SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A school board in southeastern South Dakota is trying to make it easier for teachers from other countries to come to the state.

The school board in Sioux Falls held a public hearing Monday on a plan to waive South Dakota's teacher certification requirements for teachers at Sonia Sotomayor Elementary, the city's Spanish Immersion school. There are currently teachers from 13 different countries working at the school, the Argus Leader reported.

The waiver would give the school district permission to continue hiring teachers from Spanish-speaking countries. It also would remove the requirement to complete additional schooling to meet state-specific certification requirements.

"This is a way to recognize their credentials," said Becky Dorman, the Sioux Falls School District's director of human resources.

Dorman said the waiver is needed because Sioux Falls has a demand for Spanish Immersion teachers.

"Right now in the area we don't have an applicant pool," she said.

South Dakota updated teacher certification regulations across the state in July. Under the rules, some teachers would need a special endorsement to teach kindergarten through fourth grade. The waiver would remove the need to obtain that endorsement.

Dorman said that the move is useful because most Spanish Immersion teachers aren't usually looking to relocate to the area permanently.

"We recognize that as well," Dorman said. "Going back to school to obtain a degree through our traditional routes isn't always practical or even possible."

The board's request for the waiver will move to the state for further approval.


Information from: Argus Leader,