Summertime has become the equalizer for students who lag behind their peers in the classroom. Sioux Falls Schools are committed to getting those pupils up to acceptable levels.

Superintendent Dr. Brian Maher indicates that no matter what lies in a person’s past, there is a critical stage when the proper standards should be met.

“I’m using third grade as a marker. If kids can’t read on grade level by third grade, it brings immense issues for them during the rest of their school career and the rest of their lives. The opportunity to graduate from high school is diminished significantly if kids can’t read on grade level by third grade.”

Sioux Falls Schools offers the Summer Climb program, which is in its second year. Maher says it mainly supports the really young students who need to improve their skills.

“We offer nine weeks of full-day preschool for kids in three of our Title buildings to try to address these issues. We’re looking at if we are having any impact. We’re trying to make sure that those kids can read on grade level and achieve mathematically on grade level by the time they are done with third grade.”

Essentially Maher and his staff are committed to trying every avenue possible to meet the third grade target.

Moreover, faculty credentials are the same throughout the district, which leads Maher to believe that teacher competence is the same for every Sioux Falls school.


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