Education

Rapid City Middle School Receives $900,000 Grant

Jan 12, 2017
Katy Urban / Rapid City Area Schools

Rapid City school district leaders say a $900,000 improvement grant for North Middle School will help students achieve proficiency in math and reading levels.

North Middle School is as a title one, focus school. That means its population is made up largely of students from low income families and other subgroups that score low proficiency scores in state assessments.

Governor Dennis Daugaard kicked of the 2017 legislative session with the annual State of the State address before a joint session of lawmakers.

Stories featured in this Statehouse Podcast: Amazon remits sales tax for South Dakota residents. Teachers saw a salary increase across the state but Democrats want adjustments regarding declining enrollment. War on drugs coming to state and offenders get one chance. Governor wants out-of-state think tanks to stay out of state business. Protestors want state to listen to voters; and working on transparency from the inside.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

State lawmakers say they want to adjust parts of last year’s education overhaul. The governor says the current reform is working, because a sales tax for teacher pay is pushing average educator salaries up.  

One piece of vast K-12 education reform from 2016’s legislative session involves declining enrollment. Schools now must use the final number of students enrolled in the fall to determine their share of state dollars. Before they could average the previous two years to ease into lower funding.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A Mitchell teacher has won a prestigious national award that comes with $25,000. An assembly this week surprised the fourth grade educator with the honor.  

Local and state leaders gather at Longfellow Elementary in Mitchell to recognize a teacher. Students and staff attend the assembly under false pretenses before they find out the real reason they gather. Greg Gallagher with the Milken Family Foundation announces that one of the educators in the gym is set to receive a celebrated award.

Rapid City Area Schools

A $1.8 million grant awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to researchers at the University of New Hampshire will focus on evaluating and implementing violence prevention programs in Rapid City schools.

Officials say the four year grant continues work on reducing violence among teens and adolescents.  

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender students in South Dakota say they encounter discrimination in school. Their stories are part of a document released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch.

The 103-page report indicates students in South Dakota are bullied, harassed, and threatened because they’re LGBT. It includes stories that some schools and teachers treat LGBT kids – and staff – differently.  

www.sd.gov

Governor Dennis Daugaard joins Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to preview his FY18 budget address and the upcoming legislate session, and answer questions about Medicaid expansion, education reform, and budget shortfalls.

Black Hills State University

Dr. Parthasarathi Nag, professor of mathematics at Black Hills State University, discusses the "History of the Theory of Everything." From Einstein's special theory of relativity to comparisons between the universe and a violin, Nag talks about mathematics, physics, and the future of science education that capitalizes on collaboration and imagination. Nag was a recent "Geek Speak" lecturer at BHSU in Spearfish.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A panel of community members can soon weigh in on work happening in Rapid City Schools. People can apply to be part of a community advisory council. The group will meet once a month to discuss issues related to education in a broad context.

Rapid City Area Schools superintendent Lori Simon says she’s been talking about a community advisory board since she interviewed for the district’s top job. Simon says people who live and work in the community have ideas and perspectives to contribute.

SF Parents Surveyed On School Start Date

Nov 15, 2016
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Thousands of parents in Sioux Falls are getting a survey about the school start date. This is the second year public schools in Sioux Falls started after Labor Day. As decision-makers look to the fall of 2018, they want to know the range of start dates stakeholders prefer.

Sioux Falls School District leaders are assessing what the school calendar should look like two years from now. Brian Maher is superintendent.

Charles Michael Ray / SDPB

The superintendent of Rapid City Area Schools says the district needs a strong strategic plan. Lori Simon says education leaders are working to develop the plan to give direction and establish the district’s priorities.

"It gets everybody in the district working on the same page toward common goals," Simon says. "A strong strategic plan that you keep alive and working really guides decision-making as well as drives the alignment of actions and resources across the district."

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Some people are ready for this election to be over. They’re tired of hearing about candidates and ballot measures. They want the political ads to cease, they want campaign signs torn down, and they want the whole thing to go away. But a few local high school students say voters shouldn’t rush the process - and they aren't even old enough to vote. 

She can count the number of days until the 2016 election on one hand, and Kaitlyn Friedrich recoils at the idea that some voters are disinterested in politics.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A Lakota man is celebrating three decades teaching life lessons to elementary school students through Native American dance. Dallas Chief Eagle started working as an artist-in-residence for schools in the mid-1980s. Today he’s still sharing Lakota culture with school children across the state.

In his performance, Dallas Chief Eagle rapidly moves his feet as he glides across a gym floor, picking up plastic hoops. He links them together in a long line. Chief Eagle tosses the chain into the air, and spins the hoops over the heads of screaming elementary school students.

Courtesy Cheyenne River Youth Project

The Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced the graduation of 184 tribal members from its “Center of Life” teen internship program. Internships focus on sustainable agriculture, social enterprise, wellness and art along with instilling a sense of economic responsibility.

Over the past 3 years the Cheyenne River Youth Project has provided instruction, mentorship, workshops, certifications, real-life job experience and wages to teenaged tribal members.

New Rapid City Superintendent Of Schools Dr. Lori Simon

Sep 29, 2016
Charles Michael Ray

Dr. Lori Simon Rapid City’s Superintendent of Schools is finishing up her first 100 days in her new position.   Simon took part in the Morning Fill Up conversation with Matt Ehlman at the Garage in Rapid City on Thursday.  SDPB captured audio of the conversation.  You can hear it by clicking play below.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Political parties court different demographics, and one crucial group of voters includes young people. Many have the chance to vote in their first presidential election this year. College students studying media at the University of Sioux Falls are watching the presidential race, and they’re learning to balance their journalism training with their Constitutional rights. 

