Award Year: 2017

Immaculate Conception School

109 3rd Street SE
Watertown, SD, 57201-3634

(605) 886-3883

Mrs. Carol Kay Dagel, Principal at time of Nomination

Sioux Falls Diocese

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To nurture a lifelong commitment and love for the Catholic faith; providing an academically excellent environment for our students to achieve their highest personal potential.

Student Demographics
  • White: 91%
  • Hispanic: 4%
  • Asian: 1%
  • Two or more races: 4%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: 0%
Students and staff celebrating Dr. Seuss week

Students and staff celebrating Dr. Seuss week

Immaculate Conception School's challenge was in the academic area of reading. In 2006, the end of the year state assessment indicated that reading scores were dismal, below average. The state academic assessment is given to students in grades three through six. It is paramount that students in the third grade are reading at grade level when the assessment is taken. Students must have the capacity to read and interpret what they have read.

As a school, a goal was established. This goal was that every student at Immaculate Conception School would be reading at grade level by the end of third grade. South Dakota Content Standards were adopted as the curriculum. Reading software such as FastForword, Star Reading, and Reading Assistant were purchased. These addressed our most urgent concerns and gave us the opportunity to frequently assess sub-standard student progress. Children read to volunteers that came to our school and incentives were given for children to read to their parents each night for twenty minutes. Several national reading programs, such as Dr. Seuss week and Read Across America, have been eagerly embraced by all staff and students. Mini iPads were donated to enhance the reading program for our first grade students.

As a result of these strategies, reading outcomes on average for grades three through six now are 76.25% at proficient or above at Immaculate Conception School versus 47.25% for the same grade levels in the State of South Dakota. The improved ability to read has only enhanced all areas of study at Immaculate Conception. Students who disliked reading now excel in all subjects and actively take part in reading at the weekly school mass. This brings us to the accomplishment of our school mission: To nurture a lifelong commitment and love for the Catholic faith through prayer, sacraments, and service and to provide an environment of academic excellence in which our students can achieve their highest personal potential.