Longest Running Specialty School In SFSD Has Long Waiting List

School Requires Parent Involvement, Results In Greater Academic Achievement

Among the 23 elementary schools in the Sioux Falls School District, five are specialty schools. Established more than four decades ago, All-City Elementary at Jane Addams is the longest running and so is the waiting list.

Around 90 students are vying for a spot at the school on the 2500 block of West Brookings Street, which is more than half of the current student body. More than 150 students attend. For every student in the classroom, there’s a parent at some point during the week.

“On any given day, we have one to four parents in a classroom, so it’s a lot of parents,” said All-City Elementary Principal Jane Hannemann.

All-City is different from other schools because it requires parent involvement. For every child, a parent must commit a half-day volunteering at the school each week. They’re also asked to help with outside commitments.

“We see all walks of life,” said Hannemann. “That’s the beauty of our school, is that it’s open to anyone as long as your willing to commit the time.”

Today (Tuesday) is training day for some of them, as new parents come in and others transition to other classrooms.

“(We) really try to focus on what the right way is to work with students, and how to interact with them, to encourage them, but not to do too much for them,” said All-City Parent Char VanRoekel.

With a 5th grader, a 3rd grader, and a Kindergartener at the school, Char VanRoekel has been assisting in the classroom for six years, volunteering at least a day-and-a-half each week. As a nurse, she works the weekends just to be here.

VanRoekel said, “What really drew me to this school was being able to be in my kids classroom and know the other students in the classroom, know my childrens’ friends.”

The opportunity also allows them to make lifelong friends with other parents.

“They really build strong relationships,” said Hannemann. “As these kids leave our school, parents and families continue to be connected to these kids.”

“It’s something we’re very happy to have done and wouldn’t trade this experience for anything,” VanRoekel said.

All-City’s principal says parent involvement often results in greater academic achievement. The school is typically the 2nd highest in the district when it comes to test scores.

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