Students are referred for admission to the SDSBVI through their local public schools. When a placement team, including the parents, local school district representatives and others as desired, has evaluated a child with a visual impairment and determined that an appropriate educational program cannot be provided within the local school district, placement may be requested at the SDSBVI. Upon receipt of a referral the SDSBVI Admissions Committee reviews the request and all available student data. If necessary, additional evaluations are requested or observations of the child are conducted.

The SDSBVI Admissions Committee makes its recommendation based upon the child's visual status, identified needs, program requested by the local placement team, child's medical status, and availability of dormitory rooms. The Superintendent reviews the recommendation and contacts the parents and local school. Each placement is based on the child's needs at a given point in time, and none run beyond one year.  Placement options include day program, either full-time or part-time, or residential, and a combination of services provided by the Aberdeen public and parochial school systems, Northeastern Mental Health Center, Lutheran Social Services, SPURS, Avera, Sanford, Aspire Inc., and other local providers the team may select.  Home school districts are responsible for any services not provided by SDSBVI employees.

The first few weeks of any placement is a time we have designated for our staff to get to know the student and for the student to become acquainted with our school. During this time we will also finalize the student's schedule which will include any related services.  If needed, a follow-up meeting will be scheduled with parents and school representatives to review the program to make any changes to the current Individual Education Plan (IEP), and determine the most appropriate placement.  This plan is reviewed at least annually and the child's need for continued services is assessed.

For more information or to make a referral, please contact Dr. Jessica Vogel at 605-626-2580 or 1-888-275-3814 or by email at