At their first committee meeting of the session, one group of legislators focused on education got synopsis of the challenges facing South Dakota’s public school districts.
Huron Superintendent Terry Nebelsick shared the “state of our public schools” with members of the House Education committee last week (1/22), touching on students, test scores and teachers in the public school system.
“South Dakota has good public schools,” Nebelsick told committee members. “We have incredible kids that come out of this state from public schools.”
Nebelsick noted compared to a generation ago there are “children who grow up in very, very different situations.”
“It’s a complexity of children that come into our schools,” Nebelsick said. “We also have more broken homes and more broken lives.”
Nebelsick cited his district’s focus on ACE: Adverse Childhood Experiences, which has presented Huron with “a lot of training in social and emotional learning.”
“The number of children that are ACE…continues to increase,” Nebelsick said. “If you break down what schools are doing with the children we’re entrusted with, I think that can cause some confidence.”
The veteran superintendent addressed test scores use in schools stating concern on the data being used “as a means to rank schools, to criticize schools and to put schools on the defensive. Nebelsick added the data needed to be used “in the scope of discussing this test score and how it affects this child.”
Nebelsick concluded by requesting the legislature be part of the discussion that builds up teachers.
“We collectively need to love our teachers,” Nebelsick said. “All yourselves to be part of building up the (teaching) profession.”
“The truly great (teachers), let the m go and let them prosper. So that our schools can be the best that they can be.”
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