Welcome to Harvey Dunn

Jennifer Chamberlain, Principal
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At Harvey Dunn Elementary, we are committed to ensuring all students have access to rigorous learning experiences that prepare them to be socially responsible, innovative, caring, and lifelong learners. We will establish a community of learners that are confident and creative builders of their future. Dream It, Learn It, Become It … A Harvey Dunn Masterpiece.


In September 1972, Harvey Dunn School existed only on paper and was known merely as the Southeast School through the two years of planning. At the end of that time, students throughout the city were given the unique opportunity of naming their newest school. Elementary schools suggested 77 different names, and the school board decided on Harvey Dunn, a name suggested by three students-Dennis Bell, Dawn Modica, and Jan Parker. All three felt that Dunn, a native South Dakotan, deserved recognition for his contribution to prairie art. The pioneer series, which includes "The Prairie is My Garden", is one of Harvey Dunn's most noted works of art. These paintings were produced over a period of many years which portray Dakota's pioneering past.

Harvey Dunn was original in its design and function. The school has four "clusters" which wrap around an impressive, centralized library. Each cluster accommodated four classrooms without walls. Harvey Dunn was the first "open" school in Sioux Falls.

In the spring of 2002, a major remodeling and construction project began. The original clusters of classrooms were transformed into self-contained classrooms, two additional kindergarten classrooms were added, and the offices were moved to the front of the building. The Sioux Falls Parks & Recreation Department worked cooperatively with the school district to build a community center. Three classrooms, a game room, computer lab and double gym were built as an addition to Harvey Dunn School. The gym is used jointly during the day with a physical education class on one side and park & recreation department activities on the other. In the evening, many sports leagues use the gyms for activities throughout the year.

Meet Harvey Dunn

On March 7, 1884, Harvey Thomas Dunn was born to Tom and Bersha Dunn in a homestead south of the rail line between Manchester and DeSmet along Redstone Creek. At age 4, he moved to the homestead of one of his mother's relatives.

For nine years Harvey attended the Esmond Township School. As a youngster, he sketched endlessly on the blackboard. He drew oxen, flowers, gnarled cottonwoods, and C&NW locomotives. His teacher had to hide the chalk box from him to conserve her supply. That was when he turned to expressing his artistic urgings with a jackknife on the rough exterior siding of the building.

In 1901, Harvey had completed the equivalent of nine grades at the rural school and had passed the examinations necessary for him to be accepted as a preparatory student at South Dakota Agricultural College (as South Dakota State University was then called).

There he met Miss Ada B. Caldwell, a talented young art teacher. She urged him to seek further training beyond what he was receiving through her instruction. With this Harvey packed up what he owned and went to attend the Chicago Institute of Art in the Windy City. In spirit he never really left his native state, but was never to live in South Dakota again.

He received his training from Howard Pyle, a very noted artist, and at age 22, was advised by him that the time had come for him to begin his illustrating career. He opened his first studio in Wilmington using the name H.T. Dunn.

Harvey's assignments included magazines, book illustrations, and studio productions. He managed to paint in between these projects. Harvey painted everything; he didn't stick to one type of median, and to him art was communication. He instructed his students to paint illustrations which would stand alone and live on, long after the magazines, stories, and authors were forgotten.

Johanne Louise Krebs, nicknamed Tulla, became his wife on March 12, 1908. His son, Robert Kruse Dunn, was born on July 3, 1911, and his daughter, Louise, on November 3, 1912. Harvey Dunn died on October 29, 1952, of prostate cancer. One friend, Arthur R. Mitchell, writes, "Harvey has done something...for Dakota generations yet to come-for he has left there a beautiful and accurate pictorial record of what their country was like immediately following the Indians. Maybe no other state can ever have such a thing."

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, the 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 cards, 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.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, state assessments were not administered, and therefore data for student performance, student progress, and school environment are not available for the 2019-2020 school year.

Based upon South Dakota's waiver approved by the U.S. Department of Education, the overall score was not calculated for schools for the 2019-2020 report cards, and the school support status is based upon school performance results from the 2018-2019 academic year.


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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