Rosa Parks Elementary celebrates student diversity

Published: Nov. 2, 2020 at 10:42 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Many schools form their own traditions. At Rosa Parks Elementary in Sioux Falls, they have a creative way of celebrating diversity.

Rosa Parks Elementary is a global studies school. Learning about different countries is a big part of their curriculum.

“As part of that they learn about customs and traditions or ways kids would learn in schools over there,” said Principal Kiersta Machacek.

One way the school helps kids make connections to their own culture is through flags. Each flag hanging in the school represents a student’s heritage.

Recently, nine new flags were added to recognize the different reservations students represent.

“I think right now in our society more than ever we need to work on respecting everybody no matter where they are, who they are and that is a unique part of South Dakota, our reservations are,” said Principal Machacek.

Third Grade Teacher Cathy Kayl came up with the idea to include the reservation flags.

“It was just another way for them to feel, I think empowered and still feel like some recognition of their culture,” said Kayl.

She’s the Native American Connections liaison for the school and runs a club for Native American students. Around 45 students from kindergarten through 5th grade meet monthly to do fun activities and learn more about their heritage.

“What I like about it is we got to bake homemade bread, fried bread. Other activities we do is Mrs. Kayl teaches the games they used to play back then,” said 5th Grader Tenelle Drapeau from the Crow Creek Indian Reservation.

Drapeau and her classmates are excited about the addition of the Native American flags.

“I thought it was amazing,” said Drapeau.

“I just kind of got like really happy because they are like including everyone,” said 5th Grader Kaitlyn Chau from the Crow Creek Indian Reservation.

In total, there are around 50 flags hanging at Rosa Parks Elementary.

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