information about submitting public comment at https://doe.sd.gov/essa/. Deadline to submit public comment: Jan. 24, 5 p.m. CT.

Perkins V Accountability Indicators: Now taking public comment

South Dakota is developing a state plan for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), the federal law overseeing funding of career and technical education. Proposed Accountability Indicators are now open for public comment. View the proposed indicators on the department’s Perkins V webpage [https://doe.sd.gov/cte/PerkinsV.aspx]. Look for the Accountability Indicators for Public Comment link.

Public comment is now being taken and can be submitted in two ways: via email to DOECTE@state.sd.us or via regular mail to South Dakota Department of Education, Attention: Laura Scheibe, 800 Governors Drive, Pierre, SD 57501.

A public hearing on the full State Plan will be held during the South Dakota Board of Education Standards meeting on Jan. 27, in Pierre.

The deadline to submit public comment on the Accountability Indicators is March 13, 5 p.m. CT.

Since January 2019, the South Dakota Department of Education has been gathering input and holding targeted school and stakeholder discussions to develop the state plan.

Civics Education Civics education plan created; webinars for K-12 social studies educators scheduled

The department’s three-year plan for the enhancement of civics education in South Dakota is now available on our Civics Education webpage [https://doe.sd.gov/contentstandards/civics.aspx]. A group of stakeholders helped to develop this plan, which outlines strategies, goals, and action steps.

The department is committed to ensuring that South Dakota students graduate from the K-12 system prepared to actively participate in society at all levels—local, tribal, regional, state, and national—as informed and engaged citizens. High-quality civics education is crucial to achieving this outcome.

The department will be hosting webinars Jan. 17 and Jan. 23 to gain firsthand feedback from K-12 social studies educators. Please encourage your district’s K-12 social studies educators to participate in one of these webinars:

  • Jan. 17, 3:30 p.m. CT
  • Jan. 23, 4:30pm CT
Participants will have time to offer insight on professional development opportunities, strengths of social studies education, and ways the South Dakota Department of Education can further support social studies education in our state.

Questions? Please contact Melinda Johnson [Melinda.Johnson@state.sd.us] with the South Dakota Department of Education.

Webinar access information:
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Meeting ID: 432 062 0552

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SD Capitol Building Legislative session opens Jan. 14
The 2020 Legislative Session begins Jan. 14, with Gov. Kristi Noem’s State of the State address at 1 p.m. CT. Listen live at sd.net. House and Senate Education Committee meetings will also be streamed live throughout session via sd.net and on the SDNet app available for iOS and Android.

SD Dept. of Public Safety Apply for Homeland Security grant funding by Feb. 14

Applications for Homeland Security grant funding are being accepted until Feb. 14 at 5 p.m. CT via the South Dakota Department of Public Safety Electronic Grant Management System [https://sddps.intelligrants.com/Menu_Person2.aspx?NavItem1=1]. State and local, public and private nonprofit agencies, including public and non-public schools, are eligible to apply.

Funding will be awarded for one-time projects that have a connection to a Homeland Security mission such as prevention or protection against terrorism threats. In particular, schools may be interested in access control projects such as keyless entry, video entry, and Fire Marshal-compliant door locks. Surveillance camera systems are not allowable at this time; grants will focus on basic security measures, such as access control, and funding is limited.

Awards are competitive and local awards will be based on recommendations of regional review committees. Funding for projects will become available on or about Sept. 1, 2020. Award agreements will be generated after funding becomes available; projects cannot start before the award date.

Questions? Find more information on the South Dakota Department of Public Safety website [https://dps.sd.gov/safety-enforcement/homeland-security/grants] or call the South Dakota Office of Homeland Security at 605-773-3450.


South Dakota teachers, school counselors go above and beyond with professional certifications
Five South Dakota teachers and three school counselors earned national certifications in 2019. Teachers achieve National Board Certification through a rigorous, performance-based, peer-reviewed assessment of their pedagogical skills and content knowledge. The National Certified School Counselor certification recognizes counselors who demonstrate specialized knowledge and skills in school counseling.

Read more at https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2020/0107-NBCT.pdf.


Presentation proposals for Mentoring Summer Academy due Feb. 28

The Department of Education is seeking proposals for breakout sessions at the 2020 Mentoring Summer Academy. More than 850 new teachers and mentors who are participating in the statewide mentoring program will attend this event scheduled for June 3-4 in Sioux Falls.

