September 2020


As PASI grows, we do not want to lose the connections and community that are so important to our program. If you don't know who the 2020-21 board members are, here's a little insight into their lives!


My name is Ashly Ehde. I’ve been married for 8 years to my husband Derek. We have 2 girls. Brynley is 6 and is in 1st grade at Sonia. Braelyn is 3 and is in preschool at First Baptist. I have been a teacher for 11 years and have taught 6th grade math on the Spanish Immersion team at Edison for going on 4 years. I wanted to join the PASI board to see both sides and provide a different point of view since I am both a parent and teacher in the program.


I’m primarily a stay at home mom, but I also work part time as a Registered Nurse at Avera McKennan Hospital. Sully is in 2nd grade, Greta is in 1st grade, and Piper is 4 and a future Lobo.

What inspired me to be active in PASI leadership was the opportunity to volunteer and be more involved with my children’s education. I'm thankful that it has also lead to connections and friendships.


My youngest son is in the SI program and Jorgen is now a sophomore at LHS. I have 2 older daughters and a granddaughter. I work for the SFSD at an Occupational Therapist in the Birth to three program. I have enjoyed being part of the PASI board this past year and getting to meet new parents and see how the SI program has expanded.


I’m Dani Swanson, I grew up in Sioux Falls and graduated from Lincoln High School. I work for the State of South Dakota for Child Protective Services. My husband, Steve, owns a Construction company. We have two sweet boys. George who will be in first grade this year and Arthur who is two. We love weekend getaways and spending time with our families. Watching my child in the classroom with the teachers and the amazing interns left me wanting to help support this program in any and all ways I could. Looking forward to a new, though unprecedented, year ahead!


My family:

Husband Mark, kids Katy (7th) & Jack (5th)

What I do for a living:

Pharmacist at Sanford Oncology

What inspired you to be active in PASI leadership:

I was inspired to get more active after getting to know some of the interns and then hosting an intern and seeing what a valuable role they play in the program.


My family:

Sandy - wife of 16 years

Brielle - daughter 5th grade

Ezra - son 2nd grade

What I do for a living:

I help people finance HGTV addictions. Or for the more normal types I’m a Residential Mortgage Lender for Central Bank. (previously named MetaBank)

What inspired you to be active in PASI leadership:

I’ve always been a person that gets involved with what my family is involved in. We all have gifts that when put together makes a great team and I love the diversity it brings to teams. I also saw how much some of the founding families gave to make this a great program and I appreciate all their work that we benefit from.


Hi, I’m Amy Taylor and I’m this year’s VP. I have a daughter, Sophie, who is in first grade at Sonia this year and a 2 year old, Emma. I work as an oncology RN at Sanford and I love my job. I was inspired to help with PASI by how much my daughter loves the program. She’s been at Sonia since preschool and is doing very well. I’m looking forward to this year and I hope everyone has a great year.


I have two daughters, Reese and Quinn, who are in fifth and third grade this year. My husband, Aaron, and I have been married for 13 years. Outside of family and PASI, I am a cancer nurse navigator at Sanford.

We have hosted interns twice. Both experiences were unique and valuable for our family and now we have bonus family members in Bolivia and Colombia! I was inspired to join PASI leadership after witnessing all the hard work put into Spanish Immersion by the parents who came before me and after learning how enriching the interns are for our program. As the daughter/sister of public school teachers, I am especially proud of the grants we are able to award to our Immersion teachers to enhance their classrooms in ways that they see fit.


My name is Jenn Atkinson, married to Corey and we have two boys in the SI program. Reid is in 7th grade and Eli is in 4th. I’m a school counselor at Axtell Park in the Sioux Falls School District and Corey is Director of Sales and Marketing at Software Unlimited. I first joined PASI as a general board member in 2016, but started going to PASI meetings well before that. I wanted to get involved in The Spanish Immersion program because it was something both my husband and I felt could make a difference in our kids lives. PASI opened that door to understanding what we are as a program, why interns are so important to our program and how to contribute and grow our programs needs and wants through fundraising and marketing.


Big picture


New families and even some of our experienced Immersion Family members may need a refresher on what exactly Great Gatherings is, and since things are going to look a little different this year as we go virtual, we thought an explanation might be nice.

