TFA has a partnership with the South Dakota Department of Education for a two year alternative teaching certification. In order to qualify for this certification, and meet the highly qualified teacher requirements, corps members must complete the following:
Upon receiving your two year certification, corps members must also complete the following to remain in compliance with state certification:
Master's degree options are available through the University of South Dakota (USD) and Black Hills State University (BHSU).
Alternative Certification is for two years (your corps commitment), with an option to receive a 5-year certificate upon completion of Teach For America.
The Todd County School District is the largest district in which corps members teach in rural South Dakota, with schools spread across the Rosebud Indian Reservation, home to the Sicangu Lakota or Rosebud Sioux tribe. While some Todd County corps members and alumni opt to live in the country near their outlying schools, most live in affordable teacher housing offered by the district in Mission, the largest city in the county. With approximately 1,200 residents, Mission is less populous than many high schools, which makes it easy for corps members to get to know and engage with the community. Outside of the classroom, corps members enjoy exploring South Dakota's storied Black Hills and Badlands regions, experiencing events and ceremonies on the reservation, and tucking into a grilled cheese and a shake at the infamous Starlight Snack Shop before catching a movie at the drive-in in nearby Winner.
Tribal colleges have a mission of fostering tribal identity, self-determination, and service while providing a rigorous and diverse education to the students of their respective reservations. Teach For America - South Dakota works closely with the Tribal colleges Sinte Gleska University and Oglala Lakota College, which provide the coursework for our teachers to become certified.
Among the first tribally controlled colleges in the United States, Oglala Lakota College is chartered by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and governed by a board of trustees comprised of tribal members. OLC’s degree programs focus on Lakota studies and leadership, as well as education. In 2011, the college was recognized for graduating a high number of students with bachelor’s and master’s degrees by an HCM Strategist report funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Like OLC, Sinte Gleska University offers degrees in Lakota studies and education to the Rosebud Indian Reservation community. In addition, the university’s Great Plains Art Institute offers courses and degree programs in visual art and art education, and sponsors the annual Northern Plains Indian Art Market and its accompanying juried art show. Teach For America - South Dakota is enriched by our partnership with Sinte Gleska University in providing Culturally Responsive Teaching Nights for corps members.