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2015-12-31 / Headlines

SFIS reports to Education Committee

By Vi Waln
Times correspondent

ROSEBUD—St. Francis Indian School (SFIS) officials recently updated members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Education Committee on their progress during the 2014-2015 academic year.

SFIS is a Title V, Public Law 100-297 Part B, Grant Day School. The school receives the majority of their funding from the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) through the Department of the Interior.

SFIS provides educational services for Kindergarten to 12th grade students. The school also provides pre-K education through a Family and Children Education (FACE) program.

The report also included a timeline from 2011 through 2016 showing the implementation schedule of curriculum/instruction reform activities using Common Core Standards.

During the 2014-15 school year, the elementary school had a total enrollment of 376 students, with an attendance rate of 93%. There were 23 certified teachers, 22 para-educators,

19 support staff, 5 food service staff, 2 custodial, 1 technology, 5 FACE staff and 2 certified counselors available for students.

The middle/high school had a total enrollment of 393. The middle school (7-8) attendance rate was 90%, while the high school (9-12) students attended 80% of the year. There were 18 certified teachers serving students in the 9-12 grades and 4 certified teachers serving the 7-8 grade students. There were 13 support staff and 2 certified counselors available to students. The high school graduation rate for 2014-15 was 48%.

During 2014-2015, SFIS had a budget total of over $10.4 million dollars. The school receives its funding drawdowns through the BIA via FORM 21 Grant Amendments. The programs funded under these amendments are identified through function. These functions include (1) school operations (ISEP), (2) transportation, (3) tribal grant support, (4) IDEA, Part B, (5) facilities operation/ maintenance, (6) Title IA, (7) Title IIA, (8) early childhood (FACE), (9) Johnson O’Malley (JOM), (10) Title VI (Rural Education) and (11) supplements, enhancement/MI&R/ISEP contingency.

In order to provide better educational services to students, the school “had to come up with something besides out-of-school suspension,” reported Richard Bad Milk, SFIS Superintendent. “We now have a behavior modification room where a student can spend up to 20 days.” Students can focus on work and have access to counseling to be allowed back into a regular classroom setting.

“We’ve been above the bureau standards in bringing in technology,” Elementary Principal Dani Walking Eagle stated.

A data retreat was held in August. Tests are now on computers and the students react better to technology. They take tests three times a year. The greatest challenge is changing student’s way of approaching a test. There is no more guessing on a fill in the bubble style test, the students have to write their answers out now. The school also provided training for teachers on how to use an electronic white board.

“High school has to work toward career and college readiness,” stated Assessment Coordinator Barbara Paquin. “Career classes are now in the middle school and are required for students in the ninth grade. A lot of students are interested in technology positions.”

“SFIS was shorted $440,000 of indirect cost money because the funding was prorated,” stated Robert Wood, Business Manager.

In addition, BIE funded schools usually experience a shortfall when it comes to facilities management funds. “Last year was the first time we didn’t have to supplement our operation and maintenance department out of ISEP (Indian School Equalization Program) funding,” Wood informed the committee members.

Two teachers recruited from Manilla were reported to be working well with students.

Other SFIS officials who attended the meeting were Board President Georgia Kills In Water, Board members Darwin Walking Eagle and Skeeter Leader Charge. Also attending was Joe Marino, Federal Contracts Manager.

St. Francis Indian School is operated by Sicangu Oyate Ho, Inc. under a tribal charter granted by the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council. Parents, students and staff are represented by a Board of Directors which holds regular meetings each month. For more information please call Superintendent Bad Milk at (605) 747-2299.

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