The South Dakota Department of Education has announced that the state’s seven Education Service Agencies and the Sioux Falls School District are recipients of South Dakota Counts grants. The three-year, $3 million initiative targets math instruction at the elementary level. It addresses one of the primary goals of the Governor’s 2010 Education Initiative, which is to ensure math and reading proficiency by third grade.
“South Dakota Counts is aimed at K-5 teachers, in an effort to deepen their knowledge of math content and instruction. It will help them understand how students learn math and, therefore, make them better teachers,” said Dr. Rick Melmer, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Education.
Education Service Agencies are regionally based education cooperatives. They deliver services to schools within their area. “Working through these agencies and the Sioux Falls School District, we believe we can have a positive impact on math achievement across South Dakota,” Melmer said. An estimated 186 schools are expected to participate in the program.
South Dakota Counts is designed to have a ripple effect on math instruction. One teacher-leader per participating school will go through intensive training. These teacher-leaders will train other teachers in their school buildings. Training begins this summer. The training will focus on the type of knowledge students bring to the learning process and how they connect that knowledge with formal concepts and operations.
South Dakota Counts is made possible by a federal grant through the Mathematics and Science Partnerships program under Title II, Part B.