Special Education

We provide a comprehensive program for students with disabilities. Our Special Education Department serves approximately 1,300 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.

Special Education is specialized 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.

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 as determined by the student's individual education planning (IEP) team.

Our Vision for Student Support Services and Special Education

  • Responsibility for all students to reach their full potential is shared by all.
  • High expectations; academic and behavioral, are maintained for all students.
  • All students are provided access to our core curriculum.
  • All students are valued members of the school community and
  • A positive climate exists to provide a sense of belonging for all learners.

We will work collaboratively with all staff, students and families, to provide the best supports and services that will enable students to thrive in the Least Restrictive Environment.

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

Related Services

Minnetonka Public School District offers Special Education Services including related services if needed to assist the student in benefiting from specialized Instruction.

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech/Language Therapy
  • Developmental Adaptive Physical Education
  • Physical Therapy
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing, and Educational Audiologist
  • Augmentative Communication
  • Assistive Technology
  • Physical/Other Health Impaired
  • Vision, Orientation and Mobility
  • Social Work and Health Services
  • Transportation

Child Find and Identification for Special Education Services

The district’s identification system is developed according to the requirement of nondiscrimination as Minnetonka Public Schools does not discriminate in education on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, or disability.

Minnetonka Public Schools has developed systems designed to identify pupils with disabilities beginning at birth, pupils with disabilities attending public and nonpublic schools, and pupils with disabilities who are of school age and are not attending any school.

Infant and toddler intervention services under United States Code, title 20, chapter 33, section 1431 et seq., and Code of Federal Regulations, title 34, part 303, are available in Minnetonka Schools to children from birth through two years of age who meet the outlined criteria.

Minnetonka Public Schools Total Special Education Plan (TSES)

This document serves as the Total Special Education System Plan for Minnetonka Public Schools in accordance with Minnesota Rule 3525.1100. This plan also includes an assurance for compliance with the federal requirements pertaining to districts’ special education responsibilities found in United States Code, title 20, chapter 33, sections 1400 et seq., and Code of Federal Regulations, title 34, part 300.

Download the plan


Contact Us

Michelle Ferris

Michelle Ferris
Executive Director of Student Support Services
Michelle.Ferris@minnetonkaschools.org
952-401-5017

Christine Breen

Christine Breen
Director of Student Support Services
Groveland, Scenic Heights, MHS
christine.breen@minnetonkaschools.org
952-401-5036

Mandy Kasowicz

Mandy Kasowicz
Supervisor of Student Support Services
Deephaven, MME, MMW
mandy.kasowicz@minnetonkaschools.org
952-401-5042

Kristin Laughlin

Kristin Laughlin
Supervisor of Student Support Services
Email Kristin Laughlin
952-401-5045

Angie Kleinedler

Angie Kleinedler
ECSE and Related Services Coordinator
Email Angie Kleinedler
952-401-6808

Annie Lumbar Bendson

Annie Lumbar Bendson
District Health Services Coordinator
Email Annie Lumbar Bendson 
952-401-5992


Staff Directory