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SD Department of Education
Oct. 2019  
Amanda Harris, 2020 SD Teacher of the Year TEACHER FEATURE: Harris selected as 2020 South Dakota Teacher of the Year

Amanda Harris, a fourth-grade teacher at Endeavor Elementary in the Harrisburg School District, has been named the 2020 South Dakota Teacher of the Year. Secretary of Education Ben Jones made the announcement at a banquet at the Cedar Shore Conference Center in Oacoma.

“Teachers are on the front lines of raising up the next generation. It’s important we celebrate the work they do,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “Amanda has consistently gone above and beyond in her classroom and in her school district. I’m confident she will represent our state’s teachers and students well in the coming year.”

Harris has taught in the Harrisburg School District since 2013. She has served on curriculum committees in her district and regularly presents at educator conferences. She has started several afterschool clubs at her school, including a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) club and stop-motion movie-making club. She also helped start her school’s theater company. Harris is a previous recipient of a South Dakota Education Association/National Education Association Educational Innovation Grant.

“The South Dakota Teacher of the Year program is all about celebrating the vital work of educators and their impact on the lives of students,” said Secretary Jones. “Over the coming year, Amanda will be an advocate for teachers and students across South Dakota. She will do a tremendous job as State Teacher of the Year.”

A statewide panel of educators selected Harris from among five regional finalists. The other finalists were Jean Gunderson, K-6 Title reading, Elkton Elementary; Dina Vander Wilt, kindergarten, L.B. Williams Elementary (Mitchell); Nicole Dallman, third grade, Mobridge-Pollock Upper Elementary; and Penny Shuster Louks, eighth grade English language arts, Belle Fourche Middle School.

As recipient of the honor, Harris receives prizes including a $5,000 cash award from the West River Foundation and a $1,000 honorarium from the South Dakota Board of Regents to present a series of professional development seminars to aspiring teachers. Prize packages are made possible through the generosity of private businesses and organizations, including the South Dakota Retailers Association and the South Dakota Education Association.

In addition, Harris will represent South Dakota as a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year award. The National Teacher of the Year Program began in 1952 and continues as the oldest, most prestigious national honors program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. The 2020 National Teacher of the Year will be announced during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in the spring.


Alison Ter Horst Milken Educator Award Recipient Helping students discover their way earns Alison Ter Horst Milken Educator Award

At a surprise school assembly at Washington High School in Sioux Falls, teacher Alison Ter Horst was honored as a 2019-20 recipient of the Milken Educator Award, which comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. Ter Horst is the only Milken Educator Award winner from South Dakota this year and is among up to 40 honorees for 2019-20.

Read more at https://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/documents/2019/1016-Milken.pdf.

PAEMST Logo South Dakota’s newest PAEMST honorees announced

Four outstanding educators are South Dakota’s newest recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Congratulations!

These awardees represent two years of nominations. Award years alternate between recognizing teachers of grades K-6 and teachers of grades 7-12.

2017 Honorees: Teachers of grades 7-12

Louise “LuAnn” Lindskov, Timber Lake High School: “The Presidential Award is an incredible and humbling honor. This distinction is a testament to the inspiring patrons, educators, parents, and students from my community who have blessed me with their support on my journey. As their teacher, I know that the decisions I make each day about teaching and learning greatly affect my students. Receiving this prestigious award challenges me to continue my work and fuels my passion for young people as well as science and mathematics education.”

This biography of LuAnn is courtesy of the PAEMST website:
Louise “LuAnn” Lindskov has been a science and mathematics educator for more than 34 years, spending the last 17 years teaching at Timber Lake High School. Her current teaching assignment includes 9-12th-grade pre-calculus/trigonometry, physics, chemistry, Honors Physical Science, Honors Geometry, and conceptual physics. Previously, she taught at Isabel High School for 17 years.

LuAnn creates a classroom that promotes active learning. She engages students in opportunities to discover science, often in small collaborative groups, and to practice skills and apply mathematics in authentic situations. LuAnn guides her students toward areas of scientific research about which they are passionate. She uses grant awards to equip her school’s science laboratory with modern digital tools and to promote robotics.

