Washington High School (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

Washington High School
Washington HS Sioux Falls 1.jpg
501 N. Sycamore Ave


United States
Coordinates 43°33′11″N 96°40′26″W / 43.553°N 96.674°W / 43.553; -96.674
School type Public, Secondary
Motto To develop life-long learners to succeed in a changing world
Established 1908
School district Sioux Falls School District
Superintendent Dr. Brian Maher[1]
Principal Kari Papke
Faculty 112.97 (on FTE basis)[2]
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,942 (2019-20)[2]
Student to teacher ratio 17.00[2]
Campus type Suburban
Color(s) Orange and Black
Athletics conference SDHSAA
Mascot Warrior
Rival Lincoln High School
Information 605-367-7970
Website Official website
Washington Warriors athletic logo

Washington High School Coordinates: 43°33′14″N 96°40′25″W / 43.553881°N 96.673517°W / 43.553881; -96.673517 (commonly Washington, Washington High, or WHS) is a public secondary school located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with an enrollment of 1,942 students.[3] The school is part of the Sioux Falls School District, and is one of three public high schools in Sioux Falls.

Founded in 1908, Washington High School succeeded Central School and Irving High School as the city's predominate secondary public school,[4] built to accommodate a larger student capacity. In 1992 the school transferred from its downtown location to its current site, with the previous building remodeled to become the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science.

Washington High was included in Newsweek's 2008 online edition of the top 1,300 public high schools in America, ranking at 1,230; below Lincoln High School (at 1,070) and above Roosevelt High School (at 1,274).[5] As of 2009, however, Washington High was the only school to receive US News & World Report's silver medal high school ranking in South Dakota.[6] The school's class of 2009 also was the only school to achieve a minimum level of proficiency among all groups tested on the South Dakota STEP, a standards-based test designed to meet NCLB requirements.[7]


Construction of Washington High School began in 1904, after Central School in Sioux Falls was outgrown. Upon completion in 1908, it was renamed from "Sioux Falls High School" to Washington High School. Three hundred twenty-eight high school students enrolled into the new building on February 14, 1908.

The students soon outgrew the building. With a high school population of 536 in 1911, the enrollment exceeded the maximum capacity of 500. With the addition of a new South Wing to Washington High in 1922, the enrollment grew from 959 in 1921 to 1,660 in 1930.

The district approved the remodeling of the north wing in 1932, and in 1935, the center unit of Washington High School was completed, with Central School razed in 1935 to make room for the west wing's construction.[4] Following this remodeling, the exterior of Washington High School stood from 1935 until the current Washington High School was completed in 1992. After that, the original school was remodeled to become the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science.

All Sioux Falls public high school students attended Washington High from 1908 through the 1963–1964 school year. Washington's enrollment grew to 2,925 during the 1963–1964 year. The building's recommended capacity was 2,100. To solve overcrowding, the district began construction on Lincoln High School, as a second high school located on Cliff Avenue next to Interstate 229. For about six weeks, in the fall of 1965, 3,300 students attended classes in a split schedule. Following some delays, Lincoln High School opened on October 19, 1965, with 1,300 students.

In the fall of 1992, 1,439 Washington High School students attended classes in the current Washington High School. As of 2009, Washington High School has served 2,091 students,[7] with 120 teachers, 6 counselors, 18 education assistants, 44 support staff and 4 administrators.


Washington operates on an 8:15 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. schedule, of which broken up into seven class periods, the fourth or fifth period assigned for freshmen and sophomores as a study hall/lunch break, and an off-campus lunch hour designated for qualifying juniors and seniors, pending parental approval, an 85% average on semester tests and adequate standardized test scores. In 2009, Washington began offering "zero" and "eighth" hour classes, from a limited pool of courses.

In the 2007–2008 school year, Washington, along with other district schools, achieved a mean composite of 22.6 on the ACT examination, 1.5 points higher than the national average of 21.1.[7] With 16 Advanced Placement courses offered at Washington, 38.2% of the student body enrolled in at least one, with each participant taking an average of 2.8 classes. Of those participating, 528 students took part in the examinations held in May, with approximately 58.9% receiving "passing" credit.[6] The school also offers accelerated courses for students to participate in, with disciplines such as mathematics and English available.

The 2009 graduating class met adequate yearly progress status on the 2008 Dakota STEP examination, a statewide standardized test complying with NCLB requirements, indicating that all student demographics achieved a minimum level of proficiency,[7] marking improvement from previous years and the only class in the district to do so. Almost 44.3% of students from the same class also scored 4.0 (above average) or higher on the district-issued writing assessment.[7]


The Warriors were founding members of the Eastern South Dakota Conference before being forced to move to the Sioux Interstate Conference (which included schools in Sioux City, Iowa) due to non traditional girls sports seasons. They have been members of the newly formed Metro Athletic Conference since the 2013-14 season.

Washington High School has 40 state championships in 11-man football, which is currently the most for any high school in the United States.[8][9] The school also has a record of 717–303–37 from 1899–2010.[10] The Washington Warriors Varsity Football team plays many of its games at Howard Wood Field. Washington went undefeated for 4 seasons in 11-man football: 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

School leadership

  • Kari Papke, Principal
  • Preston Kooima, Asst. Principal
  • Nate Malchow, Activities Principal
  • Heidi Jorgenson Asst. Principal

Bus service

The school is serviced by Sioux Area Metro route 23 during the school year.

Notable alumni


External links

Other Languages