Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Department of Education visiting South Dakota sites on road trips

A group of educators file into the Broken Boot Gold Mine near Deadwood on Monday
C.J. Keene
A group of educators file into the Broken Boot Gold Mine near Deadwood on Monday

Summertime is peak road trip season – whether you’re a family of four or the South Dakota Department of Education.

Monday marked the first day of coinciding East and West River “road trips” for educators, administrators, and DOE representatives.

Shannon Malone is director of the division of learning and instruction with the DOE. She said the five-day trip is taking attendees from across the state to culturally and historically significant sites.

“We determined different sites based on their location in proximity to some of the main sites we wanted to see such as Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse," Malone said. "Some of it’s also who can accommodate the group size we have”

Many of the sites on the schedule were selected for their relevance to newly passed social studies standards. For instance, places like Bear Butte, the Sanford Underground Research Facility, and the Mount Moriah Cemetery are included in the West River itinerary.

But don’t let the name fool you – this road trip isn’t a vacation for teachers.

“We actually brought a group of educators together to help us create an experience for educators throughout the course of the week," Malone said. "Our goal is that educators will be able to see firsthand all the wonderful places that we have, and from that experience they’ll be able to take that back into their classroom and share that information with their students.”

One of those educators is Winner 4th grade teacher Lisa Vesely. She said you can’t undervalue real world learning opportunities.

“A lot of information isn’t in our textbooks or on the internet, and it comes from being here and seeing things," Vesely said. "Just to bring it back and enhance the lessons will benefit the kids immensely. A lot of the kids don’t have an idea of what we have in South Dakota.”

The road trips continue through the end of this week.

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