RCAS kicks off 2017-2018 school year with district opener

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

The new school session is almost here for Rapid City students. Friday, 1,7000 members of the Rapid City Area School District staff gathered for the second annual district opener at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

The opener allowed staff the opportunity to discuss what these changes mean for both themselves and students. All of the staff members wore matching T-shirts with a new logo on it, representing the future of education in the district.

"It was important to bring all of our staff together this year so we can get grounded and have a shared understanding of the work that we are all about to embark upon,” said Dr. Lori Simon, Superintendent RCAS.  

The two-hour discussion covered all the goals Simon is setting this year to improve education, district wide, through engaging videos and discussion. Included in the discussion was the district’s new strategic plan.

"We have five new goal areas,” explained Simon. “Reading by third grade, 21st century learning, teaching and leading, college and career readiness. And then at the foundation of all of that, really strong partnerships across our community."

Specifically, the focus is on the district embracing 21st century learning and incorporating technology-which is something already so familiar to students-and using it as another tool to educate.

"Along with that, how do we encourage and support our teachers to think outside the box to try new innovative things with their students? I know we are going to see some great things happen this year,” said Simon.

RCAS educators are looking forward to these new changes, including Digital Educator, Barry Longden.

"It couldn't have come sooner,” said Longden. “To be completely honest, I have been looking forward to a lot of the changes we are making right now for a long time, and I am really happy to see it coming forward.”

Simon said district openers are a great way to get everyone on the same page, because in order to make these new plans successful, it’s going to be an all-out, district-wide effort.

Stevens and Central High School drumline and cheerleaders topped off the session with a performance, and led the staff across the street to Central High School for a barbecue.

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