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USD Teacher Pathway Promotes Diversity in Education

Photo of teacher pathway. Students from the Sioux Falls School District visited USD May 14 as part of the Teacher Pathway program.

VERMILLION, S.D. – High school students from the Sioux Falls School District visited the University of South Dakota campus last week to learn from faculty and staff about the importance of diversity in education.

The students are participating in the USD School of Education’s Culturally Responsive Teacher Pathway, a partnership with the Sioux Falls School District that aims to promote teacher diversity and cultural responsiveness in the district.

Through research, School of Education Dean Donald Easton-Brooks, Ph.D., and his colleagues have demonstrated that students of color experience greater academic success when their education includes teachers of color—a finding that suggests a need for more teacher diversity in South Dakota. While over one-third of students in the Sioux Falls School District are students of color, 98 percent of their teachers are white.

USD’s program responds to that disparity by facilitating opportunities for students interested in becoming culturally-responsive teachers.

Students in the program have opportunities to visit USD, take a dual-credit course preparing them to become teachers, receive direct support from USD advisors and earn admittance to the USD School of Education. Students who successfully complete the program will be able to student-teach in Sioux Falls and become teachers in the district.

“The Sioux Falls School District is excited for the start of the Teacher Pathway program as a ‘grow your own’ approach to introducing the rewarding career of education to our students,” said Sioux Falls School District Assistant Superintendent James Nold, Ed.D. “The partnership with USD that allows our students the opportunity to receive dual credit and visit a college campus is all part of a very important process of increasing the overall depth of our teacher applicant pool and attracting teachers of diversity to our school district.”

USD is equally enthusiastic about the partnership. “We are excited to have an opportunity to work with Sioux Falls Schools on such an important initiative, as this has a chance to enhance our community on multiple levels,” said Easton-Brooks.

The visit day on May 14 included tours of the Center for Diversity and Community, the Dakota Dome, and Delzell Education Center. In the upcoming months, the School of Education and the Sioux Falls School District will continue to work with the students as they explore opportunities to create a more diverse and culturally-responsive educational community.


USD's School of Education is transformative in preparing students both inside and outside the classroom. Its research- and practitioner-based programs train future educators, counselors, leaders, fitness and sport-related professionals for successful careers. The school focuses on a comprehensive learning experience, lifelong learning and developing professionals grounded in best practice. The school’s divisions include counseling and psychology, curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, kinesiology and sport management, and teacher residency and education.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News