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SD Department of Education Dec. 2016  

Photo of Sage Fast Dog in classroom
TEACHER FEATURE: Helping Native students know themselves better

Sage Fast Dog teaches Lakota Studies at Todd County Middle School.

An enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Fast Dog knows that teachers unfamiliar with Native American culture sometimes feel unequipped to teach South Dakota’s Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings and Standards [http://doe.sd.gov/contentstandards/documents/OSEU-Draf.pdf], or OSEUs. Oceti Sakowin [oh-CHEH-tee SHAW-koh-we] means “Seven Council Fires” and refers collectively to the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people.

Getting to know the content

“With the teachers here, I tell them, it’s always a difficult task when you don’t understand something very well,” he says. “But we already went to school to learn how to teach. The part we need to brush up on is our content. Whether the teacher is in Indian Country or where the Indian population is low, it’s about understanding the people in South Dakota.”

The OSEUs serve as the basis for the social studies curriculum at Todd County Middle School. In addition to his Lakota Studies classes, Fast Dog goes into colleagues’ classrooms to model lessons or help them design lessons based on the OSEUs.

Photo of Sage Fast Dog in classroom

“I’ve always had a belief that if kids had the opportunity to learn about who they were and at the same time, have the academic skills they need, they would make gains,” Fast Dog says.

During summer 2016, Fast Dog was part of a work group that developed social studies lessons for grades PK-12 aligned to the OSEUs. These lessons can be found on the WoLakota Project website [http://www.wolakotaproject.org/lessons-sd-social-studies-standards/], along with many other resources related to the OSEUs, including video interviews with tribal elders.

In Fast Dog’s classroom, one would see a lot of activity. Students might be learning the Lakota language through games. They might be writing about and illustrating a phase of the creation story after studying Donald Montilleaux or Thomas Simms' interpretations. Or students might be creating winter counts after learning about winter counts viewable online via the Smithsonian Institute.

In this example of student work, students were asked to create a sentence using the Lakota sentence structure and make an illustration under each sentence.
In this example of student work, students were asked to create a sentence using the Lakota sentence structure and make an illustration under each sentence.

Filling the history gaps

Fast Dog remembers wanting to know more about Native American history while growing up on the Rosebud Reservation. “That was always one of my biggest gaps when I got older,” he says.

He recalls excitedly flipping ahead to the appropriate textbook pages after an elementary school teacher said they would soon be studying Native American history. He was disappointed to find only a few pages of content. He wants his students to have a deeper understanding of their history.

Getting middle school students interested in things like treaties and federal policies can be a challenge, but Fast Dog tries to make it relatable, sometimes starting with something as simple as students’ bus ride to school. He’ll ask them what they saw: Fences? Gates? What shapes are the fenced areas? These questions lead to discussion of the land surveying that led to the creation of the square grid of the reservation, followed by the allotment of land to tribal members.

He discusses the parts of treaties that were written in Lakota: “You want them [students] to be able to decode those, to understand the Lakota thought—how their ancestors thought,” he says. “And see if they can make those connections to how they and their parents think today.”

Fast Dog’s goal is to provide a foundation before students get to the secondary level. “The hope is that they’re well-prepared to know what they’re protecting as a tribal member,” he says. “Especially as a tribal member, protecting their identity. They can’t do that if they don’t know who they are.”

Photo of Sage Fast Dog in classroom

Overview of proposed certification rule changes now available

An overview of proposed changes to educator certification rules is now available. A first reading of the proposed rule changes was held at the Nov. 15 state Board of Education meeting. Public hearings will be held in January and March.
  • Read a summary of proposed changes [http://doe.sd.gov/board/packets/documents/111516/item12doc1.pdf]
  • Hear the presentation to the Board of Education [http://doe.sd.gov/board/documents/111516BOE.mp3] (audio starts at 1:59:10)

Screen shot from video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkGmPrcsc-o

National group develops video on SD’s teacher pay efforts

The Council of Chief State School Officers has developed a video to share with its members, showcasing South Dakota’s efforts in increasing teacher pay. South Dakota Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp has been elected president of the CCSSO’s Board of Directors and shared the video [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkGmPrcsc-o] at the group’s recent annual policy forum.
  • Blue Ribbon education package lifts average salary by 11.9 percent [http://news.sd.gov/newsitem.aspx?id=21203]

Photo from Mentoring Meeting.

