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SD Department of Education
Jan. 2021  
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Tiffany Sanderson SECRETARY’S COLUMN: Wishing you a great 2021

I hope you were able to get some well-deserved rest and relaxation over the holiday break and are ready to start 2021 refreshed. COVID-19 mitigation measures will continue to be a significant focus for you and your district, but with vaccines becoming more widely available, this is certainly a time for renewed hope and optimism.

I stepped into the role of Secretary of Education on Dec. 9, and I’m looking forward to working with all of you.

To tell you just a bit about myself, most recently I served as a policy advisor in Governor Noem’s office, where my portfolio included K-12 education, higher education, and workforce development. From 2009-2017 I worked for the Department of Education, leading our Division of Career and Technical Education, so returning as Secretary feels a bit like “coming home.”

Thank you for your tremendous work and leadership this school year. The last 10 months have underscored the many important roles that our schools play for our communities, in students' academic and social lives, and for our families.

I'm certain that the number of easy days since last March have been few, but you've done incredible work to mitigate the impact of the virus in your buildings. You have cheered on your teachers and staff. And you figured out how to piece together all sorts of things, like school meals, when supplies have been unreliable.

You've stood tall as pillars of strength and hope in your communities. Leading a school is underappreciated even in the best of times. I'm sure that it's felt like a lonely place over these last months, but I want you to know that I'm grateful for you. I've watched you and cheered you on. For everyone who may have forgotten to say it, thank you.

For those of you I haven't had a chance to meet yet or work with closely, I look forward to connecting with you soon. And for those who have been in regular communication, keep the calls, the texts, and the emails coming. I'm always interested in your ideas and your perspective.

In the short term, my priorities are to support your work in an atypical school year, to prepare for the legislative session, and to get familiar with the details of what's in motion here at the department.

Beyond that, my focus will be in three areas:

  1. Student success: Strong academic foundations and real-world experiences that prepare them for success beyond high school.
  2. Educator excellence: Excellent leadership and excellence in the classroom.
  3. Transparent, effective systems: Continually improving South Dakota’s K-12 education system so that taxpayers appreciate the investment that they're making, and school boards and parents have information to make decisions with confidence.
I’m optimistic about the year ahead. Have a great 2021!

Governor Noem extends COVID-19 emergency declaration

Governor Noem has signed an executive order to continue to give flexibility as South Dakota fights the spread of COVID-19. Executive Order 2020-34 [https://covid.sd.gov/docs/2020-34.pdf] extends the COVID-19 emergency declaration until June 30, unless sooner terminated or extended.

With this extension of the declared state of emergency through the fiscal year, the education-related suspensions in the following executive orders are extended:

  • 2020-10 [https://sdsos.gov/general-information/executive-actions/executive-orders/assets/2020-10.PDF] which suspends certain educator preparation regulations, including field experiences and conditional certificates
  • 2020-14 [https://sdsos.gov/general-information/executive-actions/executive-orders/assets/2020-14.PDF] which suspends Student Learning Objectives outlined in ARSD 24:57:01:01(6)(b)
  • 2020-33 [https://sdsos.gov/general-information/executive-actions/executive-orders/assets/2020-33.PDF] which provides flexibility around 1) evaluations for experienced teachers and principals, 2) accreditation reviews in school year 2020-21, 3) emergency evacuation drills, and 4) the annual CPR instruction survey

SD Week of Work Save the date: South Dakota Week of Work

The South Dakota Week of Work will be held April 19-23, 2021. All activities will be offered virtually. More details to come. This special week will introduce 10th and 11th graders to career opportunities in their communities and across the state. It’s a week of exploration and celebration, with the aim of guiding students, engaging local businesses, and introducing employers to their future workforce.

Submit public comment on proposed Administrative Rule changes

The Board of Education Standards [https://boardsandcommissions.sd.gov/Meetings.aspx?BoardID=32] will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to Administrative Rules 24:43 (Accreditation) and 24:53 (Educator Prep Programs) at its Jan. 19 meeting.

Proposed changes to Administrative Rule 24:43 would clarify the procedure regarding the final determination in warning, denial, suspension, or removal of accreditation actions. Proposed changes to Administrative Rule 24:53 would update the National Association for School Psychologists standards edition year in the current language to “2020” and add language recommended by NASP regarding elements of program completion.

The deadline for submitting public comment is Jan. 13.

To submit public comment on the proposed changes, visit rules.sd.gov and follow the “Department of Education” link.

Perkins Reserve grant applications due Feb. 1

The Perkins secondary reserve grants are now open. Applications may be submitted by public school districts with approved career and technical education programs (or those wishing to add approved CTE programs in the 2021-22 school year). The maximum amount per individual award will be $30,000.

Districts must be classified as rural by the National Center for Education Statistics. This would include all districts except Rapid City and Sioux Falls.

Find more information on the Department of Education’s Perkins webpage [https://doe.sd.gov/cte/perkins.aspx].

Application deadline: Feb. 1

Questions? Email Michelle Nelson [michelle.nelson@state.sd.us] or call 605-295-1930.

