Monday, August 10, 2020

Collaboration webinars available for South Dakota K-12 educators

South Dakota Department of Education staff host collaboration webinars to facilitate networking among groups of educators as they navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19 during the 2020-21 school year.

Thursday, Aug. 13, 3:30 p.m. CT
Target audience: K-12 math teachers
Topic: Starting Well
Email Stephanie Higdon for meeting access information.

Friday, Aug. 21, 2-3 p.m. CT
Target audience: K-12 school counselors
Topic: Content will depend on needs of attendees
Email Andrea Diehm for meeting access information.

Thursday, Aug. 27, 10-11 a.m. CT
Target audience: K-12 school counselors
Topic: Content will depend on needs of attendees
Email Andrea Diehm for meeting access information.

Monday, Aug. 31, 2-3 p.m. CT
Target audience: K-12 school counselors
Topic: Content will depend on needs of attendees
Email Andrea Diehm for meeting access information.

Monday, Sept. 28, 3:45-4:30 p.m. CT
Target audience: K-12 teachers of English learners
Topic: What is your EL support looking like? Meetings include a short main topic, various timely topics, and time for Q & A.
Email
Gwyneth Dean-Fastnacht with the South Dakota State-WideTitle III & Migrant Consortia for meeting access information.

Monday, Oct. 26, 3:45-4:30 p.m. CT
Target audience: K-12 teachers of English learners
Topic: Monitoring. Meetings include a short main topic, various timely topics, and time for Q & A.
Email Gwyneth Dean-Fastnacht with the South Dakota State-WideTitle III & Migrant Consortia for meeting access information.

Monday, Nov. 30, 3:45-4:30 p.m. CT
Target audience: K-12 teachers of English learners
Topic: Speaking scores. Meetings include a short main topic, various timely topics, and time for Q & A.
Email Gwyneth Dean-Fastnacht with the South Dakota State-WideTitle III & Migrant Consortia for meeting access information.


Monday, April 27, 2020

Governor Noem proclaims Teacher Appreciation Week 2020

Executive Proclamation
Office of the Governor
State of South Dakota

WhereasSouth Dakotans believe in the importance of education for our students; and

Whereas, South Dakota teachers are our state’s greatest assets for ensuring student success; and

Whereas, teachers are at the forefront of the effort to prepare South Dakota students to graduate from the K-12 system ready for college, careers, and life; and

Whereashighly qualified teachers are trained professionals deserving of the utmost respect for the work they do, which often extends well beyond the regular school day, week, and year; and

Whereas, our state is dedicated to supporting new and current teachers as well as recruiting future teachers from among the ranks of today’s students by elevating the teaching profession; and

Whereas, South Dakota teachers have eagerly and capably stepped up to meet the unprecedented challenges of extended school closures due to COVID-19.

Now, Therefore, I, Kristi Noem, Governor of the state of South Dakota, do hereby proclaim May 4-8, 2020, as

TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK

in South Dakota.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Joint Statement on Serving Students with Disabilities During COVID-19 Outbreak

The South Dakota Department of Education Special Education Programs, South Dakota Parent Connection, and Disability Rights South Dakota remain committed to the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  We believe the rights of all students with disabilities must be maintained, even during school closures, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

It is our firm belief, despite the unprecedented challenge facing districts and families, that students with disabilities will be served by parties coming together to make decisions on how to provide services in a manner that ensures the health and safety of all parties and that allows for meaningful progress on IEP goals and educational standards.     

During this time, we encourage all parties to keep communication lines open and work together. Meetings may need to be held by phone or video conferencing, but time and effort should be on ensuring continued provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education for students with disabilities to meet the IEP goals and services. At the conclusion of this outbreak, IEP teams can assess if services provided allowed the student to make sufficient progress on goals and educational standards, and then determine if any additional or compensatory services should be made available due to any limitations in the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education.      

Thank you for your attention to the health and safety of students and educational providers during this time. We will get through this by working together. If you have questions during this time, please feel free to reach out to the Special Education Program representative for your regionSouth Dakota Parent Connection, or Disability Rights South Dakota.







Friday, March 20, 2020

A message from the Secretary: Thank you

Dear South Dakota teachers and school personnel,

It’s hard to believe it’s only been two weeks that we have been dealing with school closures in South Dakota. I’m sure it feels much longer.

Your response has been remarkable. The vital in-person classroom connection that approximately 10,000 educators across South Dakota share with some 135,000 students was suddenly cut. But the need remains the same. And now we see you establishing new kinds of connections with your students with creativity, innovation, and courage.

From what I’ve observed over these past seven days, I’m confident that if this virus could be beaten by your unwavering devotion to your students and your tremendous flexibility in the face of these sudden and unprecedented challenges, you all would have conquered it by Tuesday.

