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USD Teacher Pathway Program

Established in 2017, Teacher Pathway is a unique partnership between the Sioux Falls School District (SFSD) and the University of South Dakota. The program addresses systemic barriers in education and promotes diversity in the state’s teacher workforce by facilitating opportunities for students interested in becoming culturally-responsive teachers. 

Enrolling in USD Courses in High School

SFSD students in the program have the option to take two USD education courses – Foundation of American Education (2 credits) and Field Experience (1 credit)– at just $40 per credit during their high school education. These courses are similar to dual credit in that students earn both high school and college credit; however, for this program, students do not have to meet any registration requirements or complete an application process. The credits transfer directly into the USD teacher education program, giving students an early start on their educational journey in the USD School of Education. The courses offer a concurrent experience in which students learn from their teachers in a high school classroom, and the curriculum is designed collaboratively by USD faculty and the classroom teacher.

View this 4-year plan to see an example of how Teacher Pathway credits fit into a student’s college education. 

Learning About Teaching and Higher Education

Topics covered in the Teacher Pathway courses range from culturally responsive teaching practices to the history of K-12 education. Students also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a classroom – an experience that helps many students identify if teaching is the right path for them. 

Additionally, Teacher Pathway students benefit from a close connection to USD; the SFSD and USD facilitate an annual campus visit so that every high school student participating in the program has a chance to see a college campus, learn about the admissions process, hear from current education students, sit in on a class and experience life as a Coyote.

Pursuing a Teaching Degree at USD

Following their high school graduation, students have two options:

  • The Throughway. Students experience life on USD’s campus in Vermillion starting on Day One as they pursue their Bachelor of Science in Education. They will return to Sioux Falls for the fourth year of the program to student teach in the SFSD.
  • The Beltway. Students start their journey by living and working in Sioux Falls while earning their Associate of Arts at the USD Community College for Sioux Falls. After two years, students transition to USD’s main campus in Vermillion to pursue their Bachelor of Science in Education. During their fourth year, they will student teach in the SFSD.

Read the Teacher Pathway handout for more information about the Throughway and the Beltway, and contact with any questions about the program or potential partnerships.