Brookings High School holds Career-Palooza
Brookings High School partnered with the Brookings Economic Development Corporation for Career-Palooza on Dec. 16. The school’s Career Pathways Team surveyed students to assess high-interest areas and then worked with BEDC to book approximately 130 guest speakers in all 16 career and technical education career clusters. Read more in this Brookings Register article [https://brookingsregister.com/article/students-to-explore-variety-of-occupations-at-career-palooza].
Apply for Homeland Security grant funding by Feb. 19

Applications for Homeland Security grant funding are being accepted until Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. CT. The South Dakota Office of Homeland Security provides grant funding through an application and award process to a variety of organizations, including public and non-public schools.

Funding will be awarded for one-time projects that have a connection to Homeland Security by providing protection against terrorism threats. Examples of allowable expenses for schools are keyless entry, door locks, video entry, barriers, lighting, security screening equipment, and critical infrastructure assessments. In addition, cybersecurity equipment or software such as intrusion detection systems and physical protection of hardware systems are allowable. At this time, surveillance cameras are not being funded.

Awards are competitive and will be based on recommendations of regional review committees. Funding for projects will become available on or about Sept. 1, 2021. 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.

To apply for a Homeland Security grant, read through the application instructions [https://dps.sd.gov/download_file/451/0] and apply online [https://sddps.intelligrants.com/Login2.aspx?APPTHEME=SDDPS]. The open application period runs through Feb. 19.

Complete survey about social studies content standards by Feb. 5

The South Dakota Department of Education is conducting a survey to gather feedback about the state’s current social studies standards, which will be revised during the summer of 2021. The brief survey consists of short-answer questions about the current social studies standards and potential changes to be made.

To ensure accurate data, please be specific, explain your reasoning, and include the grade level or domain standards you are referencing.

The survey is available here [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/75YCCCZ] and is open until Feb. 5.

Questions? Email Melinda Johnson [Melinda.Johnson@state.sd.us], the department’s social studies content specialist.

SD JAG JAG Model features 10 common elements

This article is part of a series about South Dakota’s Jobs for America’s Graduates program. The program was placed in statute by the 2020 Legislature. The legislature also created a special donations fund for the program, and the South Dakota Department of Education is seeking to expand the number of JAG programs across the state.

The Jobs for America’s Graduates program seeks to connect with students who have barriers to success and empower them to graduate from high school and move confidently toward the realization of their dreams. JAG-SD is a program supervised by the South Dakota Department of Education and is a proven program that supports students to stay in school through graduation. Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) is a state-based national nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting young people of great promise.

There are 10 common elements of the JAG Model. These elements are adapted to the audience served in each program application: Senior program – 12th grade only, Multi-year – 9th-12th grade, Alternative Education – 9th-12th grade, Middle School – 6th – 8th grade, and Out of School.

Student Selection JAG research has proven over three decades that we gain the greatest impact by serving those participants that have the greatest challenges to graduation, employment and/or pursuit of a postsecondary education. An advisory committee (comprised of faculty, administrators and counselors) assists the JAG Specialist in selecting students for the Program Roster. Priority is given to students that “need, want and can profit” from the services delivered by JAG Model programs.

Classroom Instruction. A trained JAG Specialist provides individual and group instruction to 35-45 students using the competency-based JAG National Curriculum that fits the needs of the program application of the JAG Model. JAG Specialists administer a pre- and post-test that provides a gain score to assess the attainment of the JAG competencies.

Adult Mentoring. The JAG Specialist provides individual attention to students focusing on reducing the number of barriers preventing him or her from receiving a high school diploma, securing employment or pursuing postsecondary education and/or training that leads to a career. Additional adult mentors are recruited to assist with barrier reduction or removal.

Leadership Development. All JAG students participate in a motivational student-led organization – the JAG Career Association – to build on the skills gained in the classroom and to develop leadership and teaming skills to improve employability and advancement. Annual State Career Development Conferences (CDC) provide students the opportunity to demonstrate their employability and leadership skills and be recognized for their achievements. JAG conducts an annual National Student Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the National Leadership Awards Events in November.

Guidance and Counseling. JAG Specialists provide informal guidance to students on career and life decisions and, based on the individual needs of students, connect them to school-based or professional counseling services to address more serious barriers.

Job and Postsecondary Education Placement Services. Specialists are engaged in intensive, one-on-one employer marketing and job development activities to identify quality job placement opportunities for each graduate. Grades are assisted in the exploration of postsecondary education opportunities and navigation of the financial aid and application processes to pursue the most appropriate opportunities.

Linkages to School and Community-Based Services. JAG programs are a school based “one-stop center” for youth with barriers to success to ensure that they receive appropriate academic and social services from available resources in the school, program and community.

12-Month Follow-up Services. JAG provides 12 months of post-graduation follow-up and support services on the job and/or enrollment in a postsecondary institution.

