Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month: WoLakota Elder Interviews

Oceti Sakowin [oh-CHEH-tee shaw-KOH-we] means “Seven Council Fires” and refers collectively to the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people. There are seven Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings

Did you know? The WoLakota Project website includes a repository of Oceti Sakowin Elder interviews aligned with the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings. 

OSEU 1 - Lands & Environment: The original land base and natural resources of the Oceti Sakowin were under communal stewardship prior to immigrant settlement. Oceti Sakowin have a distinct and unique interrelationship with the environment that is essential to South Dakota. 

In this video, Lowell Amiotte discusses connections to land and people: 
Find discussion questions related to the video on this WoLakota Project webpage.

OSEU 2 - Identity & ResiliencyThere is variety and resiliency among individuals within the Oceti Sakowin Oyate [oh-YAH-tay] (people) as identity is developed, defined, and redefined by entities, by organization, and by people. A continuum of tribal identity, unique to each individual, ranges from assimilated to traditional lifestyle. There is no “generic American Indian.”

In this video, Stephanie Charging Eagle discusses Lakota identity and virtues: 
Find discussion questions related to the video on this WoLakota Project webpage.

OSEU 3 - Culture & Language: The origin, thought, and philosophy of the Oceti Sakowin continues in the contemporary lifestyles of Tribal members. Tribal cultures, traditions, and languages are incorporated and observed by many Tribal members both on and off the reservations.

In this video, Victor Douville discusses the four values:
Find discussion questions related to the video on this WoLakota Project webpage.

OSEU 4 - Kinship & Harmony: Oceti Sakowin kinship systems provide a framework for both individual and group behavior. Its unwritten rules promote harmony, compromise, a sense of order, and group cohesion.

In this video, Jace DeCory discusses sacredness and children: 
Find discussion questions related to the video on this WoLakota Project webpage.

OSEU 5 - Oral Tradition & Story: History told from the Oceti Sakowin perspective, through oral tradition and written accounts, frequently conflicts with the stories told by mainstream historians. An analysis of multiple perspectives reveals history in a more inclusive and accurate way.

In this video, Joseph Marshall III discusses who gets to tell the story:
Find discussion questions related to the video on this WoLakota Project webpage.

OSEU 6 - Sovereignty & Treaties: Federal policies and treaties put into place throughout American history have affected Oceti Sakowin people adversely. Tribes as sovereign nations have the authority to enter into government to government relationships. Currently, the relationship between each tribe, their state(s), and the federal government is not the same for each tribe.

In this video, Faith Spotted Eagle discusses the input of the grandmothers: 
Find discussion questions related to the video on this WoLakota Project webpage.

OSEU 7 - Way of Life & Development: The essential philosophy of the Oceti Sakowin wicoun [wee-CHO] (way of life) is based on the values of the Oceti Sakowin which have created resiliency of the Oyate (people). Tribal communities have put considerable effort into education and economic development, Tribal universities and colleges, wellness centers, cultural traditions, and language revitalization.

In this video, Sidney Bird discusses compassion, help, and respect:
Find discussion questions related to the video on this WoLakota Project webpage.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month: WoLakota Project

We're celebrating Native American Heritage Month by spotlighting resources available to South Dakota K-12 educators to help them incorporate Native American culture and history into their teaching year-round, across all grade levels and content areas. 

The WoLakota Project is a collaborative effort between Technology and Innovation in Education (TIE) and the South Dakota Department of Education. The goals of the WoLakota Project include ensuring that the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings, written by Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Elders in South Dakota, become a rich and respectful part of the learning experiences of students across the state. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Celebrating Attendance Awareness Month 2021

 Executive Proclamation

Office of the Governor
State of South Dakota

WHEREAS, good attendance is essential to student achievement and graduation, and South Dakota is committed to reducing chronic absenteeism rates; and

WHEREAS, chronic absence - missing 10 percent or more of school or just 2 or 3 days a month - is a proven predictor of academic trouble and dropout rates; and

