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Education board approves programs targeting teacher shortage

While in the eye of the recent social studies standards storm, the state Board of Education Standards has many other responsibilities. On their docket this week – two items targeting the state’s teacher shortage.

From busy school systems in Sioux Falls and Rapid City to rural districts with just a few dozen students, one of the consistent challenges across the state is employing enough educators.

Kathy Reidy is the administrator of the state Department of Education office of accreditation. She presented two items to the board – the first being an amendment to Northern State University's educator preparation program.

“This is similar to alternative certification, in that it’s for individuals who already have a Bachelor’s degree and want to complete coursework to receive a teaching certificate," Reidy said. "This amendment to that originally approved program would allow them to offer CTE as one of the content areas for certification.”

The second item will expand the current education offerings at South Dakota State University.

“SDSU would like to expand their program offerings to include a K-8 elementary education and K-12 special education preparation programs," Reidy said. "Their applications have been reviewed by the department, the courses of study are aligned with the appropriate standards, and they meet the requirements for certification.”

Special education positions are among the most pressing needs in South Dakota’s public schools. Both items were unanimously approved.

But the board is also dealing with the consequences of the newly passed social studies standards. Joseph Graves is the state Secretary of Education.

“Endeavors are now under way," Graves said. "We have the social studies summit that will be occurring June 12 through the 14, so that is coming up soon. We have the road trips, one in East River one in West River, and those have had a great deal of sign-ups in that area as well. So, we’re seeing a lot of people engaging in these activities at this time.”

At the end of the meeting, board member Steve Willard announced his immediate resignation, citing the time commitment. His replacement will be appointed by Governor Kristi Noem.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture
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