As Sioux Falls grew, residents recognized the need to educate the youth. However, finding a suitable location to hold class was a problem. In the early 1870s, classes were held in Fort Dakota’s uninhabited barracks, a sod house, and at Libby Hall, which was attached to a butcher’s shop. As the student-enrollment continued to grow, more permanent school houses were built in Sioux Falls.
To become a teacher, men and women had to graduate from a normal school. These schools provided the “norm” for all teachers and would ensure an equal level of quality teaching. Upon graduating, teachers had to take a certification exam. There were multiple levels of certification that determined how long and were teachers could teach.
Curriculum has greatly changed in the past century. In the late 1800s, a typical day consisted of lessons in reading, writing, arithmetic, history, geography, orthography, spelling, and hygiene. Many of these subjects were paired with practical applications, especially with agriculture. To move on to the next grade, students had to take an exam that challenged them in each subject.
Recess is a part of the school day that many students look forward to the most. In the early nineteenth century, children spent their recess time sledding, playing yard games, skating, and even riding horses. Beginning in 1919, some local districts purchased playground equipment such as teeter-totters and swings.