WHEREAS, the impact of chronic absence affects low-income students who are more likely to face systemic barriers in getting to school – such as unreliable transportation, lack of access to health care, unstable or unaffordable housing; and

WHEREAS, improving attendance and reducing chronic absence takes commitment, collaboration, and approaches tailored to challenges and strengths in each community; and

WHEREAS, chronic absence can be significantly reduced when schools, parents, and communities work together to monitor and promote good attendance and address hurdles that keep children from getting to school:

Now, Therefore, I, Kristi Noem, Governor of the State of South Dakota, do hereby proclaim September 2021, as

Attendance Awareness Month

in South Dakota.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Bennett County student earns Kenneth M. Smith Scholarship

Congratulations to Bennett County High School JAG-SD (Jobs for America's Graduates) senior Thea DuBray on earning a Kenneth M. Smith Scholarship! She is one of only 40 recipients nationwide. Thea plans to attend Black Hills State University to study criminal justice and sociology.
And kudos to Bennett County JAG Specialist Kim Claussen. Thea is Kim's second student to earn this prestigious scholarship since the JAG program started at Bennett County!

JAG-SD is a program supervised by the South Dakota Department of Education and is proven to help students persist through graduation. Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) is a state-based national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting young people of great promise. In its 40-year history, the JAG Advantage has proven to deliver results.

The JAG-SD mission is to help young people of great promise succeed in both school and on the job, leading to productive and rewarding careers.

Learn more about JAG-SD on the Department of Education's JAG-SD webpage.

The Kenneth M. Smith Scholarship Fund and the Smith Scholars Program were established by the JAG Board to recognize the extraordinary leadership and service of the President and Chief Executive Officer of JAG, Inc., Kenneth M. Smith. Since 2009, the Kenneth M. Smith Scholarship Fund has awarded 229 scholarships for a total of $261,000 for participants enrolled in Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG). Contributions to the KMS Scholarship Fund have come from JAG Board members and partnering corporations who invest in the educational development of students in JAG.


Friday, April 30, 2021

Governor Noem proclaims Teacher Appreciation Week May 3-7

Whereas, South Dakotans believe in the importance of education for our students; and

Whereas, South Dakota teachers are our state's greatest assets for ensuring student success; and

Whereas, teachers are at the forefront of the effort to prepare South Dakota students to graduate from the K-12 system ready for college, careers, and life; and

Whereas, highly qualified teachers are trained professionals deserving of the utmost respect for the work they do; and

Whereas, our state is dedicated to supporting new and current teachers as well as recruiting future teachers from among the ranks of today's students by elevating the teaching profession; and

Whereas, South Dakota teachers have eagerly and capably stepped up to meet the unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, 

Now, therefore, I, Kristi Noem, Governor of the State of South Dakota, do hereby proclaim May 3-7, 2021, as

Teacher Appreciation Week

in South Dakota.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Career Exploration: Why it is important


The South Dakota Week of Work will take place April 19-23. This exciting week is an opportunity for 10th and 11th grade students to explore career opportunities across the state, with many activities being held virtually, including live panel discussions with a wide variety of business and industry professionals. Registration information is now available on the 2021 Schedule page of the South Dakota Week of Work website.

Marcia Hultman is the Secretary of Labor and Regulation. Here she shares her thoughts on why career exploration is so important.

Hi, everyone. I’m Marcia Hultman, Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Labor and Regulation. As a former teacher, I’ve long known the importance of helping students make connections between classroom learning and the world of work.

I want to help students like yourselves understand WHY career exploration is so important. What you study in school sets an important stage for effective education and your future success.

While I was teaching English, I watched many students as they explored career options and made important decisions about their future. Their choices were not always for the right reasons or based on the best information.  

Now, as a leader of workforce development efforts, I continually see examples and hear stories underlining the importance of making informed career decisions.  

Employees in well-matched careers who enjoy their work and find personal value in it are generally more productive. Turnover resulting from employees discovering too late a field of work is not for them is difficult for employers who’ve invested time, money, and resources hiring and training them.

