The Shift: Small School Survival Game

Last Updated by Heather Benson on
The superintendent of the Centerville School District says it's important to provide programs to keep students from going to larger school systems. 
Tim Hagedorn leads the district in rural Turner County. Centerville has 230 students in grades K through twelve, and all the students go to classes in one building. 
Hagedorn says about ten students have been in the past three senior classes. He says it's a challenge to provide the programs needed to maintain a strong school system: 
“It’s like most small towns – I always say it’s a survival game. And, if the community doesn’t work with the school and be very active…and you lose your school – you kinda lose a little bit of your community, too. And, that’s a struggle in South Dakota in some of these small towns – you see it a lot more in the co-oping of the sports to keep things going – improvement in facilities and so, it’s a constant struggle and it will for quite a few years until it’s imposed upon us that at a certain level, they’re gonna have to consolidate.”
Hagedorn says about ten new students have enrolled this year.
He says the town’s proximity to Sioux Falls, Yankton, and Vermillion and the town’s economic development bureau makes Centerville an attractive place for younger families wishing to live in a smaller town.