However long this crisis endures, please know that your dedication serves as an example to all of us.

Thank you for everything you’re doing for South Dakota students.

Benjamin F. Jones, PhD
Secretary of Education 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Gov. Noem proclaims School Counseling Week 2020

Executive Proclamation
Office of the Governor
State of South Dakota

Whereas, school counselors are employed in public and private schools to help students reach their full potential; and,

Whereas, school counselors are actively committed to helping students explore their abilities, strengths, interests, and talents as these traits relate to career awareness and development; and,

Whereas, school counselors help parents focus on ways to further the educational, personal, and social growth of their children; and,

Whereas, school counselors work with teachers and other educators to help students explore their potential and set realistic goals for themselves; and,

Whereas, school counselors seek to identify and utilize community resources that can enhance and complement comprehensive school counseling programs and help students become productive members of society; and,

Whereas, comprehensive developmental school counseling programs are considered an integral part of the educational process that enables all students to achieve success in school:

Now, Therefore, I, Kristi Noem, Governor of the state of South Dakota, do hereby proclaim
Feb. 3-7, 2020, as

School Counseling Week

in South Dakota.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Check out upcoming webinars to learn more about National Board Certification

Have you ever thought about pursuing National Board Certification? 

Teachers who earn National Board Certification demonstrate advanced knowledge and skill in their profession. Teachers achieve this certification through a rigorous, performance-based, peer-reviewed assessment of a teacher's pedagogical skills and content knowledge. 

The South Dakota Department of Education is hosting upcoming webinars for teachers to learn more about the process:
  • Jan. 13, 5:30-6:30 p.m. CT: Join our DOE Zoom meeting to learn more about Components One and Two of the certification. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions.
  • Jan. 27, 5:30-6:30 p.m. CT: Join our DOE Zoom meeting to learn more about Components Three and Four. Again, there will be time for Q & A.
Access information for both meetings: 
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 432 062 0552

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Join DOE’s National Board Certification cohort
For those teachers who decide to start the National Board Certification process this year, the South Dakota Department of Education is facilitating a cohort. To learn more, visit our National Board Certification webpage and contact Kelly Royer. Teachers can sign up for the cohort until the next National Board Certification registration deadline, which is Feb. 28.

The National Board Certification process takes one to three years to complete. While licensing standards set the basic requirements to teach in a state, National Board Certified teachers demonstrate advanced teaching knowledge, skills, and practices similar to the certifications earned by experts in law and medicine.

South Dakota teachers who earn National Board Certification receive $2,000 per year for five years, with $1,000 paid by the South Dakota Department of Education and $1,000 paid by the teacher’s school district. The department will also reimburse fees personally paid by teachers upon their achievement of national certification. 

To learn more about this certification and stipend and reimbursement opportunities, visit our National Board Certification webpage.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Championing excellence in South Dakota's K-12 education system


A column by Secretary of Education Dr. Ben Jones

The South Dakota Department of Education has released its strategic plan, which will guide the department’s activities through 2024. Based on our professional experience, judgment, and knowledge, we believe the plan provides a concise illustration of the department’s future and work for our next generation. Chief among our priorities is championing excellence in South Dakota’s K-12 education system.

As part of our strategy, the department has initiated two implementation plans focused on decreasing the opportunity gap for students in poverty and establishing a networked community of allies focused on serving Native American learners to improve academic outcomes.

These initiatives have key points of overlap and will be primary efforts of the department and our partners in the coming years. Other priorities are expanding work-based learning and enhancing civics education.

The plan consists of four strategic directions: championing excellence, maximizing and building relationships, achieving effectiveness, and cultivating our professional culture. The strategies are intended to achieve the department’s vision of supporting local educators, investing in talent development, fostering research and innovation, supporting the whole learner, and reinventing accountability.

The department’s strategic plan clearly defines what we hope to be as a department in five years, and it describes who is working on which initiative and when. This is a living plan, to change as the needs of students change while keeping standards high and ensuring that a diploma is meaningful.

It is also important to note what this strategic plan is not. It is not the statewide plan driven by student achievement goals for South Dakota students. That is our state’s current Every Student Succeeds Act Plan. Instead, the department’s strategic plan details steps the department will take, as part of the wider effort of supporting South Dakota’s accredited schools, to improve our state’s educational environment. We will monitor progress on the ESSA plan, and make efforts to improve where there is need.

Together with our state’s educators and other important partners, our professional staff will begin to move in the strategic directions of maximizing and building relationships, achieving effectiveness, championing excellence, and cultivating our professional culture.

We embrace the work ahead.