Special Education School

We take pride in our specialty school, which includes residential and day students through age 21. Each classroom at LifeScape is staffed by certified special education teachers and teaching assistants.

Evidence-Based Instruction

We use the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in our daily instruction and support. Our small staff-to-student ratios ensure personal attention. We use the "Essential for Living" curriculum, which measures and tracks progress in communication, behavior, and functional skills for each student. 

Approved by the South Dakota Department of Education

We tailor each student’s learning plan, in education we refer to this as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), to his or her own needs and abilities, using sound scientific principles of instruction. The standards of learning are based on the South Dakota Department of Education Common Core Content Standards.

Extended School Year Program

Every summer, LifeScape has the privilege of serving many additional students from the statewide area in our Extended School Year program (ESY). Click HERE for more information about our ESY program. Our application materials are available HERE.

Interdisciplinary Approach

Each student has an interdisciplinary team to support and develop a specific plan of instruction that meets his or her social, behavioral, and academic needs.

Besides certified teachers, the team may include a school psychologist, music therapist, adapted physical education teacher, computer/technology teacher, speech therapist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, behavior therapist/analyst, social worker, dietitian, nurse, and orthotist. 

The Greatest Expertise in the Region

The school has special education teachers who specialize in teaching children with vision challenges and hearing impairments.

Our staff--administrators, teachers, behavior analysts, psychologists, and therapists--are all certififed in their disciplines.  Many are certified in more than one discipline. 

Community-Based Experiences

Beyond classroom instruction, LifeScape provides many community learning experiences. Students gain functional and social skills for more independent adulthoods.

For information and referrals, contact admissions at 605-444-9550.

Parent Handbooks

Our Education Staff

Vicki Isler, Ed.D., BCBA-D, LBA
Principal/Director of Education, Children’s Residential, and Behavioral Services

Matt Fjerkenstad, BS, Ed. - Assistant Principal

Tammi Waltjer-Haverly, MA - Special Education Coordinator       

Erin Stabnow, Ed.D., BCBA-D, LBA - Curriculum and Assessment Director/Behavior Analyst

Darcie Knight, Ed.S., BCBA, LBA - Education Behavior Coordinator/School Psychologist

Michelle Bohy, MA - Education Program Specialist

Ebony Shephard, LSW, MS - Social Worker

Jamie Richardson, BS - Project Coordinator/LifeScape Center for the Arts

Heidi Bakke - Exceptional Services Facilitator

Alysia Sly, BS - Education Administrative Assistant

Katie Busser, B.Ed. - Teacher   

Christy Chitwood, MA, TCVI - Teacher   

Megan Dowling, MA - Teacher

Christi Dwyer, RN - School Nurse

Kathleen Fitch, BA - Teacher   

Dustin Groen - Teacher Associate   

Annalesha Kalis, BS, Ed. - Teacher

Jenna King - Behavior Specialist

Melanie Kruse, BS - Teacher

Tina Clark, M Ed. - Computer Coordinator

Cherie Ortman, MT-BC - Music Therapist

Katie Pudwill, MA - Pathways to Life Teacher

Heather Rieger, MA - Teacher   

Nicole Seitz, BS - Behavior Specialist

Brittany Sirovy, BS Ed. - Teacher   

Leah Van Tol, BA - Teacher

Jen Vis, BS Ed. - Adaptive Physical Education Teacher

Lisa Vogt, MA - Teacher

Michael Vos, BA - Behavior Specialist

Karin Wiese, BS.Ed. - Teacher  

Jessica Willprecht, RN BSN - School Nurse

Kim Winckler, RN - School Nurse

Anna Winfrey, BS, Ed. - Teacher

Victoria Zuhlsdorf, BS - Teacher

School Calendars

Vocational Training PAES Lab

LifeScape’s PAES (Practical Assessment Exploration System) Lab is a complete program to help older students identify areas of work they may like, and provides training for certain jobs. LifeScape was the first school in South Dakota to invest in this program.

Five Career Areas
The hands-on, simulated work environment provides training in work readiness skills in almost every type of career.  PAES helps students find their interests in five broad areas – Business/Marketing, Construction/Industrial, Consumer/Service, Processing/Production, and Computer/Technology.

Teaching Positive Work Behaviors
PAES also assesses behavioral barriers to successful learning and helps create positive work behaviors that will help students be successful in future work environments.  Through the hands-on learning experience, PAES provides the student knowledge of what they can do well and what they enjoy.
Money Management Training
To complement the PAES lab, LifeScape has purchased two additional curriculums – JOB TALK, a work readiness program, and MoneyManager, which teaches the basics of money management. MoneyManager is used in conjunction with PAES to pay students for their work.
The PAES Lab is a research-based curriculum.  It helps prepare our students for transition to adulthood and meaningful employment.

Weather & Wellness Policies, Comprehensive Plan, & FERPA