Envision: Gallup Employment Survey

Sioux Falls School District employees are more engaged in their work than the national workforce or education professionals nationwide. The annual Gallup survey also shows that employee engagement across the board is up from last year. Dr. Maher discusses what that means and how administrators will use the data.


Night of Hope and Caring

Sioux Falls Storm Night of Hope and Caring

On Saturday, March 25th, during their home game, the Sioux Falls Storm will be hosting a special NIGHT OF HOPE & CARING and proudly teaming up with the Sioux Falls School District and partners at Sioux Falls Federal Credit Union and KSFY-TV, for an event that is going to "Level the Playing Field" for every Sioux Falls Elementary Public School with fundraising needs.

While thousands of parents, businesses and community organizations volunteer time and donate money to schools through parent organizations, booster clubs and other means year after year, not all schools have this advantage. At the elementary level, this can mean that students from one school may not have access to the resources or opportunities available at another.

This first-of-it's-kind event is a "fun"draiser to help give students across the board those meaningful experiences and resources to create engaging and educational opportunities that might not otherwise exist.

The Storm is selling discounted tickets and is generously donating half of the proceeds from ticket sales to this endeavor. Area businesses are sponsoring special contests and promotions and more are welcomed. To learn more about this exciting opportunity for students, visit the Sioux Falls Storm's page devoted to the Night of Hope and Caring!

District News Minute 3-20-17

This week on the District News Minute, learn about the upcoming kindergarten registration day in the Sioux Falls School District, meet Lincoln High School's new principal for 2017-2018 and find out how 1,900 4th grade students got to perform recently with the South Dakota Symphony.


Kindergarten Registration 2017-2018

Registration KeyThe Sioux Falls School District is registering children for Kindergarten for 2017-2018!

Date: Thursday March, 30 2017
Time: 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Place: View the Directory

For more information about kindergarten registration and preparing for kindergarten, call your child’s school or view the information on our website.


Envision: Learning Adventures Preschool Open Houses

Our Learning Adventures Preschool program will soon host an open house at all four sites. Dr. Maher explains how a quality preschool program is vital for student success.


District News Minute 3-13-17

This week on the District News Minute: The Sioux Falls School Board adopts a new English Language Arts curriculum, new strategies are being employed at the high schools to ensure students graduate on time and now you can meet the 2017 Teacher of the Year Finalists.


New Lincoln HS Principal Named

New LHS Principal Robert Grimm

After an exhaustive process, the Sioux Falls School District has named the new principal for Lincoln High School following the upcoming retirement of Valerie Fox. 

Robert Grimm comes to Sioux Falls with a wealth of experience as a high school principal in South Carolina.  He previously served in the military.  He has a proven track record for improving test scores and increasing AP involvement and graduation rates.  Mr. Grimm will start with the District on July 1.

Whittier Teacher Wins $3,000 Science Lab Prize

Dorothy Marie Story, a science teacher at Whittier Middle School has been named a district winner in the Shell Science Lab Challenge, a competition for middle and high school science teachers. Sponsored by the Shell Oil Company and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the competition encouraged teachers (grades 6-12), who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources, to share their approaches for a chance to win a school science lab makeover support package valued at $20,000. Story is one of 18 district winners named, from which five national finalists will be chosen, and from the national finalists a grand prize winner will be selected.

Dorothy Marie Story wants her students to investigate science topics that interest them so that they learn to love science and will continue to investigate science long after they leave her classroom. Her classroom lacks the environment with which to fully use the materials and practice proper safety practices. There is nowhere to lock up chemicals between classes, no flat surface to perform data collections on, no running water, nor enough outlets for students to use available technology. Funds would be spent on flat tables for students to work on, electrical outlets accessible to each team of students, a teacher presentation cart, and, if at all possible, running water. Most importantly, it would include safety materials that are required in all middle school science classrooms.

“Inquiry-based learning and hands-on experimentation are key elements for encouraging student interest in science,” said Dr. Frazier Wilson, Vice President, Shell Oil Company Foundation, Manager, Social Investment. “The Shell Science Lab Challenge strives to support inquiry-based instructional practices of our science teachers and excite students about the wonders and possibilities of science through active learning that emphasizes questioning, data analysis, and critical thinking. Exemplary science teaching is more relevant when it occurs in a quality lab environment where science concepts can be explored by students.”

