Envision: Field House and Computer Science Immersion

Dr. Maher is regularly asked about new construction projects or upcoming changes within the school district. This summer and fall, his answers have been the field house at Howard Wood and Computer Science Immersion at three elementary schools!

Envision: Facilities Timeline

Right now, there are 1,100 MORE students in grades K-3 than there are in grades 9-12 in the Sioux Falls School District. That means our current facilities won't hold all the students we can expect in a few more years. Some of our elementary schools have 900 students, and Memorial Middle School, which only has 3 grades, is the 6th largest school in the state after our high schools and the Rapid City high schools. Dr. Maher explains this challenge and how the District will meet it starting this year.

District News Minute 9-11-17

This week on the District News Minute, get the latest on the first week of the 2017-18 school year, learn about upcoming free flu shot clinics for students and find out where you can see sporting events, concerts, plays, coronations and much, much more.

Envision: Attendance

Last year, we began a new campaign to improve student attendance. Over the course of the year, we found things that worked, things that did not, and we now know even better what to focus on in 2017-18. Dr. Maher explains.

2017 Flu Season Information

Kid Blowing Nose

The Sioux Falls School District will offer seasonal flu shot clinics for middle and high school students. Students in grades Early Childhood-5th grade should visit with their primary health care provider regarding getting the vaccine.

Sioux Falls School District Influenza Vaccine Consent Form

The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine. Vaccination is especially important for children younger than 5 years of age and children of any age with a long-term health condition like asthma, diabetes and heart disease. Students should visit with their primary health care provider regarding getting the vaccine.

Envision: Graduation Rates

Part of the Sioux Falls School District's strategic plan is to use new strategies to increase graduation rates. Early results show that last year's efforts worked... though there is still much work to do. Dr. Maher explains.

Have you read your Ignite yet?

Ignite Cover

The Ignite contains important information regarding the rights and privacy afforded to students and their families by federal law. Each postal customer in the city, as well as new students enrolling into the Sioux Falls School District, will receive an Ignite to ensure compliance. Ignite Magazine 2017-2018

Internship Program Underway to Hire Diverse Teachers

During the 2016-17 school year, two programs were initiated to enhance the quality and diversity of our workforce. One program was the High School Teacher Pathway program and the second was the Teacher Internship program.

The Teacher Internship program is a pilot program that allows an individual with an undergraduate degree that does not currently maintain a teaching certificate, the opportunity to experience the classroom for nine weeks alongside a highly effective teacher. The desired outcome from this experience would be that the individual then takes their enthusiasm from the experience and enrolls into a master’s program to be a certified teacher.

This past spring over 30 individuals applied for this opportunity and eight were selected for interviews. Preference was given to those who have interest in hard to fill positions within the SFSD, or who assists the SFSD in meeting the goals of the Sioux Falls School District Strategic Plan. Currently we are establishing experiences for five internships with a potential of one additional internship being established. Two of the six interns are of a diverse background and the other four are interested in the area of Special Education.

The six potential interns are comprised of four that currently work for the Sioux Falls School District as educational assistants and two that are not employees of the school district. Substitutes will be hired for individuals in the school district and the remaining two will be provided substitute pay during their internship.

Progress and success of this pilot program will be monitored throughout the 2017-18 school year with any adaptations being made in the spring of 2018.

SFSD Offering Thousands of Hours of PD

While we typically think of teachers receiving staff development at the start of the school year to inform them of new curriculum and best-practices, the reality is that all Sioux Falls School District staff members receive training specific to their work. Every employee group from clericals to custodians to child nutrition staff engages in training.

Classroom teachers are preparing for the implementation of the new English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum. Elementary staff will be working with representatives from Collaborative Classroom while middle and high school will be supported by other curriculum companies to learn how to best implement the new ELA materials.

Teachers in the new Computer Science Immersion program being implemented at Hayward, Lowell and Anne Sullivan Elementary schools are scheduled for two days of intense training, with the promise that a Code to the Future “coach” will be available in their building throughout the school year. Education assistants, behavior specialists and facilitators preK-12 are specifically focusing on how their work makes a positive difference in our schools.

While staff development is a focus at the start of each school year, inservice days throughout the year allow for further training and professional development.

Click here for the full report.

SFSD Students Continue Success in AP Courses

The District saw a sizeable increase in the number of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams at the end of the 2016-17 school year; up 304 from the previous year. Also up is the number of students who scored 3 or higher on those tests, indicating proficiency and allowing the student to earn both high school and college credits at the same time.

Each high school offers nearly 30 Advanced Placement courses for those students who wish to challenge themselves with rigorous, college-level work. Teachers attend training sessions by the College Board during the summer to ensure the highest level of instruction.

AP students in the Sioux Falls School District continue to score higher than state and national averages. The pass rate for South Dakota was 70 percent and nationally the pass rate was 60 percent, while Sioux Falls students netted a 71.6% pass rate. The Sioux Falls School District represents 52% of the total AP exams taken in South Dakota.

Click here for the full report.

Envision: New School Year

The 2017-18 school year is just around the corner. Superintendent Dr. Brian Maher explains what parents and students can expect, changes coming for many of our students, and opportunities this year to share your voice with District leaders.

Envision: Professional Development

Students may be out of school for the summer, but that doesn't mean the life-long learners who work in our schools have the same luxury. Faculty and staff training happens year-round - and Dr. Maher discusses the professional development our teachers and other staff members are already getting for 2017-18.

Approved Strategic Plan

Girl in Classroom

The education landscape across the country, as well as in Sioux Falls, is changing rapidly. Across the board, students are held to higher standards yet are expected to maintain stellar results. While environmental pressures are changing, Sioux Falls School District (herein referred to as SFSD) continues to be committed to responding to a changing landscape while maintaining its high levels of academic performance and becoming a world leader in preparing its students for the future.

SFSD is proud of its achievements and academic performance to date and believes when it comes to educating our children, “average” is not part of our vocabulary. SFSD highly values diversity in both the community and in our schools and recognizes we must do more to support the whole student in the best way possible to close the achievement gap across our student populations.

Approved Strategic Plan