Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Some people say it’s not what you know but who you know. That’s one of the reasons Sioux Falls education leaders are connecting students with professionals in local industry. Students in the city can take specialized classes at the Career and Technical Education Academy. Options range from health care to welding, construction to culinary programs. Now students are networking with are sponsors in their favorite fields.

Student Leaders Share Opinions on Issues

Apr 1, 2015
Cara Hetland SDPB

This week in Pierre, the South Dakota High School Activities Association hosted the State Student Council Convention. Over 900 of South Dakota’s best and brightest high school students gathered in the state capital. As aspiring future leaders many of the students are keeping an eye on what’s happening in politics at the local and national level. 12 students shared their opinions on major government issues at the state and national level, including new youth minimum wage legislation, education funding and transgender policies.

Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown is a Finalist-with-Distinction for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The school has received the honor each of the three years the Prize has been awarded.

State health experts say that more than one third of South Dakota’s children are overweight or obese. That’s according to the most recent sampling from schools across the state. The numbers aren’t much worse than the previous year but they also aren’t any better.

Lawmakers in Pierre are keeping pieces of legislation afloat until they have final funding numbers. That sometimes means they’re using stop-gap measures to keep legislation alive.

The 2015 South Dakota State Legislative Session ends on Friday, and lawmakers are on deadline. The House Appropriations committee passed 14 separate measures during Monday’s meeting alone, but some of the bills are incomplete – and that’s part of the strategy.

Photo by Victoria Wicks

The House Appropriations Committee is considering a bill to pay an education company to evaluate textbooks and to make “living textbooks” available online. Bill sponsors asked for half a million dollars for the state Department of Education to pay a contractor to analyze and develop textbooks that meet South Dakota standards. But as SDPB’s Victoria Wicks reports, the department of education testified against the bill.

This Saturday’s Black Hills Symphony Orchestra concert features Rapid City Central High School junior Paige Werner as soloist in a performance of an oboe concerto by Alessandro Marcello. Werner is the senior division winner of this year’s Young Artist Competition, sponsored by the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra and Symphony League. Violinist Ingrid Anderson won the junior division for her performance of Ernest Bloch's "Improvisation No. 2 from Baal Shem."

Last month, longtime Pierre music teacher Jeannette Beemer was honored for her lasting legacy with a 2015 Governor’s Award in the Arts for Outstanding Support of the Arts by an Individual.

Governor Proposes Education Task Force

Feb 6, 2015

Governor Dennis Daugaard is proposing a task force to study education in South Dakota.

Daugaard says the summer study group should reevaluate the state education funding formula and seek answers to tough questions facing school districts.

Reading Recovery

Over the past thirty years, first graders who have had trouble with reading have found help through the Reading Recovery program. Specially trained teachers work individually with students in daily 30 minute lessons that last for about 12 to 20 weeks.

Superintendent: Rapid City Schools Face Tough Budget Cuts

Jan 8, 2015

The Superintendent of Rapid City Schools says his district is facing some tough budget decisions.   Dr.

We are in the middle of American Education Week. This is the National Education Association’s 93rd celebration of public schools and the people who make quality education possible across the country.

Mary McCorkle is the new president of the South Dakota Education Association. She assumed that position this summer. She worked as a teacher at the Mobridge-Pollock School District for 32 years before moving to Pierre to lead the state teachers union.

The South Dakota Education Association’s new president wants people to understand how the state fits into the country’s conversations about public schools. This is American Education Week. The purpose is to celebrate all people who make quality education possible. The new SDEA leader says good schools require input from everyone.

The 93rd annual American Education Week theme is "Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility."

South Dakota Wins

Nov 10, 2014

  South Dakota has a quality of life that's second to none. Our friendly communities, low cost of living and limitless fulfilling career opportunities make the land of Great Faces and Great Places a great place to live. As Governor of South Dakota, I'm committed to maintaining our quality of life and growing our economy.

©Christopher Ives / Red Cloud Indian School

Red Cloud Indian School has received a grant from the Toyota U.S.A. Foundation to prepare students to pursue college degrees and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through hands-on learning experiences for Lakota youth. This is the second consecutive grant for the school.

Red Cloud Indian School superintendent Ted Hamilton says it’s unusual to receive subsequent grants from the Toyota U.S.A. Foundation.


Each of the three candidates for Governor of South Dakota is highlighting why voters should choose him or her to lead the state. With less than one month until people go to the polls, gubernatorial hopefuls met on live television for a debate on South Dakota Public Broadcasting. The debate lasted one hour. This latest gubernatorial faceoff touched briefly on several statewide issues, but two primary topics dominated the discussion: education and health care.

One analysis of state education funding shows South Dakota puts less money into schools now than a generation ago. A series of public meetings is offering South Dakotans a glimpse at funding trends. The discussions include details about South Dakota’s education policy and offer an opportunity to collaborate with other people in the community.

