Special Services staff provide specialty and individually designed instruction to enable approximately nearly 4,000 students with disabilities to benefit from their education. The department provides leadership across the District in developing and implementing free appropriate public education programs in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for students representing the full spectrum of disabilities from birth to age 21, including public and private school students. Committees of teachers, parents and other related professionals work together to plan and monitor each student's progress. Services are integrated into each school with a full continuum of program options available throughout the District.

In collaboration with Curriculum Services, parents, teaching staff, and community members, the curriculum is developed, implemented, and revised for students with disabilities. Committees assure the state standards for education are incorporated into each child's plan as appropriate. The Special Services Department provides professional development to assist all staff in becoming more effective in working with students who have learning difficulties.

The early years of a child's life are critically important for learning, and early education provides a foundation for later literacy, academic, and social development. Leadership in curriculum development, instructional delivery, and program management for district-wide Early Childhood programs are part of the Special Services Department.

Child Identification
The Sioux Falls School District provides free, appropriate education for all children with disabilities from birth through age 21. Any eligible child within the jurisdiction of the district, including those enrolled in any public or private agency or school located in the district, should be referred to the office of Special Services, (605) 367-7689.

Referrals For Special Education

A referral for a student that may be in need of special education can be made in writing to the building principal, a special education administrator, and/or the superintendent. Parent/guardians, students (self-initiated), classroom teachers, other district personnel, other public or private schools/agencies, or individuals with the parent/guardian's consent may make the referral to school administration. If the referral is verbally made by the parent, it must be documented by the administrator. In the case of pre-kindergarten-age students, referrals can be made by calling (605) 367-8488, Early Childhood Screening and Evaluation Center, and making an appointment.

The Special Services Department will respond by completing an informed review of information about the student and by providing written notice of the action intended. Comprehensive, multi-disciplinary evaluations are provided by the District with qualified evaluators at no cost to the parent/guardian to determine if the student is eligible for special education and/or related services as outlined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and South Dakota Administrative Rules.

Documents for Public Inspection

The Sioux Falls School District is operating a project in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Any funding applications, evaluations, or reports required by the state for the operation of the project are available for public inspection. Documents are maintained in the Special Services office of the Instructional Planning Center, 201 East 38th Street, and are available during business hours.