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SD Department of Education Oct. 2016  

2017 SD Teacher of the Year TEACHER FEATURE: Kaltsulas selected as 2017 SD Teacher of the Year

Beth Kaltsulas, a math teacher at Yankton Middle School, has been selected as the 2017 South Dakota Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made Oct. 13 at a banquet at the Cedar Shore Conference Center in Oacoma.

Read press release at http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2016/1013-TOY2.pdf.

Ceedar Center logo
Free workshops on effective instruction available on demand

In partnership with the Department of Education, the CEEDAR Center and Learner's Edge, Augustana University is offering free online, on-demand workshops on Features of Effective Instruction to support literacy development. The workshops are available through June 30, 2017.


First playlists available in Smarter Balanced Digital Library

The Digital Library [http://www.smarterbalanced.org/educators/#library] is an online collection of formative assessment resources available at no cost to South Dakota K-12 educators. It contains resources for all K-12 educators, not just those who teach tested subjects and grade levels. Playlists are making this valuable resource more user-friendly.

The Digital Library contains more than 2,500 high quality instructional and professional learning resources contributed by educators for educators, and it’s growing. Resources are sortable by standard, grade, subject area and a number of other parameters. All resources are strictly vetted by trained members of a State Network of Educators (SNEs) across the country.

Digital Library Connections [http://doe.sd.gov/Assessment/documents/connectio.pdf], or playlists, have now been added to the Smarter Balanced Digital Library. Playlists are intended to connect content areas and skills from the Interim Assessment Blocks to useful formative resources in the Digital Library.

Interim Assessment Blocks allow educators to check student progress throughout the year. When compared with Smarter Balanced summative assessments and the Interim Comprehensive Assessments, IABs are smaller, more focused assessments designed to give educators useful, actionable information they can use to adjust instruction. Educators can use IABs to check student progress towards mastering specific concepts at strategic points during the school year more consistently with the sequence of their curricula.

"Playlists are an important upgrade to the Digital Library,” said Kim Webber, a teacher at Black Hawk Elementary in the Rapid City Area School District who is also an SNE for the Digital Library. “They enable teachers to focus on specific standards and assessment data and find resources targeted at increasing student achievement in those specific areas."

The first playlists connect “Grade 7 Ratio and Proportion” and “Grade 7 Reading Literary Text” standards from the Grade 7 Interim Assessment Blocks to resources in the library:

  • Grade 7 Ratio and Proportion [http://doe.sd.gov/Assessment/documents/ConnectG7.pdf]
  • Grade 7 Reading Literary Text [http://doe.sd.gov/Assessment/documents/ConnecRd7.pdf]

“Not only do these high quality, research-based lessons reflect students’ academic capability ranges to assist with enrichment and reinforcement, but they also identify additional resources that meet their next level of learning. This ultimately aids in driving instruction and tailors it to individual learners’ needs," said Jodi DeHaven, an instructional coach and SNE from the Harrisburg School District.

Most South Dakota educators already have access to the Digital Library. Any teacher unsure of his/her username and password is encouraged to check with his/her school’s assessment coordinator. For more information on the Digital Library, contact Joe Moran with the South Dakota Department of Education at joe.moran@state.sd.us or (605) 773-3247.

Gathering feedback on ESSA implementation

The South Dakota Department of Education is gathering feedback on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act in our state by posing a number of questions on which broad input is needed. Here are some of the major questions that have been asked thus far, along with links to online survey tools for collecting input.

  • ESSA calls for states to develop a performance indicator around “school quality or student success.” What might this look like?
    • At the high school level, South Dakota already uses college and career readiness as an indicator in its School Performance Index. Revision of this indicator, to encompass more options, is being considered for the newly required student success indicator. Provide feedback [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/H677GV8] on this proposal.
    • At the elementary and middle school levels, South Dakota already uses attendance as an indicator in its School Performance Index. Is attendance an appropriate indicator? What indicators should South Dakota be considering for school quality or student success at the elementary and middle school levels? Provide feedback [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T25JTG9]. Check out this YouTube video [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ-oI-42B1U] for a bit of background.

  • South Dakota currently uses a norm-referenced system to measure school performance. The School Performance Index measures the performance of a school relative to other schools in the group. Moving forward, should South Dakota use a norm-referenced or criterion-referenced accountability system? Why? Provide input [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PXC2D6S] on this question.

