Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Pierre and Brookings teachers receive Milken Awards

Embracing a Growth Mindset Earns Pierre Math Teacher Nichole Bowman a $25,000 Milken Educator Award

Learn more about Nichole and find photos and video on her Milken Educator webpage.

Brookings Science Teacher Camrin Vaux Receives $25,000 Milken Educator Award for Personalizing Student Learning

Learn more about Camrin and find photos and video on her Milken Educator webpage.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Nicole Weron: SD School Counselor of the Year

Nicole Weron (left) and Randi Hartman,
2021 SD School Counselor of the Year, in
Washington, D.C., for recognition events

Nicole Weron
School Counselor
Hill City Elementary School
Hill City, S.D.

A school counselor since 2004, Nicole Weron has a bachelor’s degree in human services and political science and a master’s degree in counseling and human resource development, both from South Dakota State University.

In her work at Hill City Elementary School, Weron built the K–5 comprehensive school counseling program and presents biweekly, structured counseling activities in every classroom. Her lessons are structured based on student need and are an integral part of students’ total educational experience. The school counseling program also incorporates support and collaboration from administrators, teachers, students, and the community. Teachers and parents value the program and consider it an equal partner in the educational process; it promotes the achievement of all students.

“I love caring for students and being a part of their support system,” Weron said.

Weron is a member of ASCA, the South Dakota School Counselor Association, the South Dakota Counseling Association and the West River Counseling Association.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Celebrating CTE Month


Laura Scheibe

Laura Scheibe is the South Dakota Department of Education's director of college, career, and student success.

As we celebrate CTE month this February, I would like to give a shout out to all our teachers who are doing amazing things to prepare our students for what comes next, whatever that looks like.

 We know that the time our children spend within the K-12 classrooms is formative. Every teacher has a role in shaping the path a child’s life will take. We also know that our CTE teachers play a special role in connecting students to experiences, content, and skills that will serve them in the world beyond the safe space of K-12. Every day you work with students to put together the pieces of core content, CTE learning, and career exploration and preparation. You are essential to helping our students see the bigger picture around them, to know what a career in South Dakota can offer, and the pieces they need to get there. In a time when we are seeing increased numbers of students disengaged from their learning, you help them see the relevance. In a time when so many other classrooms across the country are or have been virtual, you have been there day in and day out, teaching them safely. In a time when students need to be able to see how their future connects to their lives today, you give them that vision.

CTE month is an opportunity to celebrate what goes on in our classrooms every day of the school year. One way we can see the outcomes of that work is through the higher graduation rates of CTE students – tangible data that demonstrates the success you help students achieve. You can find that information and more on the newly-launched CTE report card, found on the state and district tabs here. Use this public tool to show your impact. 

Connect across your school buildings and across your communities – share your stories, spread the word, and help make CTE a part of every student’s academic journey. Let’s make this #CTEMonth epic for #SDCTE22.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Gov. Kristi Noem proclaims Feb. 7-11 School Counseling Week in South Dakota

National School Counseling Week focuses on the unique contributions of school counselors, highlighting the tremendous impact they make in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. Please take time to thank your school counselor(s) for their efforts to help students learn, thrive, and grow and to make a positive impact on student attendance, behavior, and achievement through fostering career, academic, and social/emotional development.

Executive Proclamation

Whereasschool counselors are employed in schools to help students reach their full potential; and,

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

Whereasschool counselors partner with parents to further the educational and personal growth of their children; and,

Whereasschool counselors work with teachers and other educators to help students succeed in school and set realistic goals for themselves; and,

Whereas, school counselors identify and utilize community resources that can enhance and complement comprehensive school counseling programs to assist students in becoming productive members of society; and,

Whereas, comprehensive school counseling programs are considered an integral part of the educational process:

Now, Therefore, I, Kristi Noem, Governor of the state of South Dakota, do hereby proclaim

Feb. 7-11, 2022, as

School Counseling Week

in South Dakota.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month: WoLakota Elder Interviews

Oceti Sakowin [oh-CHEH-tee shaw-KOH-we] means “Seven Council Fires” and refers collectively to the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people. There are seven Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings

Did you know? The WoLakota Project website includes a repository of Oceti Sakowin Elder interviews aligned with the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings. 

