School district seeks ways to help students succeed

HURON — Monday’s School Board meeting started with a moment of silence in memory of Huron High School senior Wednesday Paw who died on March 9.

High School Principal Mike Radke presented a Board Goal report at the meeting, outlining an emphasis to “meet the kids where they are” to prepare them for college, tech school or entering the workforce.

“We always have to look for ways to help students meet high expectations to reach high school graduation,” Radke said. “We look for ways to help them over the bar, we’re not lowering the bar. We’re not where we want to be, but we’re not where we were.”

Radke said they have worked with students on programs offering partial enrollment, where they can take only the classes they need to earn a diploma.

He said they plan to work on a partnership with S.D. Virtual School. “We see lots of kids with high anxiety who can’t make it through the school day,” Radke said. “We have an extra room in the counselor’s office where they can go to regroup. Some kids can’t make it through the front door. They can work from home and still earn credits for high school.”

Radke said attendance is tied closely with success in the classroom. “When a student has missed so many classes in ESD schools, they have required tutoring to earn that time back,” he said. “We haven’t taken kids out of individual classes for missing class, but if they have a way to earn that time back, it’s something we will look at next year.

“I would love to see other options,” Radke added. “Hopefully, what comes out of this study is a third option, a workforce development certificate. Not a full program, but they will have completed language, citizenship and personal finance classes. We won’t have a report on that study until the next legislative session.”

In his legislative report, Board member Tim VanBerkum said education is getting a 7 percent increase in state funding.

“Sen. (David) Wheeler’s CTE bill, they put $5 million into that to be dispersed out in grant applications,” VanBerkum said. “All in all, this session has been good for public education. Good news for us this year.”

Supt. Kraig Steinhoff introduced a policy on the organization of the Board of Education that would include student representation.

“Mr. Radke will help us secure a student School Board member to have them start in the fall,” Steinhoff said. “Our hope is we have a student member lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance and also the Good News Reports.”

VanBerkum said in the past they once had three student School Board members, but when the COVID pandemic began the student involvement was ended.

Steinhoff offered congratulations to Isabelle Ellwein, who was named to the All-Conference Team for ESD girls’ basketball, and Reilyn Zavesky, named to the All-Conference Team for boys’ basketball. Both are seniors.

Moses Gross, a sophomore, was named to the All-Conference Team for ESD boys wrestling, and Chalie Sah, eighth-grade, and Htee Htoo and EhLer Klay, both seniors, who were all named to the All-Conference ESD girls’ wrestling.

Terry Rotert was congratulated for receiving the SDHSAA Distinguished Service Award recognizing outstanding service to youth. Rotert and the Arena staff were also praised for the effort to hold the State B Girls’ Basketball Tournament in Huron.

Earning the Classified Employee of the Month was Mark Pomerico, custodian at Huron Middle School.

The Board also:
• Approved 14 new hires and three resignations
• Set March 21 as bid opening date for construction on the track at Tiger Stadium, Arena air conditioning and expanding the tennis courts.