Happy Wednesday! Megan here.
First things first, this issue is brought to you by Uprise Pelvic Health Physical Therapy.
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Weather check: You've got to be #@$&!* kidding me.
Status update: We're going back to two issues per week this week! So stay tuned for more stories and our event guide hitting your inbox on Friday.
This week, I'll tell you about how the Sioux Falls School District is using data visualization to track student progress. You'll also see the major takeaways from the 2022 crime statistics in town and get the latest on how the city wants to help unhoused folks.
And now, news:
How Sioux Falls schools are using data to more efficiently help kids
Simplified: The Sioux Falls School District has a new system for tracking and visualizing student data. The goal is to be more efficient and effective in helping kids succeed, administrators say.
Why it matters
- Schools collect all sorts of data on students, from attendance to behavioral incidents to test scores. Much of this data is required to be reported by the state or federal government, but it's also used to track student progress.
- While the data collection itself isn't new, historically, it hasn't been all in one spot. Attendance may be tracked in one program, reading scores in another, and so on.
- The new system allows schools to quickly pull reports on everything from individual students to district-wide trends. Doug Morrison, the district's director of research and innovation, described it as a "data warehouse."
"(Teachers) can try to – from data – piece a story together about what's happening with a child and decide from there what's needed to make a student more successful," Morrison said.
Tell me more about the new system
Who's it for? And what happens next?
Crime isn't really increasing, but collaboration in justice system is
Simplified: The latest crime statistics from the Sioux Falls Police Department show little change in the amount of both violent and property crime happening per capita in the city. What is changing, though, is how the city, state and legal systems are working together.
Why it matters
- The amount of crime isn't keeping pace with population growth. That is to say: yes, crime is increasing slightly year-over-year, but with as many folks coming to town as there have been, one would expect it to be going up a lot more.
- After concerns last year about an increasing number of repeat offenders, officials got together to propose a "truth in sentencing" bill to set stricter limits on parole. (That bill – Senate Bill 146 – now awaits Gov. Kristi Noem's signature.)
- That bill came from a recently formed group of Minnehaha and Pennington County officials called "Safe South Dakota." It's made up of mayors, sheriffs, state's attorneys, representatives from the governor's office and the unified judicial system, and others, Mayor Paul TenHaken said Tuesday.
"I believe this is the first time the state of South Dakota has had something with this level of collaboration," TenHaken said.
Tell me more about the 'truth in sentencing' bill
And is that kind of it? What happens next?
Super Simplified Stories
- To be, or not to be? The city is taking another run at asking the City Council to approve funding for an Arts Coordinator position. Councilors rejected the position during budget hearings last fall, but after some research and a broader scope, the planning department told councilors Tuesday about updated plans for the position. Next step? It'll be back to the council to decide if they want to fund it.
- New thing: Harrisburg's now got a website dedicated toward economic development. Take a look here.
This program would take a proactive approach to addressing homelessness
Simplified: The city is looking to hire a street outreach team to actively engage with unhoused people in the community and help connect them with services.
Why it matters
- At one point last year there were more than 400 people who were considered homeless, per city analysis.
- The idea for a street outreach team came from a recent homelessness task force spurred by Councilor Rich Merkouris to reduce the number of unhoused people in the city.
- If it gets a green light from the City Council, the two-year pilot for the outreach team would be housed in the city health department. It'd be made up of professionals with specific experience in working with Native American culture – a disproportionate number of unhoused people in town are Native American, – and experience working with mental health and addiction challenges.
"It's about meeting people where they are," said Jenna Harris, policy advisor for Mayor Paul TenHaken.
What happens next?
THIS AND THAT
What I'm falling for this week:
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