February 2014

HEADLINES

CTE Month all about ‘superheroes’

This month, students and teachers across our state and country are taking time to recognize "CTE Superheroes" who exemplify the value of career and technical education.

Jean Clark from Bridgewater-Emery advocates career development to her fellow teachers. Dave Reuland from Mitchell teaches auto classes that can help his students obtain industry certifications. And Todd County School District’s CTE programs go above and beyond traditional curriculum to promote students’ overall well-being. Though they don’t wear capes or fly, these teachers and districts are true heroes.

Go to: http://doe.sd.gov/octe/ctemonth.aspx to learn more and meet other South Dakota heroes.




Governor’s Grants for CTE awarded to districts

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has announced the recipients of the Governor’s Grants for Career & Technical Education. Twelve school districts will receive a combined total of over $8.5 million through these grants.

“CTE programs are crucial in preparing South Dakota students for all the opportunities awaiting them after graduation,” said Gov. Daugaard. “Programs are strongest when all the key players work together: secondary education, postsecondary education, and business and industry.”

The grants will assist school districts in developing CTE programs and strengthening programs that already exist. The funds will help middle schools and high schools to partner with each other, other school districts, postsecondary institutions and those in the industry.

The grants were made available through the South Dakota Future Fund, which was created by Gov. George S. Mickelson to invest in South Dakota’s workforce and build its economy. They are available on a one-time basis, so grant projects must be self-sustaining beyond this initial investment.

The following school districts have been awarded grants:

• Aberdeen School District – $2 million for the construction of a new regional CTE facility

• Burke School District – $604,010 to go toward mobile units, in cooperation with Andes Central School District, Colome School District, and South Central School District

• Madison Central School District – $376,808 for health science, transportation and manufacturing programs to serve area schools

• Meade School District – $89,967 to go toward welding and machining programs

• Mitchell School District – $1,240,228 for the renovation and expansion of the regional CTE center

• Northeast Technical High School – $150,000 to go toward middle school courses and dual credit ag courses

• Northwest Area Schools Multi District – $830,800 to go toward mobile units

• Rapid City Area School District – $2 million to enhance dual and concurrent enrollment options for regional high schools

• Sioux Falls School District – $768,454 to add two new classrooms at the CTE Academy

• Todd County School District – $103,560 to expand middle school and high school course offerings, in cooperation with White River School District

• Vermillion School District – $99,380 for a public-private partnership in construction trades

• Yankton – $280,325 for regional CTE offerings

In all, 26 applications were received, requesting a total of $20 million.

“While we couldn’t accommodate every proposal, this is a good start,” said Gov. Daugaard. “I’m glad to be able to support some of the programs that are helping more young people learn, work and live in South Dakota.”




Wolsey-Wessington students spend week solving mock crimes

“Life doesn’t come at you in 50-minute increments of math, language arts and science,” says Dan Guericke, director of the Mid-Central Educational Cooperative.

That’s the reasoning behind the South Dakota Innovation Lab (http://sdinnovationlab.org/), a problem-based learning model Guericke helped establish about four years ago. The SDIL is a partnership of the Mid-Central Educational Coop, Sanford Research and the PAST Foundation. The PAST Foundation is a nonprofit group based in Ohio that helps schools and communities adopt a transdisciplinary approach to learning, with a strong focus on STEM.

Wolsey-Wessington students recently spent a week solving mock crimes, as part of Forensics in the Classroom, a bridge program created by the PAST Foundation. Bridge programs like this one help students transition from the traditional classroom setting to problem-based learning. Wolsey-Wessington is planning to become a full-time SDIL school in 2014-15.

Students in grades 6-12 spent the first part of the week learning about fingerprinting, trace evidence, anthropology and other skills required to solve crimes. Employees of the PAST Foundation and Sanford Research helped deliver lectures and facilitate lab activities.

That Thursday, the students were put into groups and assigned to one of several mock crime scenes to put their new skills to work. At first glance, things looked a bit chaotic with students milling in the hallways, in and out of classrooms, but closer inspection revealed they were methodically documenting and mapping every detail. Everyone had a specific role to play from taking pictures to dusting for fingerprints and analyzing handwriting.

Students had until 2 p.m. to finish processing crime scenes. From 2-3:45 p.m., they used all the information they had gathered to put together the story of the crime they were investigating.

On Friday, students took their cases to “court,” with each student offering testimony in his or her area of expertise.

