STARS Connections

The official newsletter for SD-STARS - April 2021

Update on assessments and report card

The South Dakota Department of Education continues to work with the U.S. Department of Education regarding accountability waivers. It's not likely that all the waivers we requested in February will be granted, but we anticipate several will be. Here is what we know at this point:


New data loaded into SD-STARS

The SD-STARS team recently loaded new data into SD-STARS.

  • ACT Scores
  • Fall Enrollment Census Count
  • Dual Credit
  • Perkins Data Collection System


Fundamentals of Data Use Course: Questions and Answers

The time is drawing near for an opportunity to learn more about data analysis, all while earning a graduate credit! This June, the South Dakota Department of Education, in cooperation with the University of South Dakota, is offering a graduate-level course called Fundamentals of Using Data for Educators.


Fundamentals of Using Data for Educators


Session #1: Tuesday, June 8th, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., CT

Session #2: Thursday, June 10th, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., CT

Session #3: Thursday, June 17th, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., CT

SAM Corner: Year-end sign off and accountability permissions

Every year, districts receive communication from the South Dakota Department of Education regarding the Year End Sign Off document. This signoff document is to ensure that all school districts have completed the necessary end-of-year tasks so that calculations used for the Accountability Report Card, federal reporting, and more can be determined and reported in an accurate and timely manner.


Training for new power users

Pilot districts to learn new analytics feature in SD-STARS

SD-STARS invited 10 districts to learn how to use STARS Analytics. STARS Analytics is a new feature that allows those with Power User permissions to create reports for their district using data found in SD-STARS. Participants will attend a two-day training April 27-28.


Workshop: new STARS Certified Trainers

The SD-STARS team is seeking SCTs for the 2021-22 school year. There are two main requirements to become a new STARS Certified Trainer: attend the summer workshop and participate in monthly update calls on SD-STARS. The SD-STARS team is currently finalizing the details for the summer workshop. Although they typically do not provide SD-STARS-specific training sessions, SCTs are better equipped to use SD-STARS to supplement the work they are already doing. If you or someone you know works with multiple districts and are interested in more information on becoming an SCT, email

News from the Student Privacy Policy Office: Virtual Learning Resources

The Student Privacy Policy Office (SPPO) at the U.S. Department of Education wanted to share some of their important resources with districts. Below are highlights from their email newsletter. If you wish to receive their email newsletters, you can subscribe here.


State offices closed

The SD-STARS team will not be available on the following days due to state offices being closed for the Easter holiday:

  • Friday, April 2, 2021
  • Monday, April 5, 2021

No newsletter in June

The STARS Connection newsletter is taking a hiatus this summer. We will be back with a new edition in August!

STARS Certified Trainers

STARS Certified Trainers are located throughout the state and are ready and willing to answer your questions. They are available to conduct SD-STARS trainings for your school or district to help educators make the most out of SD-STARS. They have been trained by department staff on the SD-STARS system and are kept up to date on system developments and new reports. Districts can contact SCTs directly to request training at a cost to the district.

About us

South Dakota STARS Connections is a bi-monthly publication for South Dakota administrators and teachers, produced by the South Dakota Department of Education. This publication is intended to communicate news and events regarding the South Dakota Student Teacher Accountability and Reporting System (SD-STARS), our Statewide Longitudinal Data System. To view an online edition of this newsletter, go to
Contact us with story ideas or questions.


General Mailbox, for the quickest response to any question

Sara Kock, Team Lead

(605) 220-6548

Kim Carlson, Project Manager

(605) 773-8062

Brad Steckelberg, Support Lead

(605) 295-7260