Special Education

We provide a comprehensive program for students with disabilities. Our Special Education Department serves approximately 1,000 children who range in age from birth through 21. All buildings in our District provide special education services. All schools have licensed special education teachers and offer intervention supports, evaluations and special education instruction.

We offer a wide range of service delivery models. Most students receive services in their neighborhood school and, when possible, in their regular class setting. Service models include home-based services for infants and toddlers, 1:1 instruction, small group instruction, instruction in the general education classroom and off-site instruction at Intermediate District 287.

What is Special Education?

Special Education is instruction specific to the child at no cost to parents. The instruction is designed to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. Children must meet specific criteria set by the State of Minnesota and the Federal Government to receive special education services. Special Education is an instructional service, not a place.

Children may qualify for special education services in the following disability categories:

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Great difficulty in communicating and interacting with others, thus interfering with learning and/or relationships at school. Visit the MDE Autism Spectrum Disorders Site

Cognitive Disability

Many difficulties in learning and adapting. The learner experiences a much slower rate of learning.
Visit the MDE Developmental Cognitive Disabilities Site

Developmental Delay

A child up to age seven who is experiencing a measurable delay in development according to diagnostic instruments and procedures. Visit the MDE Developmental Delay site.

Emotional or Behavioral Disorder

Serious problems with behavior, social skills, peer relations, emotional responses, and coping skills which interfere with learning and/or relationships in school.
Visit the MDE Emotional or Behavioral Disorder Site

Hard of Hearing

Hearing loss which interferes with the learner’s performance in school.
Visit the MDE Deaf and Hard of Hearing Site

Other Health Disability

A broad range of medically diagnosed chronic or acute health conditions that greatly interfere with learning. Visit the MDE Other Health Disabilities Site

Physical Impairment

Permanent, severe and acute, or chronic physical conditions which greatly interfere with performance at school. Visit the MDE Physically Impaired Site

Severely Multiply Impaired

Students with severe multiple impairment (SMI) meet the criteria for two or more of six categorical areas: deaf or hard of hearing, physically impaired, developmental cognitive disability (severe/profound), visually impaired, emotional or behavioral disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Visit the MDE Severely Multiply Impaired site.

Specific Learning Disability (SLD)

A large difference or discrepancy between a learner’s intellectual ability and her/his achievement in the areas of reading, math, written expression, oral expression, and/or listening comprehension; a severe underachievement in academic work and severe difficulty in processing information.
Visit the MDE Specific Learning Disabilities Site

Speech or Language Impairment

Great difficulty with speaking, understanding, or using words and sentences in a meaningful way.
Visit the MDE Speech or Language Impairment Site

Traumatic Brain Injury

Permanent and severe injury to the brain occurring after birth, which greatly interferes with learning. Visit the MDE Traumatic Brain Injury Site

Visual Impairment

Loss of vision, visual field cut and/or very poor visual acuity even with correction (glasses), which interferes with learner’s performance in schools. Visit the MDE Blind-Visually Impaired Site