Elementary students weren’t left out of the crime solving fun, either. Early in the week, they discovered $1 million ransom notes for their kidnapped classroom stuffed animals. They learned about many of the same topics as the older students, and by the end of the week, they too, had determined the culprits.

“We fully realize almost every teacher does projects,” Guericke says. “They’re usually viewed as some sort of add-on to a curriculum. We’re trying to flip that whole paradigm, so the projects are the curriculum. And if you need to, if you can’t address a standard through the problem-solving process, then you may have to go back to the textbook as an add-on.”

This week of forensics wasn’t Wolsey-Wessington’s first foray into problem-based learning. Last fall, the high school math, science and English teachers collaborated to lead students in a project to determine where Wolsey’s new fire hall should be located.

Students mapped potential sites, studied environmental impact, determined how much land is needed and learned the protocol for getting approval from city officials.

With help from the fire department, students also studied Wolsey’s need for ambulance service by staging a mock car accident to calculate emergency response time.

“It’s finding real-world problems and issues that are of interest to the kids, that get them motivated to learn and to explore and take education in a different direction,” says Wolsey-Wessington Superintendent James Cutshaw. “It’s more exciting than just trying to read out of a textbook something that maybe doesn’t apply to you or you can’t relate to.”

“Instructors who view themselves as the source of answers are fast becoming outdated,” Guericke says. “We have to teach students how to evaluate those answers, use those answers, apply those answers.”

For more information about the South Dakota Innovation Lab, go to: http://sdinnovationlab.org/.

Listen to former teacher Mari Biehl talk about her experience with problem-based learning at http://youtu.be/OGRmfqLYld0.






How to develop ESL programming

This story is the second in a series on English Language Learners (ELLs) in South Dakota. In the next installment, learn more about programming in the Huron and Sioux Falls School Districts.

South Dakota’s population of English Language Learners has grown from around 3,500 to approximately 5,000 students in the past five to seven years. That number could grow another 20 percent in the next five years, according to Shannon Malone, Title I Director for the South Dakota Department of Education.





To meet the needs of English Language Learners, schools must develop programming and train teaching staff. Recognizing the unique challenges of educating ELLs, the 2013 South Dakota Legislature passed legislation that provides additional funding for students who are considered limited English proficient. The funding amounts to 25 percent of the current per-student allocation.

This article provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions as districts work to meet the needs of ELL students.

Where does a school or district start when educating ELLs for the first time?
At the beginning of the school year, ELLs must be identified and screened, and their parents must be notified of available services within 30 days of enrollment. Once the school year is underway, the window for identification, screening and parental notification of eligibility is within two weeks of enrollment.

How do I know if a student needs ELL services?
A local school district is required to administer a home language survey to all students enrolling in the district as the first step in the screening process to identify students with limited English proficiency. Many districts include this survey on their initial enrollment document. The survey consists of four questions:

1) What is the language most frequently spoken at home?

2) Which language did your child learn when he/she first began to talk?

3) What language does your child most frequently speak at home?

4) What language do you most frequently speak to your child?

If the response to any of these questions is a language other than English, school districts are required to give a language proficiency identifier test.

If the home language survey does not indicate that the student speaks another language, other indicators may still exist. For example, the student may have been receiving ESL services in another state or staff may have documented concerns based on classroom observations or performance. These indicators can also prompt administration of a language proficiency identifier test.

Parents can refuse ELL services if a student is identified as ELL.

What is a language proficiency identifier test?
Since 2009, South Dakota has been a member of the WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) Consortium. The WIDA-Access Placement Test (W-APT) is used to determine whether or not a student is Limited English Proficient (LEP).

To gain access to this assessment, a login/password is needed. This information is given to district testing coordinators. Contact the South Dakota Department of Education Office of Assessment and Accountability for more information.

It’s been determined that a student qualifies for ELL services. Now what?
Once a student has been identified as LEP, it is recommended that a district create a Language Acquisition Plan (LAP) for the student. It is important to involve people who will be working closely with the student, for example, the course content teacher, English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and/or Title III coordinator, parent or guardian, building administrator and, if appropriate, the student. For a sample LAP, go to: http://doe.sd.gov/oats/documents/LAPSample.doc.

See Appendix D of The South Dakota Guide for Establishing and Maintaining Programs and Services for English Language Learners (http://doe.sd.gov/oess/documents/ELL_guide.pdf) for ELL program models from several rural districts with small numbers of ELL students.

