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SD Department of Education
May 2020  
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Looking ahead to starting well

As I would in any other May, I want to commend you for your hard work and dedication to students as the school year comes to a close.

Of course, this isn’t just any May. We’re in the midst of a crisis that won’t afford you the rest and relaxation you deserve heading into the summer months. But please know that we at the South Dakota Department of Education continue to stand ready to support you, as you think about what the next school year can look like.

We are developing guidance to assist you in this planning process. We will provide the leadership you need while also staying out of your way, so that you can do what only you can do best: respond well to your students’ unique needs and circumstances.

The unknowns we all face as we move forward can feel overwhelming, but the leadership and capability I have witnessed over these past few months give me great confidence that you will continue to meet all the challenges before you.

This summer will be stressful and hectic, but like every summer that has come before, it will also include a great deal of sunshine and warm weather. If you haven’t already, please take the time to develop a strong self-care plan that gives you time to enjoy the opportunities summer provides. It will hold you in good stead as you continue to lead your students in the coming school year.

The questions are many, but the answers continue to be grounded in what is best for students. I know that is what will guide us all.

Resources for schools at COVID-19 webpage
The great majority of DOE’s resources related to COVID-19 are available on our COVID-19 webpage [https://doe.sd.gov/coronavirus/]. The COVID Q&A for Schools is updated regularly, and we have added a section to the page having to do with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (or CARES) Act; we will be adding to it as new information becomes available.

Complete Career Launch survey by May 29

Beginning in school year 2020-21, the Career Launch Program plans to expand its reach by offering services throughout the state. Career Launch is a joint effort of the South Dakota Departments of Labor and Regulation and Education. While it is not feasible to have one Career Advisor in each school, services [https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2020/may/documents/CareerLaunchPhase.pdf] will be offered regionally.

Please let Career Launch know about your schools’ Career Advisor needs by completing this survey [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DN6PRTS] by May 29, and a DLR representative will follow up with you in August.

This message was also sent out via our Career and Technical Education listservs. Please one response per school. Questions? Contact Aaron Morlock [Aaron.Morlock@state.sd.us] at DLR.

Virtual Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor training available
Through Project AWARE, we are offering a train-the-trainer course in Youth Mental Health First Aid at no cost to school districts. Topics include how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders in youth. Instructors will be qualified to teach a course to district teachers and community members. To request a YMHFA instructor application, contact Teresa Rowland [Teresa.Rowland@state.sd.us].

art First cohort of Wóokiye teachers selected

The first cohort of participants in the Wóokiye Project has been announced. South Dakota’s Office of Indian Education has chosen three pilot districts/schools with five teachers from each and an additional five teachers at-large from around the state, who will be recognized as Wóokiye teachers.

Wóokiye pilot districts/schools and educators

  • Timber Lake School District
    • Karyl Boldt
    • Tylyn LeBeau
    • Julie Marshall
    • Amy Sandquist
    • Jae White
  • Smee School District
    • Caitlin Friesz
    • Melvin Hill
    • Elverda Little Dog
    • Douglas Oliver
    • Terri Smith
  • Georgia Morse Middle School (Pierre)
    • Jessica Carr
    • Shannon Mack
    • Victoria Moore
    • Jason Stangeland
    • Stephanie Todd
  • At-large participants
    • Brian Brown, Rosebud Elementary
    • Anthony D. Flores, St. Thomas More Middle School (Rapid City)
    • Jeannine Metzger, Enemy Swim Day School
    • Matthew Rama, Thunder Valley CDC (Porcupine)
    • Natasha L. Thiry, Kennebec Elementary

Beginning this summer, this initiative, supported through a Bush Foundation grant, will be an opportunity for these South Dakota educators to create and implement a network of support that will help, aid, and assist them as they become proficient in using the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards. “Wóokiye” is a Lakota term meaning to help, aid, assist.

The Wóokiye teacher project will promote the OSEUs and support culturally responsive teaching practices.

Wóokiye teachers will receive training this summer and will attend required monthly virtual meetings. The three pilot districts/schools will also receive schoolwide professional development.

  • Wóokiye objectives:
    • Creating OSEU lessons and schoolwide plans
    • Modeling of culturally responsive classroom instruction
    • Culturally responsive training/cultural proficiency
    • Development of shared leadership/vision
    • Wóophe Sakowin classroom management training


Congratulations to District and Regional Teachers of the Year!

Districts were invited to submit the names of their Teachers of the Year to the South Dakota Department of Education. Those teachers could then apply for Regional Teacher of the Year, one of whom will be named State Teacher of the Year in the fall. Congratulations to all District and Regional Teachers of the Year!

