Rapid City, S.D. (KELO) –Rapid City Area School District is looking to restart the Integrated Lakota Program.

The program was offered in a few locations during the 2021-2022 school, but couldn’t continue during the 2022-23 school year. 

Some Rapid City families were upset when Rapid City’s immersion program didn’t return this past school year.

“My son was able to attend the Lakota Immersion classroom at Canyon Lake when it first started. They were able to learn so much Lakota language, they had so many people come in and help them. And they felt so much more comfortable with their peers, and that was fantastic.” Educator Tyresha Grey Horse said.

The district was struggling to find qualified teachers, so requirements have been altered in hopes of finding successful candidates.

“So the state does allow for a person that has certain course work and has knowledge of the language and culture to qualify for, what’s called an educators permit. It’s an alternative certification to increase the number of folks in our buildings across the state that speak Lakota language and culture.” General Beadle Principle Johanna Sailor said.

While the Lakota Integrated Program is trying to get off the ground next year, schools like General Beadle and others around this area offer electives. Offering students up to 80 minutes a week to participate in.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from the community. People reaching out that are really interested in supporting an immersed program, where students are immersed in the Lakota language and culture.” Sailor said.

General Beadle Elementary hopes to hire a co-teacher for kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade.

More information can be found on the educators permit here.