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Tea Area School District awarded $225,000 grant

The Tea Area School District was awarded a $225,000 South Dakota Workforce Education grant through the South Dakota Department of Education.

In 2013, the South Dakota Legislature established the Workforce Education Fund. The purpose of the grant program is to provide the opportunity to make transformative change in career and technical education programs.

“I commend the recipients of these grants for thinking big as they seek to grow their career and technical education programs,” said Laura Scheibe, the South Dakota Department of Education’s director of career and technical education. “CTE programs help students effectively connect their K-12 education to real-world career opportunities.”

The grant will go toward the construction of a new facility to house architecture and construction, manufacturing, and transportation, distribution and logistics programs.

Tea Area High School assistant principal David Preheim helped write the grant with other district staff and Southeast Technical Institute’s Benjamin Valdez and DeGeest Steels Works’ Derek DeGeest.

Preheim noted that the district had been successful at receiving CTE grants in the past from the Department of Education. They thought applying for the grant this year could help students in the district.

“We knew this was an area that we needed to expand in our high school course offering. We were limited because of our building situation on what courses we could offer, what experiences we could offer the kids,” he said.

Currently, students in the architecture, construction and transportation classes have to leave the high school and travel down to First Street and then return to the high school when their class period is over. Constructing a new building at the high school will help students learn more in the classroom.

“Our goal was to get them brought on campus and also expand those programs,” Preheim said. “We were limited on the instruction time because we have to drive them back and forth off campus, but also we were limited in how many students could take it.”

Superintendent Jennifer Lowery and Preheim toured what the Yankton School District has set up with their welding and residential construction courses. They thought if they were successful in receiving the grant that they could expand their program.

With a new building on the high school grounds, the district plans to offer more courses, like manufacturing and welding. DeGeest has been helpful in recommending the electrical needs and equipment needed to be able to offer those classes.

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