GREAT GATHERINGS is the name of the event we will hold annually in November. This year it will be on November 13. It is the primary fundraiser for PASI. We raise money to fund the interns at schools across our Immersion Family. We also fund grants for teachers to enhance their classrooms. In a normal year, the cost to bring each intern to Sioux Falls for ten months is around $5,500. This year we anticipate our interns arriving in January, so the total cost will be down somewhat, decreasing our fundraising goal to $65,000. Funds are raised in a few different ways.


Silent auction item donations are welcome and appreciated! In the past we have had a variety of items from event tickets to artwork to spa packages. We love to have a wide variety of items so something will appeal to everyone in the program. Additionally, we will be implementing Class Champions again this year. Our goal is for each elementary classroom to have a parent volunteer to serve as the Class Champion. This person will work with their child's classroom - or grade level if they choose to work together - to create a silent auction basket. In the past these have included everything from electronics packages, a doggie/pet pampering package, or a home movie night to an area rug, a weekend getaway, and more!

If you have an item to donate to the silent auction you may do so by completing the form below:

classroom champions

We need Classroom Champions in each classroom at the elementary level and each ProTime group in middle school to support communication, drive interest, and keep everyone in “the loop” about the Great Gatherings fundraiser.

What do Classroom Champions do? The responsibilities are largely built around furthering communication to keep everyone informed and making sure this event is a success. We want to make sure everyone is aware of every opportunity to be involved, donate, and support this event and Classroom Champions provide that small, personal community within each classroom/grade and will work together to directly help in making this event a success.

What does this mean? We need communication support! Our primary way to communicate with you will be via email. The main purpose of this position is to provide personal contacts for every class/grade level between families and give everyone that small group feeling. Class Champs will work with classroom teachers to distribute emails about how families can get involved in Great Gatherings as well as assist with preparing a grade level silent auction basket.

If you're interested in becoming a Class Champ, please complete the form below:


This is the second year we will have a raffle as part of our fundraiser. Based on feedback from last year's parent survey, some changes have been made to the raffle. Ticket prices will be reduced to $50 and you can select your chance to win a variety of exciting prizes! Raffle ticket sales will be 100% online this year so we encourage you - as well as your family and friends - to purchase raffle tickets via the link that will be provided soon.


"Gatherings" are the heart of our event. They help us build community within our Immersion Family all year round. Families and individuals sign up to host a Gathering and others have the opportunity purchase a spot at the Gathering and enjoy a fun activity with other Immersion families. Gatherings can be for kids or adults or both. In the past we have had sledding parties, soccer clinics, cooking and baking classes, and even a play date for Immersion Family dogs! This year, Gatherings will be kept to outdoor events, so considering a spring/summer event might be best. Social distancing guidelines for Gatherings should be considered.

Please submit your Gathering at the link below:


Great Gatherings falls at the perfect time of year to begin thinking about holiday decorating making our wreaths a popular item. Wreaths will be ordered for pick up for the holiday season. We encourage family and friends to purchase these beautiful wreaths as well.

A link to order wreaths will be available soon.


Some families are just not into all the hype of a big fundraiser. In that case, maybe making a simple donation is for you. Donations can be made by cash or checks made out to PASI, or through Gracias Giving.



MS/HS council is looking for a middle school parent to be the representative on the MS/HS committee. This person would help communicate information between the school and PASI leadership. If interested, please reach out to Shannon Graber or Danette Saur.


Congrats the Spanish Immersion students that were nominated for homecoming royalty court. Those students are Grant Graber, Elizabeth Jerstad, Anika Nelson at Lincoln High School and Jaden Feterl at Washington High School!

The LHS kids are pictured below. From left to right: Henry Johnson, Queen Elizabeth Jerstad, Grant Graber, Anika Nelson, Elizabeth Dumansky, and Reagan Olivier.

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PASI General Meeting 2

Monday, Oct. 26th, 6:30pm

This is an online event.

If you are a SF school district employee, please use a personal account to log into this meeting. We have had past issues with district employees logging into our Google Meets

Great Gatherings - A Virtual Event

Friday, Nov. 13th, 7pm

This is an online event.