As a member of numerous regional, state, and local organizations and initiatives, LuAnn is a leader in promoting the profession. She used her distinction as 2014 South Dakota Teacher of the Year to bring attention to the shortage of highly qualified teachers, especially in rural areas and worked with state government to implement solutions. LuAnn holds a B.S. in mathematics and natural sciences and secondary education from the University of Mary and an M.S. in education from Walden University. She is National Board Certified in adolescent and young adult science.

Leah Oxner, West Middle School (Rapid City): “This award is a tribute to the amazing educators who have been a part of my life. Both my parents worked tirelessly as educators. In doing so, they fostered a love of teaching in me. I am extremely proud and blessed to come from a family of educators. My success in education would not be possible without amazing colleagues, a supportive family, and the wonderful students whom I have been honored to teach. This award inspires me to continue to find ways to make teaching fun and interesting.”

This biography of Leah is courtesy of the PAEMST website:
Leah Oxner has been an educator for 17 years and has spent the last 13 years teaching seventh and eighth-grade at West Middle School. She currently teaches eighth-grade Integrated Mathematics 1 and mathematics lab. Prior to that, she taught at South Middle School in Rapid City. Leah’s students use an inquiry style of learning in which questioning, making mistakes, and reflecting are part of the learning process. She encourages students to be active participants in their education with her “those who do, are those who learn” philosophy.

Leah has opened her classroom to many visitors: college students, fellow teachers, administrators, coaches, and mathematics specialists have observed her teaching. She has also mentored many teachers through new teacher training, technology classes, professional development presentations, and ongoing support. Leah has served on numerous committees during her career. She is currently on the South Dakota Mathematics and Science Leadership Team and the committee to implement a STEAM curriculum in her school. Leah’s awards include two Teacher of Distinction awards from her school district. Leah earned a B.S., cum laude, in secondary education from Northern State University and an M.S. in education from Black Hills State University. She is certified to teach both secondary mathematics and computer science.

2018 Honorees: Teachers of grades K-6

Kelly Preheim, Armour Elementary: “I am honored and humbled to receive the Presidential Award. This prestigious award validates the dedication, innovation, and passion required to educate children. Thank you to my family, past students, mentors, administrators, colleagues, and others who have encouraged me. It is so important to teach children about nature and get them outdoors, so they can learn to care for our natural world. My kindergartners’ enthusiasm confirms the importance of teaching science to our very youngest students.”

This biography of Kelly is courtesy of the PAEMST website:
Kelly Preheim has been an elementary teacher for more than 30 years and has taught kindergarten for the last 27 years in the Armour School District. She previously taught in Hurley for seven years.

Kelly has discovered a meaningful way to engage her students in scientific thinking as she shares her passion for birds and nature with her students. Incorporating birds into her curriculum made lessons more enjoyable and relevant. Kindergartners became bird experts and were able to describe, draw, and identify hundreds of species. More importantly, they shared their passion and knowledge with their family.

Kelly has incorporated transdisciplinary, problem-based learning community projects with her students. Projects include building nest boxes, publishing an annual bird field guide, and creating a community bird feeder complex. Kelly created an afterschool bird club for kindergarten through eighth-grade students.

Kelly has presented problem-based learning and STEM teaching to student teachers, has given presentations for children and adults, and has been a bird camp instructor. She’s written many articles for state and national publications about teaching young children about birds. Kelly earned a B.S. in elementary education from the University of South Dakota. She recently became a National Geographic Certified Educator and is certified in elementary education.

Kimberly Webber, instructional coach, Rapid City Area School District: “It is such an honor to receive the Presidential Award. I have been blessed to be able to go to work each day to a job I love, finding ways to connect with students. This award recognizes all those who have influenced me along my journey as an educator: family, teachers, mentors, and colleagues. Most of all, I would like to thank my students, both past and present, who have taught me so much about what being a teacher, a learner, and a human being are all about.”

