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Brandon entourage heads to Pierre for 7th year
Group to get update on Common Core Standards
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

January 29. 2014 6:00AM
Next week when more than two-dozen members of the Brandon Valley area business community boards a bus headed for the state Capitol in Pierre, they’ll learn a little something about Common Core Standards – a hot topic in Pierre this session – that were adopted by the South Dakota Board of Education in 2010.

And they’ll receive that education from a woman who fully understands Common Core Standards: South Dakota’s Department of Education Secretary Melody Schopp.

This is the seventh year for Brandon Day at the Legislature. As of last week, 25 Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce members had registered.

Schopp has carved 45 minutes out of her busy schedule to meet with the Chamber delegation to talk about the status of the Common Core Standards, which are a set of measurable outcomes for students at individual grade levels. The two sets of standards adopted are the English Language Arts Standards and the Math Standards.
These are not content standards for science, history or social sciences. Forty-three of the 50 U.S. states have adopted the Standards.

But why would a group of community business people want an update on the Common Core Standards?

“It goes back to the workforce development, and of course, in Brandon, our school system is second to none,” said Kim Cerwick, BVACC president/CEO. “To say the least, they’re the one’s bringing the young population to Brandon.”

Brandon Valley Superintendent Dave Pappone doesn’t believe it’s the standards themselves that concerns some parents.

“Most of the concerns are not about the Common Core Standards exactly, they’re more about the (curriculum) materials districts adopt,” Pappone said. “If you look at the Common Core Standards themselves, they’re just a set of standards … that have nothing to do with the curriculum material, such as a particular novel.”

Pappone said other parents are concerned the Standards are “not rigorous enough.”
But, Pappone said the guidelines don’t prohibit school districts from going beyond the standards.

The other concern, Pappone said, is the issue of student privacy, how their data will be collected and used.

“I see where their concern comes from,” he said, “but I would make the offer that I would invite them to read the Standards … decide for themselves. I read them and they seem pretty good to me, and I know they’re more rigorous that the old set of standards.”

Also during their day at the state Capitol, the Brandon entourage will talk with District 10 and 25 legislators, Senator Shantel Krebs, Representatives Don Haggar and Jenna Haggar, Senators Kris Langer and Tim Rave, and Representative Scott Ecklund.

Cerwick pegs Brandon’s presence at the Capitol each year is “our way of networking.”

Sen. Krebs said Legislators remember the conversations they have with individuals about issues. “It’s imperative to share thoughts and needs with us, especially in person,” she said.

Adds Cerwick, “By bringing the hot meal that we do – and they do appreciate it – it makes our community look good, and keeps us in the forefront of the legislators’ minds.”

As the Brandon delegation has done in the past seven years, they will serve up a noon meal of Tony’s Catering’s famed pork loin and cheesy potatoes. The hot meal, local legislators say, provides the Brandon group a unique opportunity to talk with state leaders about what Brandon has to offer and the needs of this growing community.

It’s reportedly one of the community visits that legislators look forward to.

“The Legislators are already asking when Brandon is coming,” Krebs said. “The love Brandon Day, the friendly folks and the fantastic food!”

Krebs has said that when a community makes annual visits to the Capitol, it brings awareness to the legislative body of what a community, such as Brandon, is all about.

“When the community of Brandon shows up at the Capitol it demonstrates the strength of a community as well as the community’s interest in the process,” she said.

District 10
Rep. Don Haggar (R-Sioux Falls), Insurance

Rep. Jenna Haggar (R-Sioux Falls), Chiropractic assistant

Sen. Shantel Krebs (R-Renner), Retail consultant/buffalo rancher

District 25
Rep. Kris Langer (R-Dell Rapids), Realtor & city council member

Rep. Scott Ecklund (R-Brandon), Physician

Sen. Timothy Rave (R-Baltic), Paramedic operations manager
Next Legislative Coffee is Feb. 15
The next Legislative Coffee, sponsored by the Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 15 in the Bethany Meadows community room. The event will start at 9 a.m.

Legislators from both District 10 and 25 will be on hand to update the public on the 2014 Session and answer questions.

The public is encouraged to attend.

Members of the Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce sat in a session of the South Dakota Senate and House of Representatives during their visit to the state capitol in 2013. The Brandon entourage returns to Pierre today. Challenger file photo

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