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special education

Contact Special Education at Prairie Creek

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA'04) is a federal law that, in combination with Minnesota laws and rules, requires that school districts seek out, identify, and provide special education services to students with disabilities. 

Prairie Creek Community School is committed to the success of all students and takes seriously its mandate to provide a "free and appropriate public education" (FAPE) to students with disabilities. 

What is special education?

"Special education" is instruction, specific to the child, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. It is important to note that students with disabilities are general education students first. They receive special education support services in conjunction with Prairie Creek's general curriculum. Special education is an instructional service, not a place. Specialized instruction and supports are provided as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which addresses a student's unique needs as an aspect of their disability.

Who is eligible for special education services?

Students qualify for special education by meeting specific eligibility criteria, as defined by the Minnesota Department of Education. Students are evaluated by a team of professionals to determine if they qualify in one or more of the following disability areas: 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) 
Deaf-Blindness (DB)
Developmental Cognitive Disability (DCD)
Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (EBD)
Other Health Disabilities (OHD)
Physically Impaired (PI)
Severely Multiply Impaired (SMI)
Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
Speech or Language Impairments (S/L)
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Visually Impaired (VI) 

It is possible to meet the eligibility requirements of a disability and not need special education services. For example, a child with a hearing loss who is succeeding within the general curriculum may not require "specialized instruction." In such instances, the district may still be required to make reasonable adjustments or accommodations to enable that student to access general education services under a Section 504 plan.   

How would my child receive special education services?

Prairie Creek will conduct an evaluation to determine your child's area of special education disability and area(s) of educational need(s) (such as reading, math, and written language). With your input, goals will be written to improve the areas of need identified. These goals will be written into an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Specialized instruction may be provided in the areas of need. Special education areas of need may include these skills: reading, self-help, communication, writing, motor, organizational, math, transition, social, and related servies.

How do I refer my child for a special education evaluation?

When educational concerns are identified by parents or teachers, we develop a Child Study Team (CST) to examine the area(s) of concern, examine current levels of performance in the classroom setting, and use a problem-solving method to identify pre-referral interventions and follow-up plans. The CST reconvenes to examine the intervention documentation. If concerns persist, this team contacts parents to review pre-referral information. The team then determines if an evaluation is needed. If an evaluation is needed, an Evaluation Determination Meeting is held and an evaluation plan is completed. This plan is shared with parents for their written consent. If the referral is not appropriate, alternative options will be recommended. Parent concerns may be made by contacting your child's teacher or Prairie Creek's director. 

What is an IEP?

When a student is eligible for and needs specialized instruction, an Individual Education Program (IEP) plan is developed at an IEP Team meeting. The IEP is a written plan for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised annually through the IEP team process. The IEP team is responsible for determining the appropriate placement of children with disabilities.

Who is involved in the IEP team?

The IEP team is a group of individuals responsible for developing, reviewing, or revising an IEP for a child with a disability.  IEP team members include parent(s), a regular education teacher, a special education teacher, a representative of the school district, and any individuals at the parent or district's discretion who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student.

What are related services?

Related services are a broad array of services that assist a student with a disability to benefit from their program of specialized instruction. Related services includes such things as:

  • adaptive equipment and/or technology
  • audiology
  • occupational therapy
  • orientation and mobility services
  • physical therapy
  • psychological services
  • school social work services
  • special transportation
  • speech/language pathology

Related services are provided if it is determined the child would not be able to meet their instructional goals without this service. Related services can't be provided unless the student is already receiving a special education service in a disability area. The related service is only provided if the student requires the service in order to make progress on IEP/IIIP goals. 

What should I expect if my child receives special education services?

Parents should expect to participate as team members in decisions regarding their child’s special education program. Your child should receive instruction that has been individualized to meet the specific needs of your child. Special education instructors at Prairie Creek will work with regular education teachers to provide the appropriate accommodations and modifications within the regular education setting. Modifications and accommodations can include such things as modified assignments and class notes, as well as other aids to assist students to succeed in school.   

What special education rights do parents have?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) requires procedural safeguards that school districts must follow to protect the rights of parents and children. A copy of those safeguards are given to parents on multiple occasions throughout the special education process, and may be downloaded by clicking on this link:

Notice of Procedural Safeguards

What is the Special Education Advisory Council?

Minnesota law (M.S. 125A.24) requires that each district establish a Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) to provide input to the district's Board of Education and to district administration about policies and decisions that affect children and youth with disabilities. SEAC is composed of parents of children with disabilities, district special education staff, and a representative from each non-public school located within the district.

If you're interested in being involved with SEAC, please contact Prairie Creek's director. 

Who should I contact if I have questions about special education?

Parents, there are a number of people who can assist you with questions. If your concerns are specifically related to the implementation of your child's IEP, you should discuss them with your child's IEP Manager. You might also elect to speak to Prairie Creek's director for questions related to both special and general education.

Restrictive Procedures Plan

Schools that intend to use restrictive procedures are required to maintain and make publicly accessible a restrictive procedures plan for children as outlined in Minn. Stat. § 125A.0942, Subd. 1. 

Restrictive Procedures Plan and related form 1 and form 2

Are there additional resources for parents?

Yes, there are many organizations that provide information and support to parents of children with disabilities. Here are a few:

Parent Advocacy Center for Educational Rights (PACER)

The ARC of Minnesota

Council of Exceptional Children

Minnesota Council for Exceptional Children

Minnesota Parents Know

National  Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Learning Disabilities Association of Minnesota

Children and Adults with Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder

Autism Society of Minnesota