Sioux Falls School Board Story

Test scores are in, but this time they are not just for students. Demi Moon delivered the accountability report for primary and secondary schools in Sioux Falls to the school board last Monday, which includes the schools’, district and South Dakota report cards.

The report cards showed that the Sioux Falls School District surpassed the state average on each of the performance indicators used for the report card grades. However in English Language Arts proficiency, third graders in the district fell behind the rest of the state.

“It speaks to me to two issues. Issue number one is: I think we have great things going on in our classrooms that allows our students to catch up and never go behind their statewide peers again,” Superintendent Brian Maher said. “It also speaks to the readiness level of our students, because it takes up until fourth grade to get them to the readiness level of their peers.”

The board also discussed graduation rates and college readiness in the Sioux Falls high schools. According to Maher, thought he state graduation rate has gone up, district graduation rate has gone down. This trend was concerning to Maher since the Sioux Falls School District educates the most students in the state.

Of the students that did graduate based on reported college enrollment from the spring, 41 percent of students did not attend college the fall after graduation. The number of Sioux Falls high school graduates who achieve a college degree one to four years after graduating is also dropping.

“We are a different district than we were,” Board Member Douglas Morrison said. “So maybe in the future it might help to say what are like districts to our makeup, what they are seeing for enrollment.”

Board Member Kent Alberty has a slightly different perspective on the dropping enrollment.

“I think realistically we need to look at the fact that not every student that we want to graduate from high school is necessarily going to go on to post-secondary,” Alberty said. “If they’re wanting to go into the workforce right away, are we preparing them for that or are we making an assumption that everyone needs to be ready to go on to post-secondary?”

Following Alberty’s comments, the board acknowledged ACT scores for 2016 graduates and requested to see student participation in core and other classes in the future. The meeting ended with an executive session.

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