May 1, 2013
The Honorable Melody Schopp
Secretary of Education
South Dakota Department of Education
800 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501
Dear Secretary Schopp:
This letter regards the status of South Dakota’s approval for ESEA flexibility and supersedes a previous letter you received regarding the status of South Dakota’s approval for ESEA flexibility. Currently, South Dakota’s request for ESEA flexibility is approved through the end of the 2013-2014 school year, subject to the approval of guidelines for teacher and principal evaluation and support systems that meet all requirements in Principle 3 of ESEA flexibility. South Dakota submitted guidelines in June 2012; however, on December 27, 2012, South Dakota requested that the Department suspend its review of those guidelines so that the State could resubmit a revised Principle 3 portion of its ESEA flexibility request. South Dakota requested the suspension of the review because the legislative authority underlying South Dakota’s original Principle 3 submission, more specifically the SEA’s ability to require the use of a statewide teacher and principal evaluation and support system, was overturned through referendum on November 6, 2012. South Dakota expects to complete new guidelines for teacher and principal evaluation and support systems in April 2013, and to submit a revised Principle 3 portion of its request to the Department by June 2013.
I am granting your request to suspend review of Principle 3 of South Dakota’s ESEA flexibility request in light of the changed circumstances following the referendum. At the same time, I am greatly concerned about South Dakota’s local educational agencies (LEAs) being able to develop, adopt, pilot and implement evaluation and support systems consistent with South Dakota’s new guidelines by the 2014-2015 school year. For this reason, a condition may be placed on the approval of South Dakota’s request if a revised Principle 3 request is not submitted on or before June 28, 2013. South Dakota’s revised Principle 3 must meet all requirements of ESEA flexibility and must include a high-quality plan to obtain the legislative authority to ensure LEAs’ adoption and implementation of evaluation and support systems that meet the requirements of ESEA flexibility by the 2014-2015 school year. In addition, by March 31, 2014, South Dakota must submit evidence that it has obtained this authority. Please be advised that failure to submit a revised Principle 3 request, meet the terms of a condition that might be placed on South Dakota’s ESEA flexibility request, or obtain the authority to ensure LEAs’ adoption and implementation of evaluation and support systems that meet the requirements of ESEA flexibility, might result in additional enforcement action including, but not limited to, non-renewal or early termination.
As a reminder, in order to meet the requirements of ESEA flexibility, South Dakota’s Principle 3 submission must demonstrate that South Dakota and each of its LEAs will develop, adopt, pilot, and implement, with the involvement of teachers and principals, teacher and principal evaluation and support systems that:
- will be used for continual improvement of instruction;
- meaningfully differentiate performance using at least three performance levels;
- use multiple valid measures in determining performance levels, including as a significant factor data on student growth for all students (including English Learners and students with disabilities), and other measures of professional practice (which may be gathered through multiple formats and sources, such as observations based on rigorous teacher performance standards, teacher portfolios, and student and parent surveys);
- evaluate teachers and principals on a regular basis;
- provide clear, timely, and useful feedback, including feedback that identifies needs and guides professional development; and
- will be used to inform personnel decisions.
South Dakota must develop and adopt guidelines for these systems, and LEAs must develop and implement teacher and principal evaluation and support systems that are consistent with South Dakota’s guidelines. Additional information regarding the requirements for Principle 3 can be found in the Department’s ESEA flexibility documents available at:(http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/index.html).
Please contact Elizabeth Witt at Elizabeth.Witt@ed.gov or by telephone at (202) 260-5585 if you have questions as you move forward to resolve the condition on South Dakota’s ESEA flexibility request. In the meantime, thank you for your continued focus on enhancing education for all of South Dakota’s children.
Deborah S. Delisle
cc: Mary Stadick Smith, Deputy Secretary