This biography of Kimberly is courtesy of the PAEMST website:
Kimberly Webber has been an educator for 36 years and has spent the last 24 in the Rapid City Area School District, most recently teaching kindergarten through fifth grades at Black Hawk Elementary School. In 2018, she became the kindergarten through fifth-grade instructional coach for Black Hawk and Valley View elementary schools. Previously, she taught kindergarten and first grade in Alberta, Canada, and served as an assessment specialist for the Alberta Department of Education. As an instructional coach, Kimberly models effective teaching strategies, observes teachers, and provides feedback on their instruction.

She has delivered numerous professional development sessions at the school, district, and state levels on mathematics instruction and assessment. Kimberly is an adjunct instructor at Black Hills State University. She is a member of the South Dakota mathematics leadership team and is involved in planning and presenting at a mentoring workshop for preservice teachers. Kimberly is extensively involved with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium where she develops and reviews assessments to be used nationwide. Kimberly earned a B.Ed. from the University of Lethbridge and a M.Ed. from the University of Alberta. She is certified in early childhood and elementary education and holds a K-12 Mathematics Specialist Endorsement and Montessori teaching certification.

Meghan Wounded Head Wounded Head named SDCTE Teacher of the Year

Meghan Wounded Head (left), an English teacher at Washington High School in Sioux Falls, recently received the Teacher of the Year Award from the South Dakota Council of Teachers of English. SDCTE President Carla McMurry-Kozak (right) presented Meghan with the award. Congratulations, Meghan!

November location added! Trainings on unpacked standards documents

South Dakota adopted English language arts and math content standards in March 2018. The 2018-19 school year was considered a transition year, so that teachers could become familiar with the revisions made to state content standards. Full implementation of new state content standards is now underway. Students will be assessed on the new standards in spring 2020. Check out these upcoming trainings:

    Unpacked Document Workshops
  • Oct. 24, Pierre - ELA [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=12737]
  • Oct. 24, Pierre - Math [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=12739]
  • Nov. 21, Rapid City – ELA [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=12803]
  • Nov. 21, Rapid City – Math [https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=12806]

Resources Puzzle Governor proclaims October Dyslexia Awareness Month

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month [http://sddoe.blogspot.com/2019/10/october-is-dyslexia-awareness-month.html]. The Dyslexia Handbook for Teachers and Parents in South Dakota [https://doe.sd.gov/Dyslexia/documents/Handbook-17.pdf] 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 [https://doe.sd.gov/Dyslexia/] for the dyslexia handbook, a brochure [https://doe.sd.gov/Dyslexia/documents/Brochure.pdf], and many other dyslexia resources.

State Library provides valuable resources for school libraries

The South Dakota State Library is a division of the Department of Education. The State Library offers a wide variety of resources to support your school library, administrators, teachers, and students, including school library standards, professional development, and electronic databases.

  • Professional development: [https://libguides.library.sd.gov/services/schools/pd] The State Library offers a wide variety of free professional development for librarians and other educators, including online and face-to-face courses, such as the annual School Library Boot Camp.
  • South Dakota School Library Standards: [https://doe.sd.gov/contentstandards/documents/0819-SchoolLibrary.pdf] These standards were recently updated. A free online course [https://sites.google.com/view/sdslschoollibstandards2019] is available to introduce school librarians and other educators to these integrated standards. Registration for the fall session is full; however, another session will be offered in early spring 2020.
  • Electronic databases for schools: [https://library.sd.gov/LIB/ERD/complete.aspx] The State Library offers free, to all South Dakota citizens, access to more than 50 databases. For K-12 students, databases have been carefully selected for research and inquiry; some are the same databases students will use at the postsecondary level. Free, onsite database trainings are available for school staff. Email David Bradford [David.Bradford@state.sd.us], Digital Resources Coordinator, or Alissa Adams [Alissa.Adams@state.sd.us], School Library Technology Coordinator, if you are interested in scheduling a training for your school.
  • The 21st Century School Library Self-Assessment [https://library.sd.gov/LIB/SLC/doc/FRM-21cSLSelfAssmnt-2019.pdf] is intended to help guide schools and school librarians in evaluating and setting goals for the library. School libraries can also apply to earn the 21st Century School Library Award [https://library.sd.gov/LIB/SLC/21stCentAward.aspx].
  • The Collect+Connect blog [https://schoollibrarysdsl.blogspot.com/] provides easy-to-use tips, programming ideas, and other resources for school libraries.
For more information, visit library.sd.gov or contact Alissa Adams [Alissa.Adams@state.sd.us], School Library Technology Coordinator.

