The Sioux Falls School District recognizes the needs for and benefits of implementing alternative school models to provide families and students with choice.

Click here for Specialized Programs Fee Busing information.

Specialized schools are created around a specific subject area(s). All specialized schools continue to teach the core basic standards through lessons with a specific academic focus. Examples of this type of specialized school within the Sioux Falls School District are:

All City Elementary (ACE) This school has the belief that children benefit most when their parents/guardians are actively involved in their education.
Eugene Field A+ Elementary School This school integrates the fine arts into all instruction.
Challenge Center This school provides an enriched and accelerated learning academic environment for all identified students.
Challenge Center Application
Rosa Parks Global Studies Elementary School Students develop a greater knowledge of other countries and continents through classroom lessons and service learning projects that increase their sense of responsibility and care for others both here and around the world. Each grade, Kindergarten through Fifth, studies a specific continent or country.

Anne Sullivan Elementary,
Hayward Elementary, and
Lowell Elementary

Computer Science Immersion
All students in kindergarten through fifth (5th) grade are engaged in computer science instruction integrated with their core content to develop the confidence, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills critical to success in a changing world.
Spanish Immersion
Dual Immersion Program

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.

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.