South Dakota Achieves Highest IDEA Rating for Students with Special Needs

The South Dakota Department of Education has consistently met the requirements for excellence in the delivery of special education services and is currently only one of 12 states across the country to do so. This is a tribute to all South Dakota Schools, public and private.

LifeScape is the state’s largest private special education center and is entrusted by school districts across the state and region to uphold the highest standards of excellence in the provision of special education services. Students enrolled in LifeScape Specialty Schools are placed by their local school districts when it is determined that their educational needs are best met within the LifeScape programs. Students who excel at LifeScape are those with complex learning needs, to include physical, medical, cognitive, and behavioral challenges.

But what makes LifeScape so unique in the area of Special Education?

  • Our faculty, while highly qualified and certified or licensed in their areas of expertise, typically come to us with experience in the field of disabilities prior to their professional roles. For example, of 25 teachers and school administrators, 17 have had experience in a direct care role prior to becoming part of the school faculty, and 12 of those were direct care paraprofessional staff in LifeScape programs.
  • LifeScape as an agency encourages professionals to continually reach for excellence in their fields. The majority of our teaching staff (75%) hold master’s degrees or are enrolled in graduate programs, and 100% of our school administrators hold masters, specialists, or doctorate degrees.
  • We provide comprehensive assessment to students who have had a difficult time participating in traditional assessment methods. This allows for the development of a tailored learning plan unique to each student.
  • We use evidence-based curriculum and teaching methodologies based in the principles of applied behavior analysis. These approaches, implemented within our specialized setting, show an overall student body achievement of 88% progress on their individualized goals.
  • Through the use of a highly qualified and collaborative interdisciplinary team, we ensure consistent communication with our school districts and families regarding successes and challenges. This allows for programs that are adjusted as necessary to meet the needs of the student, ensuring that programming is always effective.
  • In addition to the teaching faculty, support services are delivered by a diversely talented and team of professionals to include licensed occupational, physical, and speech/language therapists, board certified behavior analysts, registered nurses, registered dietitians, school psychologists, licensed social workers, and qualified medical professionals in specialized fields.

LifeScape is proud to be an approved special education program and part of the South Dakota Department of Education. We are pleased to contribute to, and play a small, but important role in the success South Dakota celebrates in educating students with special needs.