Suicide and School Shooting. These are two things the Flandreau School District would like you to know they are doing their best to prevent while also being prepared.
Flandreau School Board President Tom Stenger thank both the counseling staff and School Resource Officer Deputy Gabriel Frias after they briefed the school board on their progress in both areas at the Monday, September 12 meeting.
Deputy Frias shared with the board that he has been able to start up the Empower program again for the 5th and 6th grade classes; the program had stopped during the Covid 19 pandemic. So far, the Empower program has brought in officers representing the different types of law enforcement agencies found within the community. The Officers explained the difference between the agencies, and the work they do within the community. South Dakota Highway Patrol, Moody County Sheriff, Santee Sioux Tribal Police and Flandreau City Police were all able to attend.
Deputy Frias said, “I have received positive feedback from the kids that many of them enjoyed seeing the different.”
Later in the year the students will get to hear from a DCI detective on their job within our community. Deputy Frias also shared with the board the new program he will be starting with the 7th and 8th graders. The program is called “The Truth About Drugs.” It will take and in-depth look at the different street drugs that are seen in Flandreau and the consequences they cause. Students will also get a chance to hear from recovering addicts and the hardships they have gone through due to drugs. All information being shared with the students is also being sent home in case any parent should choose to have conversations with their children about the ongoing issues within our community.
School Superintendent Rick Weber presented the school board with an award they received from the Associated School Board of South Dakota (ASBSD). The board participates in the ALL (Act, Learn, Lead) Program and received a Gold rating for the previous year’s work.
To receive a gold level members of the board must participate ASBSD activities (Act), training opportunities (Learn) and demonstrate leadership (Lead) at the local, state and national levels, points are accumulated, and boards must earn point from each category to receive a point rating. Weber also announce the school had received a $20,000- Stem grant through 3M. 3M reached out to the school about the opportunity and high school principal Kristi Fischer worked to secure the funds. The funds have already been received and can start being spent on science and math activities for students.
Kari Lena-Helling, school counselor, updated the board on the South Dakota of Public Safety’s course on Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG). The training has three levels, Level 1 Schoolwide Prevention, Level 2 At Risk Students and Level 3 Intensive Interventions. The training focuses on providing schools with the knowledge and skills to identify, assess and intervene to prevent suicides and targeted violence. Kristi Fischer, Brian Relf, Justin Kelm, Gabriel Frias, Emma Peters, Kari Lena-Helling and Chelsea Greenfield are the staff members from the school that are participating with the training.
Mrs. Lena-Helling let the board know that the training the state now requires is the program the school already has in place. She congratulated the school district on being so proactive with the training given to teachers to help identify and assist students with mental health crises. She also went on to add that while she was at the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) training over the summer the program the ASCA was promoting to use within schools to help combat school threats is also the same program the district is using. The school is currently working on nailing down the day for the teacher in-service training. That day will be spent doing live active shooting training and a Totem Professional Development training titled, “Why We Do It.” The training will focus on the best practices in student wellness, behavior management, mental health, and special education.
The School Board also approved to go ahead with the purchase of the video boards the Flandreau Booster Club has been raising funds for. The details about the boards and the opportunities they will provide to the school can be seen in a future Moody County Enterprise story.
Lindsie Bell of Moody County Boys and Girls Club presented updates to the board on different activities that are going on with the Club. She was happy to announce a generous donation has been gifted to the Club which should allow for an expansion of the gym. She also updated the board on the “Power Up” program they have in the summer. It is a 5 week teacher-led course that helps students combat summer learning loss. The program sees about 20 participants during the summer. Lindsie asked the board for a $5000 dollar donation for the program to continue in the summer of 2023. The board made the motion for the donation to the program.