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SD Department of Education
Nov. 2021  
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Tiffany Sanderson SECRETARY’S COLUMN:
Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the cultures, traditions, and contributions of Native people. I want to take this opportunity to spotlight the tremendous resources we have in the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards, which support instruction about South Dakota’s American Indian heritage and culture.

Oceti Sakowin [oh-CHEH-tee shaw-KOH-we] means “Seven Council Fires” and refers collectively to the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people. The OSEUs were developed by individuals from across South Dakota, including educators and experts in culture, history, oral traditions, and language.

There are seven essential understandings:
    1) Lands & Environment
    2) Identity & Resiliency
    3) Culture & Language
    4) Kinship & Harmony
    5) Oral Tradition & Story
    6) Sovereignty & Treaties
    7) Way of Life & Development

An in-depth set of instructional resources to support the teaching of the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards [https://sdtribalrelations.sd.gov/indian-education/OSEU.aspx] was recently 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. This process took several years to develop.

Additionally, the WoLakota Project website [https://www.wolakotaproject.org/], a collaborative effort of the South Dakota Department of Education and TIE, has many resources related to the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards, including interviews with elders and exemplar lessons aligned to the state’s current social studies standards [https://www.wolakotaproject.org/lessons-sd-social-studies-standards/].

Incorporating these materials in classrooms creates a richer educational experience for all South Dakota students and strengthens appreciation for the more than 21,000 Native American students and their families in South Dakota’s schools.

On a personal note, thank you for all you do in our schools and for our young people. This year has presented its share of challenges and has meant many of you have filled in to teach other classes, helped serve food, drove bus, cleaned, or fulfilled a host of other duties as that’s been needed. All this while educating and supporting students and your colleagues. In this month of intentional gratitude, I give thanks for you. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. May the holiday bring rest and rejuvenation for the important work before us.

Applications open for Social Studies Standards Revision Commission

The South Dakota Department of Education is seeking individuals to be part of the Social Studies Standards Revision Commission, which will work with the department to draft new state content standards for K-12 social studies.

Establishing the commission is the first step in restarting the review of South Dakota Social Studies Standards, as directed by Gov. Kristi Noem in October. The department will appoint commission members from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, including K-12 educators, subject-matter experts, and Native American representatives.

Individuals interested in serving on the commission can use this online form [https://forms.gle/sUwuVSDZ5NjQgCHY9] to apply. The application deadline is Nov. 14, 11:59 p.m. CT.

The public will have opportunities to review and provide feedback on the commission’s work prior to the drafting of standards.

The commission’s work will begin in December and continue through summer 2022. Once drafted, the standards will be subject to an extensive public comment period. From fall 2022 through spring 2023, the Board of Education Standards, which is responsible for the adoption of standards, will provide multiple opportunities to weigh in on proposed standards. The board will hold public hearings at locations across the state as well as take public comment via an online tool, email, and traditional mail.

After the public comment period concludes and final standards are adopted, the department will host trainings for educators throughout the 2023-24 school year. Full implementation of the standards would begin in the 2024-25 school year.

Board adopts proposed rule to grant districts flexibility in hiring long-term substitutes

At its Oct. 18 meeting, the South Dakota Board of Education Standards adopted a proposed administrative rule to provide more clarity and flexibility for school districts in hiring long-term substitutes.

“We know that school districts sometimes have difficulty filling long-term substitute positions,” said Secretary of Education Tiffany Sanderson. “This new rule aims to strike a balance of providing districts more flexibility, while at the same time ensuring that students are taught by qualified educators.”

The proposed rule amends the definition of long-term substitute. It updates the certification rule to extend the length of time a long-term substitute can act as the teacher of record and provides additional flexibility for leave pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or when the individual has a teaching certificate.

Pending approval by the Legislature’s Interim Rules Review Committee, the proposed rule would go into effect this winter.

DOE seeks feedback in setting targets for State Performance Plan

The South Dakota Department of Education Special Education Programs (SEP) is seeking broad stakeholder feedback to assist in setting targets for all students with disabilities receiving special education services in a public school district.

Parents of students with disabilities, individuals with disabilities, school district personnel, administrators, advocacy groups, and the general public are encouraged to provide feedback by Nov. 30, 2021, on the department’s State Performance Plan: Stakeholder Input webpage [https://doe.sd.gov/sped/spp-input.aspx].

