November 2019

Rod Weber, superintendent of schools in Woonsocket, said small, rural schools face some unique challenges in hiring and funding, though Weber believes Woonsocket schools do a good job of creating an effective learning environment. Photo courtesy: Bart Pfankuch, South Dakota News Watch

Small, rural school systems in South Dakota and across the country face sometimes daunting challenges in providing a strong education to students.

Limited funding, difficulty in hiring and retaining good teachers, remoteness and transportation challenges, high poverty rates among students and reduced access to college-preparatory courses can all hamper learning in small, isolated school districts.

South Dakota is one of the most rural states in the nation when it comes to public education, with the vast majority of school districts located in rural areas and with 40 percent of students statewide attending rural schools.

Rural educators often tout the generally lower student-teacher ratios and close relationships formed between students and staffs, and scores on standardized tests show that students in some rural South Dakota districts match and occasionally outperform their urban peers.

But a new national study of small, rural school systems ranked South Dakota as fifth-highest in the nation in terms of challenges faced and need for improvement.

The study by the Rural School and Community Trust, titled “Why Rural Matters 2018-19,” used census information and data from the U.S. Department of Education and other sources in an attempt to shine a light on the need for states to focus more attention on and provide greater funding to rural schools.

“We do this study because rural schools and communities really matter to our nation, and they’re often forgotten,” said Alan Richard, a spokesman for the Rural School and Community Trust. “The financial and logistical challenges that rural schools face are really immense.”

The study found that nationally, nearly one in six rural students lives in poverty, that one in seven qualifies for special education and that one in nine rural students has moved in the past year. All of those factors put rural students at risk of falling behind or not graduating.

A high student-mobility rate is one of the factors hampering rural education in South Dakota, the study found. Researchers also said South Dakota is one of only seven states that decreased funding for rural schools in recent years, and that the state has a high rate of students living in poverty.

…Read on in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

Local veterans, Harry and Delbert Northrup, greet and accept the personal thanks from each of the Sanborn Central School students and their teachers at the Veterans Day program on Monday morning.

On Monday, Nov. 11, Sanborn Central and Woonsocket Schools held Veterans Day programs to honor all veterans in our county and around the country. Sanborn Central presented their program in the morning and started with a welcome from Supt. Justin Siemsen and then a beautiful performance of the Star Spangled Banner by Dayton Easton. Samantha Dean then gave an explanation of how Veterans Day was created, and she played a couple of meaningful videos to explain what Veterans Day means and should mean to people all over the country.

The Woonsocket School’s program took place in the afternoon and started with the color guard from the American Legion Post 29 from Woonsocket posting the flags and the entire audience saying the Pledge of Allegiance. The media class followed with an introductory video they put together with people of different ages explaining what Veterans Day means to them. Supt. Rod Weber then gave a welcome and had all veterans in attendance come forward to the gym floor and introduce themselves and tell a little bit about their service, such as in what branch and how long they served and when they served. 

…Read more and see more pictures of the programs in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

The Town ‘N Kountry Kids Blue Group met on Sunday, Nov. 3, at 4 p.m. at the Letcher Community Center. The meeting was called to order by President Ellie Evans. The pledges were led by Sophie Kelly and Teagen Moody. The roll call question was “What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?” The secretary’s report was read by Payton and was approved as read. Bryce gave the treasurer’s report. The club donated $1,000 to the shooting sports program.  Teagen made a motion to approve the treasurer’s report. Payton seconded the motion. 

Committee Reports:

Bryce gave a report on National 4-H Week; he handed out suckers to students at Sanborn Central. Teagen gave a report on the Trunk or Treat; there was a good turn out with 20 trunks. Delaney sent Halloween letters to our club grandparents. 

Old Business:

Online registration is open for the current 4-H year, if you have any questions let one of the leaders know. The yearly schedule was handed out at the last meeting, if you did not receive one let Janet know. 

New Business:

Club goals are as follows: have 95 percent of the club hand in a completed record book, have five projects to show at Achievement Days, and have each member to attend six meetings or more per year. A motion was made by Teagen to approve the new club goals. Cole seconded the motion. 

Upcoming Events:

Fire safety supper is after the meeting tonight with local firemen and EMTs coming to enjoy a meal provided by the club. 

American Education Week is Nov. 18-22. The committee members are Michael Hoffman, Tori Hoffman, and Cole and Kelly Wilson.

Recognition event is scheduled for Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. Each family is asked to provide two dozen homemade treats/cookies for sponsor plates. For the event, members are also asked to bring a snack to pass.

Delaney and Ellie will be on the committee to decorate the Community Center Christmas tree. Hudson and Ramsey Fouberg and Sury and Shay Bechen are on the committee to decorate the Courthouse tree. Some items may need to be purchased to decorate the trees.

A motion was made by Cole to purchase meals for families in need for a Thanksgiving meal, and Hudson seconded the motion.Teagen and Memphis Moody, Brady, Bryce and Brooklyn Larson, and Miley and Kaylee Adams are on the committee to organize the Thanksgiving meals. 

Christmas Party committee members are Cole and Kelly Wilson, Payton and McKenzie Uecker, and Mason Moody. 

New Officers are President – Brady Larson, Vice President – Delaney Zoss, Treasurer – Payton Uecker, Secretary – Hudson Fouberg, Photographer – McKenzie Uecker, Safety – Sophie Kelly, Health – Bryce Larson, Recreation – Ellie Evans. 

Camp talks were given by Cole Wilson, Miley Adams, Tori Hoffman, Shay Bechen, and Cannon Zoss. 

Tori Hoffman gave a demonstration on “How to make rubber band bracelets.”

Next Meeting: Dec. 8, 4 p.m. at the Letcher Community Center for the club Christmas party. 

…See a photo in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!