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.
Indicators for In-Person Opportunities
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.