Lawrence County - Education & Training
Lawrence County’s historical commitment to education has had an impact far beyond county borders. In 1883 the territorial legislature established Spearfish Normal School for the purpose of training teachers. The school evolved into Black Hills State University, today South Dakota’s number one producer of teachers. With an enrollment of 4,415, BHSU is a four-year institution that ranks as South Dakota’s third largest university. In addition to preparing teachers in its College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, BHSU offers degrees through its College of Business and Natural Sciences, and College of Liberal Arts.
There are two public school systems in Lawrence County: Spearfish School District and Lead-Deadwood School District. Spearfish serves about 2,000 students at four attendance centers within city limits. In 2011 Spearfish’s public schools all met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards as measured by Dakota STEP Testing.
The towns of Lead and Deadwood consolidated separate public school systems in 1971. Today there is one attendance center in Deadwood and two in Lead. About 775 students K-12 are enrolled. Lead-Deadwood School District also administers a high school at Box Elder Job Corps near the town of Nemo. The Lawrence County community of Whitewood has an elementary school with about 125 students but it is actually part of neighboring Meade County’s public school system. All Lead-Deadwood and Whitewood attendance centers measured up to AYP standards in 2011 except for the Job Corps high school, found in need of improvement in math.
Black Hills Special Services Cooperative, a consortium of 12 Black Hills school districts, operates two secondary alternative schools at Spearfish. Lawrence County is home to small, private academies for students of all ages, and the state’s department of education supports home schooling.
SpearfishSchool District and Lead-Deadwood School District offer preschool programs, and the county is home to private preschools. Black Hills Special Services Cooperative coordinates state-funded Birth-To-Three Connections, an early intervention program for infants and toddlers with possible development delays.
Black Hills Special Services Cooperative coordinates community education classes in Lead-Deadwood and Spearfish.
Northern Hills Training Center
Since 1976 Northern Hills Training Center in Spearfish has provided vocational and residential education for adults with developmental disabilities. Currently about 130 men and women are served.