Where can teachers obtain an ENL (English as a New Language) Endorsement?
In our state, South Dakota State University, the University of South Dakota and Augustana College currently offer the coursework necessary for endorsement. More schools add coursework every year. Some courses, but not the full endorsement, are also available at Black Hills State University and Northern State University.

What other training is available for teachers who work with ELL students?
There is a wide variety of professional development available:

• Always check the department’s Calendar of Events for relevant training.

• WIDA provides the department with training days each year.

• South Dakota also partners with the North Central Comprehensive Center located at the Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory (McREL).

• The department’s offices of Title III and Migrant Education offer training.

• The Dakota TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) holds an annual conference.

• Teachers may wish to seek out co-teaching professional development for guidance on working in cooperation with an ENL teacher.

• SIOP (Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol) training can be contracted through Pearson.

Our school district doesn’t have enough ELL students enrolled to qualify for our own Title III funding. Can we partner with other schools?
Yes. School districts receiving an allocation of less than $10,000 in Title III funding must enter into a consortium partnership with one or more local districts. Title III funds assigned to consortia must be combined or “pooled,” and all consortium partners must agree on one plan for utilizing the funds. To date, four consortia have been formed in South Dakota.

How does a school/district go about developing the most effective programming for ELL students?
A language instruction program should support language development in addition to content. ELLs need to learn English and meet high standards. When considering programs, educators should think about an instructional plan that helps ELLs attain English proficiency in addition to learning content. Districts and schools should consider ELL needs and available resources in selecting a program model.

Go to: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/14/feb/documents/ellchart.pdf for a chart of various program types.

In addition, go to: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/14/feb/documents/coteaching.pdf for a chart of several co-teaching/coaching/collaboration strategies.

For further information, consult The South Dakota Guide for Establishing and Maintaining Programs and Services for English Language Learners (http://doe.sd.gov/oess/documents/ELL_guide.pdf), a guidebook developed with the help of educators from across the state. This guide outlines school and district responsibilities, program development, goals of language instruction programs, and much more.

In the next installment of this series, read about ESL programming in action in the Huron and Sioux Falls School Districts, home to South Dakota’s two largest populations of English Language Learners.

For more information, contact Yutzil Rodriguez, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-4698 or Yutzil.Rodriguez@state.sd.us.




Nominate an educator for the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award

The Outstanding Biology Teacher Award is sponsored by the National Association of Biology Teachers and honors teachers of the life sciences in grades 7-12. A candidate must currently be teaching biology and/or other life sciences and must have devoted a significant portion of his or her career to teaching life sciences. A minimum of three years teaching experience in public, private or parochial schools is mandatory before applying for the award. Candidates need not be members of NABT, and unsuccessful candidates may be re-nominated from year to year.

Sanford Health sponsors a $1,000 grant for the winning teacher to use for professional development and/or classroom materials. Winners are also invited to the Honors Luncheon held at the NABT Professional Development Conference in the fall and receive additional materials and prizes from national sponsors.

Nominations containing the following information should be submitted to Julie Olson (Julie.olson@k12.sd.us), director of the South Dakota OBTA award:
• Name of nominee
• Email address of nominee
• Name of nominator
• Email address of nominator


Olson will forward the necessary application forms to the nominee.

The nomination deadline is March 31.




School Health Guidelines training coming up in March

The “School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity” training is fast approaching. This free event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 17, at the Kings Inn Conference Center in Pierre.

Physical education and health teachers, school nutrition directors, school health council members, administrators, community members, policy makers, parents, and students are invited to attend.

The School Health Guidelines training is designed to help schools develop or enhance school wellness policies, create healthier school environments, and promote healthy eating and physical activity. Each local educational agency that participates in the National School Lunch Program or other federal child nutrition programs is required by federal law to establish a local school wellness policy for all schools under its jurisdiction. For school year 2013-14, districts are encouraged to continue reviewing and assessing their local wellness policies and implementing the new requirements, which include accountability for local school wellness policy implementation, assessment and public updates.

The School Health Guidelines (http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/npao/strategies.htm), developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provide evidence-based guidance for schools on how to most effectively promote the health of children and adolescents aged 5 to 18 years.

Sponsors include the South Dakota Departments of Education and Health and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation - South Dakota. For more information, contact Karen Keyser, Health and Physical Education Specialist, South Dakota Department of Education, at (605) 773-6808 or Karen.keyser@state.sd.us.

Meals, mileage, lodging and substitute teacher pay will be reimbursed for up to three people per school district or agency. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Kings Inn. Call (605) 224-5951 by March 3.

