Education

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

An Eagle Butte woman is encouraging Native American leaders in 23 tribal governments. The Bush Foundation is dedicating resources to Native Nation Building. A woman from Cheyenne River is six months into the job of supporting and promoting Indian leadership.

Eileen Briggs is the Bush Foundation’s director of Native Nation Building. She says the work includes a handful of large investments to empower American Indian communities instead of prescribing solutions.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota schools are getting a minimal budget increase to cover inflation. State law requires lawmakers provide schools the money, but in tight budget years – like this one – they override that mandate. Education funding plans changed throughout the session.

One month ago, State Senators approved a bill that offers K-12 education a one percent increase. With a week left in the session, State Representatives decided they could offer no increase – not even one to cover inflation.

On the final day, Republican State Senator Deb Peters says lawmakers found a compromise.

SDPB

South Dakota lawmakers have finalized the state’s budget that starts on July 1, 2017 (Fiscal Year 18). State Senators and Representatives approve of a measure they call the general bill. It lists numbers for all revenues and all budgets in balance.

State Representative David Anderson is chair of House Appropriations.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

As educators incorporate best practices, utilize new projects in certain subjects, and incorporate innovative techniques into their lessons, one constant remains: you can’t teach students who don’t attend. Truancy is an evolving issue in South Dakota’s schools. State lawmakers are working to pass legislation to change state law regarding penalties for being out of school, and school leaders are using every tool they can find to convince kids to class.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

In The Moment... February 13, 2017 Show 029 Hour 2

South Dakota Republican Party elected Dan Lederman of Dakota Dunes has been elected by the South Dakota Republican Party to lead the SDGOP for the next two years. Chair Lederman will begin his term immediately and has called a Special Central Committee Meeting to be held at the end of February to adopt a budget and goals for 2017.

A package of legislation designed to address mental health issues in criminal justice has been presented to the legislature in Pierre. House Bill 1183 is assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. Chief Justice David Gilbertson has led the effort to reduce recidivism and increase services to mentally ill people who often end up in jail. In Rapid City, Mayor Steve Allender has tackled the lack of services for the city’s mentally ill population.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A measure that automatically allows South Dakota’s home schooled students to participate in public extracurricular activities is dead. A legislative committee considered House Bill 1123 for nearly two hours Monday before decided not to support it.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed House Bill 1069. This is the repeal and revision of certain provisions related to campaign finance and to declare an emergency. 

A bill supported by Democrats in the South Dakota legislature eliminates the state sales tax on food. State Representative Ray Ring from Vermillion sponsors House Bill 1119. He says the change will help people with lower incomes.

The New Colossus

In The Moment... February 2, 2017 - Show 022, Hour 1

Brett Bradfield Named USF President

Jan 31, 2017
SDPB

After a seven month search the University of Sioux Falls announced Brett Bradfield as its 23rd president.

 

Bradfield has worked at the university for 16 years and in 2007 became the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Bradfield says he recognizes the challenges higher education institutes face but is hopeful the University of Sioux falls will stay strong into the future.

The scene was festive in the student commons. Students, faculty, staff and trustees mingled in anticipation of the announcement.

SDPB

Supporters of a bill in South Dakota’s Statehouse say it maximizes academic freedom in the classroom, and its opponents say the measure is anti-science. Senate Bill 55 has passed two of the four hurdles to Governor Dennis Daugaard’s desk.

The bill is one sentence long. It says, “No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48.”

Daugaard Says He Will Veto Transgender Locker Room Bill

Jan 26, 2017
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard says as it’s currently written, he will veto the transgender locker room bill if it reaches his desk.
 
Senate Bill 115 defines a person’s sex based on anatomy. It states that locker rooms, showers and changing facilities in public schools, shall be for use by persons of only the same sex.
 
The bill also states school districts can provide accommodations for transgender students.
 

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Leaders use the phrase "workforce shortage" often as South Dakota sees low unemployment and a mismatch of skills with job openings. Local hospitals and clinics are not immune. One area health organizations is paying to train students for positions they can’t fill. In turn, students learn on-the-job during internships and commit to staying in town for a few years.

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 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.

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