The B.S.Ed. in elementary education prepares students to become K-8 teachers. USD’s program was the first in the state to incorporate a yearlong residency into the four-year program, uniquely preparing students to lead their own classrooms.

Lightcast data indicates that the demand for teachers in South Dakota is 13% higher than the national average. At the South Dakota Teacher Compensation Review Board Summit, presenters shared that the number of unfilled teaching vacancies in South Dakota was higher during the 2020-2021 school year than the prior four years.

“We often get requests from school principals and superintendents seeking our graduates to meet current mid-year vacancies and anticipated openings for the next school year,” said Amy Schweinle, Ph.D., dean of the USD School of Education. “Having this site at USD – Sioux Falls allows us to continue to address the increasing demand for teachers in the state.”

The USD School of Education is making the bachelor’s degree more accessible for students who want to stay in Sioux Falls or for those who want to advance in their career. Students will receive the same classes offered on USD’s main campus, taught by expert faculty members.

“This program isn’t just good for USD, it’s good for Sioux Falls, and it helps address the local teacher shortage,” said Jay Perry, Ph.D., USD – Sioux Falls vice president. “It gives place-bound students and current paraprofessionals an opportunity to enter the teaching profession without leaving the Sioux Falls area.”

Classes will be primarily face-to-face and will prepare students to motivate, support and guide children in their classrooms. Students get experience in at least three schools and at two or more grade levels, including the full year of teacher residency.

Students in the Teacher Pathway programs will also benefit from the new program site for the B.S.Ed. in elementary education, as they will have access to more face-to-face learning experiences, ultimately making the transition into the USD teacher education program easier.

“The Teacher Pathway program has been widely successful. However, for some students, they haven’t been able to make it to Vermillion’s main campus due to financial limitations, housing needs and other reasons,” said Schweinle. “Now that we offer the B.S.Ed. at USD – Sioux Falls, these students can experience a college campus closer to home.”
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