PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed three Native American education bills into law.
“We want all of our young people to achieve,” said Gov. Daugaard. “I’m hopeful these programs will provide more teachers in Indian Country and find the means to better achievement for our students there.”
The bills were the result of the Native American Student Achievement Council established by the Governor in 2015. The group was assembled to identify strategies for improving achievement and graduation rates among South Dakota’s Native American students.
The Native American student achievement measures include:
· SB 9 – An Act to make an appropriation to fund the Native American achievement schools grant program and paraprofessional tuition assistance scholarship program.
· SB 81 – An Act to create the paraprofessional tuition assistance scholarship program.
· SB 82 – An Act to establish the Native American achievement schools grant program.
SB 9 allocates $2.2 million to fund the programs created by SB 81 and SB 82.
The program established by SB 81 will provide tuition assistance for paraprofessionals to become fully-certified teachers. To be eligible for the program, a paraprofessional must be serving at a school with at least 50 percent Native American enrollment and the school must have below average state test scores.
Under SB 82, the Department of Education will award grants to three schools to start pilot programs aimed at improving academic outcomes for Native American students.