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Lawrence County - Education & Training


Spearfish School 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.

Children First is an outreach ministry of the Spearfish United Methodist Church for childcare, preschool, and enrichment kindergarten. The facility is located in the United Methodist Community Outreach Center next to the church and provides quality early childhood education for families in the Northern Black Hills.


Lead-Deadwood School District

The towns of Lead and Deadwood consolidated separate public school systems in 1971, as described here. Today there is one attendance center in Deadwood and two in Lead. The district contains Lead-Deadwood High School in Lead, Lead-Deadwood Middle School in Lead, and Lead-Deadwood Elementary in Deadwood. 

In 2016, High School graduation increase to 76.68 percent, a 6.5 percent increase from 2015, according to the State of South Dakota’s 2015-2016 report card.

During the 2015-2016 academic year, the Lead-Deadwood School District's fall enrollment was 810 in grades K-12. According to the South Dakota Department of Education, 99 students graduated from the Lead-Deadwood School District in 2016. Forty  students took the ACT exam. The average composite score was 21.3.  To view a statistical profile of funding, student and staff data, see the South Dakota Department of Education's 2015-2016 Profile of the Lead-Deadwood School District.  

Spearfish School District

Spearfish serves about 2,200 students at five attendance centers within city limits, Spearfish High School, Spearfish Middle School, Creekside Elementary, West Elementary, and Mountain View Elementary. Read more about the Spearfish Schools in the District’s strategic plan.

The city of Spearfish holds the largest enrollment for the county. During the 2015-2016 academic year, the Spearfish School District's fall enrollment was 2,238 in grades K-12. With a 0.3 percent dropout rate, the district graduated 152 students. A hundred and three students took the ACT exam. The average composite score was 22.9. To view a statistical profile of funding, student and staff data, see the South Dakota Department of Education's 2015-2016 Profile of Spearfish School District.

In the 2015-2016 South Dakota Department of Education report card, the high school graduation rate was 98.06 percent, a 6.06 percent increase from 2015.

Higher Education

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 4,464, 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.

Other Educational Opportunities

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. 

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. Private academies include: Black Hills Christian Academy and Spearfish Classical Christian Academy.

The Lead-Deadwood school district also includes students at Box Elder Job Corps, an educational and technical career training program for students ages 16 to 24. Job Corps has been a part of the district since 2002.

Lifelong Learning

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.

More Information

News articles related to Lawrence County schools’ budget, monthly school board meetings, school activities and other school-related issues can be found at the Black Hills Pioneer, the Lead-Deadwood School District’s website, or the Spearfish School District’s website.

Spearfish School District Strategic Plan

Lead-Deadwood School District Strategic Plan (included as a pdf attachment at the bottom of this page)

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