The purpose of the Mentoring Summer Academy is to provide a time of celebration, reflection, and professional development. Presenters will be reimbursed travel expenses and will receive $150 per session for their work. The Mentoring Summer Academy will be held in Sioux Falls at the Denny Sanford Premier Center June 3-4, with the breakout sessions on June 4.

Proposals are due by Feb. 28. Find more information on the Proposal Application page [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/sdSummerAcademy20].

Students South Dakota Math Standards aligned to Integrated Mathematics courses
The South Dakota Math Standards are now aligned to high school Integrated Mathematics courses. A team of South Dakota teachers collaborated to align state math standards to Integrated Math 1, 2, and 3. Find the Integrated Mathematics Standards Alignment Supplement on DOE’s Mathematics Content Standards webpage [https://doe.sd.gov/contentstandards/math.aspx], under the South Dakota Mathematics Standards heading.
Cyber Security Nominations due Jan. 31 for inaugural Cybersecurity Education Award

Beginning this spring, the Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award will be presented annually to two educators – one elementary and one secondary – who instill in their students skills, knowledge, and passion for cybersecurity and related subjects. Award nominations are due Jan. 31. Learn more in this Homeroom blog entry from the U.S. Department of Education [https://blog.ed.gov/2019/10/nominations-open-inaugural-presidential-cybersecurity-education-award/].

CPR and AED Training Annual reminder: CPR and AED training resources on DOE website

CPR is not a graduation requirement; however, all districts need to incorporate into district curriculum the skills necessary to perform hands-only CPR and awareness in the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator). The South Dakota Department of Education must annually make school districts aware of available resources for use in providing this instruction, which can be found on the department’s CPR Resources for Schools webpage [https://doe.sd.gov/cpr/].

Stakeholders from various state and nonprofit agencies and health/physical education teachers have compiled these resources and contacts for districts to access when implementing CPR training.

A certified teacher is not required to be an authorized CPR or AED instructor to oversee this instruction. However, any CPR course that results in the students earning a completion card must be taught by an authorized CPR or AED instructor.

The Department of Education is also required to annually collect and report to the South Dakota Legislature information regarding how CPR is being taught in schools. This information is gathered annually via an electronic survey. Read this year’s survey results [https://doe.sd.gov/cpr/documents/FinalReport-1219.pdf] on the DOE website.

Any questions concerning the CPR/AED requirements can be directed to Teresa.Berndt@state.sd.us.

Selective service requirements for 18-year-olds

The U.S. Selective Service System and U.S. Department of Education request the assistance of school leaders in reminding students of the registration requirements under the Military Selective Service Act. Males are required to register beginning 30 days prior to their 18th birthday and extending 30 days after. Late registration is accepted up to the 26th birthday. Registration can be completed online at www.sss.gov or by completing a hard-copy form available at any U.S. Post Office.

Upcoming Events

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

CTE Improve20
Jan. 21, Aberdeen
Jan. 22, Mitchell
Jan. 23, Oacoma
Jan. 27, Rapid City
Jan. 28, Sioux Falls

SD-STARs & EL joint webinar
Jan. 22
Jan. 29

ACCESS/ALT ACCESS Accommodations webinar
Jan. 23, 12 p.m. CT
Jan. 23, 2:30 p.m. CT

Equitable Grading of English learners
Jan. 23, Huron

Board of Education Standards
Jan. 27, Pierre

2020 Winter State Assessment Workshop
Jan. 28, Pierre
Feb. 4, Sioux Falls
Feb. 5, Sioux Falls
Feb. 6, Watertown
Feb. 13, Rapid City
Feb. 25, Skype virtual meeting

National ESEA Conference
Feb. 4-7, Atlanta, Ga.

School Counselor Best Practices Share Session
Feb. 5, Rapid City

New Special Education Directors Webinar Series
Feb. 6 – Fiscal/Budget

SD STEM Ed Conference
Feb. 6-8, Huron

Promoting Teacher Success – Webinar
Feb. 11, 9-10 a.m. CT
Feb. 12, 2-3 p.m. CT

South Dakota Special Education Conference
March 17-18, Sioux Falls

South Dakota Early Childhood Education Conference
April 23-25, Sioux Falls

SD Education Conference
May 27-28, Oacoma

Save the Date: Top 20 Training
July 28-30, Chamberlain


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