education options

education options2018-02-24T21:28:59-06:00

You have more options than you may think…

Brick & Mortar Public Schools

Compulsory Attendance

Your child’s age is your first indicator of his or her eligibility for beginning school. In South, children must attend school between the ages of 5 and 18 years or until they have graduated from high school. If your child is five on or before September 1st they are required to be enrolled in school.  see more >

Required Documentation

South Dakota school districts set the requirements for what documentation is required prior to enrolling a student in their district. To get that information, contact the district directly.  

Some legal documents are required for South Dakota students to attend school:

  • Certified Birth Certificate/proof of identity
  • Official copy of records/transcripts from the previous school the child most recently attended
  • A shot immunization record (or proof that immunization is not required for the child)
  • Click here to view the immunization requirements 
  • Proof of home address (for example, a rental agreement or tax statement)

School Fees

Paying some fees is a part of public education, though it is primarily a free education. Students are expected to supply their own basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and notebooks. Each district has a list of approved expenditures for students. Fee waiver forms can be requested from the school if there is a situation that prevents a family from being able to pay for required materials or events.

Some typical items on that list include:

  • Lunch
  • Summer school
  • Student parking passes (high school)
  • Lost textbooks
  • Late or lost library books
  • Field trips
  • Special class-required fees (e.g., science lab fees)

Public Charter Schools

What are Charter Schools?

Charter Schools are tuition-free public schools operated by independent, non-profit governing bodies.

Parents, teachers, and community leaders sign a “charter” or contract with a school district or state agency to create a charter school and give students more educational options than their assigned school. Charter schools have flexibility over classroom hours, curriculum, and employment policies, but are subject to periodic reviews based on student performance. In South Dakota, public charter school students are measured against the same academic standards as students in other public schools. Local boards of education monitor the academic and financial performance of charter schools, and, can revoke  or refuse to renew a school’s charter.

South Dakota Charter Schools

Currently, South Dakota doesn’t have any charter schools in their state.

Virtual Public Schools

In South Dakota there is only one virtual public schools:

South Dakota Virtual School

Phone: (605) 773-2490

Grades: 6-12

Private Schools

What makes a school “private”?

Private schools charge tuition, and many have a religious mission. Some private schools offer families assistance to make tuition payments. Click below for the complete list of over 80 private schools across the state.

Private School Review offers free, detailed information on U.S. private schools combined with useful community data (e.g., housing costs) and maps of the surrounding areas.

*Information on non-public school admission requirements should be obtained from the school directly.


South Dakota is one of 16 states that Tax-Credit Scholarships. South Dakota’s tax-credit scholarship program, enacted in 2016 and launched in late 2016, This program provides tax credits to insurance companies who donate to nonprofit scholarship granting organizations (SGOs), which will then provide private school scholarships to students who meet the income and grade requirements. SGOs are non-profits that offer private school scholarships of varying amounts to students from low-income households. Learn more about this tax-credit scholarship program’s funding, eligibility, regulations, and governing statutes on this page.

For more information on policy change or to get involved in the school choice movement in South Dakota visit EdChoice.

Private Virtual Schools

George Washington University Online High School is an online college preparatory academy for motivated students who are willing to be challenged to become the best students and persons they can be. Combining award-winning curriculum with small class sizes and intensive college counseling, students receive a flexible, individualized education attuned to their own needs and goals.

International Academy is a K12, Inc accredited, online private school for grades K–12. Students earn a U.S. high school diploma while using award-winning K¹² curriculum

They offer extensive, individualized academic and counseling support keep students on track. The flexibility allows students to explore their passions. Full-time and part-time options are available.

International Connections Academy is a fully-accredited, online, college preparatory private school serving K–12 students worldwide. The program combines a top-rated curriculum with talented teachers, cutting-edge technology, the flexibility to learn at home, and direct family involvement to ensure each student realizes his or her full potential.

The Keystone School offers flexible education programs for high school and middle school students. Whether your student wants to study full-time or just needs individual classes, they offer more than 170 courses from credit recovery to world languages and AP. Students can enroll at any time.

Home Education

Your options

South Dakota law allows a child to be excused from school attendance if “the child is otherwise provided with alternative instruction.” See South Dakota Codified Laws § 13-27-3. Parents must submit an annual application for excuse from school attendance on a standard form that provided by the secretary of the Department of Education.

Home School Legal Defense Alliance

visit HSLDA website >

Coalition for Responsible Home Education

visit the coalition’s website >

Support Groups

South Dakota has many homeschool associations that offer classes, curriculum, advising, sports, clubs, socials and recreation. Check out your local support groups here.

Dual Enrollment

College Credit

There are four kinds of college credit that your high school student can get credit for.

  • Dual Credit: College credit earned by a high school student who enrolls in a course offered by a postsecondary institution. The course grade is recorded on the high school and postsecondary transcripts.
  • Concurrent Enrollment: College credit earned by a high school student when course offered through his/her school district and taught by school district personnel.
  • Rising Scholar: Concurrent credit program offered in the Regental system to support high school based dual credit courses taught by qualified high school teachers at a third-party (reduced) tuition rate.
  • Campus Enrollment: High school juniors or seniors may enroll in regularly scheduled courses on campus, state sponsored centers, approved off-campus locations, or online on a space available basis.

Course Fees

Local decision. The district or the state may cover all or a portion of tuition and fees; the student is responsible for paying any tuition/fees not paid by the district or the state, and any other costs.

For more information about dual enrollment in South Dakota visit the Education Commission of the State’s website

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