Go to: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/14/feb/documents/SHtraining.pdf for more information and to register.




2013 South Dakota School Library Data Digest now available

The 2013 South Dakota School Library Data Digest (http://library.sd.gov/SDSL/publications/index.aspx#Reports) is compiled by the South Dakota State Library. The Data Digest is a snapshot of all the latest things happening in South Dakota’s school libraries.

The State Library is a resource for schools, offering consulting services, staff training, free access to a variety of specialized online resources, interlibrary loan support, programming and more. Contact school library coordinators Marta Stirling (marta.stirling@state.sd.us) or Joan Upell (joan.upell@state.sd.us) for further information.




South Dakota students selected for U.S. Senate Youth Program

Gina Elmore of Hot Springs and Lane Haskell of Rapid City have been chosen as South Dakota’s delegates to this year’s 52nd annual United States Senate Youth Program to be held March 8-15 in Washington, D.C.

Each year the USSYP, a competitive merit-based program, brings 104 high school students — two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Activity — to the nation’s capital. The USSYP is sponsored by the U.S. Senate and funded by the Hearst Foundations. The program is an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. The overall program mission is to help instill within student delegates more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service.

In addition, the Hearst Foundations provide each student delegate with a $5,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.

Elmore attends Hot Springs High School and serves as the student body co-president. She is a member of the National Honor Society and South Dakota 4-H Youth Council. She has participated in Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation activities and the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment. She intends to study environmental engineering and pursue a career in environmental advocacy.

Haskell attends St. Thomas More High School and serves as the student body secretary. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Club and Knowledge Bowl. He wants to study foreign languages and enter a pre-professional program.




UPCOMING EVENTS


**Common Core
    • 6-12 Math Module 5 & 6
    • 6-12 ELA Module 5 & 6
    • Literacy in History/Social Studies, Art, Music, World Language
    • Literacy in Science & Technical Subjects


Various dates and locations statewide

**These are repeat sessions of training previously offered by the Department of Education.

Go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for more information.




Building a Standards-Based Report Card 101
Feb. 26 and May 21, Mobridge

March 10 and June 3, Aberdeen
March 11 and June 3, Fort Pierre
March 25 and June 4, Watertown

The South Dakota Department of Education is offering an opportunity to learn the essential steps in building an effective standards-based report card. This training will get your school/district on the right track to implementing a standards-based report card. It will focus on purpose, help align standards to student learning, and assist in recording students’ progress and achievement based on standards. The intent is to offer one approach to developing a standards-based report card through thoughtfully planned efforts and practical ideas.

The training will be on the two separate dates listed for each location with time allotted in the interim to work on the report cards (homework for obtaining 1 graduate credit).

Go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for more information.




Smarter Balanced Pre-Test Workshop
Feb. 25, Pierre
Feb. 26, Aberdeen
Feb. 28, Sioux Falls

March 4, Rapid City
March 5, Oacoma
March 6, Watertown

These workshops will provide district and school testing coordinators with the training and resources they need in order to administer the Smarter Balanced assessment in 2014. Dakota STEP Science details and an update on all other upcoming assessments will be provided.

Go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for more information.




FERPA: Data Sharing
Feb. 26, online
Feb. 27, online

The South Dakota Department of Education and experts from the U.S. Department of Education will team up to offer a series of webinars on the Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act. All webinars will be offered twice and recorded. Districts are encouraged to send questions ahead of time to STARSHelp@state.sd.us. This webinar will focus on FERPA rules related to data sharing.

Go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for more information.




Catch the Wave conference
March 6, Aberdeen
March 17, Brookings
March 19, Mitchell
March 31, Rapid City

Catch The Wave is a one-day conference designed specifically for high school students who have a disability and are considering postsecondary education (either college or technical institute). Students will learn about preparing for college life, securing appropriate accommodations, and developing self-advocacy and communication skills. Highlights of the conference will be panel discussions with individuals who have a disability and have experienced a postsecondary setting, as well as disability coordinators discussing entrance and eligibility requirements.

High school students, parents, special education teachers and school counselors are all encouraged to attend. The cost is $5 per person. Lunch will be provided. Registration is required. To register, contact your regional transition liaison.

Go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for more information.




