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SD Department of Education Nov. 2015  

  Commission on Teaching and Learning

Commission on Teaching and Learning continues certification work, meets with US Ed.

South Dakota’s Commission on Teaching and Learning and Department of Education representatives recently met with U.S. Ed. to discuss the state’s teacher effectiveness system. Both the teacher and principal effectiveness systems were developed by the commission.

“The work of the South Dakota Commission on Teaching and Learning has been a vital partnership for educators and students across South Dakota. We have come to the table in the interest of doing what is best for our students, and have stayed committed to the vision of making sure that each and every student has a quality teacher in the classroom,” says Jeremy Hurd, commission member and McLaughlin High School principal. “In addition, principals and administrators are doing the work of evaluating teachers and providing high-quality feedback using a research-based and valid process for making sure evaluations are fair, reliable, and improve instruction. We also are looking at data together as teacher and administrator and finding ways to drive instruction and student learning to the next level. And we have a system in place, built by educators in South Dakota that allows for professional collaboration to reach the goals we want for our schools, our communities and for our students.”

The commission also continues to examine the state’s teacher certification system, and is close to finalizing recommendations for general education licensure.

“The commission is really trying to look at what works and what doesn’t work in our current system. We’re asking how do we get away from a school structure dictating whether someone’s qualified to teach and instead make it about a teacher’s endorsements,” says Carla Leingang, a commission member and administrator of certification and teacher quality for the South Dakota Department of Education. “We’ve made a lot of progress and have a great foundation for our recommendations in the area of general education.”

In the future, the commission will look at licensure requirements for special education, ESL (English as a Second Language), school service specialists and administrators. Alternative certification, reciprocity with other states and the potential of tiered licensure are other aspects the commission also plans to study.

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