The Board of Education recognized two Project Lead the Way programs at its meeting last month. Congratulations to Canton and Sioux Falls for earning PLTW certification!
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Secretary's Column
By Dr. Melody Schopp
Department of Education



Changing the way we approach teacher evaluation

Last week, we had the privilege of hosting Charlotte Danielson in South Dakota. She spoke to the work group that has been meeting to develop teaching standards for South Dakota. As you are aware, the state board has adopted Danielsonís framework as South Dakotaís state standards and is working to move them to administrative rule.

Adoption of the Danielson framework as our state standards provides us with a tremendous opportunity to change the way we approach teacher evaluation in South Dakota. At its very core, the Danielson model encourages us, as educators, to engage in continual self-reflection and to approach evaluation not as a punitive function but as an opportunity to grow in our practice. This type of authentic approach will require a paradigm shift in the way we operate. But itís one that I believe will pay great dividends in terms of the quality of teaching across our state. South Dakota has some of the most dedicated educators in the country, and the framework serves to recognize the work that they do, and to elevate the teaching profession.

I am thankful that Charlotte was able to join our group, and I believe her insight and experience will prove invaluable as we move forward with developing a model evaluation tool.

You will be hearing much more about this topic in the months ahead, as we talk about its relationship to the Common Core work that also is going on statewide.

On another note, a number of employees here at the department have been personally impacted by Missouri River flooding. At times like these, I am reminded of what is truly important in life. The outpouring of support has been amazing to watch, and thanks to all of you who have been keeping our communities in your thoughts and prayers.