Spearfish - Education & Training
Rebecca Pettigrew first taught 14 Spearfish students in 1877, in a cabin donated by a citizen. In 1880 Spearfish’s first school building was constructed. Today Spearfish School District serves about 2,000 students, preschool through high school, at four attendance centers and an alternative high school operated by Black Hills Special Services Cooperative.
The district works with an annual budget of about $11 million. Five school board members are elected for three year terms, and school board meetings are scheduled the second Tuesday of each month, 5:30 p.m., at district administration offices, 525 E. Illinois Street. Agendas and minutes can be found online or in the Black Hills Pioneer. The public is invited to attend meetings and many citizens serve on district-wide advisory meetings, or on advisory committees for each attendance center. Working closely with the district is the Spearfish Foundation for Public Education. It invites individuals, businesses, and community organizations to enhance hometown education through gifts of time or resources.
No Child Left Behind - DSTEP Testing
Students in the Spearfish School District take the annual Dakota STEP test to ensure that the district is making adequate yearly progress (AYP) in reading and math. According the State of South Dakota's report card, Spearfish students achieved AYP in all categories in all grades tested in elementary, middle and high schools in the spring of 2011. Spearfish's high school graduation rate was 89.13 percent in 2012, slightly lower than the 90.6 percent rate posted in 2011 and higher than the statewide average of 83.3 percent.
During the 2011-2012 academic year, the Spearfish School District's fall enrollment was 1,955 in grades K-12. With a 0.6 percent dropout rate, the district graduated 133 students. Ninety-one students took the ACT exam. The average composite score was 23.7. To view a statistical profile of funding, student and staff data, see the South Dakota Department of Education's 2011-2012 Profile of Spearfish School District.
Black Hills State University
Black Hills State University is a master's level university that promotes excellence in teaching and learning; supports research, creative and scholarly activities and provides service to the state, region, nation and global community. BHSU provides innovative, high quality undergraduate (associate and baccalaureate) programs in the arts, humanities, education, behavioral sciences, mathematics, social sciences, natural sciences, business and technology as well as selected disciplines of strength at the graduate level. Black Hills State University is the only comprehensive university in western South Dakota.