“The talent, resourcefulness, and commitment shown by these teachers is inspiring,” said Dr. David Evans, Executive Director, NSTA. “These incredible educators have developed imaginative and innovative educational techniques with little funding and scarce resources, while continuing to motivate and provide high-quality lab experiences to their students. Congratulations to all of the district winners and best of luck in the next phase of the competition.” 

To enter the Shell Science Lab Challenge, science teachers of grades 6-12 in the U.S. and Canada were asked to describe their school’s current laboratory resources, explain why the school’s laboratory facilities might be classified as “limited” resources, and describe their approach to science education instruction utilizing their school’s current lab facilities. A panel of science educators then reviewed and selected the top entries.

As a district winner, each teacher and their school will receive a $3,000 science lab prize package that includes:
•    $1,000 Shell grant to purchase lab equipment and other science education resources;
•    $1,000 in donated science lab equipment donated by Carolina Biological Supply Company;
•    $300 gift certificate to the NSTA Science Store;
•    One year NSTA membership for two teachers;
•    NSTA Learning Center subscription for two teachers; and
•    Paid registration for two teachers to attend a 2017 NSTA Area Conference on Science Education.

Recognizing that the laboratory experience is integral to science education and that many schools, especially schools in urban and rural areas, do not have the resources to invest in quality lab equipment, NSTA and Shell partnered on NSTA’s Shell Science Lab Challenge to bring much needed lab materials and resources to school districts nationwide and in Canada. Announcement of the national finalists and grand prize winners will be on Monday, March 20, 2017.

District News Minute 3-6-17

This week on the District News Minute, get the latest on the growth projections for the Sioux Falls School District and what administrators are doing to prepare, learn how students celebrated Read Across America week throughout our schools and find out more on the record number of nominees for the 2017 Teacher of the Year.


Envision: Record Number of Teacher of the Year Nominations

Last year, in 2016, we had a record number of nominees for the Dr. John W. Harris Teacher of the Year award. This year, they nearly doubled. Hear from Dr. Maher about what this means about our teachers and what to expect next in this annual process.


Envision: Computer Science Immersion

Dr. Maher outlines the newly School Board-approved Computer Science Immersion program, with Code to the Future, coming to three elementary schools in 2017-2018 followed by two middle schools in 2019. What it will mean for students and staff in the coming months and years.



District Employees Engaged, Please with Opportunities

Survey results indicate that Sioux Falls School District employees believe they have ample opportunities to do their best work in their current positions and know what’s expected of them at work.

Approximately 87% of Sioux Falls School District employees completed an online Gallup survey in December, which asked 12 questions related to employee engagement. While opportunities to do one’s best and knowing expectations were the highest scored responses, opportunities for growth were greatest in receiving recognition for work and feeling like one’s opinions count. Results of the survey indicate District employees are engaged similarly with the total U.S. working population and are slightly less engaged than other educational peers across the country.

The results of the survey were reviewed with administrators in February and with the help of Gallup representatives, District officials will establish the best ways to use the information in the survey results and look for ways to improve areas that present opportunities for growth.

Click here for the full report.

Computer Science Immersion Coming to 3 Elementary Schools Next Fall

Keeping in the tradition of offering multiple pathways for student success and offering choice within the public school system, the Sioux Falls School District is recommending a Computer Science Immersion program begin at three elementary schools next fall.

The District already offers a wide variety of options for students and parents – including All City Elementary, Eugene Field A+ Elementary and the Spanish Immersion program at Sonia Sotomayor Elementary. However, to provide equitable access to all students, as well as meet the needs of students who will be entering the workforce of the future, the District will begin a Computer Science Immersion program with the help of Code to the Future. The program will continue into two middle schools with the possibility of continuing into the high school level.

The District will enter into a contract with Code to the Future, which includes intense and continuous teacher training to ensure student success. The curriculum will remain the same for all students, with the addition of the tools and skill development as a part of this immersion program.

Click here for the full report.