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The South Dakota Department of Education is dedicated to enhancing learning through leadership and service.


Legal drop-out age in South Dakota as of July 1, 2009


Ratio of students to computers in South Dakota’s public schools; highest in nation according to Education Week

Education and opportunity go hand in hand. When you have the first, the second often follows. At the Department of Education, we are all about providing opportunities – opportunities for students, teachers and administrators to learn, to stretch and to grow.

Letter from the secretary

During the 2008-09 school year, the department laid out a menu of opportunities designed to enhance our statewide education system. Opportunities like the High School 2025 initiative, the new Parent Conference, and the INCENTIVESplus program, which pays teachers for improving student achievement. Like local school districts, the department continues to thrive by thinking creatively and leveraging resources.


South Dakota Department of Education 700 Governors Drive Pierre SD 57501 (605) 773-3134

The next few years will prove challenging for education, as our nation’s economy continues to struggle. Dollars received through the federal stimulus package will help, but are not a longterm solution. Albert Einstein once said: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Moving ahead, the Department of Education will stay focused on creating opportunities to ensure that our young people have the best start in life. Sincerely,

Thomas J. Oster Secretary of Education

Changing the face of high school In a landmark national study of high school dropouts, nearly half (47 percent) said a major reason for dropping out was that classes were not interesting.

In January 2009, the Department of Education officially launched its High School 2025 initiative. High School 2025 provides a framework of key practices to prepare students for success in today’s highly competitive global economy. Schools adopt the practices that fit their local mission and goals. What’s different for students under High School 2025? The educational experience becomes more relevant because it’s tailored to a student’s individual academic and career goals. Combine this relevance with rigorous coursework, and students are more engaged and ultimately perform better. “To prepare kids for the 21st century, we need to make sure that they have core academic strengths, but they also need the skills employers are telling us are important – things like critical thinking, communication, collaboration and technology literacy,” said Kelly Duncan, president of the South Dakota Board of Education. High School 2025 brings it all together through its focus on relevant, rigorous learning – whether it takes place in the classroom, in the community or online.




Compulsory school attendance age as of July 1, 2009


Percent of state’s high school grads who go on to postsecondary

High School 2025 key practices

High School 2025 advocates 12 key practices for ensuring rigor, relevance, results and strong relationships in our state’s high schools. Educators across South Dakota contributed to the development of these key practices. • • • • • • • • • • • •

Personal Learning Plans Programs of Study 21st Century Skills Career Guidance Parental Engagement Service Learning Rigorous Curriculum Rigorous Instruction Rigorous Assessment Educational Leadership Data-based Decisions Student Achievement

ACT scores continue to climb

When it comes to academic performance, South Dakota students typically outperform students in other states. This year’s ACT scores were no exception. South Dakota’s average composite ACT score was 22.0 in 2008, up for the third consecutive year. Only 15 states had composite scores higher than 22.

Average composite ACT scores South Dakota vs. National 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008



South Dakota’s average ACT score

South Dakota 21.5 21.5 21.8 21.9 22.0


National 20.9 20.9 21.1 21.2 21.1

Ratio of students to computers in South Dakota’s public schools; highest in nation according to Education Week

NAEP pilot targets 12th graders

South Dakota was one of 11 states to take part in a pilot program that tests high school seniors’ level of preparedness for life after high school. It was part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. This marks the first time South Dakota has done a large-scale assessment of 12th graders. Students were tested in reading, math and science.

Virtual School fills gaps for students

South Dakota students registered for more than 2,400 Virtual School courses in 2008-09. The Virtual School’s menu included 235 different course listings, available online or via the Digital Dakota Network. Students use Virtual School to juggle hectic schedules, to take Advanced Placement courses, and for credit recovery. Schools can tap into this resource to expand their course offerings and in situations where they cannot find a teacher.



