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Special Education Services

“Special education” is instruction, specific to the student, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a student with a disability. Special education is an instructional service, not a place. Specialized instruction and supports are provided through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) plan, which addresses the student’s unique needs related to his or her disability.

It is important to note that students with disabilities are general education students first. Students receive special education services in collaboration with MN New Country School general education teachers and curriculum. Students with IEPs are provided with accommodations in the classroom and modifications to the curriculum as indicated by the student’s individual needs.

MN New Country School’s special education program provides a continuum of services and access to an array of services including, but not limited to:

  • specialized instruction proved by special education teachers licensed in a wide range of disabilities

  • school social work services

  • occupational therapy

  • speech/language therapy

  • developmental adapted physical education

Teachers and parents who have concerns that a student may have a disability that is interfering with academic program may make a referral for a special education evaluation. Parents are encouraged to talk to the student’s advisor(s) if they want to discuss a referral for a special education evaluation. That referral will be brought to the special education team for follow up and planning. Teachers may also make referrals for a special education evaluation, which may include implementing academic or behavioral interventions prior to the special education evaluation being conducted.

For further information about special education services, please feel free to contact:

Katie Zehowski - Director of Special Education

Designs for Learning

[email protected]

Important information for parents regarding special education:

Parent’s Rights in Special Education

At least one time per year, MN New Country School must provide parents with a written summary of their rights regarding their child who is receiving special education services. A copy of these rights can be accessed here (Procedural Safeguards) or request them from:


Tania Waetjen - Special Education Administrative Assistant

Phone #: 507-248-3353, ext 237

[email protected]

Billing Medical Assistance (MA)

All Minnesota school districts and public charter schools are required to attempt to collect reimbursement for some special education services for children who are eligible for Medical Assistance or MN Care. Examples of services that could be billed include occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, some paraprofessional services, and special transportation. If a student is new to MN New Country School, permission to bill MA will be requested. Permission is required only once.

The Medical Assistance billing that schools submit in no way affects the benefits of the family or the individual child. MN New Country School does not bill private insurance.

A link to a Parent Information Sheet can be found below.

MNCS Annual MA Letter

Medical Assistance Rights Handout

Restrictive Procedures

In Minnesota, a school may use a restrictive procedure in the event of an emergency. An emergency means that a child’s behavior in the moment has placed him or her or others at imminent risk of injury. There are two allowable restrictive procedures in the State of Minnesota – physical holding/restraint and seclusion. At MN New Country School, only physical holds are used; there are no seclusion rooms and seclusion is never used. A physical hold can only be used by a person specifically trained and only as a last resort to divert the student from the behavior in the moment. MN New Country School staff have used physical holding on rare occasions. All incidents are reported to parents when they happen and to the MN Department of Education each year.

Because physical holding has been used over the past year, the District is required to have a plan and make that plan available to parents.

Please use this link to get a copy of MN New Country’s Restrictive Procedures Plan:

MNCS Restrictive Procedures Plan Rev1

Special Ed. Advisory Council (SEAC)

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 and district special education staff. MN New Country School’s SEAC meets twice per year in October and April. A link to what the purpose of SEAC is at MN New Country School can be found below:


Total Special Education System (TSES) Plan

The TSES is a plan required by Minnesota Rule 3525.1100 that assures the district is in compliance with state and federal requirements pertaining to the district’s responsibilities and the provision of special education services. The TSES plan includes:

  • the district’s referral process, including referral to special education by parents

  • the district’s procedures for identifying and evaluating student suspected of having a disability

  • methods used for evaluating students suspected of having a disability

  • methods the district uses for providing special education services and the services that are available

  • description of the Special Education Advisory Committee as required to encourage parent participation in district special education decision making

MNCS TSES 2022-2023

Appendix A-MNCS Referral Procedures

Appendix B-MNCS Procedural Safeguards

Appendix C-MNCS SEAC Purpose

PACER Center information about Parent Advisories

504 Plans

Minnesota New Country School is committed to providing a free and appropriate public education to all students. Students who have a diagnosed medical condition identified to be a disability may be eligible for certain protections under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Schools are required to provide access to education for all students, and to make available reasonable accommodations to a student’s educational program or setting. If a student is eligible under Section 504, a Section 504 Plan will be developed by the student’s team which includes: parents, student (if appropriate), and other knowledgeable school personnel.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (34 C.F.R. Part 104) is a federal civil rights statute that assures individuals will not be discriminated against based on their disability. All school districts that receive federal funding are responsible for the implementation of this law. This law protects a student with an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, whether the student receives special education services or not.

Examples of physical or mental impairments that may be covered under Section 504 include: epilepsy, AIDS, allergies, vision impairment, broken limbs, cancer, diabetes, asthma, temporary condition due to accidents or illness, ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, autism, depression, intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Examples of major life activities that can be affected by the student’s disability include: learning, thinking, concentrating, reading, speaking, walking, breathing, sleeping, caring for oneself, as well as major bodily functions, including brain function, immune system function, or digestive functions. This is not an exhaustive list.

For more information on 504 plans please contact: Cassie Vogt ([email protected])