JOBS for AMERICA'S GRADUATES

JAG-South Dakota

Wagner Community School

While Jobs for America’s Graduates has a strong presence in 33 states, every state and its students could benefit from a JAG program. Since its inception, one continual mission has been to grow the JAG organization and to offer services in states that do not currently offer a program. In 2009 South Dakota was one such state.

At the onset of the 2009-2010 school year JAG-South Dakota was piloted at Wagner Community School and Andes Central High School. For the first two years of the program the district superintendent from Wagner served as the CSA (director) of the program. There are now three JAG-South Dakota programs overseen by the South Dakota office of Indian Education which resides under the South Dakota Department of Education operating in the state. All three of the programs are active in districts which are located within American Indian Reservations. The Todd County High School program is located in the 2nd poorest county in the U.S. At Wagner Community School, JAG-South Dakota delivers the Multi-Year Program Application and two Middle School programs. The Jobs Specialists at Andes Central High School serve a portion of the 7th and 8th grade population as well as the high school population.

Programs under the Jobs for America’s Graduates umbrella are reviewed to ensure the programs are meeting outcomes and adhering to the JAG model. The JAG-South Dakota program had a mid-year review in March of 2012 and several outstanding performance and outcomes were noted by reviewers, including:

  1. The three school districts show total support for JAG-South Dakota and are funding the programs using school district funds. Administrators stated: “We see a difference in the attitude of the JAG participants; there is a sense of hope for the future that wasn’t there before”.
  2. All three school districts have extremely active Advisory Committees that are engaged in student selection and have regularly scheduled meetings including the District Superintendents.
  3. Both the Middle School and Multi-Year applications have a high rate of students returning to the JAG-South Dakota program at Wagner.
  4. The administration at both Wagner and Andes Central have attended the JAG National Training Seminar. Specialists at Wagner have also attended National Training Seminar. The Specialist at Andes Central, in her first year, will attend the 2012 NTS. The Specialist at Todd County will be on maternity leave this summer, and another staff member who has attended JAG training will replace the Specialist during that time. 
  5. Four JAG Multi-Year program students from Wagner High School recently spoke at the National Indian Impacted Schools Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas and shared how the JAG program has helped them in being prepared for the future.

 

Currently the South Dakota Department of Education wishes to expand the number of JAG model programs in South Dakota and is searching for sources of funding to make this a reality. The outcomes mentioned above are incredibly encouraging for a fledgling program. JAG-South Dakota has had a very strong first few years and it’s exciting to have an additional state join the JAG National organization.