Courses students registered for via South Dakota Virtual School 2008-09

South Dakota joined the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a process to develop common standards in English and math across the 50 states. Standards are the benchmarks educators use to determine what students know and can do in specific subject areas.

States to develop common standards LEARN MORE:



Currently, each state has its own set of standards and its own assessment system. This arrangement can be confusing, not to mention expensive. The common core initiative would bring a level of consistency and rigor to our nation’s education system that is lacking. It would also allow the U.S. to compare its progress against other nations. In recent years, U.S. students have lost ground to their peers in other countries. The Common Core State Standards could help to remedy that situation. Ultimately, states have the option of adopting the standards once they are developed. States also will have some flexibility to incorporate locally specific standards they deem important.

United States’ rank in reading on the Programme for International Student Assessment (2003)


United States’ rank in math on the Programme for International Student Assessment (2006)

Working Native American culture into curriculum School libraries receive targeted assistance

The department received a $40,000 grant from the Indian Land Tenure Foundation to develop standards and curriculum focused on Native American culture. Even with the Common Core State Standards Initiative, South Dakota would have opportunities to incorporate these specific local items into its standards. “This grant will allow us to weave the important story of the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota people into what we are teaching,� said Deb Barnett, deputy secretary of the South Dakota Department of Education. A steering committee has begun the work of developing core concepts to be infused into existing standards. The concepts would cross disciplines and grade levels. The grant also allows for the development of curriculum that teachers could use in the classroom. The 2008-09 school year marked the first time in 10 years that the South Dakota State Library focused specifically on assisting school districts. Two full-time staff members dedicated their days to helping schools build their library services programs. The two former school librarians traveled the state with two goals in mind: assessing the needs of school libraries and facilitating resources to meet those needs. They provided technical assistance and training on a variety of subjects: supporting school curriculum and outcomes, securing grants, using the State Library’s online databases, and meeting national library standards.


Number of times public library computers were used statewide (2007)

E-mentoring aims to improve retention

According to the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, a third of newly hired teachers leave the profession during their first three years. Almost half leave during the first five years.

A teacher’s first year in the classroom can be daunting. Recognizing that reality, the Department of Education introduced a virtual mentoring program. The Teacher to Teacher Support Network is designed to help teachers survive their first year on the job. It pairs first-year teachers with seasoned veterans in an electronic format. Rookies and veterans generally are not located in the same district, and they communicate via e-mail, telephone or the Digital Dakota Network. Veteran teachers offer advice and support on a variety of topics ranging from discipline issues to parent-teacher conferences. Rookies are expected to develop a professional development plan to guide the mentoring partnership. Both receive compensation for their work. Baltic School District’s Peter Egstad was among the 97 first-year teachers who used the program. “The biggest way the program has helped me is just having a teacher to talk to—or e-mail in our case—about things going on in each other’s classrooms and programs,” Egstad said. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.




Number of first-year teachers in state’s e-mentoring program


century skills are key to improving our nation’s competitiveness as a knowledge-driven economy

Christmas in May: Teachers get paid for progress

Teachers in 10 school districts received bonus pay for their efforts to improve student proficiency in math and reading. During the 2008-09 school year, the Department of Education provided more than $2 million in incentive payments through the South Dakota INCENTIVESplus program. The program is funded by a five-year, $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Incentives were paid to teachers, paraprofessionals and principals in December and May. More than 1,000 staff in participating districts benefited. While critics claim financial incentives are divisive, some participating schools are finding the opposite. INCENTIVESplus targets a school’s entire instructional staff, so the whole team is focused on individual student need and achievement. When gains are made, the team celebrates together.

Developing master teachers for 21st century

Thirty-five teachers from across South Dakota were selected to attend a weeklong Master Teacher Academy in June 2009. The teachers, who represented a variety of grade levels and content areas, spent an intensive week studying 21st century skills and project-based learning. Concepts such as critical thinking, technology literacy, creativity and innovation came to life as the teachers discovered specific methods of teaching these skills. Ultimately, the master teachers will develop lesson plans specific to teaching 21st century skills that they will share with colleagues across the state! The event was hosted by the Department of Education and Education Service Agency 2.


