Graduation rates for Native American students rising in Rapid City

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Rapid City Area Schools have seen an increase in the graduation rate for Native American students.

The district says the Native American graduation rate has increased by more than 15-percent over last year and by more than 11-percent since 2016.

This year, the RCAS had 118 Native American seniors graduate from high school compared to 102 in 2019.

The overall graduation rate for Native Americans in RCAS was 94-percent this past school year.

The district’s Director of Diversity, Equity & Outreach, Whitnee Pearce, attributes the increase to culturally responsive teaching.

“We want our students, especially to our Native students, to be able to step into classrooms where they feel safe,” Whitnee Pearce said. “Where they feel included. Where they see themselves and see their history and their culture in textbooks and in lessons and things of that nature.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school district canceled this year’s feathering ceremony which honors Native American graduates with plumes and eagle feathers.

Instead, the graduates will meet at Rapid City Central High School on Friday, May 29 at 6 p.m. for a parade through nearby streets with a police escort.


Categories: Local News, South Dakota News