Richard Franklin Pettigrew

Sioux Falls is a vibrant city with a rich history. Many people helped shape into what it is today. One such person has been characterized as studious, hard working, and visionary. This man was intelligent and had a wonderfully attentive memory. He had a strong connection in the development work of the Dakota territory and the State of South Dakota. He was a prominent politician, businessman, and community leader. He spent the majority of his adult life promoting and representing Sioux Falls and South Dakota.

Richard Franklin (R. F.) Pettigrew (July 23, 1848-October 5, 1926) was born in Vermont and moved with his parents to Wisconsin in 1854. He engaged in farm work until he was sixteen years of age, receiving his education in rural schools. He attended college in Iowa and studied law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In 1869, Mr. Pettigrew came to Dakota as a part of a surveying party. In the spring of 1870, he made Sioux Falls his home. Pettigrew worked tirelessly to build and promote local communities. He practiced law and engaged in surveying and real estate. He was responsible for bringing all five early railroads through Sioux Falls. Pettigrew was instrumental in convincing an eastern investor to finance construction of the seven-story, twelve-hundred barrel per day Queen Bee flour mill. As a U.S. Senator, he convinced Congress to appropriate funds to construct the Federal Courthouse and Post Office building and insisted that they be built of local quartzite. R. F. Pettigrew was a member of the first School Board in in 1873.

He was elected to the upper house of the legislature of and then was sent to the congress as a delegate for the territory. He was a member of the constitutional convention of 1883 and helped to frame a constitutional provision that was incorporated into the laws of the State of South Dakota.

South Dakota was admitted to the in 1889 and R. F. Pettigrew was elected United States Senator. Mr. Pettigrew was reelected to the United States Senate for a second term and became a distinguished leader in the Senate.

Pettigrew loved collecting things. He was a world traveler and amateur archaeologist. He opened his own museum in the back of his house in 1925 to showcase his collections.

Pettigrew left his home to the City of Sioux Falls in his will. The Pettigrew museum is designed to emulate how a person of Pettigrew’s stature would have lived at the turn of the century.

By naming the new school, R. F. Pettigrew Elementary, it will be bringing to life the historical beginnings of and as well as promoting the importance of education, leadership and service to others—all of which were characteristic of this man.

PTO and Volunteer

R. F. Pettigrew Elementary fully embraces the Sioux Falls District’s mission “to educate and prepare each student to succeed in a changing world.” By emphasizing growth in social skills, emotional well-being, and academic progress, students at R. F. Pettigrew Elementary will learn how to function in our changing world by effectively using 21st Century Skills. They will learn to collaborate with others, use critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and creatively use information, knowledge, and opportunities to make good judgments. The staff at R. F. Pettigrew will partner with families to ensure each child’s best advantage for academic and social success.

Spirite Wear


From sport, music and drama to personal development and community service programs. There are a whole range of benefits that come from involvement in these programs.

In addition to building skills within a specific discipline, extracurricular activities are great for developing general academic and soft skills. Balancing a number of commitments can help to improve your child’s time management skills, while finding an area they enjoy or excel at can boost self-confidence.


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Data Information

Achieving our mission, to educate and prepare each student to succeed in a changing world, hinges on our ability to continually improve the effectiveness of our schools. Multiple factors impact student achievement and serve as indicators of effective schools. This Data Profile Directory is prepared to provide parents, educators, and the community with a data profile of various school effectiveness indicators. The directory should be used as one source of data for identifying a school's present status, assessing overall student progress, and planning for continual school improvement.

Each year the South Dakota Department of Education (SD DOE) releases a report card showing the performance of schools across the state. The report card includes information about academic achievement, student attendance for grades K-8, graduation rate for high schools, and professional staff qualifications. These criteria are used to determine the school’s performance index, or SPI.

Although the federal and state governments require building and district-level accountability measures, the District closely monitors the individual progress of each student to ensure that each student is being prepared to succeed in a changing world. By reviewing their student’s quarterly report card, attending Parent Teacher Conferences in the fall and spring, and contacting teachers with questions or concerns parents will have the best picture of how their children are progressing.

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.

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Contact Information

Kevin Dick, Principal
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Address Phone Number Fax Number
7900 West 53rd Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57106
(605) 362-3560 (605) 362-3564