South Dakota: Working in Education in South Dakota

This list also contains online schools that accept students from South Dakota
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Educational Management

According to a study by the U.S. Chambers of Commerce and the Center for American Progress, South Dakota does a below-average job managing its schools in a way that encourages innovation. The academic standards of the state are average, 91% of teachers surveyed indicated that their routine duties and paperwork requirements hinder teaching, the report found. The study gave South Dakota a high grade in technology, at least in part because the state has a virtual school and offers computer-based assessments. The study also gave South Dakota a good score on its ability to remove teachers who are poor performers from the classroom. Nonetheless, 73% of principals reported that tenure makes it hard to remove poor-performing teachers.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the estimated mean annual wage for preschool and childcare administrators in South Dakota was $47,470 in May 2008, higher than the nationwide mean of $46,370. For elementary and secondary administrators the state mean was $64,230, compared to the nationwide mean of $86,060.

Teacher's Aides and Other Paraprofessionals

South Dakota has a number of resources on how to become a certified paraprofessional in the state. The estimated mean annual salary for teaching assistants in South Dakota was $22,110 in May 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The nationwide mean was $23,560.

Technology Education and Instruction/Curriculum

In the South Dakota Department of Education, the Office of Assessment & Technology Systems manages the department's electronic and virtual learning efforts and supervises statewide assessments.

Any middle or high school student in South Dakota, including home school students, may take classes through the South Dakota Virtual School, which is a clearinghouse of distance courses offered by providers approved by the South Dakota Department of Education. Classes are taught by qualified professionals and are aligned to the state's content standards. Courses are offered online or through the Digital Dakota Network. The goal of the virtual school is to provide flexibility, quality, and choice for all South Dakota students.

Under South Dakota's Classroom Connections initiative, the state provides school districts with incentive money to initiate one-to-one laptop programs for high school students. The Department of Education will contribute up to 33 percent of the cost of the purchase of the state-approved laptop package for each eligible teacher, student, and administrator. Teachers receive intensive training and technical assistance in laptop use and technology integration.

South Dakota's Stanley County School District Board of Education was named a 2007 Digital School Boards Survey winner for its application of technology to engage the local community and improve the quality of education. The Stanley County Board of Education ranked tenth in the category of districts with fewer than 2,500 students.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the mean annual salary of instructional coordinators in South Dakota was $49,260 in May 2008, which is lower than the nationwide mean of $59,780. Also called educational specialists or instructional material directors, educators in this position develop instructional materials and help teachers develop curriculum and integrate technology into learning.

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