Common Core State Standards Implementation for Colony Teachers (ELA)
March 6, Huron
March 7, Huron

Come together with other teachers of multi-grades and discuss techniques to effectively teach reading using the Common Core. This one-day workshop will focus on how to apply ELA Common Core standards to a multi-grade level classroom. Participants will be given the opportunity to share and collaborate with other professionals to learn strategies to take back to the classroom.

Go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for more information.




Common Core State Standards Implementation for Colony Teachers (math)
March 10, Huron
March 11, Huron

During this one-day workshop, multi-grade level teachers will begin to look at common concepts within domains and develop lesson plans around these concepts. Teachers will begin to understand the learning progressions of the Common Core math standards (where domains start and stop), have conversations about realignment of textbooks to teach common concepts at the same time throughout the year and how to move from large group to small group instruction.

Go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for more information.




Dakota STEP Assessment – Colony Schools
March 10, Huron

This workshop will address all aspects of the paper/pencil administration of the D-STEP in reading and math. Materials will be distributed at this workshop. A district representative from each of the districts using the paper/pencil alternative in 2014 must attend.

Go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for more information.




CTE Standards Implementation
March 12, Watertown

This CTE Standards Implementation training is designed for those who are new to teaching approved Career & Technical Education courses or those who are looking to revamp current courses.

Throughout training, participants will learn about the latest South Dakota labor market projections in their content area, evaluate current course offerings and align courses to appropriate CTE standards. By the end of training, participants will complete at least one course's curriculum plan and receive guidance on doing the same for other courses.

This training would also be useful for school administrators who want to learn more about the knowledge and skills students should master within the approved CTE program(s) at their school/district. Administrators and teachers could work together on program and curriculum planning throughout the day.

The training is scheduled from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. local time. Please bring a laptop and any course materials you would like to reference (online content subscriptions, course syllabi, unit outlines, current curriculum map, lab/project outlines, texts or manuals, etc.).

Schools with approved CTE programs who send teachers to training will be reimbursed for substitutes and for mileage. Participants will receive continuing education hours. Career Cluster Specialists from the Department of Education will be on hand to guide participants through the standards implementation process and to answer questions.

Go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for more information.




School Health Guidelines training
March 17, Pierre

The “School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity” training is fast approaching. This free event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 17, at the Kings Inn Conference Center in Pierre. Physical education and health teachers, school nutrition directors, school health council members, administrators, community members, policy makers, parents, and students are all encouraged to attend.

The School Health Guidelines training is designed to help schools develop or enhance school wellness policies, create healthier school environments and promote healthy eating and physical activity. Each local educational agency that participates in the National School Lunch Program or other federal child nutrition programs is required by federal law to establish a local school wellness policy for all schools under its jurisdiction. For school year 2013-14, districts are encouraged to continue reviewing and assessing their local wellness policies and implementing the new requirements which include accountability for local school wellness policy implementation, assessment, and public updates.

The School Health Guidelines (http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/npao/strategies.htm), developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provide evidence-based guidance for schools on how to most effectively promote the health of children and adolescents aged 5 to 18 years.

Sponsors include the South Dakota Departments of Education and Health and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation - South Dakota. For more information, contact Karen Keyser, Health and Physical Education Specialist, South Dakota Department of Education at (605) 773-6808 or Karen.keyser@state.sd.us.

Meals, mileage, lodging and substitute teacher pay will be reimbursed for up to three people per school district or agency. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Kings Inn. Call (605) 224-5951 by March 3.

Go to: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/14/feb/documents/SHtraining.pdf for more information and to register.




School Library Survey
March 18, online

Get an overview of the 2013-2014 School Library Survey. See the new survey platform, a few new questions and remind yourself to complete the survey on time. This information will be helpful for beginners as well as those who have completed the survey in previous years. Only one survey per district is required and it is open from April 1 to May 13.

Go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for more information.




Board of Education meeting
March 24, Sioux Falls

The South Dakota Board of Education is scheduled to meet at Southeast Technical Institute at 8:00 a.m. (CST), room MC101, the Mickelson Center, 2320 N. Career Ave. An agenda will be posted at doe.sd.gov/board at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.




Special Education Conference
March 25-26, Pierre

The 2014 South Dakota Special Education Conference (formerly the CEC Conference) will feature state-of-the-art, innovative and creative best practices to promote college, career and life readiness for all students. Filmmaker Dan Habib will be the keynote speaker. Habib’s film credits include Who Cares About Kelsey? and Including Samuel.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Disabilities, University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, and the South Dakota Department of Education Special Education Programs.

