Spring has sprung and the campus at St. Joseph’s Indian School is coming alive! The kids have returned from their Easter break and now look toward the end of the school year. With the warmer temperatures the students are spending as much time outside as they can! There are a great many activities going on for our students, tee-ball, softball, soccer and track to name a few. The students stay busy and and their teachers, houseparents and support staff are always there supporting and cheering them on in all of their activities !
What does the end of school year mean for the Clinical Services Department? Well, we spend the rest of the school year helping the kids stay focused on school and helping the older students finalize plans for driver’s education, summer employment, INMED (Indians in Medicine), Gear Up and plans for next year. We also work with our eighth grade students to to prepare them for high school.
As spring gives way to summer, we will start working on new student admissions for next school year. The Family Service Counselors travel in the summer to visit our students and meet new prospective students and families. Traveling around the state to visit with old and new students is always a great part of the summer.
As another year begins to wind down, I am thankful for the time I have been able to spend with our Native American students. The students get excited to go home and be with their families, but hopefully they know we will miss them while they are away for the summer!
After morning chapel, I noticed all the bicycles had returned to the racks – out of storage after the long winter. That’s a sign of optimism that spring is officially here. Temperatures were chilly in the morning, but in the 60’s and wonderful by the afternoon. Besides the bikes, I also noticed the sidewalk chalk has been brought out; the result of which was a series of colorful drawings and writing in front of the Benedictine Homes.
On the way back to the house, I spied one of the older school cars plowed into the fence at the edge of the football field, and knew there was some juicy story behind that sight. Last night one of our high school students drove over to see her sisters play softball. She didn’t get the car fully into parking gear, and after she got out it rolled down the hill, scattering everyone on the diamond! Thankfully no one was hurt and hopefully a valuable lesson was learned.
Today, we finished two days of strategic planning meetings. Our facilitator met with focus groups of houseparents, teachers, staff, representatives from the area’s business, school and law enforcement community. He also listened to our high school students and made a trip to the Lower Brule Indian Reservation to hear from parents and alumni. We’re also doing an online survey with some of our donors to look at key issues we will try to work on over the next 3-5 years. It will take us many more meetings over the next 6 months or so to flesh out the plan. What was noticeable, was so many people really caring and trying to make the programs and policies better here at St. Joseph’s Indian School.