Education

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. 

Department of Heath

This fall kids entering 6th grade are required to get a vaccine to protect against meningitis. The change in vaccine requirements for 6th graders results from a bill passed by the 2016 legislature.

Report Finds Gap In Pay For Pre-K Teachers

Jun 16, 2016
US Department of Education

  A report from the US Department of Education shows that preschool teachers earn significantly less than kindergarten and elementary educators—even in states that provide funding for early childhood programs. 

In South Dakota the median preschool teacher earnings are about $10,000 less than the wages of kindergarten teachers. The report found that even with the same level of education, the wages of preschool teachers fluctuate depending on their work setting.

Kenzie Wagner / SDPB

The Rapid City Board of Education met Monday evening to impose a teacher’s salary contract.  The move comes following a disagreement between the school board and the teacher’s union.  But teachers decided to forgo mediation and move forward.  

The Rapid City School Board plans to use the new half penny sales tax increase to boost the salaries of new teachers.  The plan includes smaller increases for veteran or higher degree holding teachers.

One Architect Of Teacher Pay Increase Falls In Primary

Jun 8, 2016

A key state lawmaker who helped draft the plan to increase teacher pay in South Dakota is not going back to Pierre next session.

Republican State Representative Jacqueline Sly failed to achieve enough votes in the primary race against incumbent State Senator Phil Jensen.

Sly was a co-chair of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force and a key supporter of the half cent sales tax increase passed last year by lawmakers.   Jensen is among 10 state senators who voted against the final passage of the bill.

Rapid City School District Grapples With Teacher Pay

Jun 1, 2016
Kenzie Wagner / SDPB

The Rapid City Board of Education is deciding how to spend the extra one half cent sales tax revenue state lawmakers allocated to school districts.  The board held a special meeting Wednesday after the local teachers union rejected its initial contract offer. 

Officials with the Rapid City teachers union say they’re frustrated after the Rapid City Board of Education’s vote on teacher salary.

A Makerspace In The Middle School

May 26, 2016
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

When you picture a normal middle school, you probably envision kids in rows of desks listening to a teacher drone on and on at the front of the room. But a makerspace is no typical classroom. The concept lets kids master concepts using whatever tools make the most sense for them. While some philosophies come and go, some educators say the makerspace trend is part of a culture – not a buzzword – and teachers say their students can prove it.

Crazy Horse School is receiving a federal grant worth $107,631 to help students cope with suicide on the Pine Ridge Reservation. This is the third grant from the US Department of Education to Pine Ridge schools after tribal leaders declared a state of emergency following a string of suicides.

Project SERV grants target schools where kids experience significant violent or traumatic events. The latest funding adds two counselors at Crazy Horse School in Wanblee to help restore the learning environment.

Secretary John King leads the US Department of Education.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Three people connected to the GEAR UP program and Mid-Central Education Cooperative have been arraigned on accusations of fraud and financial crimes. Stacy Phelps, Dan Guericke, and Stephanie Hubers each pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Lake Andes.

Marty Jackley is South Dakota’s Attorney General.

Dakota Political Junkies Seth Tupper and Denise Ross join us for a rundown of the state’s political stories of the week. This week we focus on the presidential race through the lens of South Dakota politics. From the potential candidate visits to the state, to how George McGovern might cast his vote, the Junkies offer intelligent insight into the topics of the week.

Seth Tupper is a Rapid City Journal enterprise reporter. Denise Ross is an editor at Black Hills Knowledge Network / South Dakota Dashboard.

Lakota Student Film Project Nears Completion

Apr 27, 2016
Courtesy Red Cloud School

Students taking part in a months-long community film project on the Pine Ridge Reservation have reached the editing portion in their production. We visit with two of those interviewed for the student-lead documentary project “Our Community Story” .

The Red Cloud Heritage Center’s “Our Community Story” project involves student   interviews of Lakota elders, artists and adults from various professions.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota School Districts are deciding how to dole out more money for teacher pay. State lawmakers passed a tax increase to raise educator salaries. Now school leaders must choose how to distribute the money in their districts. In Sioux Falls, the board has unanimously approved a 6.8 percent increase for teachers.

Education Students Weigh In On Teacher Pay

Apr 25, 2016

This year state lawmakers gave South Dakota teachers a pay raise. Part of the goal is to attract and retain top young teachers. Many of those aspiring teachers gathered for an SDEA conference in Vermillion recently.