For more information, go to: https://www.usd.edu/medical-school/center-for-disabilities/upload/2014-Special-Education-Conference-Registration-Brochure.pdf.




Dan Habib Parent Session
(in conjunction with the Special Education Conference)
March 25, Pierre

This parent session is in conjunction with the Special Education Conference. It is open to the public and free of cost. Registration is encouraged, but not required.

Habib’s films have been screened at universities, national conferences, and independent theatres, and have been used as a catalyst for inclusive education across the country and internationally. Including Samuel was broadcast nationwide on public television stations in fall 2009 and was nominated for an Emmy in 2010. Including Samuel has also been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and Good Morning America. The DVD is available in 17 languages.

Habib has also created eleven short documentaries that illustrate a wide range of educational issues and evidence-based practices, including augmentative and alternative communication, positive behavioral interventions and supports, breaking the school-to-prison pipeline, universal design for learning, cultural responsiveness and more.

Go to: https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for more information.




2014 National Forum on Dropout Prevention for Native and Tribal Communities
April 27-30, Prior Lake, MN

The 2014 National Forum on Dropout Prevention Strategies for Native and Tribal Communities is titled "Building Engaging Educational Communities for Native Students." Hear from nationally known keynote speakers as well as professional educators. Presentations will emphasize a variety of strategies for working with Native students who are at risk of dropping out before high school graduation. Conference strands include the following:

• Addressing the opportunity gap
• Instructional strategies to increase learning
• Emotional supports
• School climate: safety and student wellness
• Service-learning and restorative justice
• Digital communication and engagement
• Re-engagement and recovery strategies
• Culture and language

For more information, go to: http://www.dropoutprevention.org/conferences/2014-national-forum-dropout-prevention-strategies-native-and-tribal-communities.




Statewide Education Conference
June 2-3, Pierre

Mark your calendars for the 2014 Statewide Education Conference to be held this June in Pierre. Featured speakers include Dr. Richard Cash and Lori Laughlin.

For more information, go to: http://doe.sd.gov/pressroom/zebra/news/14/feb/documents/StatewideEdConf.pdf.




These are only a few upcoming events. Go to https://southdakota.gosignmeup.com for a complete listing.




TEACHER FEATURE



In December 2013, Ann Anderson received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She is one of two South Dakota recipients. (The other, Erin Marsh of Pierre, was featured in the January issue of the Online Zebra.) Anderson has 15 years of teaching experience and currently teaches five sections of 5th grade science at Belle Fourche Middle School.

“It’s the perfect job for me,” Anderson says of her current position. “I love this age group. You put a topic out there and they just jump in. They want to get their hands dirty.”

Anderson is grateful for a teaching space that makes it easy for her students to get that hands-on experience. “It’s a great setup,” she says. “Our science classroom is a full lab, complete with tables, counters and three sinks.”

Walking into Anderson’s classroom, one might see students performing any number of experiments—pouring Pop Rocks into a bottle of soda to blow up a balloon or using a pizza pan, broom and toilet paper roll to propel an egg into a glass of water (without breaking it!). What matters most to Anderson is that her students are active: “Doing science is more fun than just reading about how much fun a scientist had.”

They’re not just playing around, though. Whatever experiment students might want to try, Anderson makes sure they understand the science behind it. To accomplish this, Anderson incorporates English language arts and math. She regularly collaborates with the math and reading teachers on the 5th grade team.

Students must first conduct research, develop a hypothesis, put the experiment in writing (ELA) and determine how they will record data (math). They perform the experiment in front of their classmates, explaining what’s happening. “The students presenting, they’re the teachers,” Anderson says. Students complete the process by writing a conclusion.

Anderson has a master’s degree in Science Curriculum and Instruction from Black Hills State University and is Nationally Board Certified. Deb Thorpe, who took master’s classes with Anderson, nominated her for the Presidential Award. Once nominated, Anderson had to complete a rigorous application process. Of her professors at BHSU, she says, “What they taught me has led me here. I never would have tried for this award without having taken those classes.”

Her family background has also been a big influence on her penchant for teaching. Her father recently retired from teaching. Her mother, sister and sister-in-law teach. Her uncle is a superintendent and her grandmother was a teacher and principal.

Word of Anderson’s award spread quickly. She says it’s been a humbling experience: “I’m pretty excited about it. Former teachers have said something to my parents or sent a note. That was probably the best. Notes from my former teachers? That’s awesome.”

Anderson will get to meet other winners from around the country and attend an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., in early March.