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Reduced-cost dual credit program expanded
Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, select dual credit courses will be available to high school students in grades 11-12 at the rate of $40 per credit. This program has been expanded to include 11th and 12th grade students enrolled in any of South Dakota’s non-public, tribal and BIE schools.
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First statewide JAG Student Leadership Conference held in Wagner

JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates) students from Andes Central, Bennett County, Todd County and Wagner Community school districts attended South Dakota’s first statewide Student Leadership Conference April 23 in Wagner. Winners of employability skills, public speaking and poster contests have the opportunity to attend the Student Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C., next fall.

Public Speaking (L to R): Jada Ashes, Wagner; Kaitlyn Hellman, Bennett County; Shakoya Claussen, Bennett County

Jobs for America’s Graduates is a program for students in grades 7-12 who are at risk of dropping out. Students apply to participate. Curriculum focuses on engaging students in their school and community through one-on-one attention, leadership training, development of public speaking and employability skills and more.

In South Dakota, five districts offer the program: Andes Central, Bennett County, Rapid City, Todd County and Wagner Community.

Employability Skills (L to R): James Nelson, Bennett County; Etraya Olson, Wagner; Eric Kiefer, Bennett County

Talk with a JAG student and the impact of the program quickly becomes evident. Resaiah Cournoyer is a freshman at Wagner Community High School. Asked why JAG is important to her, she says, “It’s important because it helps me with my future and to get ready for college and what I want to do after high school.”

Poster (L to R): Sandra Wade, Andes Central; Jocelyn Hellman, Bennett County; Nicole Goetzinger, Bennett County

Kaitlyn Hellman, a freshman at Bennett County High School likes the close-knit nature of the JAG classroom: “I like that you develop personal relationships with everyone in the classroom, so it’s not like you’re strangers. And you’re able to reveal yourself to people that you otherwise wouldn’t have.”

Todd County High School junior Evelyn Kezena says, “It helps keep me on track with my grades and I really like the class in general because I never knew these people, even though I went to my old middle school with them and now we’re really close.”

Annalea Chytka started taking JAG classes as a freshman. She now serves as her school’s JAG President, and has twice competed in public speaking at the Student Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C. This spring, she is graduating from Andes Central High School. She plans to attend college and study social work and Native American studies. In the future, she wants to return to the Yankton Sioux Reservation to work with at-risk youth.