State Library recognizes 21st Century School Libraries

Library Video

Thirteen school libraries have received the 21st Century School Library Award for 2019. The 21st Century School Library Award recognizes school libraries as Effective, Enhanced, or Exemplary, based on performance in three areas: place, which refers to the learning environment (both physical and online), programming, and the professional.

Applicants conduct a self-assessment and provide evidence of their ability to meet South Dakota's guidelines for school libraries. Award status is valid for a three-year period.

School library Award status Librarian Administrator(s)
Aberdeen Central High School Exemplary Mikayla Arechigo Dr. Jason Uttermark
Alcester-Hudson Elementary Exemplary Nola Conner Tim Rhead
Alcester-Hudson Jr./High School Exemplary Nola Conner LeeAnn Haisch
Creekside Elementary (Spearfish) Exemplary Sheleen Bauer Dan Olson
Dakota Valley Upper Elementary, Middle School and High School Enhanced Erin Nilges Harlan Halverson, Erik Sommervold, Dr. Jerry Rasmussen
Georgia Morse Middle School (Pierre) Exemplary Renae Lehman Dr. Kyley Cumbow, Brandon Lowery
Harrisburg High School Exemplary Eve Langerock Ryan Rollinger
Lennox Jr./High School Enhanced Michael Larson Chad Allison
R.F. Pettigrew Elementary (Sioux Falls) Enhanced Nicole Ulvestad Kevin Dick
Sonia Sotomayor Elementary (Sioux Falls) Enhanced Jenni Egstad Tracy Vik
Stagebarn Middle School (Piedmont) Exemplary Scottie Bruch Dave Olson
Sturgis Brown High School Enhanced Scottie Bruch Pete Wilson
Sturgis Williams Middle School Exemplary Scottie Bruch Chad Hedderman

Find more information on the State Library’s 21st Century School Library Award webpage [https://library.sd.gov/LIB/SLC/21stCentAward.aspx].

SD Book Awards Empower student readers: Let them vote for their favorite books

Voting for the South Dakota Library Association’s Children's [https://library.sd.gov/LIB/CYS/prairie/201920/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, 2020.

SD Arts Council Applications open for SD Arts Council funding opportunities

South Dakota schools are among groups invited to seek grant support from the South Dakota Arts Council to assist in funding arts projects and programs throughout the state. Learn more about these opportunities below.

  • Educator Grants: [https://artscouncil.sd.gov/grants/educator.aspx] Projects, professional development, curriculum, supplies, or program development. Up to $1,000 non-matching. Apply 45 days before start date (application form available via grant link). Funds go directly to educator.
  • Excursion Grants: [http://www.artscouncil.sd.gov/grants/excur.aspx] Transportation for SDAC-sponsored events. Half of costs, up to $500, matching grant. Apply at least 15 days before event (application form available via grant link).
  • Professional Development Grants: [http://www.artscouncil.sd.gov/grants/professdev.aspx] Provides up to $500 to school to match funds provided for PD. Apply at least 30 days before proposed activity (application form available via grant link).
  • Touring Arts: [http://www.artscouncil.sd.gov/ta/index.aspx] Fees negotiable. Artists must come from roster provided by SDAC. Single performance or presentation or one- to two-day workshop. No deadline, no application. Contact artist directly to check grant availability.
Questions? Contact Rebecca Cruse at 605-773-3301 or rebecca.cruse@state.sd.us.

Dairy Farm Tours

Students in grades 4-6 invited to take live Virtual Dairy Farm Tour

October is Farm to School Month, and as part of the festivities, the Boadwine dairy farm near Baltic, S.D., is offering a live Virtual Dairy Farm Tour Oct. 29, from 1-1:30 p.m. CDT. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions of the farmer providing the tour.

