Education Options Span Lifetime

From preschool to primary and secondary to higher to continuing education

Quality Education is a corner stone of the Spearfish community. Since the settling of the town, citizens have placed high emphasis on education, as witnessed by the founding of the Black Hills Normal School just a few years after the first homesteaders arrived.

K-12 school district sets, meets high standardsDSC_6428

The Spearfish School District serves approximately 2,000 students from the Spearfish community and surrounding area. The district’s mission statement, “Empowering All Students to Succeed in a Changing World” is taken very seriously.

The Spearfish School District provides quality programs for all ranges of academic learners.  The district is a positive, productive institution with a history of high expectations and student success.  Its staff is experienced, talented and dedicated to student achievement.  The school system and community of Spearfish place high value on the education of its youth, and that expectation serves as a catalyst for student success in a rigorous learning environment.

The following is data from the District’s 2011 Annual Report:

  • Enrollment by building
    • West Elementary, K-2                                   501
    • Creekside Elementary, 3-5                         440
    • Middle School, 6-8                                         418
    • High School, 9-12                                           603
    • Student attendance rate                              95%
    • High School advanced placement courses are offered in History, Language and Literature
    • Dual credit courses are offered simultaneously at Spearfish High School and Black Hills State University, with credit received in both institutions.
    • ACT scores
      • Spearfish High School average                    22.8
      • South Dakota average                                     21.8
      • National average                                               21.1
      • SHS graduates
        • 71% pursuing post-secondary studies
        • 27% directly to the workforce
        • 2% entering the military
        • 35% of Spearfish School District’s teaching staff has earned a Master’s degree or higher
        • 100% of the district’s teaching staff is highly qualified
        • Nine bus routes serve 32% of our students and travel over 120,000 miles a year
        • Per pupil expenditures are < 85% of the state average

Alternative education options

Private Christian-based education is available in Spearfish at two separate academies. All grade levels are available. Because of the rural nature of South Dakota, home schooling is also an accepted practice by the state department of education.

University transforms lives

Black Hills State University transforms lives through innovative, high-quality academic programs and a dynamic learning community.

Founded in 1883, BHSU is South Dakota’s third-largest university with nearly 4,500 students enrolled from all 66 counties in South Dakota, 44 states, and 26 other countries.  The University offers 63 bachelor degrees, 5 master degrees, and 4 associate degrees. Courses are also offered online and through other distance learning options.

BHSU’s experiential learning initiative strives to provide all students with experiences and critical thinking skills related to the major, including internships, service learning, undergraduate research, creative projects, international study, and leadership.

BHSU Yellow Jacket athletes have proven they have what it takes to succeed, qualifying for post-season competition and winning numerous national championships. BHSU is transitioning to NCAA Division II to further challenge its student-athletes and offer them a great academic and athletic experience. BHSU is joining the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. In addition to athletic involvement, there are more than 75 campus groups providing students the opportunity to develop leadership and teamwork skills.

Over the last decade, grant funding at BHSU has increased more than 500 percent. Undergraduate research is a top priority, and students work with faculty mentors in hands-on research projects on an on-going basis. The new 26,000-square foot Life Sciences Laboratory provides modern science labs and research facilities for these projects and for the rapidly increasing number of students pursuing science degrees.

BHSU faculty and staff are engaged in numerous projects at the world-class Sanford Underground Research Facility. They also conduct state-of-the-art DNA research, are on the cutting edge of math and science education innovation, and collaborate with business and industry on emerging technology-related business enterprises. The University works closely with local and regional schools, building successful partnerships that benefit area schools and provide valuable experience for BHSU student teachers.

BHSU students, faculty, and staff are actively involved in the community, recording over 10,000 hours of service each year. Area residents also benefit from the multitude of cultural events, lifelong learning opportunities, conferences, camps, and sporting events offered at the University.

Program promotes lifelong learning

Black Hills State University and Community Education of the Black Hills recognize the benefits of engaging in learning opportunities at every stage of life. The program provides classes so all walks of life can afford to be life-long learners. These courses are instructed by members of the community who, in turn, provide a diverse array of topics so that there is something appealing for everyone.  The program is supported solely by student participation, and course offerings are dictated by demand.