School board to review commencement proposal, closure issues

April 27 meeting to be held virtually

School supply photo illustration. (Matt Gade/Republic)
School supply photo illustration. (Matt Gade/Republic)

The Mitchell Board of Education is expected to review a proposed plan for a virtual graduation commencement ceremony for the Mitchell High School Class of 2020 as well as examine issues raised relevant to the current school closure situation.

The meeting, scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, will be held by virtual video and telephone conference.

The board will hear from Joe Childs, principal of Mitchell High School, on a proposed plan that would change the traditional live commencement ceremony, originally scheduled for May 17, to a virtual format. Under the proposal, students would enter the Mitchell High School Performing Arts Center at a designated time and individually enter the facilities one at a time to have their photo taken, hear their name called and walk across the stage to receive their diploma from school officials. The student would then leave the building and the next scheduled student would follow the same routine.

The proceedings would be recorded and edited together to appear similar to a live event and then made available for viewing at 2 p.m. May 27, the original date for the live commencement ceremony. About 160 seniors are expected to graduate in the Class of 2020.

The proposal was agreed upon by Mitchell High School student representatives over another option to hold a live commencement ceremony sometime later, likely in the autumn.


Joe Graves, superintendent for the Mitchell School District, is expected to speak to the board on issues that have arisen from district schools being closed while schooling continues through various virtual methods.

The board is expected to review those issues and take any appropriate issues to address them. The school closures frequently asked questions document that was approved at the previous meeting of the board is expected to be used as a guide during the review process.

Other business

Also Monday, the board will:

  • Conduct a review of board policies 400-600. The board reviews and/or revises three sections of board policies such that the entire K-12 board book is reviewed every four years.

  • Consider approval of a renewal motion and participation agreement for the upcoming school year for workers’ compensation through the Associated School Boards of South Dakota Protective Trust.

  • Consider approval of an adoption and renewal motion and participation agreement for the upcoming school year for the Association School Boards of South Dakota Protective Trust health insurance program. The premium increase for 2020-21 was zero.

  • Hear board member and superintendent reports.

Members of the public and interest parties can access the meeting by calling 605-224-1125 shortly before the meeting and then inputting the PIN number 0279172#. Anyone experiencing difficulty connecting can contact 605-773-3011 and a representative will assist them.

Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at
What To Read Next
Get Local