  • Similar to No Child Left Behind, the Every Student Succeeds Act requires that 95 percent of students in a school, and within each of the federally required subgroups, participate in the state assessment. If a school fails to meet this bar, those students who did not test must be considered non-proficient. According to ESSA, the state also must include test participation in its accountability system in another way. What would be an appropriate way for South Dakota to incorporate test participation in its system? Provide input [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YQL5ZPF] on this question.

  • ESSA allows states flexibility in determining which school to hold accountable in the event that a student in the four-year cohort drops out, and additionally, was enrolled less than 50% of their last enrolled school year at the last school they attended. Two options exist. Provide input [https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HGDY3KG] on these options.

Anyone interested in ESSA implementation efforts is invited to sign up for the ESSA listserv for updates and alerts on future questions. To sign up, visit the listserv webpage [https://listserv.sd.gov/scripts/wa.exe?A0=SDESSAIMPLEMENTATION] and follow the link to “Subscribe or Unsubscribe.”

SD EPSCoR logo

EPSCoR grant proposals due Nov. 7

SD EPSCoR is looking for innovators in the area of career and technical education who would like to create or improve a program that allows students to explore STEM disciplines. Approximately $170,000 will be granted to schools. Grant awards will cap at $30,000 each. Find more information on the Department of Education website [http://doe.sd.gov/octe/SDEPSCoRGrant.aspx].

SD CTE logo Apply by Nov. 21 for Workforce Education Grants

The Department of Education is now accepting applications for the 2017 Workforce Education Grants. This is your chance to make transformative changes in your career and technical education programs. Here are some things to ask if your school is considering applying:

  • What have you always wanted to make happen in your career and technical education programs?
  • What kind of career guidance programs have you hoped to create?
  • In what ways could your current programs be revised to align with today’s high-tech, knowledge-based industries?
  • What partnerships have you wanted to establish or grow, but haven’t had the resources to dedicate to the effort?
  • What kinds of work-based learning experiences have you hoped to incorporate in your students’ education?
  • In what ways have you wanted to customize students’ educational experiences?
  • What would it take to blur the lines between academic learning and career preparation?

Resources for the 2017 Workforce Education Grants are available on the Department of Education website [http://doe.sd.gov/octe/WEG.aspx]. Applications are due Nov. 21. Awards will be announced by Dec. 21, and projects can start in January 2017.

“Office hours” conference calls with Department of Education Career and Technical Education staff will be held on the dates and times listed below. Educators are welcome to connect at any time during these calls to ask questions about the grants and discuss project ideas.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 2, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. CDT
    • Connect via Skype [https://meet.lync.com/southdakotastateof/tiffany.sanderson/S0KYJ9HL] or call 1-866-410-8397 (conference code: 7708795296)
  • Friday, Nov. 18, 9:30 – 11 a.m. CST
    • Connect via Skype [https://meet.lync.com/southdakotastateof/tiffany.sanderson/4V7TYJ25] or call 1-866-410-8397 (conference code: 7708795296)

Photo of SD Capitol Building
Encourage students to be part of the legislative process

The Legislative Research Council is looking for high school students interested in being a page during the 2017 legislative session.

Students must be juniors or seniors (seniors are given preference). Students must be sponsored by a legislator and be in good academic standing (3.0 GPA or higher is encouraged). They must also receive approval from a parent/guardian and from their principal or superintendent. They must be able to serve during one of the following terms and may select a preference:

  • Term 1: Jan. 9-20
  • Term 2: Jan. 23-Feb. 3
  • Term 3: Feb. 6-16
  • Term 4: Feb. 21-March 2
  • Term 5: March 6-10 (one-week term)

Applications should be submitted to the Legislative Research Council, 500 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501. Applications must be postmarked no later than Monday, Nov. 14.

Information on the Page Program is also available on the Legislative Research Council’s website [http://sdlegislature.gov/Students_Page/Page/default.aspx].

Attention, government teachers! If you would like a legislator from your district to speak to your government class, please contact the legislator or the Legislative Research Council at (605) 773-3251.

The LRC appreciates your continued support of this worthwhile opportunity for students.

