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SD Department of Education
Oct. 2021  
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Tiffany Sanderson SECRETARY’S COLUMN:
Celebrating great teaching

The 2022 State Teacher of the Year will be named this month. We thank outgoing 2021 State Teacher of the Year Amanda Hargreaves for her outstanding work in this important role. This recognition is much more than an award.

Board of Education Standards to meet twice in October

The South Dakota Board of Education Standards will meet via Zoom on Oct. 18 to hold a public hearing on a proposed administrative rule. On Oct. 25, the board will meet in Aberdeen to hold a public hearing on proposed content standards in fine arts and several career and technical education clusters.

Funding opportunities for school bus fleets

Two funding opportunities for school bus fleets that serve public schools are available: the 2021 American Rescue Plan (ARP) Electric School Bus Rebates and the 2021 DERA School Bus Rebate Program. EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality is accepting applications nationwide for rebates to assist in replacing older, dirtier diesel school buses with new school buses. This table shows the difference between the two programs.

Funding available to help close the homework gap

The Federal Communications Commission is offering a second round of funding from its Emergency Connectivity Fund. The program is designed to help eligible schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period. Learn more on the FCC's website.

DOH form available to request COVID-19 vaccination assistance at local events

The Department of Health has available a request form that can be completed by K-12 schools, higher education, community organizations, etc., who are interested in hosting a vaccination opportunity and would like assistance from the Department of Health in coordinating the event. Access the form at doh.sd.gov/vaxevent.


Celebrate Native Americans Day Oct. 11

An in-depth set of instructional resources to support the teaching of the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards has been developed through collaboration of the South Dakota departments of Education and Tribal Relations, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Technology & Innovation in Education, the Red Cloud Indian School, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Education Department, Rapid City Area Schools, and the Region 11 Comprehensive Center.

Four SD schools named National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021

Four South Dakota schools are among 325 schools nationwide that have been named National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021. All four are recognized in the Exemplary High-Performing Schools category for being among the state's highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. This award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Congratulations!

  • Arlington Elementary School
  • Gettysburg Middle School
  • Pinedale Elementary School (Rapid City)
  • O'Gorman High School, Bishop O'Gorman Catholic Schools (Sioux Falls)

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

The Dyslexia Handbook for Teachers and Parents in South Dakota is available to help parents and educators learn more about dyslexia and includes additional resources for teachers to access if they suspect a student may have dyslexia. Visit our Dyslexia webpage for the dyslexia handbook, a brochure, and many other dyslexia resources.

Teacher Compensation Review Board submits final report

The Teacher Compensation Review Board has completed its report to the governor and legislature. Per state law, this board is required to meet every three years to review teacher compensation, including comparable wage indexes, in South Dakota and surrounding states. It was established as part of the Blue Ribbon legislation in 2016. The final report and appendices are now available.

CPR Survey due Oct. 13

On Sept. 28, superintendents should have received a survey about how their districts are incorporating into district curriculum the skills necessary to perform hands-only CPR and awareness in the use of an AED. DOE is required to compile this data into an annual report to the South Dakota Legislature. Please have ONE person from your district complete the survey by Oct. 13. Questions? Contact Teresa Berndt.

Complete data submission for Personnel Record Form by Oct. 15

As previously announced, the Personnel Record Form (PRF) is now open. School districts are required to provide a variety of staffing information via this online tool. The deadline to complete and sign off on PRF data is Oct. 15. Superintendents, please visit with the individual on your staff responsible for this task. Questions can be directed to Jantina Nelson-Stastny at 605-668-2904.

Students receiving proactive admission, college readiness coursework letters in October

In October, eligible public high school seniors are receiving proactive admission and/or college readiness coursework letters from the South Dakota Department of Education. For your reference in answering potential questions from parents and students, you can access sample letters, a Q & A document, and the SD-STARS Report DIG.

Nominate outstanding biology teachers

Congratulations to last year’s Outstanding Biology Teacher Tucker Tornberg (Centerville High School)! Nominate a great science teacher in your district for the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award. The award is sponsored by the National Association of Biology Teachers and honors teachers of the life sciences. Nominees will have until March 31 to complete their application for the award.

Call for nominations: U.S. Presidential Scholars

The South Dakota Department of Education is seeking candidates for the state’s nominations for U.S. Presidential Scholars. The program was established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students. Nomination deadline: Oct. 28.

Upcoming Events

A complete listing of events is available at GoSignMeUp.

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Series
Oct. 8, 15, 22, 29, online

Dyslexia Assessment in SD
Oct. 29, Rapid City
Nov. 5, Sioux Falls

New Special Education Director webinar series
Oct. 12 – Accountability
Nov. 9 – Child Count
Dec. 7 – Dispute Resolution
Jan. 11 – State Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report
Feb. 8 – Fiscal/Budget

Braille & Talking Book Library Tools for Struggling Readers
Oct. 18, online

Board of Education Standards
Oct. 18, online
Oct. 25, Aberdeen

Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Classroom
Oct. 18, Nov. 5, Dec. 3, online

Nurturing Speaking Growth for English learners
Oct. 20 and 27, online

Mental Health Virtual Training
Oct. 25, Nov. 15, Dec. 6

WIDA Writing with Multilingual Learners in the Elementary Grades
Oct. 28-29, Fort Pierre

SD-STARS Training for STARS Account Managers
Nov. 2, Mitchell
Nov. 4, Aberdeen
Nov. 9, Rapid City

SD-STARS Training for District Users
Nov. 2, Mitchell
Nov. 4, Aberdeen
Nov. 9, Rapid City

Planning with the WIDA ELD Standards Framework
Nov. 8 and 15, online, 3-4:30 p.m. CT

Indian Education Conference
Nov. 15-16, online

PEERS© for Young Adults – Certified Social Skills Training
Nov. 17-19, online

Mandatory Reporting 201
Nov. 22, online

Save the Date: South Dakota Special Education Conference
March 15-16, Sioux Falls

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