- Secretary's Column:
Partnership will save time, money
- Event explores Common Core from administrators’ perspective
- Order alternative format, Braille textbooks by Jan. 15
- Benchmark Assessment Pilot underway; first round of testing complete
- Teacher Evaluation Work Group making strides toward goal
- Support Common Core Literacy with Electronic Resources
- LATI named Aspen finalist for second consecutive year
- Upcoming Events
- Education Reform Advisory Council meeting
Oct. 9, Pierre
- IEP Workshops
Oct. 10 – Nov. 29, Various locations statewide
- 13th Annual Systems Change Conference
Oct. 10-12, Chamberlain
- Local Teacher Reward Plan Advisory Council
Oct. 24, Pierre
- School library self-assessment tool training webinar
OOct. 25, Online
- 5th Annual Parent Conference
Oct. 27, Rapid City
By Dr. Melody Schopp
Department of Education
Partnership will save time, money
I am excited to be sharing information about a collaborative effort between the Department of Education and the Board of Regents. It has been in the works for several months, and I am happy to see it taking off. It is an effort aimed at helping students who are college-bound but may need some assistance to get them up to speed before hitting the college campus for the first time.
The program will allow students to complete remedial coursework prior to entering one of the Board of Regents’ institutions; thus, saving the students precious time and money.
Here’s how it will work:
• Students whose ACT sub-scores fall below 20 in math and 18 in English will receive a letter from the department encouraging them to participate in remedial coursework available through SD Virtual School. Participation is voluntary.
• Through SD Virtual School, the student will take a diagnostic assessment, which will generate online coursework tailored specifically to his or her needs.
• The Board of Regents will honor successful completion of the tailored coursework, allowing students who successfully complete the coursework to enter directly into college-level courses.
• The online remedial coursework will be available to students beginning in January 2013. Students, and their families, will be responsible for the cost of any coursework.
The department will be sending out information about this new program to districts later this month. Letters to students will be going out shortly after that.
There are several reasons why we think remediation prior to entering college is the way to go. Number one: Remedial courses at the postsecondary level cost significantly more than this new option through SD Virtual School (approximately $800 versus $200-$300). Second, a postsecondary remedial course is classified as zero-credit, meaning it does not count towards graduation. And, finally, students who enter postsecondary prepared to complete college-level courses have proven to more successfully progress toward earning a degree.
Event explores Common Core from administrators’ perspective
A Common Core kickoff event for school administrators is being held Wednesday, Oct. 10, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., at Cedar Shore Resort, Chamberlain, in conjunction with the annual Systems Change Conference, which is Oct. 10-12. The Common Core event is one of two In-depth Pre-Conference Workshops being offered. Click here for a description of the workshop and scroll down to Option #2.
The workshop features Brian Pete, who will help school leaders explore the thinking skills embedded in the Common Core standards and provide strategies to support teachers and students as they transition to the increased expectations of these new standards.
Shelbi Cole will also present, describing the process being used by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium to develop a system of valid, reliable, and fair next-generation assessments aligned to the Common Core.
Thanks to funds from the Bush Foundation, any school administrator currently employed in a public school district will receive $125 off on their conference registration fee (this applies to Individual and Team registrations). To register for the event, go to: http://systemschange.midwestmaple.org/content/ratesreg.htm. MAPLE will track registration and deduct the $125 from any public school administrator’s registration fee when they invoice the district.
Questions about registration can be directed to John Swanson or Brenda Luedtke at TIE, (605) 394-1876.
Order alternative format, Braille textbooks by Jan. 15
To assure delivery of alternative format textbooks by the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, textbook orders must be received by Jan. 15, 2013. Orders received after this date will still be accepted, but the Department of Education cannot assure delivery by the beginning of the school year.
As a courtesy to South Dakota schools, Pheasantland Industries does not accept orders from other states until after Jan. 15. South Dakota textbook orders received by Jan. 15 will receive top priority. South Dakota textbook orders received after Jan. 15 will be placed in the queue with orders from other states.
If you have questions about ordering alternative format textbooks, please contact Karen Duenwald, Educational Materials Coordinator with the South Dakota State Library at 800-423-6665.
Benchmark Assessment Pilot underway; first round of testing complete
The state’s Benchmark Assessment Pilot is underway, and the first assessment has already been administered. Students in selected districts took part in the pretest Sept. 4-14.
