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Special education services in Intermediate School District 917 serve the students from member school districts in a variety of programs targeted to meet a range of needs in an efficient and cooperative manner. 

Dakota Alternative for Severely Handicapped or DASH program provides services to students, ages 3 through 21, who present with severe to profound Developmental Cognitive Disabilities and may have multiple disabling conditions which require nursing care during the school day.  The program focuses on communication, social, motor, and daily living skills as well as functional academics. A full range of related services including a speech/language, adapted physical education, occupational and physical therapy as well as other specialists are available, as determined by the IEP team.  In this setting students also utilize assistive technology to support their IEP goals. The current DASH Program sites include Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, Lakeville North High School in Lakeville and three Hastings locations, Christa McAuliffe Elementary, Hastings Middle School and Hastings High School.

Special education services are provided to students enrolled in the Dakota Alternative Learning School (DCALS) as determined by students’ individualized education plans.

Resource programs are provided for students that are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) through Intermediate School District 917.  Students who attend a resource program receive a significant portion of the academic instruction from a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing in a self-contained classroom.  The languages of instruction used include American Sign Language and English via cued English.  Students are included in general education classes as appropriate.  Support services including speech and language therapy, audiology and interpreting/transliterating are available as needed.  Resource programs are currently located at Gideon Pond Elementary in Burnsville and Century Middle School in Lakeville.

The Intra Dakota Education Alternative (IDEA) is a program that focuses on the development of appropriate skills that will allow students to function successfully in the general education setting.  Students served in this program most often are students with Emotional Behavior Disorders (EBD).  The program also serves a number of students with Other Health Disabilities (OHD).  Programming is offered in a number of locations.  Alliance Education Center is Rosemount currently has seven classrooms dedicated to the IDEA program.  There are also programs at Pine Bend Elementary in Inver Grove Heights, McGuire Middle School and Lakeville North High School in Lakeville, Farmington and Apple Valley.

Intermediate School District 917 delivers educational services at the Juvenile Service Center (JSC) in Hastings through an agreement with Hastings Public Schools and Dakota County.  Programming is offered for New Chance as well as Riverside.

Program Alternative for Communication, Education and Socialization or PACES program is designed to meet the needs of students who present with deficits related to their Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Developmental Cognitive Disabilities (DCD), and related neurobiological disorders. The program addresses the educational and environmental needs through a highly structured environment, with a low student/staff ratio.  A focus of the program is to develop positive social skills and strategies for interacting in the school and community setting.  This includes identifying and implementing tools and strategies to address sensory needs. The curriculum emphasizes the development of functional skills and academics, communication and social skills, daily living/life skills, vocational preparation, recreation and leisure. The current PACES program sites include Meadowview Elementary and Boeckman Middle Schools in Farmington, Lakeville North High School in Lakeville and at the East Valley Plaza in Apple Valley.

Students in the SUNStudents with Unique Needs program fall into a variety of disability categories including Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Developmental Cognitive Disabilities (DCD) and Emotional Behavioral Disorders (EBD).  Programming is focused on a small staff to student ratio.  This program offers students the opportunity to work on academics as well as functional, transition and social skills.  Additionally students participating in SUN Works gain valuable work experience.  The SUN program also works in cooperation with various public and private agencies to meet students’ individual needs.  Programming is located at Alliance Education Center in Rosemount, Nicollet Jr. High in Burnsville and also in a more individualized setting at our satellite location in Apple Valley.

The Therapeutic Education Alternative (TEA) program provides therapeutic interventions by specially trained professionals for students in grades 5-8 to enable students to more successfully access their educational opportunities. 

Transition Education Service Alternative or TESA program is located at the Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount and addresses the transition needs of young adults, ages 18-21, in the areas of independent living, employment and post secondary training and education. Staff, students, families and community providers work together to identify the student’s unique strengths, interests and learning styles and develop a plan to provide instructional and community opportunities to meet their transition needs. Areas addressed may include independent living skills, employment skills, academic or functional skills, communication and social skills, community resources, self advocacy, and post secondary planning. For those students considering post secondary education following graduation, there are also opportunities to build their skills in preparation for college, including understanding the resources and supports available through disability services. 

At West Heights Alternative Learning Center (WHALC) special education services are provided to students enrolled in WHALC as determined by students’ individualized education plans.

Intermediate School District 917 delivers educational services at the Youth Transition Program (YTP) in Burnsville.