The Studio School Special Education Department is a team of professionals dedicated to assuring a free, appropriate, public education for all students in the least restrictive environment. “Special education” is instruction specifically designed for a student with a disability to meet their unique needs at no cost to parents.  

Celebrating every student's unique abilities to actively participate in and contribute to our learning community
is important to us.
 Therefore, Special education at The Studio School is an instructional service, not a place. Specialized instruction and supports are provided to students through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan, which addresses the student’s unique needs.


Sometimes we all need a little help. Any student who is experiencing difficulty in their classes, no matter the cause or whether they qualify for an IEP or 504 plan or not, will receive assistance from their caring teachers, counselors, and school administrators. This collaborative, proactive learning support process is designed to assist ALL Studio School students in achieving success, and to ensure every student is post-secondary ready. This guide helps staff identify and enact research-based strategies focused on assisting students to overcome specific learning obstacles.


In order to qualify for special education services, a student needs to be evaluated and meed criteria for a specific disability area as outlined by the Minnesota Department of Education. In addition, evidence must demonstrate that a student's disability impacts their academic achievement that requires a need for special education services.


Some students will have a medical diagnosis but will not demonstrate an educational need and would not qualify. Some students will qualify for an educational diagnosis but will not have a medical diagnosis.


The recognized disabilities in Minnesota currently are:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Blind or Visually Impaired

  • Deaf and Blind

  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing

  • Developmental Adaptive Physical Education

  • Developmental Cognitive Disability

  • Developmental Delay (ages birth through 7)

  • Emotional or Behavioral Disorders

  • Other Health Disabilities

  • Physically Impaired

  • Severe Multiple Impairments

  • Specific Learning Disability

  • Speech Language Impairment

  • Traumatic Brain Injury


It is important to note that students with disabilities are general education students first. Students receive special education services in collaboration with Studio School general education teachers and curriculum.  


Students with IEP and 504 Plans are provided with accommodations in the classroom, and students with IEPs

may also be provided with modifications to the curriculum as indicated by the student's individual needs assessment. The Studio 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


Parents and teachers who have concerns that a student may have a disability which is interfering with their learning may make a referral for a special education evaluation. Parents are encouraged to talk to their child’s teachers and/or advisor(s) if they want to discuss a referral for a special education evaluation. Referrals are then brought to the CARES 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 being conducted.


The Studio School TSES Manual is required by Minnesota Rule 3525.1100 which assures the district is in compliance with state and federal requirements pertaining to the district’s responsibilities and the provision of special education services.


This manual outlines the policies and procedures for our Special Education Department and 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

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


(Download available soon!)


What is Special Education?

This document contains much of the same information as this page but in a printable format.


The Studio School CARES Academic Support Process

This collaborative, proactive learning support process is designed to assist ALL Studio School students in achieving success, and ensures that every student is post-secondary ready. This guide helps staff identify and enact research-based strategies focused on assisting all students in overcoming specific learning obstacles. 


Procedural Safeguards for Parents

At least once per year, The Studio School must provide parents with a written summary of their rights regarding their child who is receiving Special Education services. This document contains details about this notice and describes the rights of parents with a child with a disability, as well as the procedures that ensure a free and appropriate public education.

Studio School Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC)
Minnesota law (M.S. 125A.24) requires that each school district establish a Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC, pronounced "seek") to provide input to the district’s Board of Directors and administration about policies and decisions that affect children and youth with disabilities. SEAC will be composed of parents of children with disabilities and district special education staff.  The Studio School’s SEAC will meet twice per year in October and April. The purpose of SEAC at The Studio School can be found here. (Coming soon!)


Parent's Guide to Special Education Advisory Councils

This guide is for parents who elect to participate on our SEAC. The guide is authored by PACER Center, a group that provides guidance to parents about special education issues. PACER's purpose is to advise and advocate, not to decide policy.


Medical Assistance (MA) Rights Handout

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 The Studio 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. The Studio School does not bill private insurance.

The Studio School Annual MA Letter (coming soon)

Restrictive Procedures Information (coming soon)



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