Accountability System. Computerized tracking of participants served, services delivered and performance results (graduation rate, positive outcomes, rates, aggregate employment rate, full-time jobs rate, full-time placement rate, further education rate, wages, and return to school rate) is a critical component of every JAG program. The Electronic National Data Management System (e-NDMS) is the vehicle by which JAG programs are led, managed, and evaluated. Accountability is also assured with periodic site reviews and e-NDMS data reviews resulting in the preparation of an Accreditation Report for the purpose of continuous improvement. JAG data collection is used to produce research reports that have been invaluable in assessing the effectiveness of JAG State Organizations and local program affiliates in fully implementing programs, delivering services, and achieving high performance outcomes.

Technical Assistance and Professional Development. JAG staff and consultants provide new and established state organizations and local program affiliates with an array of technical assistance and professional development opportunities. JAG conducts extensive on-site training in launching new state organizations as well as annual events, including: (a) Pre-NTS Professional Development Workshops—intensive workshops targeted to implementing JAG Model programs and (b) National Training Seminar—the largest gathering of JAG staff and stakeholders to celebrate the achievement of high performance outcomes at the close of the 12-month follow-up period on May 31 annually and recognize high performing state organizations, sites, programs, and Specialists.

There are currently JAG programs in five South Dakota school districts:

  • Andes Central
  • Bennett County
  • Smee
  • Todd County
  • Wagner Community
The JAG-SD webpage [https://doe.sd.gov/JAG-sd/] has been updated with a wealth of program information. Interested in learning more? Contact Beth Schneider [beth.schneider@state.sd.us] with the South Dakota Department of Education.

Now taking public comment: Title IV, Part A Student Support & Academic Enrichment Grant waiver

The South Dakota Department of Education is requesting a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education, for the 2020-21 school year, pursuant to section 8401(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Public comment is being taken through Jan. 19, 5 p.m. CT. Details: Title IVA: Student Support and Academic Enrichment webpage [https://doe.sd.gov/title/studentsupport.aspx].
21CCLC Time to submit Notice of Intent to Apply for 21st CCLC grant funding

Now is the time for schools and other organizations interested in 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grants to submit a Notice of Intent to Apply.

The learning centers are intended to assist students from high-poverty and low-performing schools by providing academic enrichment opportunities and activities designed to complement regular school instruction. Funding comes from the federal government in the form of formula grants to the states. Locations that provide care for students outside of the normal school day are encouraged to apply.

The grant application will be online, and applicants must first submit a Notice of Intent to Apply to the South Dakota Department of Education by Jan. 15, 2021. Applicants will then receive the information needed to access the online system. The deadline to apply is March 5, 2021.

The Notice of Intent to Apply and guidelines for filling out the application are now available and can be found at https://doe.sd.gov/21CCLC/.

Grant award amounts range from $50,000 to $250,000 per year, and the length of a grant is five years. While funds are often awarded to schools, other organizations are also eligible to apply. The grants must specifically support programs offered outside of regular school hours.

Contact Alan Haarstad at alan.haarstad@state.sd.us or Jane Cronin at jane.cronin@state.sd.us or call 605-773-5238, with questions about the grant application process.

English WIDA ELD Standards Framework, 2020 Edition available

The WIDA English Language Development Standards Framework, 2020 Edition: Kindergarten – Grade 12, is now available, providing a clear and coherent structure to guide the development of curriculum, instruction, and assessment of content-driven language learning.

The framework is valuable for all K-12 teachers because it provides a connection between language development standards and academic content area learning.

This updated, comprehensive edition is centered in equity and fosters the assets, contributions, and potential of multilingual learners. With this edition, WIDA continues to break new ground to advance the field of language development in support of disciplinary learning.

The South Dakota Board of Education (now South Dakota Board of Education Standards) adopted the WIDA ELD standards in 2008. The five ELD Standards are Language of Social and Instructional Purposes, Language of Language Arts, Language of Mathematics, Language of Science, and Language of Social Studies.

The WIDA ELD Standards Framework, 2020 Edition provides a better explanation for educators and further defines the language multilingual learners need to engage in disciplinary learning.

Visit the WIDA ELD webpage [https://wida.wisc.edu/teach/standards/eld] to download the 2020 Edition, learn about professional learning opportunities, and access resources.

Upcoming Events

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

Family Engagement Toolkit Course
Self-paced, online

EL Program Boot Camp self-paced course with live session opportunities
Jan. 4- May 10

SD Advisory Panel on Children with Disabilities
Jan. 6

ACCESS for ELs: Paper Assessments
Jan. 8, 10-11 a.m. CT
Jan. 8, 2-3 p.m. CT

ACCESS for ELs: Online
Jan. 11, 10-11 a.m. CT
Jan. 11, 2-3 p.m. CT

ACCESS for ELs: Materials
Jan. 13, 10-11 a.m. CT
Jan. 13, 2-3 p.m. CT

Training on new Admin menu for STARS Account Managers (SAMs)
Jan. 14

Board of Education Standards
Jan. 19

SD-STARS and EL joint webinar
Jan. 28

2021 National ESEA Conference
Feb. 8-11, online

SD-STARS training – Finding Trends & Making Observations
Feb. 23

Save the Date: South Dakota Special Education Conference
March 16-17

Save the Date: SD Education Conference
May 26-27 24-28, online

Save the Date: Multi-tiered System of Supports Summer Education Conference
June 29-30


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