April 13, 2007
Honorable Rick Melmer
Secretary of Education
South Dakota Department of Education
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, South Dakota 57501-2291
Dear Secretary Melmer:
I am writing in response to South Dakota's request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Following our discussions with your staff, the changes that are aligned with NCLB are now included in an amended State accountability plan that South Dakota submitted to the Department on February 15, 2007. A summary of the approved amendments is attached to this letter. I am pleased to fully approve South Dakota's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website.
If, over time, South Dakota makes changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, South Dakota must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval, as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Please know that approval of South Dakota's accountability plan is not an approval of South Dakota's standards and assessment system.
Please also be aware that approval of South Dakota's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved above, does not indicate that the plan complies with Federal civil rights requirements, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
I am confident that South Dakota will continue to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. I wish you well in your school improvement efforts. If you need any additional assistance in implementing the standards, assessments and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Abigail Potts (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Valeria Ford (email@example.com) of my staff.
Acting Assistant Secretary
cc: Governor Mike Rounds
Amendments to the South Dakota's Accountability Plan
This is a summary of the amendments. For complete details, please refer to the South Dakota's accountability plan on the Department's website: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html
Rewards and Sanctions (Element 1.6)
Revision: South Dakota's amendment clarifies the requirements for a school improvement plan and the State's monitoring each school and district's implementation of the improvement plan.
Inclusion of LEP students (Element 5.4)
Revision: South Dakota's amendment is a non-substantive change that updates the language for defining a newly arrived LEP student. South Dakota clarified that newly arrived LEP students are in their first 12 months of enrollment in a U.S. school.