Amount of payments made to educators through South Dakota’s INCENTIVESplus

Birth to Three: Serving state’s youngest learners

Each year, South Dakota’s Birth to Three program serves around 2,000 youngsters with developmental delays. The program provides early intervention services during the critical first three years of a child’s life; services are free to participating families. Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy are the most commonly accessed services. These interventions help children to be equipped for success when they enter a formal school setting. The Birth to Three program received quite a bit of attention this past year, as lawmakers wrestled with budget concerns at the state level. In the end, legislators acted to continue the popular program but called for a work group to review it. The department convened the work group, which met several times. A report will be filed with the Legislature.

High marks for SPED, Birth to Three

South Dakota was one of only 17 states and U.S. territories to earn the highest ratings possible under both Parts B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. IDEA Part B monitors the effectiveness of special education services at the preschool and K-12 levels. South Dakota met or exceeded standards in 13 of the 16 required reporting areas. Part C, also known as the Birth to Three Program, serves younger children. South Dakota met or exceeded standards on all of the 14 required indicators under Part C.

Promoting partnerships with families

Parents play an important role in their children’s education. To reach this critical group, the Department of Education and the Parent Information Resource Center hosted a conference just for parents, Aug. 15-16, 2008, in Sioux Falls. The free two-day event was aimed at helping parents find meaningful ways to become more involved in their children’s schooling. Dr. Karen Mapp, author of “Beyond the Bake Sale,” was the keynote speaker. The event was such a success that planning for the 2nd annual Parent Conference is well under way!



Youngsters served annually through Birth to Three program


South Dakota was one of only 17 states to earn the highest rating under IDEA

In February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act became law. The legislation set in motion an unprecedented flow of federal funding to K-12 school districts. A large chunk of those dollars came through three main vehicles: the new State Fiscal Stabilization Fund; Title I Part A, an existing federal program; and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, another existing program.

Federal stimulus dollars target education LEARN MORE:

South Dakota received $104 million in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds designated for K-12 and higher education. At the K-12 level, these funds will be used to restore funding to the state aid to education formula over a period of three years. K-12 school districts received an additional $67.8 million in federal stimulus money under Title I, Part A ($34.65 million) and IDEA Part B ($33.15 million). Title I, Part A helps fund schools with large concentrations of at-risk students from low-income families. IDEA Part B helps fund the unique educational needs of students with disabilities. The sweeping legislation includes a number of competitive grants as well. To date, South Dakota school districts have applied for grants to purchase more efficient food service equipment; to better serve homeless students; and to purchase “greener” school buses or retrofit older buses with devices that reduce toxic emissions.

South Dakota’s share of ARRA education dollars 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

- State Fiscal Stabilization Fund K-12 and Higher Ed: 55.9% - Title I Grants to LEAs: 18.6% - IDEA Part B Grants to States: 17.0% - Title I School Improvement Funds: 4.8% - Ed Technology State Grants (Title II Part D): 1.7% - IDEA Part C: 1.1% - IDEA Part B Preschool Grants: 0.8% - Title VII-B of McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act: 0.1%



State Fiscal Stabilization Fund dollars available to South Dakota for K-12 and higher ed under ARRA

Districts take advantage of interest-free bonding

Thirteen South Dakota school districts were approved for $29 million in bonding authority to raise funds for construction or rehabilitation projects as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The ARRA created a new financial instrument called the Qualified School Construction Bond. With this new instrument, school districts basically receive interest-free loans to complete modernization projects, and their lenders get tax credits. Approved projects range from constructing a new high school science room and lab to replacing a boiler and air conditioning system.