Black Hills State University

When students arrive at Black Hills State University this weekend, a new president will welcome them to the Spearfish campus. Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr. started his new duties as BHSU's tenth President on July 3rd. He succeeded Kay Schellencamp who retired at the end of the last academic year.

Brookings School District

School Administrators of South Dakota (SASD) reports about 25 percent of the state’s school superintendents entering the upcoming school year are new to the job. Those positions are often filled with principals who suddenly find themselves with a much longer job description and two or more full-time jobs.

Kealey Bultena

Nineteen South Dakota college students are the recipients of a brand new scholarship program for future teachers. The Critical Teaching Needs Scholarship Program covers two years of college tuition for people who commit to teaching in South Dakota in certain subjects. 

State leaders identify four main areas of critical need in South Dakota schools for the scholarship: career and technical education, math, science and special ed.

Courtesy of FRONTLINE

Sixty years ago in the Brown vs Board of Education ruling, the Supreme Court declared racially segregated unconstitutional. Ten years later President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act which guaranteed all Americans equal protection under the law. Under Johnson, the federal government began an aggressive push to integrate schools. But the racial divide in schools has grown over the past couple decades.

State lawmakers are beginning a two-year study examining education in South Dakota. They plan to establish several areas of focus, and one is likely to be the connection between school funding and student achievement.

Members of the legislative planning committee want to improve educational outcomes in state schools. The 11-member panel begins that process with an in-depth examination of how South Dakota funds K-12 education. It includes details about the current funding mechanism and its history to deep analysis of property tax assessments.

Dave Burgess

Dave Burgess is a teacher and author of the New York Times best-seller "Teach Like A Pirate." In the book he outlines the need for passion and innovation in the classroom. On June 18-19, Burgess will present his ideas at a South Dakota State University event meant to encourage more students to become teachers. Dave Burgess joined the program to discuss his book. Later in the segment, SDSU associate professor Sharon Vestal addressed the purpose of Burgess' appearance and the need for math and science teachers.

Friends Remember Ruth Ziolkowski

May 22, 2014
Crazy Horse Memorial

Ruth Ziolkowski died last night at the age of 87.  Ziolkowski continued her husband Korczak's dream of honoring Native Americans by carving the likeness of Crazy Horse into the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Under her direction, the Crazy Horse Memorial turned into a national draw.  Jack Marsh, former President and CEO of the Freedom Forum and co-founder of the Crazy Horse Journalism Workshop, and Tim Giago, founder of the Native Sun News and the Native American Journalists Association, shared memories of their friend and colleague, Ziolkowski.

One business agreement between a South Dakota company and a Chinese industry is a done deal. Business, education, and political leaders from South Dakota are in China this week on a trade mission. Governor Dennis Daugaard says the deal has been in the works, and it happened to come together while the delegation is in Asia. The governor hasn’t disclosed additional details.

Courtesy Lakota Children’s Enrichment

Representatives of Lakota Children's Enrichment are on the Pine Ridge Reservation this week for a three-day Youth Summit. The non-profit organization’s primary mission is to empower Lakota youth through opportunities in education and the arts, as well as assistance in creating community volunteer programs. 

Mark O'Connor: American Fiddler

Apr 3, 2014
Jim McGuire

Violinist Mark O'Connor is one of today's most remarkable and versatile musicians. He plays jazz, county, bluegrass, folk and classical. He's also an accomplished guitarist and mandolin player. He's composed a number of orchestral works, including his "Fiddle Concerto" which has become the most-performed modern violin concerto of the last forty years. As an educator, he's developed the O'Connor Violin Method. The thread holding all of O'Connor's musical endeavors together is a distinctly American approach.

The South Dakota High School Activities Association hosted State Boys’ Basketball Tournaments over the weekend—one of the most raucous venues every year is the Barnett Center in Aberdeen, site of the annual Class “B” Tournament. It’s already a loud atmosphere, with some communities emptied of most of their residents if their teams qualify. But there’s another element to the State Tournaments that many people enjoy—and miss when it’s not there.

The Joys of Mentoring Kids

Mar 20, 2014

DakotThere are currently eleven hundred adults in the Sioux Falls area mentoring kids as a part of Lutheran Social Services’ Mentoring Services. But with more than 500 young students on a growing waiting list, the organization has launched a campaign to recruit 500 additional men and women willing to serve as mentors over the next three years. Kerri DeGraff and David Benson are both serving as mentors in Sioux Falls.

Lawmakers Deny Additional Funding for JAG

Mar 14, 2014

A program that has the goal of graduating at-risk youth won’t receive additional funding this year.  Jobs for America’s Graduates, or JAG, is a nationwide program found in communities with low high school graduation rates. It started six years ago in South Dakota. Representative Troy Heinert says his mom helped start the pilot program. He backs the general appropriations amendment asking for an additional $250,000 in funding.