(Chamberlain, S.D.) –St. Joseph’s Indian School’s new and returning staff are currently in “busy bee” mode as the start of a new school year is just around the corner. Since July 19, new staff has been engaged in 80 hours of staff training. By the end of the year, their combined in-person instruction will total more than 1,100 hours. All staff comes together on August 2 for an entire week of preparation. Training ensures qualified staff and consistent delivery of wraparound services to the students who attend the school.
St. Joseph’s Indian School is a member of the American Indian Catholic Schools Network and the Coalition of Residential Excellence (CORE), a national organization committed to ensuring quality care for children and youth in residential communities. Child Services staff complete several trainings approved by CORE, as well as other mission-focused sessions.
The school provides wraparound student services throughout the year. Every student has a Family Service Counselor to coordinate services. Sophomore Juliana LaRoche enjoys having her own counselor on campus and knows she can always call on her. “I feel like St. Joe’s is a safe place to be, and the teachers and counselors help make us feel safe while away from home. I can always go to my counselor if I need anything because I trust her, and she has the resources I need,” said LaRoche.
Among the many opportunities the school offers is Drivers Education. LaRoche took the course this past year. She couldn’t be happier with her results. “Passing my test made me feel independent and that I was able to do things on my own. Now I can say I have my learner’s permit,” said LaRoche.
The school also operates summer programs during June and July. Grade-school students live with houseparents on campus, attend summer school during the day and participate in recreation and short group trips. High School students can also stay, work on campus or in the community or assist with the grade-school summer program.
LaRoche participated in the high school summer program, was able to find work at a local hotel as a housekeeper and dedicated the rest of her time to working with the 6th- through 8th-grade students attending summer school. “I think it really helped prepare the students for high school. They were able to ask us older students questions about high school and feel comfortable doing so. I felt like a mentor to the younger students, which was pretty cool,” said LaRoche.
Grade school students will return to campus on Sunday, August 8, with classes beginning Tuesday, August 10. High school students return to school on August 15.
More than 210 Native American students in first through twelfth grade find hope and opportunity through our educational, counseling, and residential programs. Strengthened by spirituality and culture, St. Joseph’s Indian School transforms lives—mind, body, heart and spirit—every day. Visit us at www.sjiskids.org and www.stjo.org.