  • Region #1: Lisa Weier, Project Lead the Way, George S. Mickelson Middle School (Brookings)
  • Region #2: Marissa Whipple, second grade, Baltic Elementary
  • Region #3: Amanda Hargreaves, sixth grade, Mitchell Middle School
  • Region #4: Spencer Cody, science, Edmunds Central Middle and High School
  • Region #5: Luke Erfman, computer/STEAM, rural schools, Meade School District
A statewide panel of educators will select one of these regional finalists to represent the state as the 2021 South Dakota Teacher of the Year. The 2021 South Dakota Teacher of the Year will be announced sometime this fall. That individual will be South Dakota’s candidate for the National Teacher of the Year Award.

District Teachers of the Year
District Teacher
Aberdeen Sara Weischedel
Agar-Blunt-Onida Susie Rilling
Avon Connie Gretschmann
Baltic Marissa Whipple
Belle Fourche Julie Erskin
Bon Homme Ashley Armstrong
Brandon Valley Michael Zerr
Britton-Hecla Beth Renner
Brookings Lisa Weier
Canistota Crystall Becker
Canton Alexis Burwitz
Chamberlain Kari Toupal
Chester Area Laura Biagi
Clark Heather Fuhrmann
Corsica-Stickney Mike Tuschen
Custer Karen Karim
De Smet Jennifer Hojer
Deuel Karan Domina
Doland Katy Lyren
Edmunds Central Spencer Cody
Elkton Georgianna Jensen
Florence Sarah Spiering
Frederick Area Caitlin Podoll
Garretson Matt Schrank
Harrisburg Tamra Huffman
Henry Deanna Martens
Herreid Julie Graczyk
Lead-Deadwood Shannon Mollman
Lennox Lisa Muhs
Leola Nancy Kindelspire
Lyman Nikki Collins
Madison Central Kindra Wiese
Meade Luke Erfman
Milbank Beth Wagner
Mitchell Amanda Hargreaves
Mobridge-Pollock Ladonna Mielke
Parker Mindee Birnstiehl
Pierre Tom Rogers
Plankinton Michelle Karst
Rapid City Area Jamie Amundsen
Sanborn Central Jill Reimer
Sioux Falls Janelle Revier
Sioux Valley Don Sutera
Spearfish Chris Blain
Tea Area Janice Gilbert
Timber Lake Theresa Keller
Tri-Valley Jennifer Even
Vermillion Kelly Stone
Wall Ronda Edgar
Watertown Karen Johnson
Webster Area Ashley Hanson
Wessington Springs Julie Bruckner
West Central Nicole Harmon
Willow Lake Lindsey Tellinghuisen
Wolsey-Wessington Jackie Fauth
Yankton Beth Anderson
Basil Knebel Special education staff honored

Congratulations to Basil Knebel, Langford Area School District, who has received the Outstanding Special Education Staff Award! Nine other individuals were also nominated by parents for Special Education Staff of the Year.

Knebel has been featured in his local newspapers: the Britton Journal and Langford Bugle [https://www.marshallcountyjournal.com/news/la-teacher-recognized].

Parent Nominated Special Education Staff of the Year
Norma Brown Bull, Little Wound School System Gina Nelson, Rapid City Area School District
Jill Goertel, Sioux Falls School District Jessica Nordhus, Clark School District
Laura Harrison, Rapid City Area School District Jada Sulzle, Rapid City Area School District
Heather Hoeye, Black Hills Special Services Cooperative, Project SEARCH Ronald Ten Fingers, Isna Wica Owayawa (Loneman School)
Roxanne Murphy, Meade School District
2020 SD Workforce Education and Perkins Reserve Grant recipients announced

South Dakota Workforce Education Grants, which provide the opportunity to make transformative change in career and technical education programs, have been awarded to four South Dakota public school districts:

Canton School District - $60,000
Erect and maintain a school greenhouse with the intent to develop tomorrow’s South Dakota workforce by introducing and culturing students’ interest in career areas such as agronomy, horticulture, landscape construction, soil science, and natural resources.

Huron School District - $225,000
Expand infrastructure and career development opportunities in the district’s CTE programs in order to fulfill regional workforce needs.

McCook Central School District - $57,945
Create an Animal Science and Agri Science Learning Lab.

Mitchell School District - $56,290.35
Precision Agriculture and Automation Project designed to advance the congruence of the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy’s agriculture program with the realities and needs of the modern agriculture sector.

Perkins Reserve Grants, which provide funds to support the purchase of industry-grade classroom equipment or curricula and high-quality professional development opportunities, were recently awarded to the following districts:

Agar-Blunt-Onida - $29,138.96
Build a hands-on experiential learning greenhouse to improve students’ knowledge in science, agriculture, human services, and CTE.

