Special Education FAQs

What is Special Education?
Special education programs and services in the Robbinsdale Area Schools are designed to meet the needs of students with a variety of identified special needs from birth through age 21. The main purpose of special education is to develop the mental, physical, social and emotional abilities of children and youth to enable them to function successfully in the educational setting and make a successful transition into the adult world.

Special education programs require parents to participate in making decisions regarding the individually designed educational program for their child. If a parent is not available, a surrogate parent will be appointed.

Each Individual Education Program (IEP) is designed by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals, and the parents. The mission of this team is to consider the unique needs of the student, the assessment information, and the contributions of parents and other team members in order to design an individual education program that can be provided in the least restrictive environment possible. In other words, the team strives to include the student in the mainstream of education to the greatest extent possible while providing an appropriate and positive experience.

What is an Individual Education Program (IEP)?
Individualized Education Program, or an IEP, is a written plan developed for a student annually.  The plan is mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  An IEP is based on an evaluation of a student's performance, presenting problems and efforts on learning in appropriate settings.  It includes a description of the following:

  • Student's current level of performance
  • Student's needs determined in a team process
  • An identification of appropriate goals and objectives
  • A description of special education services designed to help the student accomplish their goals and objectives
  • A description of the environment in which services will be provided
  • A schedule for progress reporting
  • Criteria for evaluating the student's

What happens when a child is referred?
A student may be referred by a staff member in Robbinsdale Area Schools or by a parent. Prior to referral, purposeful accommodations must be made and interventions tried in the regular classroom. If documented interventions have been unsuccessful, a referral to the student assistance team may be made.

The referral is made - in writing - to the principal or to the student assessment team. The written referral asks the team to review the student's school performance to determine if a special education assessment is necessary.

If it appears there is need for an individual assessment, a case manager is assigned and areas to be assessed are determined.

A parent must approve the initial assessment plan by signing the Notice of an Educational Evaluation/Reevaluation (NEER). The assessment must be completed within 30 school days from the date the written consent is received by the case manager.

Parents have a right to object to the assessment plan in writing. A document entitled “Notice of Procedural Safeguards--Parental Rights for Public School Special Education Students” will be given to parents with the initial assessment request.

Upon completion of the assessment, the resulting data is analyzed by the team and a determination is made as to whether or not the student qualifies for special education services.

Parents are sent a notice of a program planning conference (Notice of Team Meeting) at which the assessment results and recommendations for programs and services are discussed. If the student qualifies for special education services, decisions will be made during the conference regarding the following:

  • Description of needs and services to be provided
  • Goals and objectives
  • Amount of service time to be provided
  • Names and titles of personnel responsible
  • Date for a periodic review

An Individual Education Program (IEP) will be developed and approved by the parent to be in effect for no more than 12 months, though amendable at any time.

What programs are available for students placed in Special Education?
Robbinsdale Area Schools provides programs and services in the following special education categories:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Deaf/Blind (DB)
  • Developmental Adapted Physical Education (DAPE)
  • Developmental Cognitive Disability (DCD)
  • Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)
  • Emotional or Behavioral Disorders (EBD)
  • Hearing Impaired (HI)
  • Other Health Disabilities (OHD)
  • Physically Impaired (PI)
  • Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
  • Speech or Language Impairments (SLI)
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Visually Impaired (VI)

What other support services are available?
The following support services may be used to assist in delivery of instruction or related services:

  • Braillists
  • Interpreters
  • Special Transportation
  • English as a Second Language
  • Extended School Year
  • Behavior Intervention Plans
  • Assistive Technology

Who will work with a student placed in Special Education?
A variety of primary and support services are available. These services are based on the individual needs of each student.

Specialists on staff include:

  • General Education Teachers
  • Licensed Special Education Teachers
  • Speech/Language Clinicians
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • School Nurses
  • Developmental Adapted Physical Education Teachers
  • School Psychologists
  • School Social Workers
  • Behavior Specialists
  • Teachers of the Vision or Hearing Impaired
  • Autism Specialists
  • Physically Impaired Specialist