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Special Education

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District 196 Special Education is committed to equitable opportunities through high quality practices to accelerate growth for all students.

Equitable opportunities to accelerate growth

We provide a full continuum of services for students with disabilities. Our Special Education Department serves approximately 4,500 students who range in age from birth through 21. All schools in our district provide special education services with licensed special education teachers and offer intervention supports, evaluations and special education instruction.

District 196 offers a wide range of service delivery models. Most students receive services in their neighborhood school and, when possible, in their general education classroom setting. 

Special Education is specialized instruction specific to the student 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. 

To receive special education services, a student must first be evaluated and meet state criteria. Once qualified, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is developed for the student.

Sensory-friendly COVID-19 vaccine clinic is available to families Dec. 18

The Autism Society of Minnesota, Multicultural Autism Action Network and Spero Academy have partnered with Hennepin Healthcare to offer a sensory-friendly COVID-19 vaccination clinic for children and families. 
 

The clinic will include private vaccine areas as well as other accommodations to make your child’s vaccine experience go as smoothly as possible. First vaccines will be available for family members as well as boosters for those who qualify. You must provide proof of vaccine and meet requirements in order to receive a booster.
 

December 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Spero Academy, 2701 California Street NE, Minneapolis (walk-ins welcome, registration recommended)
 

Register for a vaccine appointment


Español: 651-647-1083
Somali: 612-703-9936
Oromo: 612-382-1218

Get Involved

Join the Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) and help advocate on behalf of District 196 learners with disabilities from birth through age 21.
 
 

Contact

Janet Fimmen, 
Director of Special Education

651-423-7629
Janet.Fimmen@district196.org


Location

District 196 Special Education
3455 153rd Street West
Rosemount, MN 55068

Indicators for In-Person Opportunities

state and local guidance

As a district, we rely on guidance provided in the Minnesota Safe Learning Plan and by the Dakota County Public Health Department and state departments of education and health. 

Health and safety

The health and safety of our students, staff and families is our top priority. We have implemented a number of additional health and safety measures and regularly monitor county and district case rates. 

staffing

Our goal is to provide as much in-person learning as possible based on COVID-19 case rates, state guidance and the ability to adequately staff our schools and fill absences.

Special Education programs

A teacher claps and sings along with young children in an early childhood class.

Early Childhood Special Education

District 196 has a comprehensive program of Early Childhood Special Education services for children ages birth through the start of kindergarten. Children ages 3-5 who have cognitive or physical disabilities or developmental delays are served in a variety of welcoming and nurturing educational settings.

The back of a row of graduates wearing black graduation caps.

Dakota Ridge

Dakota Ridge is a school for District 196 students who are enrolled in special education services and face social, emotional and behavioral challenges. Dakota Ridge provides a safe place for students to work on social, emotional and behavioral regulation and increase pro-social behavior.

Transition Plus logo

Transition Plus

The Transition Plus Program is a program for young adults ages 18-21 with special needs, who need assistance and support while pursuing transition goals and objectives. It is a community-based program emphasizing employment and independent living skills.

Work-and-Learn Program

The Work-and-Learn Program provides an affordable, accessible and accelerated program to earn a Minnesota Teaching License and Master’s degree in 2 years. The program, aims to recruit, prepare, retain and support highly qualified paraprofessionals and Tier 1 and Tier 2 teachers on their journey to become a Tier 3 licensed teacher. 

Who should apply? 

Individuals who are dedicated to education, are current or prospective employees of one of the partner districts and have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Learn more about the Work-and-Learn Program. 

Be sure to attend an information session to learn more about this opportunity. 

apply today!

Special Education staff

Andrea Guttormson

Faculty Information

Location(s)
District Service Center
Department(s)
Special Education
Title(s)
Coord of Special Education

Contact Information

School Email
(Primary)
School Phone
651-423-0697
Job Title
Coord of Special Education

Paula Kirschenheiter

Faculty Information

Location(s)
Dakota Valley Learning Center
Department(s)
Early Childhood Special Education
Title(s)
Coord of Special Education

Contact Information

School Email
(Primary)
School Phone
651-683-6969 x76306
Job Title
Coord of Special Education

Jenne O'Neill-Mager

Faculty Information

Location(s)
Transition Plus
Department(s)
Special Education
Title(s)
Program Coordinator

Contact Information

School Email
(Primary)
School Phone
952-431-8991
Job Title
Coord of Special Education

Christine Gorman

Faculty Information

Location(s)
District Service Center
Department(s)
Special Education
Title(s)
Coord of Special Education

Contact Information

School Email
(Primary)
School Phone
651-423-0660
Job Title
Coord of Special Education

Lindsay Engberg

Faculty Information

Location(s)
District Service Center
Department(s)
Special Education
Title(s)
Coord of Special Education

Contact Information

School Email
(Primary)
School Phone
651-423-0690
Job Title
Coord of Special Education

Andrea Engstrom

Faculty Information

Location(s)
Dakota Ridge School
Department(s)
Special Education
Title(s)
Coord of Special Education

Contact Information

School Email
(Primary)
School Phone
952-423-7867
Job Title
Coord of Special Education