Elementary Special Education

Boy Doing Math
Contact Person: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(605) 367-7387


The Elementary Special Education Program offers a full continuum of services to children with special education needs. Each of the 23 elementary schools offers specialized instruction to meet the individualized needs of students eligible for special education. Self-contained RISE sites located at Susan B. Anthony, John F. Kennedy, and Terry Redlin Elementary Schools provide individual, small group and integrated learning experiences. RISE programs are designed to serve students who need instruction focused on core content connectors throughout the school day.

Students are identified through a referral and evaluation process. Each student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) indicates the skill areas to be addressed, the instructional placement and the necessary modifications.

Elementary School Curriculum

Elementary Coordinator

(605) 367-7943
(605) 367-7906

Special Services Supervisor

(605) 367-7963
(605) 367-4638

The elementary education program is designed to provide comprehensive and appropriate instruction to all kindergarten through fifth grade students. All core subjects are aligned to State and District learning standards. Elementary teachers provide instruction in reading/language arts, mathematics, science/health and social studies.

Support interventions are available for students such as Literacy in Action (K-5) and special education services. English Language Learner services provide support for students learning the English language.

Special education offers additional services for elementary students. Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are written for students identified for instructional support in core areas and are served in the resource rooms. RISE sites offer inclusive instruction for students with significant learning delays.

The Elementary Gifted Program provides enrichment and acceleration in math and science for identified students in grades one through five.

All teachers provide sound instruction to students in all subject areas. Many research-based strategies and a variety of tools including technology, are used to actively engage students. The "Four C's" are stressed in all classrooms. They are critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. Students use these four skills on a daily basis in order to succeed in the world today and in the future.


Elementary Schools

Sioux Falls has 23 elementary schools, serving grades K-5. Elementary instruction emphasizes the mastery of basic skills along with respect for one's self and others.

Achieving our mission, to educate and prepare each student to succeed in a changing world, hinges on our ability to continually improve the effectiveness of our schools.

Sioux Falls Public Schools are proud to offer five specialized elementary schools, including: All City Elementary which requires a parent/guardian volunteer commitment, Challenge Center for students in grades 2-5 who meet testing requirements, Eugene Field A+ Elementary featuring Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence, Sonia Sotomayor Spanish Immersion Elementary, and Global Studies at Rosa Parks Elementary. The District has all day kindergarten at its 23 elementary sites and offers a full complement of early childhood and special education services. The Elementary Immersion Center provides basic English instruction to preschool through fifth grade children. Immersion programs are also located in middle and high schools. As students gain English skills, they move from immersion classrooms to standard classrooms, with a variety of support services still available.


One source of data for identifying a school's present status, assessing overall student progress, and planning for continual school improvement is the data profile. Data profile pages include: attendance and enrollment information; student demographics; staffing levels; special program enrollments; District survey results; District, state, and national test result comparisons.

Each school’s data profile is accessed via the school link.

School Improvement Plans

Comprehensive School Improvement Plans provide quality professional development activities that promote research-based strategies to accelerate student learning. Professional development and parent involvement activities are designed and aligned with state standards, district goals/benchmarks, and specific student needs.

Individual School Improvement Plans are accessed via each school’s link.

Spanish Immersion

Sonia Sotomayor Spanish Immersion Elementary School

The specialized language immersion program allows English-proficient students to become bilingual and bi-literate in Spanish. Students attending the immersion program receive all classroom instruction in Spanish beginning in kindergarten. Through exposure to and practice with the language students gain understanding and develop language proficiency. English language arts is introduced beginning in 3rd - 5th grade. Parents of this program agree to read to their child in English for a minimum of 20 minutes a day. Students whose first language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in English prior to enrollment at Sonia Sotomayor.

The application process occurs the year before students enter kindergarten.

