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SD Department of Education
Sept. 2021  
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SECRETARY’S COLUMN:
Three schools add JAG-SD programs


Lyman High School, Oelrichs High School, and Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls have joined the #JAGFam! Jobs for America’s Graduates-South Dakota (JAG-SD) is a powerful program that supports students in persisting to graduation.

JAG-SD has a proven track record of improving graduation rates, academic performance, attendance, job placement, and pursuit of further education and training.

What makes JAG a family? Beth Schneider, our state director of JAG-SD, recently spoke with Lori Walsh on South Dakota Public Broadcasting, and she described the JAG classroom as the kitchen table. It’s a place where students who face unique hurdles can come together, openly share their struggles, and get strong support in overcoming those challenges.

And that support doesn’t stop at graduation. Did you know that JAG specialists stay in contact with JAG students for 12 months after their senior year? That vital connection helps ensure students follow through on postsecondary plans and employment obligations.

A total of nine South Dakota schools are now implementing JAG. Andes Central Middle and High School, Bennett County High School, Todd County High School, and Wagner Middle and High School also have JAG-SD programs.

Wagner Community School and Andes Central piloted the program in 2009-10. Alexander (Zane) Zephier, a Wagner graduate of the program, now serves on the newly formed JAG-SD Advisory Board.

I hope more schools consider adding JAG programs. Over the years, JAG-SD students have attended national student leadership competitions, earned national scholarships, and every year, students complete impactful projects in their local communities.

Last year, Todd County JAG students painted American flags on wood pallets and delivered them to area veterans. Andes Central students delivered Valentine’s goodie bags to residents at the Lake Andes Health Care Center and helped Feeding South Dakota with food distribution. These projects only scratch the surface of JAG student accomplishments.

When you empower students and connect them to their community and leadership opportunities, the possibilities are endless.

I encourage you to visit our JAG-SD webpage to learn more and reach out to Beth Schneider with any questions you may have.

 
     
 

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