Students

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

More state and local law enforcement authorities are talking about their feelings. It’s happening in part through a course on emotional intelligence. The State of South Dakota mandates it during training for city police, county officers, and state troopers.

Almost nothing is visible in the blackness when a trainer’s voice echoes through the dark. He instructs recruits to use a light technique of their choice. He gives the command, and recruits pull their guns and prepare to shoot.

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.

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.”

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.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Sioux Falls middle schoolers are playing music with a world-renowned rock orchestra violinist. Mark Wood is in town to perform Saturday night. More than 2,700 students are set to accompany him.

Innovation: Students Learn About Manufacturing

Dec 9, 2016
SDPB/Cara Hetland

Ten middle school teams were recently paired with different manufacturing companies to learn about different advanced manufacturing careers. The teams of six students spent a half day at their assigned company filming and interviewing various employees to find out what they liked about their jobs. By the end of January, the teams will submit their videos for a contest, explaining what they think is cool about manufacturing. The winners will enjoy an awards ceremony.

Human Rights Watch has released a 115-page report regarding LGBT rights. The report includes input from South Dakota students, teachers and parents of LGBT students. SDPB's Kealey Bultena joins Dakota Midday for a closer look at the report.

Parker High School

The South Dakota Oral Interpretation Festival competition begins Friday. The event brings together the top qualifying high school oral interp speakers in the state. Parker High School oral interp coach Cindy Froiland shares her thoughts on the benefits of an oral interpretation program and how it fits into the overall arts programming in the state. This segment also features Parker High School junior Josie Holzwarth.

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

University Sioux Falls officials say their school can fill a void left when a community college closed. USF is preparing to launch a program aimed at helping people learn English so they can go to college or become skilled workers. A program that used to help those students ended earlier this year. Now USF leaders say they’re resurrecting the opportunity.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Jenifer Jones

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives passed the last major piece of this session’s education funding package. Tuesday afternoon they made changes and eventually approved a version of Senate Bill 131.  

State Senators and Representatives support a bill that overhauls the way South Dakota funds public education. It restructures the funding formula and sets a target average teacher salary at $48,500.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Lawmakers have had lengthy battles this session over teacher pay, South Dakota’s funding formula, and a sales tax hike for education. Most of the money lawmakers are considering for public schools are mandated for teacher salaries, but a sliver of it is dedicated to increasing eLearning. If lawmakers approve the governor’s plan, the E-learning program could receive a $1 million infusion.

Jenifer Jones / SDPB

A half-penny sales tax increase is one signature away from becoming state law. House Bill 1182 is part of the governor’s plan to overhaul education funding in South Dakota. More than two-thirds of State Senators supported the bill Thursday, and it survived its final legislative hurdle.

A sales tax hike of one-half of one percent is dedicated to increasing teacher pay, adding to tech school instructor salaries, and offering property tax relief.

Chynna Lockett / SDPB

A bill that requires students use school bathrooms that coincide with biological sex is not law. Governor Dennis Daugaard announced Tuesday he vetoed House Bill 1008 hours before the deadline to make a decision.

House Bill 1008 is the so-called transgender bathroom bill. Supporters say the measure protects privacy, because it keeps students of different biological sexes in separate bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers.

Jenifer Jones

A sales tax hike for teacher pay and property tax relief faces its final hurdle Monday in the Statehouse. House Bill 1182 is scheduled for debate on the state Senate floor. Ahead of the vote party leaders say they’re weighing all options to increase education funding.

A sales tax increase to boost teacher pay is one vote away from the governor’s desk, but it is not a done deal.

Jenifer Jones

Lawmakers in the State Senate approve of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s proposal to change the way the state funds public education. Senate Bill 131 includes significant shifts in school funding. Most state senators endorse the plan, but some have reservations about the overhaul.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Each legislative session, some major issues seem to take the spotlight in Pierre – and education is dominating this year’s conversation. Much of SDPB’s coverage relates to funding schools and teachers, because lawmakers are trying to find ways to fairly and adequately fund education. Despite a goal to provide the same opportunity for all kids by doling out the matching funding for students, children walk into classes facing a wide range of challenges. A visit to one Sioux Falls school reveals some of those differences.

Jenifer Jones

One vote on the House floor Thursday killed a sales tax increase that supports teacher pay. A tax hike requires a super-majority, so the bill needed support from 47 state representatives. It got 46. The vote is official but it’s not the end of the discussion. 

House Bill 1182 is the governor’s legislation to add one half of one penny to the state’s sales tax. That generates $67 million for education and $40 million for property tax relief.

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