OSEU 1 - Lands & Environment: The original land base and natural resources of the Oceti Sakowin were under communal stewardship prior to immigrant settlement. Oceti Sakowin have a distinct and unique interrelationship with the environment that is essential to South Dakota. 

In this video, Lowell Amiotte discusses connections to land and people: 
Find discussion questions related to the video on this WoLakota Project webpage.

OSEU 2 - Identity & ResiliencyThere is variety and resiliency among individuals within the Oceti Sakowin Oyate [oh-YAH-tay] (people) as identity is developed, defined, and redefined by entities, by organization, and by people. A continuum of tribal identity, unique to each individual, ranges from assimilated to traditional lifestyle. There is no “generic American Indian.”

In this video, Stephanie Charging Eagle discusses Lakota identity and virtues: 
Find discussion questions related to the video on this WoLakota Project webpage.

OSEU 3 - Culture & Language: The origin, thought, and philosophy of the Oceti Sakowin continues in the contemporary lifestyles of Tribal members. Tribal cultures, traditions, and languages are incorporated and observed by many Tribal members both on and off the reservations.

In this video, Victor Douville discusses the four values:
Find discussion questions related to the video on this WoLakota Project webpage.

OSEU 4 - Kinship & Harmony: Oceti Sakowin kinship systems provide a framework for both individual and group behavior. Its unwritten rules promote harmony, compromise, a sense of order, and group cohesion.

In this video, Jace DeCory discusses sacredness and children: 
Find discussion questions related to the video on this WoLakota Project webpage.

OSEU 5 - Oral Tradition & Story: History told from the Oceti Sakowin perspective, through oral tradition and written accounts, frequently conflicts with the stories told by mainstream historians. An analysis of multiple perspectives reveals history in a more inclusive and accurate way.

In this video, Joseph Marshall III discusses who gets to tell the story:
Find discussion questions related to the video on this WoLakota Project webpage.

OSEU 6 - Sovereignty & Treaties: Federal policies and treaties put into place throughout American history have affected Oceti Sakowin people adversely. Tribes as sovereign nations have the authority to enter into government to government relationships. Currently, the relationship between each tribe, their state(s), and the federal government is not the same for each tribe.

In this video, Faith Spotted Eagle discusses the input of the grandmothers: 
Find discussion questions related to the video on this WoLakota Project webpage.

OSEU 7 - Way of Life & Development: The essential philosophy of the Oceti Sakowin wicoun [wee-CHO] (way of life) is based on the values of the Oceti Sakowin which have created resiliency of the Oyate (people). Tribal communities have put considerable effort into education and economic development, Tribal universities and colleges, wellness centers, cultural traditions, and language revitalization.

In this video, Sidney Bird discusses compassion, help, and respect:
Find discussion questions related to the video on this WoLakota Project webpage.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month: WoLakota Project

We're celebrating Native American Heritage Month by spotlighting resources available to South Dakota K-12 educators to help them incorporate Native American culture and history into their teaching year-round, across all grade levels and content areas. 

The WoLakota Project is a collaborative effort between Technology and Innovation in Education (TIE) and the South Dakota Department of Education. The goals of the WoLakota Project include ensuring that the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings, written by Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Elders in South Dakota, become a rich and respectful part of the learning experiences of students across the state. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Celebrating Attendance Awareness Month 2021

 Executive Proclamation

Office of the Governor
State of South Dakota

WHEREAS, good attendance is essential to student achievement and graduation, and South Dakota is committed to reducing chronic absenteeism rates; and

WHEREAS, chronic absence - missing 10 percent or more of school or just 2 or 3 days a month - is a proven predictor of academic trouble and dropout rates; and

WHEREAS, the impact of chronic absence affects low-income students who are more likely to face systemic barriers in getting to school – such as unreliable transportation, lack of access to health care, unstable or unaffordable housing; and

WHEREAS, improving attendance and reducing chronic absence takes commitment, collaboration, and approaches tailored to challenges and strengths in each community; and

WHEREAS, chronic absence can be significantly reduced when schools, parents, and communities work together to monitor and promote good attendance and address hurdles that keep children from getting to school:

Now, Therefore, I, Kristi Noem, Governor of the State of South Dakota, do hereby proclaim September 2021, as

Attendance Awareness Month

in South Dakota.