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Young people grow a community garden near Mission, SD.
Young people grow a community garden near Mission, SD.

In the year she’s been covering education stories for SDPB, reporter Jackie Hendry has quickly learned how education issues permeate other topics. “I’ve discovered the line between education stories and workforce development stories is very thin,” says Hendry. “For instance, the piece I did for South Dakota: The Next Generation focused a lot on the growing tendency and need for schools and industry to work together to provide internship opportunities that lead to job opportunities that encourage young people in South Dakota to stick around.”

Hendry knows of what she reports. While finishing her graduate degree in communication from USD, Hendry came to SDPB Radio as an intern, opening the door to her current position as SDPB’s Education Beat Reporter. Originally from Illinois, Hendry recently relocated to Sioux Falls to work from SDPB’s Sioux Falls Studios near Falls Park.

Hendry’s education stories have her traveling throughout the state to showcase South Dakota’s students: to Rosebud to cover young people growing a community garden and rehabbing the Rosebud Powwow Grounds, to Vermillion to interview the national award-winning robotics team, and to Sioux Falls for the Lakota Language Weekend.

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Central to Hendry’s beat is delivering updates on policy and funding. In addition to following potential new high school graduation requirements for South Dakota students and recommendations special education funding, she’s on covering the trials on Mid-Central Education Cooperative. “There’s a lot to talk about there, but most relevant to my beat is looking at achievement gaps and how we can address them as a state,” says Hendry. “I’m also looking into stories about specialized resources for rural schools – things like resources for blind and deaf students, counseling resources to help with behavioral issues, and the general mental health issues we’re seeing in young people in our state.”

Hendry shares what she enjoys most about her work with SDPB: “I love getting to travel around the state, and I love crafting a story or having conversations on air with Lori [Walsh] about what’s happening in my beat,” says Hendry. “But the best part is getting to talk with people who are so passionate about what they do. From teachers to librarians to students—I get excited about things that I’d never even heard of before just from talking to people about what they’re working on, and it’s all happening right here in South Dakota. It’s a really fun and fulfilling way to make a living, and I feel really fortunate that this is what I get to do.”

Find Jackie Hendry’s education coverage on SDPB Radio and