SD Children Book Award Logo Empower student readers: Let them vote for their favorite books
Voting for the South Dakota Library Association’s Children's [http://library.sd.gov/LIB/CYS/prairieawards/index.aspx] and Teen Choice [http://library.sd.gov/LIB/YAS/yarp/index.aspx] Book Awards is open. Students can vote for their favorite nominees. Downloadable award certificates, bookmarks, posters and more are available from the State Library. Voting closes April 1, 2017.

Foundational reading training enters third year

South Dakota’s instructional literacy coaching program began in 2014-15 focusing on providing supports to school districts with struggling readers. A component of the program is to provide training on foundational reading skills to K-3 teachers each school year.

In the past, summer trainings have been directed to new teachers hired to the instructional coaching districts. This summer, the in-person foundational reading training was expanded and opened up to all school districts, not just the instructional coaching districts.

A total of 10 districts were represented with 26 participants attending the training over three days in Pierre. Attendees included teachers who are new to instructional coaching districts, in special education, or those teachers seeking a refresher on strategies for teaching foundational reading skills.

“I found this training valuable as a special education teacher because it helped me find strategies to further break down the reading process to help bridge any gaps we are seeing,” said Julia Brixey with the Bison School District.

The coaching program focuses on five foundational reading skills:

  • Phonemic awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension

"The foundational reading training gave our staff the ability to review the National Reading Panel's 5 Big Ideas in reading as well as dig deeper into effective research and practices," said Shanna Sandal with the Douglas School District. "We took the time to discuss assessments that help identify specific needs, and we were given resources that support the next steps for intervention. We appreciated the ability to review and renew our literacy understandings while collaborating and learning with educators from across the state."

training photo
training photo training photo
Participants created hands-on activities they could implement with their students for building phonemic awareness and phonics skills.

“Some attendees had participated in previous reading trainings over the past couple of years and reported that they were still learning new strategies and gaining considerable value from the training,” said Teresa Berndt, reading specialist for the South Dakota Department of Education.

113 teachers in 15 school districts received professional development and classroom coaching

As instructional coaching districts evaluated the benefits of the instructional literacy coaching program in 2015-16, decisions were made to broaden the program to include additional staff members. A total of 64 additional teachers participated from upper elementary grades 4-6, special education, Title, reading specialists and interventionists and other content area teachers at the middle and high school levels.

Teachers beyond the K-3 focus were offered only the professional development options and were not provided coaching sessions unless negotiated and contracted with the instructional coach directly. Graduate credit was offered to all K-3 teachers, and continuing education contact hours were offered to all who participated in the professional development sessions.

“It is exciting to see this program continue to evolve and impact more and more students and educators,” said Berndt. Districts interested in attending the summer foundational reading sessions in the future are encouraged to contact Teresa Berndt [teresa.berndt@state.sd.us] for more information.

New school library tech coordinator available to help
Alissa Adams is the State Library’s new school library technology coordinator. She can offer guidance, especially for paraprofessionals with no previous school library experience. She can also consult on 21st century trends, learning commons, makerspaces, public/school combination libraries and more. Call 1-800-423-6665 for more information.

Upcoming Events

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

9-12 Social studies & OSEU: Standards & Lessons Rollouts
Oct. 20 & Dec. 8, Rapid City
Oct. 27 & Dec. 15, Watertown

ONLINE EL Program Boot Camp
Oct. 20, 2016 - Jan. 26, 2017, online

K-2 Social studies & OSEU: Standards & Lessons Rollouts
Oct. 24 & Dec. 12, Watertown

3-5 Social studies & OSEU: Standards & Lessons Rollouts
Oct. 25 & Dec. 13, Watertown

6-8 Social studies & OSEU: Standards & Lessons Rollouts
Oct. 26 & Dec. 14, Watertown

2016-2017 CTE Program Improvement Meeting
Oct. 31, Rapid City
Nov. 1, Pierre
Nov. 2, Aberdeen
Nov. 7, Mitchell
Nov. 9, Sioux Falls

CTE – Focus Session 2016
Oct. 31, Rapid City
Nov. 1, Pierre
Nov. 2, Aberdeen
Nov. 7, Mitchell
Nov. 9, Sioux Falls

Interpreting ACCESS for ELLs Score Reports for Instruction
Nov. 1, Sioux Falls
Nov. 2, Huron

IEP Back to Basics
Nov. 4, Sioux Falls

SBAC Interim Assessments
Nov. 9, Pierre

Board of Education
Nov. 15, Sioux Falls [http://doe.sd.gov/board/]

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