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Great Public Schools Criteria for South Dakota

Great Public Schools Criteria refers to the seven elements needed for closing the achievement gaps and raising achievement for all students. The seven elements are: (1) readiness to learn, (2) high expectations, (3) quality conditions, (4) qualified staff, (5) accountability, (6) parental involvement, and (7) funding.

Read more below about the Great Public Schools Criteria in South Dakota.

Readiness to Learn

Full-day Kindergarten:

In a recent report issued by the Child Care and Early Learning Opportunities Task Force, recommendations were made for a "high-quality preschool system." The report further noted that this system must include "minimum standards, requiring inclusion and collaboration with public schools, parents, existing preschools, and child care programs."

In response to that report the Governor of South Dakota recently unveiled his 2010 plan which included a call for publicly funded preschool in the state. The first major piece of the 2010E plan, called Starting Strong, provides for a continuum of services for South Dakota's youngest learners. It lays the foundation for future academic success through initiatives such as access to preschool screening, coordinating preschool opportunities for all four-year-olds, targeted training for teachers, and development of an assessment tool to measure student progress in the primary grades.

One of the highlights of Starting Strong is the coordination of preschool services. The plan calls for a blended approach to preschool, featuring partnerships between local school districts, Head Start and private preschool providers. Any preschool, public or private, that meets accreditation requirements would be eligible to participate in the program.
Starting at 3: Securing Access to Preschool Education (SDDE)

Quality Conditions

Class Size.
Legal Basis: S.D. CODIFIED LAWS § 13-14-8.1. Enacted 1993. The statute offers youth-at-risk funds (grants) as incentives for reducing class sizes in K-3 to 15 or less. The grants are for up to three years.

Current Average Elementary School Class Size: 18.8


South Dakota does not reward or sanction districts. Schools are also neither rewarded nor sanctioned on the basis of performance.

NEA Grant to Close Achievement Gaps

The South Dakota Education Association plans to use its NEA Grant to Close Achievement Gaps by passing the Indian Education Act, which guarantees equal access and educational program opportunities for Indian students. The legislation is modeled after the Montana program. South Dakota Governor Michael Rounds has indicated his support of the proposed bill and has marketed it through his 2010 Education Initiative. The governor's 2010E initiative also includes funding for low income students for pre-school education and mandatory attendance in full-day Kindergarten. Currently, 50 percent of South Dakota Indian children live below the poverty line. This work will be pursued along with the SDEA priority to adequately fund public education statewide.