Education

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. 

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.  

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