Have you and your students ever wondered how milk is produced? Or how long it takes for milk to get from farm to table? Midwest Dairy, the Department of Education’s Office of Child and Adult Nutrition Services, and South Dakota Farm Families invite your 4th – 6th grade classroom to take a live Virtual Dairy Farm Tour.

The tour will connect you directly to a real dairy for a live video tour and chat with a farmer, without leaving the comfort of your classroom. Using video chat technology, your class will get a peek at barns, cows, and more as they see and learn firsthand how dairy farmers care for their cows, the land, and produce milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.

All that is needed to participate is an internet-connected computer and speakers. If your class cannot participate in a live tour, you can also request a recording of a tour during the registration process. Follow this registration link [https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfxvkBmIn78Fl1-BSnPHVIIUozHfNlnn7gx9M6odcKKxDV5Ow/viewform] to register your classroom today.

Encourage students to be pages during 2020 legislative session

The South Dakota Legislature is accepting applications from high school students interested in serving as pages during the 2020 legislative session.

Students must be juniors or seniors (seniors are given preference). They must be in good academic standing (3.0 GPA or higher is encouraged). Students must be sponsored by a legislator with the legislator’s signature. They must also have signed permission from their high school principal or superintendent and their parent or guardian.

Applicants must be able to serve during one of the following terms and may select a preference:

  • Term 1: Jan. 13-24
  • Term 2: Jan. 27-Feb. 7
  • Term 3: Feb. 10-21
  • Term 4: Feb. 24-March 5
  • Term 5: March 9-12
The final deadline is Nov. 12. Applications, including a cover letter, should be submitted to the Legislative Research Council, 500 E. Capitol Avenue, Pierre, SD 57501.

More information on the Page Program is available on the Legislative Research Council’s Page Program webpage [http://sdlegislature.gov/Students/PageProgram].

Attention, government teachers: If you would like a legislator from your district to speak to your government class about the legislative process or the Page Program, 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.

Indian Education Summit Indian Education Summit keynotes available on DTR Facebook page

Were you unable to attend the 2019 Indian Education Summit? The South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations has posted some of the keynote speeches and other talks on their Facebook page [https://www.facebook.com/TribalSD/].
  • Mandy Smoker Broaddus, practice expert in Indian Education, Education Northwest
  • Secretary of Tribal Relations Dave Flute
  • Dr. AnnMaria De Mars, president of 7 Generation Games
  • Dr. Twyla Baker, president of Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College

Upcoming Events

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

SDMyLife Course Planner/PLPs/Accreditation
Oct. 23, webinar, 10 a.m. CDT
Oct. 23, webinar, 3 p.m. CDT

Unpacked Document Workshops - ELA and math
Oct. 24, Pierre – English language arts
Oct. 24, Pierre – Math
Nov. 21, Rapid City – English language arts
Nov. 21, Rapid City – Math

Perkins V/CTE CLNA Kick-Off
Oct. 24, Rapid City
Nov. 4, Oacoma
Nov. 5, Sioux Falls
Nov. 18, Aberdeen

Northeast Regional CTE Exchange
Oct. 30, Watertown

The Ripple Effect: Impact of Trauma/ACEs on School Climate & Culture & What We Can Do About It
Nov. 4, Wagner

Norms for English learners webinars
Nov. 4 (Part One) and Nov. 18 (Part Two)

SD Week of Work webinar
Nov. 7
Nov. 14
Nov. 21

Separating Difference from Disability
Nov. 13, Sioux Falls [https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nov-13-separating-difference-from-disability-sioux-falls-area-tickets-70508359401]

Board of Education Standards
Nov. 18, Sioux Falls [https://boardsandcommissions.sd.gov/Meetings.aspx?BoardID=32]

SDMyLife for Juniors and Seniors
Nov. 20, webinar, 10 a.m. CST
Nov. 20, webinar, 3 p.m. CST

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