What does the increase in teacher pay mean for South Dakota college students who are studying education? Here are answers from three of them.

“I think it’s good, teachers deserve to get paid more," says Callie Jarmen.

The GEAR UP program in South Dakota is now operating from Black Hills State University. The education effort aims to prepare Native American students for college. Most recently GEAR UP is tied to accusations of wrongdoing as former leaders face criminal charges. Despite the challenges, the program is under new leadership and moving forward.

Incoming high school students from schools participating in GEAR UP are eligible to apply for a three-week program promoting college readiness and culture.

Advocates in Sioux Falls this week aim to empower people with disabilities and encourage others to embrace the talents they offer. Service providers, educators, employers and people with disabilities are collaborating to promote inclusion.

South Dakota advocates are celebrating the fact that the state has the highest rate of employment for people with disabilities in the nation. Wendy Parent-Johnson is executive director for the Center for Disabilities.

Teachers from around South Dakota are collaborating to find new ways to engage students in problem solving. A conference on Technology and Innovation in Education wrapped up this week. One of the dozens of sessions focused on helping students break into a box by thinking outside of it.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A grand jury has indicted three people for felony crimes related to a Native American education program. State leaders say people within GEAR UP and Mid-Central Education Cooperative used the programs to steal more than one million dollars. Two of them died in a murder-suicide in September. Authorities announced charges against three other leaders last month.  

Dakota Digest for April 8, 2016

Apr 8, 2016

On this week's edition of Dakota Digest, we look at education and technology. Also, Palestinian artwork is on display in South Dakota - find out where. Plus, there's a new rule from the US Department of Labor. All of this and more on this week's Dakota Digest.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

First-year medical students are tapping into new technologies that support health providers in rural areas. Avera’s eCare facility provides live video access to specialists and emergency physicians to support providers in different circumstances. Some students say it makes them more confident in pursuing work in rural medicine. 

Medical students in short white coats surround a mannequin. Three volunteers in blue paper gowns take direction from a physician on a TV screen who walks them through life-saving techniques.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The attorney for one of the people charged with felonies related to the Mid Central Education Cooperative in Platte says the state is using his client as a scapegoat. The investigation involves crimes connected to Mid Central and a program called GEAR UP.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Three people involved with an education cooperative that contracted with state government face criminal charges. South Dakota’s attorney general announced charges of falsifying evidence, conspiracy, and grand theft related to Mid Central Education Cooperative.

Mid Central Education Cooperative gained statewide attention in September when one of its leaders died violently. An investigation revealed that Scott Westerhuis killed his wife and four children before lighting the family home on fire and shooting himself.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A school safety plan at a southeast South Dakota district includes allowing people who are not law enforcement access to firearms on school property. The Tri-Valley school board Monday approved the first reading of a sentinel program.

Nearly 900 students in kindergarten through the 12th grade attend Tri-Valley school in Colton. The building sits outside of town across from a field.

March is National Reading Awareness Month. Teresa Berndt and Jasmine Rockwell discuss reading initiatives across the state and how to help kids overcome not only the "summer slide" but the "winter slump" in order to become happier and more successful readers.

Governor Dennis Daugaard is waiting to hear from the South Dakota Supreme Court before deciding how to act on two bills passed by the legislature.

SDPB

State Lawmakers have finished the main part of their work for the 2016 legislative session.

Statehouse Podcast: Education Bills Signed, Final Budget Passed

Mar 11, 2016

The Statehouse Podcast for March 11th, 2016 includes coverage of South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signing education reform bills into law and the passage of the final budget bill in the state legislature. 

Governor Signs Education Funding Bills

Mar 11, 2016
SD Governor's Office

A sales tax hike to benefit education and property tax relief is becoming law along with a major shift in the way South Dakota funds public schools. The changes are part of a three-piece legislative package that overhauls education funding.

Governor Dennis Daugaard has signed sweeping education funding changes into law. He and Republican State Senator Deb Soholt say it’s critical that the new laws increase the sales tax for a boost in teacher pay.

The Statehouse Podcast for March 10, 2015 includes coverage of education reforms passed in Pierre and the final bills of the session.

 

Jenifer Jones / SDPB

Lawmakers in Pierre support two programs aimed at Native American education. One measure seeks to help people who want to finish college courses so they can teach in Native American schools. The other sets up a pilot program to combine innovative cultural teachings with standard subjects.

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