Belle Fourche - $2,366
Advance curriculum in Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources through the purchase of a DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone with accessories. This allows students to experience hands-on training in a high-tech industry and to become industry certified in Remote Pilot Certification.

Chester Area - $11,377.99
“From the classroom to the farm: Reproductive techniques from start to finish in swine and cattle.” This project will reach nearly 60 students and meet Animal Science and Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources standards.

Dell Rapids - $29,850
Update the school’s CTE welding and manufacturing program by adding a CNC plasma table.

Newell - $29,995
Purchase industry-grade equipment to ensure students gain practical knowledge and exposure to CNC machining and design processes, manufacturing and engineering trends, and safety standards.

BOES adopts rule changes and updated standards revision timeline

At its May 11 meeting the South Dakota Board of Education Standards adopted changes to special education rules. The changes do the following:

1) Update state rules to align with federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act

2) Correct the definition of preschool age and preschool program to align with the IDEA preschool age.

The board also adopted an updated content standards revision timeline [https://doe.sd.gov/contentstandards/documents/StandardsTimeline.pdf]. Standards are typically scheduled for review and adoption on a five-year rotation for career and technical education and a seven-year rotation for core content.

Better Hearing and Speech Month

Updating the Personnel Record Form

The Personnel Record Form is open. The deadline to make any changes to this school year’s database is June 12. It is important to log into the system via http://doe.sd.gov/prf/. Click on “PRF Log-in Screen,” then select DE69PERS to enter SY 2020 staffing data.

Review and update the PRF with any changes in staffing, FTEs, salaries (including base salary), assignments, etc. Review plans of intent for accuracy.

Information in the PRF is used for state, district, and school report cards, data requests, federal reporting, and teacher compensation reports for public schools.


Wanted: New STARS Certified Trainers

The SD-STARS team is seeking SCTs for the 2020-21 school year. The new SCTs will convene during an online summer workshop, to be held July 13. Ideal SCT candidates are individuals who work with multiple districts (i.e. school success facilitators, employees of educational cooperatives, and others who provide education trainings to multiple districts).

For more information on becoming an SCT, email STARSHelp@state.sd.us. There is no cost to attend the summer workshop or to serve as an SCT. Any costs associated with leading training sessions for districts should be provided by the districts.

Register for the July 13 workshop on GoSignMeUp [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=12916].

During the 2019-20 school year, 10 individuals served as SCTs. These individuals received regular updates on, and access to, resources about SD-STARS to better support their work with schools and districts in South Dakota. Although they typically did not provide SD-STARS-specific training sessions, they were better equipped to use SD-STARS to supplement the work they were already doing. There are two main requirements to become a new STARS Certified Trainer: attend the summer workshop (online) and participate in monthly update calls on SD-STARS.



Still time to sign up for mentoring program

The Statewide Mentoring Program provides a first-year teacher access to a mentor teacher for a period of two years and participation in a summer academy following the first and second year of employment.

Applications for the 2020-21 school year are open.

This is an excellent opportunity for experienced South Dakota teachers (current and retired) to share their skills and help guide beginning teachers. In addition, through this program, South Dakota’s newest teachers are supported and welcomed into the education community.

Mentors and new teachers who complete the mentoring program meet the credit requirements to renew their teaching certificate.

Alternative Certification teachers are required to participate in a state-approved mentoring program. Those who are in the Statewide Mentoring Program meet this requirement.

Requirements have also been established for districts that would like to receive funding to handle mentoring locally.

Visit the Statewide Mentoring Program’s webpage [http://doe.sd.gov/mentoring/] to learn more and find the following:

  • Applications for new mentors and first-year teachers
  • Program information for second-year participants
Those who are already participating in the program are not required to complete a new application.

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.

English Learner Handbook Workshop
May 19, online

Board of Extraordinary Cost Oversight
May 27, online

Diversity and the School Library
June 1-July 1

Introduction to IEPQ
June 16, online

The Fundamentals of Using Data for Educators
June dates TBD

Advanced Data Use Skills for Educators
June 29-Aug. 16, online

An Introduction to the 2019 SD School Library Standards
July 1-Aug. 1

Board of Education Standards
July 13

SD-STARS workshop for new STARS Certified Trainers
July 13, online

Top 20 Training
July 28-30, Oacoma

Indian Education Summit – rescheduled and going virtual!
Aug. 10

CANCELED: ExCITE! (formerly School Library Boot Camp)
Sept. 30, Aberdeen, and online through October


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