21st Century/Discovery Center Programs
The BHSSC 21st Century Programs are co-curricular programs that enhance a student’s normal learning opportunities after school and during the summer months. We take great pride in implementing up-to-date teaching practices. We immerse students in Project-based STEM, Literacy, and Social and Emotional Learning activities they can use outside of the school walls. We not only provide a safe and secure setting for children afterschool, we also give students the opportunity to belong to something bigger than just themselves — a stepping stone to becoming upstanding citizens.
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Desmond “Desi” Keller–RCAS 21st Century Program Director
I graduated with dual degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education. Also, I am the oldest of five children and worked at a Montessori Daycare in highschool and really liked the non-traditional approach to education. After graduating from college and teaching Special Ed. for a year, I had the opportunity to begin working in a 21st Century Program and never looked back! In my position as director, the day-to-day is always different, but mainly consists of keeping up-to-date on licensing for all of our programs–from hiring staff to documenting training hours to continually engaging with families and staff. The fun part is socializing with the students and watching them relax and have fun in the after school programs.
I love that we never know what little thing we will do that a student will remember and say later was a game changer for them in their life. It really isn’t the subjects that we teach, it’s building the relationships and guiding those relationships to build character in our students that really is exciting for me. When I’m not at work, I like to run, mountain bike, and snowboard to be active. I enjoy fishing, reading, and gardening to relax.
Kaitlin Brown–Educational Coordinator
I have an Elementary Education degree from the University of Wyoming. Previously, I worked at Youth and Family Services for almost four years and as an enrollment advisor at National American University. I am responsible for lesson planning, setting up the day, and doing reports. The fun happens once the kiddos arrive–no two days are alike! In general, we pick up our students after school, feed them a snack, and then go outside for recess. Then we do 30-minute rotations of P.E., iPad time, and a center activity based in math or literacy.
I love the cute and sometimes very goofy compliments that the kids give each other and to me. They make me want to live up to the image that they have of me in their minds. When I’m not at work I enjoy hiking and time at my family’s cabin in Spearfish Canyon. I also love any excuse to cook or bake for family and friends.
- Quote: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”–Robert Frost
- Activity in Elementary School: Parachute day!!!
- Movie: Gone with the Wind
Miranda Carlin-General Beadle Site Coordinator
I have recently returned to BHSSC as my family and I moved back to the beautiful Black Hills. Previously, I had been with the Discovery programs for eight years. Early on, I was an Instructional Assistant and then moved to the Site Coordinator position at Horace Mann Discovery. Working with children allows me to have a direct impact on the lives of many while keeping the spark and joy of childhood in my daily life!
While not at work, I love to spend time with my husband, our children, and other family and friends. I enjoy crafting, painting, and being outdoors!
Relepha Bucholz-Knollwood Site Coordinator
I have three years of previous employment with the Discovery Center program as a front-line staff member. I was also a preschool teacher for seven years and have a CDA in preschool and several hours of training pertaining to child care. On a day-to-day basis at Knollwood Discovery Center, I plan activities and games, get snack ready, and visit with staff about the day, as well as visit with families and children. I also do lots and lots of paperwork, and I have fun!
I really like the moments when a kid figures something out–when they really understand it and they are glowing and happy about it! When I’m not at work, I enjoy time with my family camping, going to the lake, hiking, driving through the hills, and sometimes I just enjoy lazy days at home.
- Quote: “They may forget what you said, but will not forget how you made them feel.”–Carl Buehner
- Activity in Elementary School: I liked to do math and play outside.
- Movie: “Ten Things I Hate About You”
Dillon Smith–Discover the Valley Site Coordinator
I have an Outdoor Education degree from the Black Hills State University. Previously, I have worked for the City of Spearfish at the Recreation and Aquatics Center helping with the after-school program there and I also have worked for the Watford City Parks and Recreation program leading activities and camps for children of all ages. At Discover the Valley, I am responsible for lesson planning, setting up the day, and doing reports. The best part of the day is when the students arrive. They are always ready to have fun and see what adventures we can have for the day. No day is like the other, but we try to keep to the same basic schedule of when they arrive for the day they put their belongings away, then we have snack. After snack we have a 30-minute recess and then we start our 3 Activity rotations of STEAM, PE, and Technology! After those activities the students and staff get a chance to hang out and do some activities of their choosing!
I really enjoy seeing the students figure out solutions to problems or challenges and seeing the “aha” moment when the solution pops into their head. When I’m not at work I enjoy fishing and hiking and collecting rocks. My fiancé and two cats also find ways to keep me busy!
- Quote: “Be the person you needed when you were younger.”
- Activity in Elementary School: Science Fair!
- Movie: Any Superhero Movie
Malachi Nelson–South Middle School Club Hub Coordinator
I have been working for the Discovery Center program for seven years. I volunteered for Discovery for two years before that. I go to South Dakota School of Mines and Technology majoring in computer engineering and will be receiving my degree after one more semester. In my role as site coordinator, I make sure that the staff have everything that they need and make sure the program has all the things that it needs. I work with parents to further their child’s learning and school life. I work on social media outreach, and I also communicate with the schools and make sure that we have a healthy communication network. I also watch the children to ensure that they are learning and playing in a safe way.
I love the ability to help show kids the way to something that they love. I want every child to find something that they love to do. When I’m not working, I love writing and reading. I love writing books and reading books. I enjoy bringing ideas from all sorts of media–from video games to musical theater!
- Quote: “I’d rather make mistakes than make nothing at all.”
- Activity in Elementary School: I loved to read in school. Fantasy stories were always my preferred type of book.
- Book: The Sword of Destiny
- Movie: “Spirited Away”
- Podcast: Critical Roll