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires each state to develop a State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR) that evaluates the state's efforts to implement the requirements and purposes of the IDEA and describes how the state will improve its implementation. The SPP/APRs include results indicators that measure child and family outcomes and other indicators that measure compliance with the requirements of the IDEA.

The SPP/APR is a six-year plan that evaluates the state's efforts to implement the requirements and purposes of IDEA and describes how the state will improve its implementation.

Proposed targets for each of the required results indicators of the SPP are based on historical and projected data. Stakeholders are asked to review information about each indicator and provide feedback via the corresponding "Submit input" links.

Feedback will inform development of the current 2020-2025 SPP/APR.

Congratulations to South Dakota’s 2021 National ESEA Distinguished Schools

The Department of Education is pleased to announce that Explorer Elementary (Harrisburg) and Platte-Geddes Elementary have been named 2021 National ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) Distinguished Schools. They will be honored at the National ESEA Conference to be held in February 2022.

“We are so proud of the staff and students at Explorer Elementary and Platte-Geddes Elementary,” said Secretary of Education Tiffany Sanderson. “Each state can only nominate two schools, so this is a prestigious honor. We commend all of their hard work to support students’ learning.”

Explorer Elementary was recognized for excellence in serving special populations of students (e.g. homeless, migrant, English learners, etc.), and Platte-Geddes Elementary was recognized for exceptional student performance and academic growth for two or more consecutive years.

"We are very proud to be honored as a National ESEA Distinguished School,” said Explorer Elementary Principal Douglas Eppard. “Achieving this honor for closing the achievement gap with our English learner students is an even greater distinction. We could not have obtained this award without the dedication of our parents, students, teachers, staff, and program directors working together to achieve this academic accomplishment for all students."

"We have outstanding teachers who have spent countless hours preparing lessons that match grade-level expectations,” said Platte-Geddes Elementary Principal Jennifer Knecht. “Our teachers continuously use assessment data to find the specific skill areas where our students need assistance. We set high expectations. Our students, teachers, and parents deserve this prestigious award for their hard work and dedication to academic excellence. I am so proud of every teacher and student in our school."

The National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators—formerly the National Title I Association—has been selecting examples of superior, federally funded school programs for national recognition through the National ESEA Distinguished Schools program (recently renamed from its predecessor, the National Title I Distinguished Schools program) since 1996.

ARP Homeless Children Youth II grant funds available

Superintendents and homeless liaisons should have received an email from Dawn Smith at DOE on Oct. 29, asking them to complete an ARP HCY II (American Rescue Plan Homeless Children Youth II) survey to indicate whether their district is interested in receiving these formula grant funds.

The purpose of this federal formula grant is to help local education agencies (LEAs) identify homeless children and youth, provide wraparound services, and ensure that these youngsters are able to attend school and participate fully in school activities. Grants may not be less than $5,000; however, LEAs may combine as a consortium in order to generate at least $5,000 under the formula. See this guidance document [https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2021/11/documents/ARPHCY-II.pdf] for more information; potential allocations are posted here [https://doe.sd.gov/coronavirus/documents/ARPII-Allocations.pdf]. Questions? Contact Dawn L. Smith [dawnl.smith@state.sd.us] at 605-773-2535.

ACT and Report Card data released

ACT scores [https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2021/1013-ACT.pdf] and the 2020-21 Report Card [https://sdschools.sd.gov/#/home] were released in October. South Dakota’s average ACT composite for 2021 was 21.6, compared to the national average of 20.3. The 2020-21 Report Card provides a variety of data for school leaders, policy makers, parents, and the general public. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s data are incomplete.

Special Education Conference call for presentations open until Dec. 6

Presentation proposals are being accepted until Dec. 6 for the 2022 South Dakota Special Education Conference: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover. The conference is scheduled for March 15-16 in Sioux Falls. Presenters should also be prepared to present virtually in case conditions require a change in conference format

Read more at https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2021/11/documents/2022-CALL.docx.

Don’t miss Title Bimonthly Zoominars

This is an ongoing professional development opportunity for district administrators, Title teachers, and other educators to attend Zoom meetings in which the Title programs team will discuss a variety of topics, including but not limited to migrant, foster care, Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA), parent and family engagement, English learners, and 21st Century afterschool programs.

Read more at https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/educationonline/2021/11/documents/Zoominars.pdf.

