Rapid City High School has changes coming next Fall

The city's third high school reverts to an alternative high like it was several years ago.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 8:25 AM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Rapid City Area Schools will be seeing some changes next year with Rapid City High School changing to an alternative school program.

This change comes six years after Rapid City High School made the decision to become a traditional diploma-awarding school. RCAS superintendent Nicole Swigart says the process by which this change happened was not standard.

“One thing that was interesting about that change is that it did not have board action. A decision had been made and paperwork had been sent to the state and the board did not get to vote on that. Which is typically not how major changes like that are made in a district,” said Swigart.

Swigart says that aside from the change process being irregular Rapid City High School’s graduation rate is low when compared to other schools in the district. Additionally, the standardized scores from RCHS are also low by comparison.

“A program that is graduating less students is obviously not fulfilling what the students need. So great teachers, incredible teachers, incredible staff, but if we don’t have student buy-in for what we’re doing. We need to reconfigure it and make sure we’re serving our students and our population,” said Swigart.

With this change, students will now earn diplomas from their “home school” of either Central or Stevens High School. The new function for the school will be on credit recovery. It will offer students who are recommended to the program a second chance at earning credits for classes they may have failed or struggled with the first time. Enrollment to the school will now be based on a referral from the student’s home school rather than the open enrollment it had prior.

These changes are set to go into effect for the 2023-24 school year.