The plan is different in each district, but common elements are a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and project-based learning - instruction that introduces projects at the start as a vehicle for instruction, as opposed to a culminating exercise at the end of a lesson. In a project-based learning situation, everything students learn is connected to a group project about a real-world problem or question. They work with classmates, researching online. Teachers stay out of it until they're needed. It's designed to be more engaging and relevant. It's a concept participants say will get students and the communities excited about their local schools. It also aspires to take advantage of technology to bring the best possible instruction to schools that often struggle to hire qualified teachers. If they succeed, the schools will be held up as models for rural schools throughout South Dakota.
Josh Verges, Argus Leader, 2011