South Dakota education to receive more than $11 million over next 3 years

South Dakota education to receive more than $11 million over next 3 years A three-year, $11 million project will help South Dakota teachers and other school staff become even better in the classroom.

The South Dakota Dakota Department of Education and Cultural Affairs (DECA) will receive an education grant of nearly $3.7 million annually for three years from the U.S. Department of Education. DECA will use the grant to fund its new EveryTeacher professional development program.

EveryTeacher will help teachers increase their knowledge of content requirements, attain more effective teaching skills, focus on basic principles needed to advance student learning, and better understand administrator and school board expectations. Administrators will learn to better observe teaching and learning in classrooms so they can support their teachers' professional growth and development. Children will gain teachers who are committed to them and their learning, and who know the class subjects and know how to teach the subjects well. Parents will be made aware of what is expected of their children's teachers so they can more confidently participate in the educational process. Taxpayers will know what is considered quality teaching and learning and the reasons for and the cost of sound education.

As part of the program, two successful professional development models, Technology for Teaching and Learning (TTL) academies and Advanced Reading Enhancement Approach (A.R.E.A.), will be used to inform teachers of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). The standards explain what teachers should know and be able to do. Because South Dakota legislation provides incentives to National Board Certified teachers, the NBPTS will also be the major text for research studies of current regulations, new university teacher education courses, and graduate seminars for teachers pursuing National Board Certification.

EveryTeacher has six reform objectives, based on the NBPTS, that are designed to support pre-service teachers (university students studying to become teachers), paraprofessionals (educational assistants/teachers' aides) and practicing teachers. The reform objectives are to:

* redesign teacher preparation programs at the state's five public universities to reflect the NBPTS;

* provide quality education for teachers' aides;

* provide professional development for practicing teachers that requires reflective practice, portfolios, and the analysis of student work;

* develop and begin a system for recruiting and supporting practicing teachers who want to obtain National Board Certification;

* establish a group, that following the NBPTS, will promote quality teaching and learning and

* review current NBPTS legislation and federal Teacher Quality Enhancement Program requirements.

"This new emphasis is so important," Gov. Bill Janklow said. "This has tremendous potential to really boost student learning and achievement."

EveryTeacher will affect the education of every child in South Dakota because it will affect the education and professionalism of every teacher, school, administrator and community, Janklow said.

During the implementation of the EveryTeacher program, DECA's will be partnering with sixteen K-12 and postsecondary partners statewide. They are Associated School Boards of South Dakota, Beadle and Spink Enterprise Communities, state Board of Regents, Governor's Expert Teachers Panel, state Legislative Research Council, School Administrators of South Dakota, Shannon County School District, South Dakota Education Association, South Dakota's National Board Certified Teachers and the Technology and Innovations in Education (TIE) organization.

The grant is part of the federal government's competitive Discretionary Grants Program. Grants from the program are used to improve states' teacher education programs by reforming areas like teacher licensing, certification, development, recruitment and accountability requirements.

Through EveryTeacher, DECA will work with the partners to:

* ensure effective professional teacher development by teaching all teachers, administrators and boards of education about the NBPTS requirements;

* raise teaching and learning expectations through ensuring knowledge of the NBPTS;

* propose legislation based on the NBPTS to improve the quality of South Dakota's teachers; and

* recruit and encourage teachers with incentives provided to National Board Certified teachers and university seminars that use the Teacher Quality Enhancement Program. The Teacher Quality Enhancement Program uses the NBPTS for professional development activities for teachers.

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