The benchmark assessments administered through this pilot are delivered in reading and mathematics at grades 3-8 and 11. The assessments are administered completely online and assess mastery of items aligned to the Common Core.
“The great thing about online assessment is that teachers have access to data immediately and can use it to figure out where the holes are and where can we get stronger,” said assessment specialist Gay Pickner. “We are also doing the same analysis at the state level with aggregated data.”
Results may be different from one district to another, Pickner said, and the feedback can help teachers tailor their instruction throughout the year.
There will be another test administered in December, followed by one in March. Those two assessments are currently being referred to as interim assessments. The posttest will take place at the end of the year.
After each test, the state’s assessment team will meet with individual districts to discuss their results and any strategies for improvement. The state is also tracking bandwidth usage during testing times and related technology issues.
The pilot districts are: Beresford, Arlington, Bennett County, Dakota Valley, Leola, Deuel, Flandreau, Hill City, Haakon, Corsica, Harding County, Avon, Wall, Lennox, Sioux Valley, Pierre, Brookings, Stanley County, White Lake, Tri-Valley and Sioux Falls.
To find more information, go to: http://doe.sd.gov/oats/SDBA.aspx.
Teacher Evaluation Work Group making strides toward goal
The Teacher Evaluation Workgroup met Sept. 20 in Pierre. Collectively, group members are beginning to have a vision of what evaluation tools and support resources might look like in South Dakota. Beginning in 2014-15, teachers in South Dakota will be evaluated on the state standards for teaching (i.e. Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching) adopted by the South Dakota Board of Education.
The group had conversations about how to measure the quantitative components – a big question at the beginning of the meeting – and by the end, had an idea of creating a portfolio that shows evidence of student learning. For core content teachers of grades 3-8 and 11, that portfolio must include state assessment scores.
“I think of my wife who’s a second-grade teacher, and she could tell you exactly what level her students were reading at, at the beginning of the year and at the end,” said Associated School Boards of South Dakota Director Dr. Wade Pogany.
The portfolio would clearly demonstrate growth, even for teachers who aren’t teaching core subject material or are teaching outside the tested grade levels. The portfolio would be scored using indicators in Domains I and III of Danielson’s Framework. Certain indicators in Charlotte Danielson’s Framework could be used to judge those quantitative measures and would then be considered “power” indicators, meaning they would be weighted to account for 50 percent of a teacher’s total score. Benchmarks and goals could be decided locally.
“I think both teachers and principals will like this concept and it will receive more support from those in the field,” Meade School District Superintendent Don Kirkegaard said.
Teacher Nicole Keegan commented that she thought the proposal to measure quantitative measures would be easily understood and teachers wouldn’t have a hard time following it and recognizing what they were being evaluated on.
The group also discussed qualitative measures, including both formal and informal observations.
“Maybe we give districts resources and some basic direction but we also give them options,” said group facilitator Dr. Rick Melmer, education dean at the University of South Dakota.
The group will begin planning its next meeting for sometime in November. For more information, go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/secretary/iittewg.aspx
Support Common Core Literacy with Electronic Resources
What’s the key to student success? Reading! The State Library electronic resources can help students become college and career ready and help teachers implement Common Core literacy standards by providing access to online encyclopedias, journals, ebooks and more.
For example, the Reading Standards for Informational Text emphasize the special skills needed when reading for factual information, whether for school or personal interest, in all formats. World Book Online offers help in this area by providing read aloud, videos, and article subheadings to help readers stay on track. Articles also give links to other articles or supplemental material if readers want more information.
SIRS Discoverer, SIRS Issues Researcher, and ProQuest provide informational articles about a broad variety of topics. Issues Researcher has read aloud and research tools to help students process what they read, especially “My Analysis” and “Note Organizer.” Special features in Discoverer and Issues Researcher include maps and interactive websites. ProQuest helps researchers narrow their topics by suggesting topics and giving limiters such as date and format.
Gale Virtual Reference Library provides access to selected multi-volume titles in many subject areas. Recently added titles that support Common Core reading and research are titles like the nine volume Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures, the four volume Encyclopedia of Foods and Recipes of the World and the five-volume Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes.
The South Dakota State Library’s e-resources, available at http://library.sd.gov, can help your students meet Common Core literacy standards and enhance learning for all ages. The State Library Electronic Resources Coordinators are available to provide training to your staff either in person or online. Contact the State Library at (800) 423-6665 or either of the electronic resources coordinators: Jane Healy at (605) 295-3174 or Julie Erickson or (605) 295-1994.
