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NMSI Teacher Spotlight: LuAnn Lindskov

“I'm a product of the community that I teach in,” says Timber Lake School teacher LuAnn Lindskov. “And I'm not the only one. We've been fortunate to have probably about 40% of our teachers be born and raised in this community and come back here to teach.”

The community is the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in northwestern South Dakota. Lindskov has been teaching for 37 years – 20 at Timber Lake, a school with 350 students total, PreK through grade 12. Lindskov teaches the high school math and science classes. Over 60% of the school’s student population is Native American. Lindskov adds, “We’re two hours away from Walmart, two hours away from a McDonald’s in very rural America.”

Yet, compared with student peers throughout South Dakota, Timberlake’s academic performance in science, mathematics and English classes ranks with the best performing students of the state. “Our middle school was designated as a Blue-Ribbon school in 2020, and our high school received this designation in 2014. At the time, one of the only two high schools in the state to receive that recognition.”

Lindskov credits NMSI’s Laying the Foundation training as a contribution to this success.

South Dakota used funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to improve curriculum through professional development opportunities. This opened the door for Lindskov to become a Laying the Foundation trainer and share more with her students and peers. “I would weave the LTF materials throughout my curriculum so that we can ensure that students have the underlying skills that they need to be successful in the next course. So, when they come to chemistry, I'm using LTF chemistry materials. When they come to my physics class, they're using LTF physics materials.”

When asked about the specific benefit of LTF in her classes, Lindskov says, “I think what all the LTF materials do is push students to consider about their own thinking. They're doing a lot of writing and in doing so, incorporating a lot of big skills while they're involved in on hands-on activities. I can't teach them all there is to know about physics and LTF can only take them so far, but we can stretch how they learn and help them figure out how they learn best.”
Considering professional development opportunities for your school? Contact us to learn more about Laying the Foundation training.