Department of Education Budget Breakdown FY09

State Aid State Aid to General Education State Aid to Special Education Alternative Education Programs National Board Certified Teachers Teacher Compensation Assistance Program Technology in Schools State Aid to Postsecondary Institutes TOTAL STATE AID Grants (Distributed by DOE) General Administration Career and Technical Education Curriculum, Technology & Assessment Accreditation and Teacher Quality Educational Services and Support State Library TOTAL GRANTS Operational Budget GRAND TOTAL

$339,043,633 $45,127,372 $450,000 $93,000 $4,000,000 $9,900,653 $22,487,140 $421,101,798

$4,538,181 $6,452,783 $8,643,441 $15,633,994 $139,411,304 $317,077 $174,996,780 $26,806,368 $622,904,946

Economic picture: Looking ahead

A lackluster economy forced the 2009 Legislature to make some tough budget decisions. Thanks to the federal stimulus package, lawmakers were able to restore state aid funding for FY 09 and provide a 3 percent increase for FY 10. However, funding for a number of education programs was cut for FY 10: Teacher Compensation Assistance Program, State Career and Technical Grants, Alternative Education Programs, National Board Certified Teachers, and much of the funding for Education Service Agencies.



Additional Title I/Part A and IDEA/ Part B dollars available to South Dakota under ARRA

Department of Education Management Team Board of Education Members State Library Board Members

Thomas J. Oster, Secretary Deborah Barnett, Deputy Secretary Tamara Darnall, Director Finance and Management Keith Moore, Director Indian Education Wade Pogany, Director Curriculum and Instruction Janet Ricketts, Director Educational Services and Support Dr. Melody Schopp, Director Accreditation and Teacher Quality Dan Siebersma Director, State Library Mary Stadick Smith, Communications Director Mark Wilson, Director Career and Technical Education Dr. Kelly Duncan, President Donald Kirkegaard, Vice President Glenna Fouberg, Aberdeen Dr. Richard Gowen, Rapid City Phyllis Heineman, Sioux Falls Marilyn Hoyt, Huron Stacy Phelps, Rapid City Terry Sabers, Mitchell Patricia Simmons, Sioux Falls Linda Whitney, Chair Roy Burr, Rapid City Dr. Lesta Turchen, Hill City Linda Daugaard, Garretson Sam Gingerich, Permanent member Diane Olson, Mitchell Judy Trzynka, Watertown


Amount South Dakota school districts received per-student through the state aid funding formula in FY 09

Who to contact at DOE Accreditation (District)

School Transportation


South Dakota Counts

Steve Fiechtner 605.773.4774 Gay Pickner 605.773.3247

Birth to 3 Connections Susan Sheppick 605.773.4478

Braille & Talking Books 1.800.423.6665

Career Guidance/ High Schools That Work Steven Rounds 605.773.7006

Child & Adult Nutrition Sandra Kangas 605.773.4746

Coordinated School Health Kari Senger 605.773.4257

Data Management/Infinite Campus Judy Merriman 605.773.4737

Home Schooling Carol Uecker 605.773.4771

NAEP State Coordination Jan Martin 605.773.3246

No Child Left Behind 605.773.3134

Professional Practices Lisa Lomheim 605.773.4705

Carol Uecker 605.773.4771

Penny Smith, Ed.D. 605.773.8196

South Dakota Reading First Michelle Mehlberg 605.280.3614

South Dakota Virtual School Sarah Carter 605.773.5213

Special Education Ann Larsen 605.773.3678

State Aid/Open Enrollment Susan Woodmansey 605.773.4748

Teacher Certification Deedra Gesinger 605.773.6934

Jantina Nelson-Stastny 605.773.5470 Roxie Thielen (Alternative Cert.) 605.773.4669

Title 1 Part A

Diane Lowery 605.773.6509

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Research/Interlibrary Loan 1.800.423.6665

School Libraries

Lee Crary and Joan Upell 1.800.423.6665

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Annual Report