HURON — Representatives of both of Huron’s parochial schools, the public school system and the city’s post secondary education system were all on hand at Thursday’s State of the Schools luncheon, hosted by the Huron Chamber and Visitor Bureau’s Governmental Affairs Committee and the Huron Kiwanis Club.
Beadle County Commissioner and Governmental Affairs Committee vice chair Tom Hansen emceed the event and introduced Casey Frandsen, the new Development Director at James Valley Christian School.
Frandsen, who said he began working at JVC in August, said he and his wife are still in the process of moving themselves and their children to Huron and is grateful to be able to come to a school like JVC and a community such as Huron that has been supportive of them as they transition to a new home.
Dr. Kraig Steinhoff, the Superintendent of Schools for the Huron School District spoke next, sharing that in his family’s recent move, a fourth-grade paper he had written surfaced, in which he said what he wanted to be when he grew up was a “superintendent of a school with thousands of students.”
Steinhoff expressed his thanks for the community support of the district and highlighted the school district’s continuing upward trend in enrollment. “Our school buildings are adequate to accommodate the growth in our student population for the coming years,” he said. He showed a glimpse of where the school district is now and a view looking forward and touched on the school’s Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds and its use for the past two funding periods and plans for the third round of funding.
Finally, Steinhoff shared part of the planning for the future and the district’s idea to create a “portrait of a graduate,’ which would add to simply having the necessary credits for a diploma.
“We aim for students who have an academic mindset, and be involved in the community. We want to have critical thinkers, with a high standard for literacy and responsibility as well,”
Michelle Schoenfelder, the Principal at Holy Trinity Catholic School, said that the school is in the midst of its 93rd year of offering a Christian education for its students. “And I have to share that I have been here for 32 of those years,” she said, “as a student, a teacher and, for the past 17 years as the school’s principal.”
Schoenfelder noted that like all schools, Holy Trinity has faced challenges over the past two years and shared that the renewal of the “School Buddy” program - where fifth graders are paired with Kindergarten students, fourth with first and second with third - "has been a happy occurrence this year.”
“I feel that our challenges are what really bring us together in our mission to educate our students,” she added.
Doug Pietz, the executive director for the Huron Community Campus introduced personnel from both Southeast Technical School and Northern State University, the higher ed institutions that provide instruction at the HCC.
Southeast Tech provides support for the campus’ nursing program and will add greater distance learning capabilities in the coming year, Pietz said, “which is really exciting.”
NSU offers instruction in the general education requirements in English, the Humanities and Sciences and is currently providing schooling for teachers from 11 different school districts who are pursuing graduate degrees at HCC.