SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – Days before school starts, South Dakota school districts are looking for more teachers.
Statewide, there are 120 open teaching positions, up 50 from the same time last year. Part of the reason there are so many additional teaching jobs available is that many more recent college graduates don’t stay in South Dakota.
This week, the South Dakota Board of Regents released data on 2020 graduates in the five teacher education programs in the public university system (Black Hills State, Dakota State, Northern State, South Dakota State, and University of South Dakota) . The BOR report said there was “a slight decrease was recorded in the number of graduates placed in the state one year after graduation, with 2.0% fewer graduates in 2020 placed in the state. report compared to 2019 graduates. However, the first-year placement rate remains consistent with those recorded over the past five years.
For 2020 teacher education graduates, 46.5% of all college system graduates found employment in a South Dakota school district, the lowest number since 2013 and down from 2013. at 48.4% in 2019.
The BOR report states that ten years ago, only about a third of graduates of the university system found work in school districts across the state. The report suggests the trend is “suggestive of an evolving K-12 education labor market in South Dakota.”
In the graph above, you can see the percentage of the highest percentage of the freshman placement rate for a South Dakota school district. Dakota State had the highest rate at 65.7%, Northern State at 58.1%, Black Hills State at 45.9%, USD at 41.7% and the SDSU had the lowest at 38.3%.
Mark Hawkes, professor at DSU and acting dean of the College of Education, said there was a generational shift in teaching openings in South Dakota, which is why so many DSU students have found work within the state.
âOver the summer we get a number of requests from superintendents asking if we have a teacher for this subject at this age level,â said Hawks, who has worked at DSU for 23 years. âWe like to develop partnerships rooted in our state.
Hawks said schools and communities are changing with the way people engage after the COVID-19 pandemic. He said DSU’s program prepares teachers for future classrooms incorporating technology.
âMany of our students are so well received in the workplace that they leave our intuition with an endorsement of technology education,â Hawks said. “These students are ready to take on these roles – remote instructor, classroom instructor, and any variation in between that requires them to engage students with a variety of tools at their disposal.”
According to a US community survey of the teaching workforce in the upper Midwest, South Dakota ranks the lowest of the seven neighboring states for average teacher salary at $ 46,221 per year in 2019. Minnesota is n Â° 1 with an average salary of $ 57,335 and Iowa is second with $ 51,335.
Hawks said the BOR does a good job supporting DSU’s education and awareness programs. He called the state’s teacher salary benefits “competitive” with neighboring states.
“South Dakota, quality of life, opportunities, things that you grew up loving, how hard is that to sell?” Hawks said. âDakota State University has been the oldest teacher training institution in the state, since 1881. We have been fortunate to do it right and do it well. ”
Jay Trenhaile, a South Dakota state professor and director of the College of Education and Humanities, did not indicate that teachers’ salaries were the main reason for the low placement rate in SDSU state .
In an email to KELOLAND News, Trenhaile said that the nature of SDSU’s makeup and its location near Minnesota, the school attracts “more out-of-state students who then return home. them to accept teaching positions “.
He also said that agricultural education is one of SDSU’s biggest programs and that there aren’t many positions available in South Dakota.
KELOLAND’s Don Jorgensen will have an eye on KELOLAND as he looks at teacher salaries in South Dakota on Monday.