#ThankATeacher: South Dakota Schools celebrate teacher appreciation week

KELOLAND.com Original
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– Teachers have faced challenges throughout the pandemic school year and this week, South Dakota will be celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week.

Signs outside of O’Gorman High School

Governor Kristi Noem proclaimed May 3-7 as Teacher Appreciation Week throughout the state. The state Department of Education wants people to use #ThankATeacher on social media to share messages of thanks for teachers impacting students across the state and country.


St. Michael Elementary School

Parents and students at St. Michael Elementary School in Sioux Falls are rolling out the red carpet to celebrate their teachers this week.

Julie Dalsin, parent and member of the student family organization, says this Hollywood-themed celebration includes decorations in the hallways, gift basket drawings and catered meals for the teachers.

This is something that they do every year, parent Bridget Baumiller says.

“It’s just something we can do as parents just to say thank you for everything that they do,” Baumiller said.

They have a great staff, Dalsin says, and the school is a community-based school.

“I think everybody feels like family when they’re here,” Dalsin said.


O’Gorman High School

Every year, O’Gorman High School tries to make teacher appreciation week a fun week where they can show their appreciation to the teachers, Joan Mahoney, principal at O’Gorman said. But they wanted to especially celebrate after the past year of challenges teachers have faced while in the classroom.

They do multiple things for their teachers during this week, Mahoney says. Monday morning, they served bagels and coffee for the teachers. They have different treats everyday with meals provided Tuesday and Friday, and they also give each teacher a gift card. The school has also decorated with signs in the parking lot.

“I really truly believe that teachers are the most under-appreciated profession, you know, there is, or one of the most,” Mahoney said. “But this year, we’ve asked them to do so much. I mean, they have had to teach students sitting in front of them while recording themselves to share with students who are distant learners, trying to keep track of the students who are in quarantine, insolation, cleaning their desks between every period of the day, wearing masks all day, just something that I really wondered if we could be successful at and we have had a full, in-person successful learning because of our teachers.”

Last year, they celebrated by doing drive-by visits to their teachers.


Rapid City School District

Schools across Rapid City are also celebrating.


Katy Urban, Public Information Manager for the Rapid City School District, says they are doing social media promotions to engage the community and get them to thank their teachers.


They are also delivering cookies to all the buildings and PTAs are doing a lot to show the teachers and staff that they are appreciated, Urban said.

The superintendent shared a video for the staff, recognizing their hard work.


The South Dakota Department of Education announced the South Dakota Regional Teachers of the Year as part of Teacher Appreciation Week:

  • Region 1: Stephanie Ballard, special education- math, George S. Mickelson Middle School (Brookings)
  • Region 2: Kristi Desaulniers, fourth grade, Legacy Elementary (Tea)
  • Region 3: Barbara Nicholas, elementary music, Buchanan K-1 Center (Huron)
  • Region 4: Jenna Peters, 6-12 English language arts, Britton-Hecla School District
  • Region 5: Koreen Hammel, fourth and fifth grade multi-grade classroom, Hot Springs Elementary

The 2022 South Dakota Teacher of the Year will be announced this fall and serve as South Dakota’s candidate for the National Teacher of the Year Award.

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