Southwest CTE Academy receives $3.3M in state funding; DPS board addresses late start Wednesday concept

The North Dakota State Board for Career and Technical Education awarded funding from the Career and Technical Education Capital Projects Fund to 13 projects in the amount of $68,276,230, including the Southwest CTE Academy in Dickinson. Superintendent Marcus Lewton spoke on the latest updates of the academy as well as enrollment projections and late start Wednesdays during this week’s school board meeting.

A man stands in front of a sign.
Director Aaron Anderson of the Southwest Career and Technical Education Academy stands at the new school campus area, which was formerly known as the Halliburton campus located north of Dickinson. The academy is set to be fully open by the fall of 2023.
Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press
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DICKINSON — The Southwest Career and Technical Education Academy continues to make progress in Dickinson, especially with the most recent state funding announcement that grants approximately $3.3 million to the future facility.

The North Dakota State Board for Career and Technical Education awarded 13 projects across the state in the amount of $68,276,230, from the CTE Capital Projects Fund, according to an announcement made Tuesday.

Superintendent Marcus Lewton noted that the additional $3.3 million coincides with the $6.6 million awarded through the American Rescue Plan Act in early February, and will help launch the construction phase of the academy.

Lewton also provided an update on the Southwest CTE Academy to the Dickinson Public School Board on Monday at the Professional Learning Lab, noting that architects are currently reviewing preliminary design plans and will have a better look at the renovations in approximately two weeks. The academy is still slated to open the fall of 2023.

Among other agenda items presented during Monday’s monthly meeting, the DPS Board approved the revised 2022-2023 DPS calendar to include late start Wednesdays at Dickinson High School, which was an initiative led by teachers and staff. At the Feb. 8 DPS Board workshop and the Feb. 21 DPS Board meeting, three DHS educators presented information on a proposal for late starts at the high school on Wednesdays. Lewton explained what went into moving forward with this decision.


“Due to scheduling, space constraints and educators teaching off-campus, this proposal allows for teachers to have a common time to collaborate around student learning,” he said. “Our elementary and middle schools currently have this designated time.”

Superintendent Marcus Lewton is pictured at the Dickinson Public School Board meeting on Monday, March 14, 2022.
Superintendent Marcus Lewton is pictured at the Dickinson Public School Board meeting on Monday, March 14, 2022.
Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press

Lewton noted that DHS proposed late start Wednesday to allow Professional Learning Communities and Academies in their entirety “to discuss common curriculum, essential standards/common assessments and student academic enrichments and interventions.”

“This late start would enable all teachers to have a common collaborative meeting time and do the necessary teamwork with fidelity. This time could also be used for students to complete credit recovery work or receive additional assistance,” Lewton added.

The school board also approved the hiring of RSP & Associates to provide an analysis and five-year enrollment projections for the fee of $14,500. As part of the long-term facility planning, the school district would like to seek professional guidance on the enrollment projections for the next five years, according to school documents.

As of now, DPS is on track to see an increase of approximately 100 students for the 2022-2023 school year, Lewton noted.

“RSP has been an integral part of district planning for many years,” he said, explaining, “They assist us with our district boundary lines, enrollment projections and population analysis. They will present their findings to the school board in the fall.”

Jackie Jahfetson is a graduate of Northern Michigan University whose journalism path began in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as a freelancer for The Daily Mining Gazette. Her previous roles include editor-in-chief at The North Wind and reporter at The Mining Journal in Marquette, Mich. Raised on a dairy farm, she immediately knew Dickinson would be her first destination west as she focuses on gaining aptitude for ranch life, crop farming and everything agriculture. She covers hard news stories centered on rural communities and government, agriculture & Ranch. When not fulfilling deadlines and attending city commission meetings, she is a budding musician and singer.
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