Miller High gets high ranking by US News & World Report

Posted June 28, 2013 at 10:48 am

The Miller School Board met June 10.

David Sivertsen talked to the board about using county and city equipment to complete a parking lot, a street north of St. Ann Catholic Church, and the turn-around (cul-de-sac) in front of the new elementary school. The school district would pay for oil and labor. Sivertsen said his “best estimate” for cost would be about $127,986, which is about one-third of the cost to hire an engineering construction firm, and is also a benefit of the school, county and city working together. The board was enthusiastically receptive to the plan.

Elementary principal Tammy Caffee said moving has begun, transferring materials from the present elementary to the new elementary school.

She reported on attending the Wild West Leadership Conference held in Deadwood June 5-7. Much emphasis was on “customized teaching,” she said, and adapting to Common Core standards. Caffee said she anticipates a “blended learning” situation for Miller, combining the idea of “customization” for students, along with traditional school structure.

Junior-senior principal Steve Schumacher also attended the conference and agreed much concentration was on Common Core standards, and how best to implement them in a school setting.

He noted several students are working on “credit recovery” over the summer.

Schumacher told the board he would like to implement a teacher mentoring program, which would be required for first-year teachers. More seasoned teachers would mentor the new teachers, and Schumacher recommended that a stipend be provided for all participants. He will have more information at the next meeting.

A highpoint of Schumacher’s report was that US News & World Report ranks numerous institutions (colleges, grad schools, etc.), including high schools.

High schools are ranked by state as well as nationally.

Of the 169 public high schools in South Dakota, Miller was ranked seventh. The top eight ranked were: Roosevelt High School, Sioux Falls; Stevens High School, Rapid City; Harrisburg; Wall; Brandon Valley; Brookings; Miller; and Ethan. Criteria examined were student/teacher ratio; college readiness; and math and reading proficiency.

Schumacher noted that nationally, Miller was ranked 1,710, out of some 21,000 schools.

The information can be found at, under education rankings for high schools.

Superintendent Mike Ruth noted for “Rustler RahRahs” that several Miller students participated at the state track meet, and especially cited Emma Steers and Jamie Mentzer, who set school records.

Ruth said the elementary school project is nearing completion, and public tours will be given July 5. Because the armory roof was being repaired, a volleyball camp was held at the new elementary gymnasium, the “first athletic event” at the new gym.

School board member Kurt Pfeifle, who is a member of the South Dakota Housing Development Authority board, said Governor’s Houses are available, which schools can buy and lease to teachers or others who need housing. The board recommended looking into purchase of a house, and working with the City and On Hand Development Corporation toward that end.

Superintendent Ruth said the district went over budget in several areas. The 2012-13 budget had designated $30,000 for contingency, and the board voted to use that amount to cover $26,900 for contracted bus service; $3,000 for executive administration; and $100 for fiscal service. The remaining “overspent” amount was taken from the district’s reserve: $3,105 for the general fund; $32,030, capital outlay; and $11,530, special education.

Under action items, the board voted to offer for sale by sealed bid the three modular units presently located on the grounds of the old elementary school.

The board approved temporary easement with the State of South Dakota to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements at crossings.

The board also approved support of Dan Whalen, Pierre, in a runoff election as Division II representative on the SDHSAA board of directors, and support of Mike Miller in a runoff election as the Large School Group Board of Education representative on the SDHSAA board of directors.

Payment application #13 was approved for the elementary school project, for a total amount of $567,044.43 for work done by several contractors.

Also approved was an agreement between the school district and the Good Samaritan Society-Miller, for use of school facilities in case of an emergency.

Following an executive session, an open enrollment application was approved, a work agreement was approved for new custodian, Loren Major, and the resignation of JoEllen Wieseler as part-time elementary counselor was accepted.

The next meeting will be Monday, July 8 at 6 p.m.