Hayward Elementary And Rosa Parks Elementary Dual Immersion Programs

Dual Immersion Program Overview:

The goal of Spanish Dual Immersion is full bilingualism and biliteracy in both Spanish and English for English and Spanish speaking children. Dual Immersion is a distinctive form of immersion education in which balanced numbers of native English and Spanish speakers learn together to read, write, speak and listen in both languages. All academic content is delivered equally across the two languages to students throughout the school day. Students work at the exact same academic level as traditional classroom students. They learn the same content to the same high expectations. In middle school, Dual Immersion students can continue with bilingual instruction, combining with students from the Sonia Sotomayor Elementary Spanish Immersion students.


Who do I contact for more information?
Jeff Sheets, Principal, Hayward Elementary This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (605) 367-4590
Kiersta Machacek, Principal, Welcome to Rosa Parks Elementary This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Do I have to live in the Hayward or Rosa Parks attendance area to enroll in the program?
Families who live in the Hayward or Rosa Parks attendance area have first priority for enrolling in this program. If there is space available after all interested Hayward and Rosa Parks families have enrolled, then families who live outside the attendance area may enroll. If there are more students interested than space available, then students will be selected by lottery. Capacity at Rosa Parks is 50 students. Capacity at Hayward is 40 students.
Can I enroll my 2nd grade child?
Dual Immersion is brand new in 2019-2020 and only kindergarten is available. The program will grow by one grade each year:
1st grade - 2020-2021
2nd grade - 2021-2022
3rd grade - 2022-2023
4th grade - 2023-2024
5th grade - 2024-2025
If I don’t enroll my child as a kindergartener, will I be able to enroll him or her later?
The first consideration will be if there is space available. The second will be maintaining the mix of Spanish-speaking and English-speaking students. The next consideration will be proficiency with Spanish, it is difficult for a student with no Spanish skills to join the program midstream.
What if my student has special needs?
All children have the capacity to become bilingual. Special needs will not prevent your child from being accepted and succeeding in this program.
What happens when my child reaches middle school?
Your child may continue their Spanish instruction by joining the one-way Immersion students from Sonia Sotomayor Elementary. Currently these students go to Edison Middle School. By 2025 when our Dual Immersion students reach Middle School, there may be other locations. There will be a path available for students to continue their immersion experience through high school.
How do students in Dual Immersion programs compare academically to students in other types of educational programs?

Several investigators have examined the reading and math achievement of students in dual language programs at late elementary or secondary levels to determine the long-term impact of Dual Immersion programs (e.g., Cazabon, Nicoladis, & Lambert, 1998; Collier & Thomas, 2004; Howard, Sugarman & Christian, 2003; Kirk-Senesac, 2002; Lindholm-Leary, 2001, 2005).

These studies showed that overall both English language learners and native English speakers made significant progress in both languages; both groups scored at or well above grade level in both languages by middle school; and both groups performed at comparable or superior levels compared to same-language peers in other educational settings.

On norm-referenced standardized tests of reading and math achievement in English, native English speakers outscored their English-only peers in English-only classrooms. English language learners who had learned English in a Dual Immersion program scored significantly higher than their English language learning peers who had studies in other kinds of programs in the state and also performed on a par with native English speaking students in English-only classrooms (Lindholm-Leary, 2004; Lindholm-Leary & Borsato, in press).

When do students perform at grade level on standardized achievement tests in their first and second languages?
Native English speakers tend to perform at grade level in their first language once they have received formal reading instruction through that language, and their achievement is at grade level in the second language typically by third grade, if not sooner.
For English language learners, scores are usually in the average range in their first language by second grade, but as a group they do not achieve at grade level in English until middle school.
Within Dual Immersion programs, how does the academic performance of native English speakers compare to that of English language learners?
Native English speakers typically achieve at higher levels in English than do English language learners (Howard, Sugarman & Christian, 2003). By middle school, native English speakers in Dual Immersion programs on average score above grade level in standardized achievement tests of reading and math, while English language learners on average approach grade level. However, students who begin elementary school as English language learners and develop full oral and reading and writing proficiencies in English often have a mean performance that is as high as or higher than that of native English speakers.