Special Education

Students in special education have a disability and are in need of specialized instruction. A comprehensive evaluation, conducted by a team from the public school, evaluates and identifies these students. For every student who needs special education services, the team develops a special document called an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

As we deal with COVID-19, families of Minnesota students with disabilities need extra help to stay connected to school and learning while also staying safe and healthy at home. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is providing guidance to help you and your student:

COVID-19 Resources for Families of Students with Disabilities

Parent Guidance Related to Due Process During the Distance Learning Period

Person-Centered Planning

Students and others with disabilities have the same rights and responsibilities as other people. They control their own lives, make their own choices and contribute to their community. Person-centered practices focus on interests, needs, strengths and dreams. Using the best information, person-centered practices empower individuals to make informed choices about where they will learn, work, live and play. Learn more about how person-centered planning helps people with disabilities be active members of their home, school and community.

Person-Centered Practices and Interagency Coordination Capacity Building Cohorts forming for 2021-24: respond by September 24, 2021 to express interest

We are looking for interagency teams that want to improve outcomes through:

  • Better serving children/youth with disabilities and their families by embedding more person and family-centered practices into their work.
  • Increasing coordination with other agencies (schools, health, social services, vocational rehabilitation services (VRS), etc.) and raising awareness of services available to support young people in planning for their lives.

The Minnesota Olmstead Plan and the person-centered Charting the LifeCourse Framework outline how families, students and all people have the right to “live, love, work, play and pursue their best lives in their community.” The Minnesota Person-Centered Practices Interagency Team will partner with your school and local community agencies to integrate person-centered, interagency practices according to your priorities and needs. Cohort members will build capacity at the system and individual team levels and enhance student and family engagement in services and supports. The team will customize activities, outcomes and populations that can be explored through this project. The state team offers $2,000 per year as well as coaching, training and consultation on person-centered and interagency practices and implementation strategies.

View a captioned video with an overview of the cohort plan on YouTube. Please contact Sue Benolken (sue.benolken@state.mn.us) if you have questions or are interested in participating.

Interagency Person-Centered Individualized Education Program (IEP) Pilot

The Interagency Person-Centered IEP is a model that coordinates efforts across home, school and community to improve outcomes and engagement of children/youth and their families and effective interagency partnerships with:

  • Support for active interagency system leadership teams.
  • Planning protocols to support coordination of services around individual students and their families.
  • Tools for enhancing students’ strengths and interests in an IEP.

These practices help multiple agencies/programs work together to improve services and outcomes for families and their children and youth with disabilities and mental health concerns. Person-centered practices empower students with disabilities and their families to make decisions about their own lives.

The Individual Education Program (IEP)

The IEP outlines the unique needs of the student and the specialized goals and objectives that will help the student make educational progress. Parents are a critical partner in every phase of identifying a student for special education and in establishing the IEP.

The information in this section guides parents and educators through the special education process. Here you will find resources and programs for helping students who may not be able to do some things children of the same age can do, including information on IEPs and other tools, bullying, parental rights, resolving disagreements between parents and educators, program monitoring, and supports for special and general education students.

This page is a place for you to begin. The documents here may include links to other sections of our website related to special education in Minnesota.

District and school staff: Find special education administration, compliance and resources on the Districts, Schools and Educators > Special Education webpage.
  •  - 2/2/17
    Compilation of parental rights topics with links to relevant state statutes and rules.