The MSU College of Education partners with the South Dakota Tribal School

Morehead State University‘s Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education developed an unexpected partnership with a tribal school in Waubay, South Dakota, resulting in a mutually beneficial relationship for students from both institutions.

Enemy Swim Day School, a P-8 school, is a tribal Dakota school where faculty and staff integrate Dakota language and culture into the curriculum and school environment. The school mistakenly sent a flyer to MSU (instead of Minnesota State University in Moorhead, Minnesota) to work with colleges to send student teachers to the school.

“It was spring 2021 and many schools were closed to student observers. As a tribal school, I thought this school could offer our students a unique opportunity to interact with diverse students in a virtual environment,” said Dr. Kimberly Nettleton, Director of Quality Assurance and Accreditation (QUAA) at Volgenau College of Education and Associate Professor of Education. “The more I spoke with the rector and superintendent, the more I realized what a unique opportunity this could be for both our candidates and the students of South Dakota.”

Three students completed their spring semester in whole or in part in the spring semester of 2022.

Lola MeyerKatie Fraley (Class of 2022) and Lola Meyers (Class of 2022) attended The Enemy Swim Day School for the last eight weeks of the semester as student internships. Fraley is from Sandy Hook and Meyers is from Pikeville. Both graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Learning Behavior Disorders and Elementary Education.

Trey Martin (class of 2022) joined the school in January and spent his entire spring semester there. Martin is from Mt. Sterling and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Education, Grades 8-12. He said the hands-on experience was invaluable. He plans to sign a teaching contract at Tiospa Zina High School in Sisseton, South Dakota in the 2022-23 school year.

“I got more experience here in the first week than most people have with multiple years of classes,” he said.

The Enemy Swim Day School provided faculty members at the Volgenau Teacher Training College with information about partnership opportunities with the school. dr Gera Nelson, associate professor of education, hopes her students will work alongside Enemy Swim’s English Language Arts (ELA) students this fall. Drama educator Octavia Biggs-Fleck, director of touring theater company The Little Company, worked with Enemy Swim students when they arrived at MSU during their eighth grade. It was a partnership no school expected but one that has led to unexpected opportunities.

“It’s surprising that a flyer sent to Morehead State University in Kentucky instead of Moorhead in Minnesota could have such far-reaching consequences,” Nettleton said.

To learn more about Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education and its programs at MSU, call 606-783-2162 or visit

Photos: MSU Volgenau College of Education alumni Trey Martin (Class of 2022, top right) and Lola Meyers (Class of 2022, bottom left pictured with students) completed their teaching tenure at Enemy Swim Day School, a tribal Dakota school in South Dakota.

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