Apply by Dec. 13 for Clean Diesel grants

The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) is accepting applications for funding under the South Dakota Clean Diesel Grant/VW Programs. The program provides rebates to assist in purchasing new buses to replace old, high-emitting diesel buses.

The primary goals of the programs are to reduce students’ exposure to pollution and to facilitate the improvement and protection of the ambient air quality throughout South Dakota.

There will be approximately $507,000 of Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funds, $338,000 of VW Category 10 DERA funds, and additional VW category 2 bus funds available for the projects.

The South Dakota programs will provide rebates to help public schools, non-public schools, state special schools, other educational programs, shuttle or transit system providers, and school bus contractors purchase new buses to replace old, high-emitting, diesel buses.

Total rebate per replacement bus will be up to 25% of the purchase price of a 2020 engine model year or newer engine certified to EPA emission standards, 35% of the purchase price of a 2020 engine model year or newer engine certified to meet CARB’s Low-NOx standards, or 45% of the purchase price of a zero tailpipe emissions bus. DANR intends to award funds to as many eligible applicants throughout the state as possible.

The application deadline for initial consideration is Dec. 13. More information is available on DANR's Clean Diesel Grant Program webpage [https://danr.sd.gov/Environment/AirQuality/CleanDieselProgram/default.aspx]. Questions? Contact the DANR Air Quality program at 605-773-3151.

Schedule Build Dakota Scholarship presentations in your school

The Build Dakota Scholarship [http://www.builddakotascholarships.com/] is a South Dakota workforce development initiative that offers full-ride scholarships to students attending one of South Dakota’s four technical colleges in a high-need field. In return for the full-ride scholarship, Build Dakota scholars agree to work in that field, in South Dakota, for three years upon completion of the program.

Build Dakota also partners with South Dakota businesses, economic development groups, and local community foundations to help them attract skilled talent and sponsor students. Last year more than 400 individuals received full-ride scholarships. Almost 2,400 individuals have received scholarships since the program began in 2015. The program has also received funding to maintain its momentum for at least the next five years.

The application window is Jan. 1 - March 31, 2022.

2022 Program Handout [https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/21/10/documents/BD-Program-2122.pdf]: Features general information on the front and all Build Dakota approved programs on the back. The technical colleges will be hand-delivering these and large posters to schools, but also feel free to print/email for students and parents. Students of all ages are welcome to apply for Build Dakota. (Dental Assisting was added this year!)

2022 Industry Handout [https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/21/10/documents/BD-Industry-2122.pdf]: Features information on industry partner programs. Students do not need an industry partner to apply, but this is a large component of the program’s overall mission, so it is highly recommended that school staff and students are aware of this part of the application and awarding process.

The workforce shortage is a significant issue for South Dakota in towns of all sizes. Build Dakota staff would like to have as many conversations as possible with students regarding this issue and the opportunity it creates for them.

Email Deni Amundson [deni@builddakotascholarships.com] to schedule an in-person or virtual visit to your school.

Options for schools/students/parents:

  1. In-person visit: These can be presentations to certain classes or to the full student body. Build Dakota staff can invite local businesses and parents to learn more as well. Presenters discuss the workforce shortage, the importance of career exploration and college planning, rethinking student loan debt, and how to apply for Build Dakota. Presenters travel with the technical colleges and bring some fun “swag” to encourage student discussion and participation.
  2. Zoom/virtual visits
  3. In-person or virtual live event won’t work with your school’s schedule? A video [https://www.dropbox.com/s/5b4j3nizlqgmtej/Video- Student 2021.mp4?dl=0] and discussion guide [https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/21/10/documents/BD-DiscussionGuide.pdf] are available for school counselors and teachers. Watch the video with students, and then use the discussion guide to explore further.

Upcoming Events

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

Board of Education Standards
Nov. 15, Sioux Falls

Indian Education Conference
Nov. 15-16, online

Mandatory Reporting 201
Nov. 22, online

New Special Education Director webinar series
Dec. 7 – Dispute Resolution
Jan. 11 – State Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report
Feb. 8 – Fiscal/Budget

Title Programs Bimonthly Zoominars
Dec. 7, Feb. 22, April 19, June 21

Dyslexia Assessment in SD (online)
Jan. 7

Introductions to SD-STARS reporting and DIGs
Jan. 18, online

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


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