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Educators in Sioux Falls say they want computer science classes to equip kids with technology skills and context in the digital community. The Sioux Falls School District implemented a new curriculum one year ago; that move ended keyboarding classes for students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.

Middle school curriculum coordinator Sandy Henry says in the spring the district assessed 1,140 sixth graders. She says the average they could type was 23 words per minute.

Jewel Cave Library Lectures Begin With...Bats

Sep 20, 2016
Courtesy National Park Service

Jewel Cave National Monument begins a series of after-school lectures this month at nearby libraries. The goal is to establish as many connections with children as possible in order to preserve the future of Jewel Cave and other National Park Service sites.

If you like bats…and you’re a student…then September is the time to be at the Custer County Library for the first of 10 monthly presentations by a Jewel Cave National Monument ranger.

Jewel Cave spokesperson Riley Hays explains.

FRONTLINE first examined the story of for-profit colleges in 2010, investigating allegations of fraud and predatory behavior. Now correspondent Martin Smith continues his work with by turning the lens on Corinthian Colleges and others.

Smith joins Dakota Midday to discuss "A Subprime Education."

Courtesy The Club For Boys

Rapid City’s The Club for Boys is holding a special ceremony tonight to acknowledge 50 years of service by one of its earliest members. As we report Dave Oyler may have transitioned to working part-time but he has no plans of leaving what’s become his second home anytime soon.

It was the basketball court that first attracted Dave Oyler to The Club For Boys. But 9 months after joining the club the high school student was offered a pert-time job.

On December 14, 2012, Sandy Hook elementary school teacher Kaitlin Roig began her morning by encouraging first graders to get excited for the day.

Moments later she was stuffing her students into a tiny bathroom, sheltering them while a gunman outside her classroom opened fire. She and her students lived to endure the aftermath of violence, but 20 other students and six teachers did not.

Courtesy Melody Schopp

South Dakota’s Secretary of Education is reflecting on a recent trip to Africa. Melody Schopp is set to be the next president of the Council of Chief State School Officers, and she went to Malawi last week through the US Department of State.

Schopp says students in Malawi learn in huge classes or groups outside, and they don’t have bright, colorful classrooms like she sees in South Dakota. She says she saw this while touring African schools.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Many teachers spend their summers preparing for class by attending seminars, plotting lesson plans, and incorporating technology into coursework. Yet one instructor in Sioux Falls goes dumpster diving. Meet a longtime woods teacher who is not afraid to plunge into his work.

Bob Darkow’s classroom is so typical it’s borderline boring. He has scrawled the classes he teaches in black marker on a white board attached to a beige cinderblock wall. Dark blue plastic chairs rest under school desks grouped in pods of four. A shiny, wooden rectangular box sits on one surface.

Representative Shawn Bordeaux joins Dakota Midday to discuss the the naming of Black Elk Peak, and how we can get beyond conversations about race and on to conversations about making lives better in South Dakota.

Charles Michael Ray

Rapid City Stevens High School opens a new science wing this school year. It features eight state of the art science classrooms with chemical resistant floors and countertops. The space has separate teaching and lab areas. SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray toured the new wing and spoke with Rapid City Schools Facilities Manager Kumar Veluswamy. 

Matthew Sandusky
Erin Mairose

Matthew Sandusky is an advocate and survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Between the ages of eight and 17, he suffered abuse at the hands of his adopted father Jerry Sandusky. The former Penn State football coach was convicted in 2011 on rape and abuse charges.

Matthew Sandusky was the keynote speaker at a child sexual assault conference in Sioux Falls August 18th.   He says community members need to become figures of empowerment to prevent childhood sexual assault.

Morningside College

Heath Weber is camp director for the Ambassadors of Excellence at the University of South Dakota. He serves as Dean of the College of Performing Arts at Morningside College, and grew up with South Dakota's gifted education program. He joins Dakota Midday to discuss how gifted students think, and the implications of a gifted education mandate in the state.

ASBSD/SASD
Erin Mairose

Some education officials are calling for clean-up legislation following last year’s teacher pay raises.  

Educators from across the state gathered Thursday in Sioux Falls at the ­­­­Associated School Boards and School Administrators Convention

Joy Smolnisky is with the South Dakota Budget and Policy Institute. She says now that the half cent sales tax to raise teacher salaries is signed into law, the legislation needs to be adjusted to clarify how the pay increase is implemented.  

The State Moves Toward Greater Child Well-Being

Jun 29, 2016

South Dakota ranks 14 in child well-being. That's up from last year according to the annual Kids Count survey. One expert suggests improvements in areas that the state is lagging behind.

Like other Midwest states, South Dakota ranks high in overall measures released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to compare well-being across states over time. The survey looks at areas of economy, education, health and community.

Governor Daugaard Voices Support Of Amendment R

Jun 28, 2016
Erin Mairose

Governor Dennis Daugaard is supporting a constitutional  amendment to separate technical schools from the k-12 education system. Amendment R also changes the state’s constitution allowing technical schools to be governed apart from the Board of Regents.

Governor Dennis Daugaard says Amendment R updates the state constitution to meet the demand for technical workers. 

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