Statewide mentoring program kicks off

Mentor/new teacher pairs have been meeting for the first time at regional kickoff meetings for the statewide mentoring program, established as part of the 2016 education package. The educators pictured here were gathered at the Fort Pierre event Nov. 15.
  • The Argus Leader recently featured a story on the program [http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/education/2016/11/25/mentoring-program-helps-teachers-survive-first-few-years/94276946/]

Logo for The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Nominate a great math or science teacher for Presidential honor

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching program was established in 1983 by the White House and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The award is the nation’s highest honor for math and science (including computer science) teachers. The program identifies outstanding math and science teachers in all 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions.

Awardees each receive a $10,000 award, a paid trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend a week-long series of networking opportunities and recognition events, and a special citation signed by the President of the United States.

The program is now accepting nominations of 7th-12th grade teachers. Please take the time to nominate an outstanding math and/or science (including computer science) teacher for this prestigious award. Nominations can be completed online at www.paemst.org. Submit your nomination by April 1, 2017. Nominees would then need to complete their applications by May 1.

In addition, applicants can earn three CEUs at the same time.

To be eligible, a PAEMST candidate must complete all components of the application process and submit a scorable application that can be sent on to the state selection committee. All applicants submitting a scorable application will earn credit, not just the state finalists whose materials get sent on to a national selection panel.

The PAEMST application consists of three components: Administrative, Narrative and Video. The components allow the applicant to provide evidence of deep content knowledge and exemplary pedagogical skills that result in improved student learning. After eligibility is confirmed and technical specifications are met, each application will be evaluated using the following five Dimensions of Outstanding Teaching:

  • Mastery of math or science content appropriate for the grade level taught
  • Use of instructional methods and strategies that are appropriate for students in the class and that support student learning
  • Effective use of student assessments to evaluate, monitor and improve student learning
  • Reflective practice and lifelong learning to improve teaching and student learning
  • Leadership in education outside the classroom

Complete the application yourself or nominate a deserving teacher today! The application can be accessed at www.paemst.org. If you have questions about this program, please contact:
Allen Hogie
SD PAEMST Mathematics Coordinator
2015 SD Teacher of the Year

Stock Photo of suitcase and globe Apply by Dec. 28 for Fulbright Hays Seminars Abroad Program

The Fulbright Hays Seminars Abroad Program provides study and travel seminars abroad for U.S. educators in the social sciences and humanities to improve their understanding and knowledge of the peoples and cultures of other countries. This flyer [http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/16/Dec/documents/Abroad.pdf] features upcoming dates, locations and application information.

Stock photo of astronaut and earth
Research fellowships available for high school STEM teachers

The South Dakota Space Grant Consortium invites high school teachers in science, technology, engineering or math to apply for research fellowships. Applications are due Jan. 20. More information and the application are available on the SD Space Grant Consortium website [http://sdspacegrant.sdsmt.edu/Fellowship.html].

#SCHSDSL Twitter Challenge School librarians, earn contact hours in #SCHSDSL Twitter Challenge
The #schsdsl Twitter Challenge is a continuing education opportunity for school library staff, sponsored by the South Dakota State Library. It’s a series of 20 tasks relating to Twitter, designed to introduce Twitter as a professional learning tool. Learn more on the #schsdsl Twitter website [http://schsdsltwitter.weebly.com/].

21st Century Community Learning Centers. Soaring Beyond Expectations. Time to submit Notice of Intent to Apply for 21st CCLC grant funding
The opportunity to apply for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, or 21st CCLC, grants will be available soon. 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. 13, 2017.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2016/1216-21cclc.pdf.

CTE Logo. CTE Learning that works for South Dakota. Board holds first public hearing on proposed CTE standards
The South Dakota Board of Education held the first of four public hearings on proposed career and technical education standards in six career clusters at its Nov. 15 meeting. The remaining three hearings on these standards will be held in 2017 at board meetings around the state.

Read more at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2016/1115-CTEb.pdf.

Upcoming Events

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

CTE – Standards Implementation Collaborative Work Day
Jan. 11, Rapid City
Jan. 25, Sioux Falls

Preparing for ACCESS 2.0
Jan. 17, Watertown
Jan. 18, Sioux Falls
Jan. 19, Chamberlain
Jan. 20, Rapid City

Board of Education
Jan. 19, Pierre [http://doe.sd.gov/board/]

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