For young people and others choosing a career path, the investment in education and training is often costly. While there is always value in education, the return on investment is certainly better the more direct the path is to related employment.  

Our state’s employers need workers in many occupations. They offer great opportunities for youth and others in our great state of South Dakota.  

Resources to learn about these opportunities and make realistic, informed decisions about careers are invaluable. Our Labor Market Information Center has several career resources readily available. I encourage you to check out the Career Exploration and Planning Tools available on our website  

The tools include: 

  • Age-appropriate K-12 materials for downloading or printing, including fun career awareness booklets and activities.  
  • A career interest survey with extensive online resources for learning more about occupations of interest.  
  • Exploration of occupations by career cluster.  

All resources are available at no charge online. I encourage parents to check out what’s available too. 

Making informed career decisions is a win-win for South Dakota employers and individuals. It is vital to your success to make a positive impact on our communities and economy as both workers and citizens. Please learn more about our career planning and exploration tools.  

The South Dakota Week of Work is sponsored by the South Dakota departments of Labor and Regulation and Education, the Governor's Office of Economic Development, the South Dakota Retailers Association, and the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Congratulations to 2021 Perkins Reserve grant recipients

Perkins Reserve grants provide funds to support the purchase of industry-grade classroom equipment or curricula and high-quality professional development opportunities.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a Perkins Reserve grant application this year. The Department of Education reviewed 48 total applications featuring a variety of projects. It’s exciting to see these innovative ideas from our state’s career and technical education programs! 

Congratulations to the following schools on receiving a 2021 Perkins Reserve Grant:


Modernize manufacturing program with the purchase of a plasma cutting table

$   30,000.00


Add industry-grade welding equipment to enhance the manufacturing program

$     3,970.21

Dakota Valley

Add industry-grade welding equipment to increase the student capacity of welding courses and add dual credit courses

$   20,790.28


Enhance the Intro to Sports Medicine and Medical Terminology courses with industry-grade equipment

$     7,989.68


Enhance opportunities in ag metal fabrication with the purchase of a plasma cutting table

$   29,750.00


Enhance opportunities in ag metal fabrication with the purchase of a plasma cutting table

$   28,195.07


Purchase industry-grade ag metal fabrication equipment

$   12,264.92

Hot Springs

Purchase plasma cutting system to enhance curriculum in Ag, Food and Natural Resources and Manufacturing clusters

$   30,000.00


Enhance the Ag, Food and Natural Resources program with drone technology

$     5,156.00

Northeast Technical High School

Purchase industry-grade equipment to enhance the Health Science Biomedical program and allow for increased student participation

$   14,888.00

Northern High Tech Consortium

Purchase an interactive seat to provide a real-life experience with the program’s heavy equipment simulator

$   15,845.00


Implement a middle school MakerSpace Lab to foster career exploration and promote CTE

$   19,021.10


Provide instructor training and course equipment for CASE Animal Science and Plant Science courses that will provide CTE for Core Content opportunities for students

$   22,158.80


Purchase industry-grade ag metal fabrication equipment

$     2,600.00

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Governor proclaims Feb. 1-5 School Counseling Week

Whereas, school counselors are employed in schools to help students reach their full potential; and,

Whereas, school counselors are committed to helping students explore their abilities, strengths, interests, and talents as these traits relate to career awareness and development; and,

Whereas, school counselors partner with parents to further the educational and personal growth of their children; and,

Whereas, school counselors work with teachers and other educators to help students succeed in school and set realistic goals for themselves; and,

Whereas, school counselors identify and utilize community resources that can enhance and complement comprehensive school counseling programs to assist students in becoming productive members of society; and,

Whereas, comprehensive school counseling programs are considered an integral part of the educational process:

Now, Therefore, I, Kristi Noem, Governor of the state of South Dakota, do hereby proclaim

Feb. 1-5, 2021, as

School Counseling Week

in South Dakota.