The number of students with disabilities in the Sioux Falls School District is growing. 

According to a new report released by the district, there are 203 more students with disabilities in 2016 compared to the previous year. The district is making it its mission to keep up with the increase. 

The district wants more teachers like special education teacher Sarah Henrichs. 

“I was in education and decided to add special education to my degree,” Henrichs said.

She teaches students with a variety of needs in a classroom at George McGovern Middle School. 

“All children have different strengths and weaknesses, but within the self-contained classroom, they vary so much. You just try to get to know each student individually and what would work best for them,” said Henrichs. 

Yet finding those teachers to work with about 15 percent of the student population that’s enrolled in special education, has been difficult for the district. 

“Finding certified special ed teachers has been a challenge, for us for the last two years, our human resource department and special services department work together. We’ve increased our interaction with universities,” Special Services Director Deb Muilenburg-Wilson said.

Within the special education budget, there are some increases to bring in more staff as well as retain. 

“It’s really a multi-faceted approach to try to keep ahead of it all,” said Muilenburg-Wilson. 

With such a large increase, the district said it’s committed to keeping up with the demand. 

“We have to be capable of doing that. That becomes our charge is to continue to look at our systems and our delivery so that we can meet each students needs,” said Muilenburg-Wilson. 

If you’d like to read more of the report as well as hear about the district’s goals, visit the Sioux Falls School District’s website