LATI named Aspen finalist for second consecutive year
Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown is one of four two-year colleges nationwide to be named as a Top Ten Finalist for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence two years in a row. Selected from an original pool of more than 1,000 community colleges, the prize recognizes the most outstanding institutions for achievements in student learning outcomes, degree and college completion, labor market success in students securing jobs after college, and minority and low-income student success.
LATI now enters the last stage of the competition for the $1 million prize fund that will be awarded in March in Washington, D.C., to the winner and up to four finalists-with-distinction. Lake Area Tech was a recipient of one of the four finalists- with-distinction awards in last year’s competition.
At nearly 76 percent, LATI has one of the highest graduation and transfer rates of any community college in the U.S. Its rigid program structure and strong focus on student advising enables a clear progression through courses. With exemplary workforce training programs in 27 different areas from aviation mechanics to welding, 98 percent of LATI graduates secure jobs or pursue further education within one year of graduation.
For more information, go to: http://www.lakeareatech.edu/.
New Director of Assessment and Accountability on board
The Department of Education is excited to welcome its newest division director to the table. Abby Javurek-Humig took over the helm as Director of the Division of Assessment and Accountability last month. Javurek-Humig is a Pierre native, moving back to South Dakota from New Mexico, where she worked in postsecondary education.
Three South Dakota elementaries earn Blue Ribbon status
Congratulations to Groton Area Elementary, Parker Elementary and Wall Elementary! Those three schools recently earned Blue Ribbon status under a U.S. Department of Education program. More than 250 schools across the country were recognized as 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or for making progress in improving student academic achievement levels.
The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement.
A total of 417 schools nationwide may be nominated, with allocations determined by the numbers of K-12 students and schools in each jurisdiction. The Secretary of Education invites nominated schools to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.
Education Reform Advisory Council meeting
Oct. 9, Pierre
The group will meet beginning at 10 a.m. Central in the MacKay Building, and the meeting is expected to continue throughout the day. The group’s purpose is to advise on implementation of House Bill 1234 and examine initiatives for increased teacher compensation, areas of critical need, and improving student achievement. For more information, go to: http://www.doe.sd.gov/secretary/iitsderac.aspx.
Oct. 10 – Nov. 29, Various locations statewide
The IEP workshop will take you through all the essentials needed to provide students with a program that results in educational benefit. Workshops run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in their respective time zones and six contact hours will be offered. Presenters will cover all areas of special education, from referral to placement to IEP development. This interactive workshop will help you analyze data and write appropriate IEPs for students with varying disabilities. Registration is limited to 50 participants at each site. For registration and a complete list of dates and locations, go to: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDRVcTFFNVVfcktJc284REhaTzlfaXc6MA
13th Annual Systems Change Conference
Oct. 10-12, Chamberlain
This year’s Systems Change Conference will be held at the Cedar Shore Resort, located on the Missouri River near Chamberlain and Oacoma. Long regarded as one of the region’s premier professional development events for educators, this event also features the announcement of the South Dakota Teacher of the Year, during a special recognition banquet. Graduate credit and DOE contact hours are available. For more information, or to register, watch www.systemschange.midwestmaple.org.
Local Teacher Reward Plan Advisory Council
Oct. 24, Pierre
This will be the fourth meeting of the Local Teacher Reward Plan Advisory Council, appointed as part of House Bill 1234, and the meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the MacKay Building. The group's purpose is to provide input in developing local district teacher reward plans. Click here for more information. LINK TO http://www.doe.sd.gov/secretary/iitltrpac.aspx
School library self-assessment tool training webinar
Oct. 25, Online
A self-assessment tool, based on the South Dakota School Library Guidelines, was recently endorsed by the South Dakota Board of Education. It is accompanied by instructions and an award application. Professional development on the use of the self-assessment tool and further information about the 21st Century School Library Award process will be presented via webinar on Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. CT. For details and registration information, go to: http://library.sd.gov/LIB/DEV/training/race.aspx.
For copies of the documents, go to http://library.sd.gov or contact school library coordinators Mary G. Johnson or Joan Upell at 800-423-6665.
5th Annual Parent Conference
Oct. 27, Rapid City
This year’s Learning Starts at Home Conference for Parents will take place in Rapid City. The conference is free to attend, but preregistration is requested. Co-sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Education and the Parent Information Resource Network, the event provides parents and educators with resources to help reach their children and foster student learning.