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Online, hybrid, and low-residency graduate education programs abound in South Dakota, providing services to the state’s remote and rural areas, as well as nationally and internationally. The problem is that only select institutions offer ELL endorsement or TESOL graduate study. In general, the state’s teacher preparation institutions rank high on various ratings lists, including those published by the National Council for Teacher Quality (NCTQ).
ESL Teacher Certification
The South Dakota State Department of Education (SDDE) oversees all licensure for public school teachers in the state. The Department of Curriculum and Instruction at South Dakota State University offers a SDDE-approved series of classes that lead to an endorsement for K-12 English as a New Language. The 18 credits cover foreign language, linguistics, general semantics, language structures, curriculum and instruction, and an ESL internship.
Alternative Certification Options
The Alternative Certification guide on SDDE’s website provides an overview of nontraditional routes to licensure. Options include:
- State Program: A would-be secondary educator completes pedagogical courses and takes content tests.
- NPTT: A would-be secondary educator attends the Montana State University alternative preparation program.
- Troops to Teachers: Eligible military members undergo training to work in critical shortage areas in public schools.
- Teach for America: Recent college graduates have intensive training and work in classrooms while meeting state licensure requirements.
- Certification Only: Prospective secondary educators work with a university program and pass content tests.
- Project Select: Students at Black Hills State University participate in a pre-service program and work in secondary classrooms.
Master’s in ESL Programs
South Dakota State University offers an M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction. This professional development program incorporates an 18-semester-hour module that awards a K-12 English as a New Language endorsement. University of South Dakota is the only institution in the state offering TESOL teacher preparation that has earned a spot on the 2013 Honor Roll of the NCTQ. It offers a Master of Arts in English with TESOL Emphasis. It also offers a Master of Arts in Educational Administration – Adult and Higher Education Specialization. This program does not formally include a TESOL component, but students can add a TESOL focus with advanced research in the field. Finally, it offers a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. This option calls on the student to find faculty to help in pursuing a TESOL specialization.