Simplified: Every elementary, middle and high school in the Sioux Falls School District put together reports showing what they're focused on improving in the next year, from reading scores to graduation rates.

Why it matters:

  • These reports – called school improvement plans – are a requirement at both the state and federal level.
  • At the state level, these plans are required for accreditation through the South Dakota Department of Education.
  • They also help the federal government hold schools accountable to serving students (especially those from low-income families) through the Every Student Succeeds Act, the law of the land in governing schools.
  • These plans are also chock full of data, and if you're looking to learn more about how your kid's school is doing when it comes to test scores, attendance, and serving all students regardless of race or socioeconomic status, you can find a ton of information in these plans.

What's an example of something in the school improvement plans?

Sure. Let's look at Lincoln High School.

Their improvement plan identifies the need to improve graduation rates, especially for students who are Native American, Black, economically disadvantaged or disabled.

For context, 91 percent of white students at Lincoln graduated on-time.

  • That's compared to 19 percent of Native American students and 55 percent of Black students.

A common theme in elementary school improvement plans is a desire to show growth in reading and math scores, a trend that tracks in middle school as well.

Where can I find the school improvement plans?

They're all posted on the school district's website.

At each level, all of the schools' improvement plans are listed in one big PDF file, so a word to the wise: Use the CTRL+F function to search for the school you want.

Elementary plans are here. Middle schools here. High schools here. And specialized programs here.