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S.D. Board of Education to consider new teacher certification process

PIERRE -- The state is hoping to "eliminate unnecessary barriers" in the certification process for teachers. On Thursday, the South Dakota Board of Education will be holding a public hearing during its regularly scheduled meeting in Pierre to con...

School supply photo illustration. (Matt Gade/Republic)
School supply photo illustration. (Matt Gade/Republic)

PIERRE - The state is hoping to “eliminate unnecessary barriers” in the certification process for teachers.

On Thursday, the South Dakota Board of Education will be holding a public hearing during its regularly scheduled meeting in Pierre to consider the adoption and amendment of proposed rules of educator certification.

The purpose is to update the state certification process for educators to streamline the process, eliminate unnecessary barriers and ensure educators meet the minimum content and pedagogical knowledge requirements expected of them prior to being certified, according to the board’s agenda.

The reason for adopting the rules is to create a certification system that “more closely aligns with the realities of education” across the state and to improve all outdated procedures and requirements.

For the past two years, the agenda notes, that the Department of Education (DOE) has been leading work groups through a study of the current certification system and has identified areas in which certain rules have created “inefficiencies and unnecessary barriers” for both teachers looking to teach in the state and for school districts looking to hire educators.  

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These changes will have positive impacts on many educators who work in South Dakota or are hoping to teach in the state, according to Mitchell School District Superintendent Joe Graves.

“I do think it’s a good thing that they’re trying to eliminate some barriers between South Dakota and other states,” Graves said. “And the people that want to move to South Dakota can have an easier time and that’s a very positive thing.”

Graves said by eliminating the barrier for out-of-state teachers to move to South Dakota will make a large impact, but he also hopes the state can clear up some issues regarding both certification for paraeducators and middle school teachers.

Graves said the state is trying to develop a more “rigorous system” for verification for paraeducators, but also “clean up” some issues on the middle school certification.

During the public hearing, the board will be reviewing “significant changes” in the certificate status, level, type, duration, expiration, applications and fees all within the certification process.

This public hearing, which will take place at approximately 10:30 a.m., will be one of two on the proposed educator certification rules.

For anybody interested in attending or listening to the hearing can livestream the meeting at http://www.sd.net/mackay or call in 1-866-410-8397 and then enter conference code 8381998525#.

The meeting will be held at the MacKay Building - 800 Governors Dr. - on the first floor in the library commons in Pierre.

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In addition to certification process, the South Dakota Board of Education will also be holding a public hearing at approximately 10 a.m. to consider the adoption and implementation of career and technical education content standards. This is the second of four public hearings regarding these standards.

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