READ: SFSD school improvement plans, data shows LHS graduation rate at 82%

KELOLAND.com Original

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — More than 550 pages of individual school reports will be discussed at Monday’s Sioux Falls School District Board meeting. 

Dr. Kirk Zeeck, the Director of Federal Programs and World Language for SFSD, will present the South Dakota Department of Education required school improvement plans for more than 36 schools, including the new Jefferson High School and Ben Reifel Middle School. You can review the high school improvement plans below. 

According to the improvement plans, Jefferson is expected to be home to 1,470 students, 700 from Roosevelt, 100 from Lincoln, 30 from Washington, 200 students from New Tech and a freshman class of 460.

For the three other high schools, the state improvement plans are focused on improving education and graduation rates for some minority groups and subgroups including Native American students, students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students and English-learning students. 

For Lincoln, the data narrative for “areas of improvement” says the cohort graduation rate at LHS is below the district and state average. LHS cohort graduation rate is 82%, while the district is at 85% and the state is 84%. Data cited from the SD STARS, shows during the 2019-20 school year, Native American graduation rate was 19% for Lincoln High School. For African American students, graduation rate was 55%, economically disadvantaged graduation was 65% and students with disabilities rate was 67%. 

According to the state education department, SD STARS stands for “The Student Teacher Accountability Reporting System.”

SD STARS is considered “a statewide longitudinal data system that pulls already available data from different sources, dumps data into a centralized system, and links data together. The power of the system comes from its ability to link student data at multiple levels (classroom, school, district) and over multiple years.”

KELOLAND News reached out to the Department of Education for more information about the SD STARS program, asking when the program started and how it works.

SD Department of Education Deputy Secretary Mary Stadick Smith said the data system is provided by the state free of charge to school districts. She said it has been around since 2013 and pulls data already available to the DOE.  

Stadick Smith said the LHS graduation rate and subgroup rates is a good example of what the SD-STARS program was made to do. 

“Educators using high quality data to aid them in informing instruction and decision-making,” she said in an email to KELOLAND News.

In response to the lower graduation rates, leaders with LHS want to “increase the number of students that are on pace for successful graduation by the end of their sophomore year,” develop more “Professional Learning Communities for target subgroups” and “increase the number of freshmen students involved in activities.” 

During a working session last week, the SFSD said 178 high school students, 11 middle school students and six elementary students were dropped from enrollment during the 2020-2021 school year. Finding solutions for school attendance impacts will be a point of emphasis in following state law 13-27-1. That law determines “responsibility of person controlling child for school attendance” and shall cause the child to regularly attend some public or nonpublic school.

You can review the middle school improvement plans below. 

You can review the elementary school improvement plans below. 

The full reports will be presented at Monday’s school board meeting. The meeting will be livestreamed and available immediately after for replay on the SFSD YouTube channel.

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