Ribbon cutting held for co-op

Ribbon cutting held for co-op Ribbon cutting ceremonies were held recently in Beresford for the Southeast Interactive Long Distance Learning (SILDL) Consortium.

Lynn D. Jensen, USDA Rural Development state director and members of his staff attended the event.

In 2004, Southeast Area Cooperative was awarded a USDA Rural Development grant in the amount of $499,996 to assist with the expansion of services.

The funding was used for the cooperative's project, the Southeast Interactive Long Distance Learning Consortium (SILDL), a unique cooperative distance learning project involving 13 rural K-12 districts in Southeast South Dakota, The University of South Dakota at Vermillion, and Children's Care Hospital and School in Sioux Falls.

The K-12 school districts involved are Alcester-Hudson, Avon, Beresford, Bon Homme, Canton, Centerville, Gayville-Volin, Hurley, Irene, Parker, Tea, Viborg, and Wakonda. The mission of the SILDL is to work collaboratively with schools and communities to improve learning opportunities in rural, southeast South Dakota communities.

"I am pleased that USDA Rural Development grant funds will assist the Southeast Area Cooperative in providing advanced technology services to communities," Jensen said. "This will allow rural residents to receive the same training and advanced education opportunities afforded to the more populous areas."

Each school day over 300 high school students will participate in classes offered by the member schools in the SILDL. These classes include Accounting I, Accounting II, Ag Business, Ag Management, Anatomy, Creative Writing, French I, French II, Personal Finance, Physics, Spanish I, Spanish II and Street Law. In addition, The University of South Dakota and Mount Marty College provide dual-credit classes in the areas of English, Math, Political Science and Psychology.

"The USDA Rural Development grant will allow for the continuation of learning opportunities to rural students in southeastern South Dakota," said Don Versteeg, coordinator for SILDL. "The children in rural communities in South Dakota deserve the highest quality educational experience as they prepare for life in the 21st century."

USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure.

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