- Last Updated: 10 December 2017 10 December 2017
Dr. Maher says that decisions about school and activities when winter weather strikes are some of the hardest he makes. Why? Because student safety is at risk.
Each year, the community donates in countless ways to the children of the Sioux Falls School District. Likewise, the students and staff of the Sioux Falls School District give back to the community in huge ways this time of year. Learn more about these invaluable lessons our students are learning.
This week on the District News Minute, get the latest on the School Board's facilities planning process going into the new year, learn how the state is making changes to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act and find out how District officials decide to cancel school, start late or dimiss early when winter weather strikes.
An informational Parent Event to learn more about Kindergarten and what they can do to be ready for the big event for their child.
|Thursday, February 1, 2018||6:30 PM - 7:50 PM||Terry Redlin Elementary
1721 E. Austin St.
Sioux Falls, SD
6:30 to 7:15 p.m. – General Session.
7:20 to 7:50 p.m. – Break out sessions.
Informational booths can be available from 6:20 to 7:50 p.m.
This week on the District News Minute, learn more about a new program at Garfield Elementary that's empowering students to become leaders, get the latest on the success of a newly implemented fine arts curriculum and see how students and staff are giving this holiday season.
The School Board will hold their monthly public work session this week, and there they will learn more about the possibilities moving forward for the District in regard to facilities as the state's largest school system continues to grow.
A review of the Fine Arts curriculum that was approved in 2016 is resulting in positive feedback from staff and through student interaction. The curriculum meets state and national standards for the content areas of art, band, orchestra, vocal music, humanities, and theatre.
The curriculum includes new software, hardware, and printed resources for which all staff received professional development to explore and collaborate. Performance-based assessments, partnerships with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, and portfolio creation guide and enhance student learning. The curriculum provides materials for regular education classrooms, special education classrooms and English Language Learner classrooms. Based on feedback, the curriculum will continue to be molded to best meet the academic needs of students.
All schools in the District are submitting their School Improvement Plan to the Board for approval prior to submitting them to the State. The Plans, developed by a team of parents, community members and staff, serve as a roadmap for future planning and professional development and measure student achievement.
Each school has a building leadership team that meets regularly throughout the year to guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of the School Improvement Plan. Building leadership teams divide the larger plan into smaller segments with the following focuses: staff roles, goals, meetings summary, data processes, priorities and strategies, and the professional development plan.
This document guides the work in order to meet the District’s mission, priority statements from the Strategic Plan, and the achievement goals set by the South Dakota Department of Education.
Staff and students at Garfield Elementary are the only South Dakota school participating in a nation-wide program that supports the growing social, emotional and academic needs of students. The Leader in Me program helps students develop and identify the talents and soft skills required to be successful in college, career and citizenship.
Staff were trained on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and receive ongoing coaching through professional development, video conferencing and emails. The program provides the framework for students to learn and apply real-world tools and common-sense habits to ensure a lifetime of effective living.
The Leader in Me program has shown to help reduce discipline problems, while increasing student ownership and responsibility, self-confidence, attendance and school engagement.
To help improve student attendance, the Sioux Falls School District is partnering with Kinvolved, a company founded by teachers, to track data and engage families through real-time, translated, text messaging.
Research shows that attendance drives graduation rates, college retention, job prospects and earning capacity. Improving attendance at all levels is a part of the District’s strategic plan, so District officials have engaged with Kinvovled, which is currently deployed in more than 200 schools nation-wide. Through the proprietary mobile and web app, KiNVO will be able to track period and daily attendance, send real-time SMS/email alerts to families, measure positive outreach, identify students by critical attendance threshold, and translate messages into more than 50 different languages.
The District will pilot the program in five schools: Washington High School, Whittier Middle School, Hawthorne, Hayward and Laura B. Anderson Elementary Schools. The project is currently in the deploy phase and it will be monitored throughout the school year. The results and feedback will be analyzed, and a determination will be made about future use.
Throughout elementary, middle and high schools in the Sioux Falls School District, 2,353 English Language Learner (ELL) students are currently working toward proficiency in the English language.
When new students enroll into the Sioux Falls School District and indicate they speak a language other than English at home, they are referred to the Intake Center at Jane Addams. Last school year, 627 new students were served through the Intake Center and enrolled in school – 189 students more than the previous school year. More than 90 different languages are spoken in the homes of ELL students, who largely come from Africa, Mexico or Central American countries. The District uses the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) test to determine the English proficiency of students. Students are then placed in the age-appropriate Immersion Center. Students can then later transition to ELL Center Base sites, Sheltered classes at middle and high school, or the Presidents’ Academy. As of November 1, there were 115 students currently enrolled in the Elementary Immersion Center, 79 enrolled in the Middle School Immersion Center, and 82 enrolled at High School Immersion and the Presidents’ Academy.
On average, ELL students achieve English proficiency in 5-7 years. Typically, students who enroll in early elementary achieve proficiency faster than those who enroll for the first time after 4th grade. The District will continue to monitor the program and the success of ELL students as they enroll in, and transition from, Immersion Centers and ELL programs.
Sioux Falls School District students continue to outscore their state and national peers on the ACT while even more students are taking the test than in the past.
During the 2016-17 school year, 917 students, or 64.7% of 2017 graduates, took the ACT, a percentage which has been declining slightly over the past few years. In each section of the exam, District students scored higher than their state or national peers, including in the composite score: Sioux Falls School District, 22.9; South Dakota, 21.8; U.S., 21.0. Additionally, District scores throughout all subject areas remained steady or increased over previous years’ results.
The report also suggests that District students are better prepared for college than their peers according to college readiness indicators based on test results. Another aspect of the report includes a student survey about courses they have taken in preparation for the ACT, and results indicate that students who take higher-level courses throughout high school perform better on the exam, although course information is self-reported by students.
The District will use the results of the ACT report to continue to offer rigorous, deep and meaningful courses that prepare students for college and careers.
Dr. Maher describes how the new computer science immersion program, featuring Code to the Future in three elementary schools, is faring several months into the first year.