Special Education

Special Education

“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 Cologne Academy 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.

For further information about special education at Cologne Academy, please feel free to contact:

Amy Rodelius

Phone #952 466-4004

Lee-Ann Sanborn, Ed.S.
Director of Special Education

612 840-8636

Special Education Services

Cologne Academy’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
. physical therapy
. behavior intervention
. developmental adapted physical education

Eligibility for Special Education Services

Students are found eligible for special education services by meeting specific criteria defined by State and Federal Rules and Regulations.  In order to determine if a student is eligible for special education services, a team conducts a comprehensive evaluation.  Students are found eligible in one or more of the following disability areas:

Autism Spectrum Disorder
Emotional or Behavioral Disorder
Specific Learning Disability
Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Visual Impairment or Blindness
Other Health Disability
Physical Disability
Traumatic Brain Injury
Speech or Language Disorder (Language, Articulation, Voice, Fluency)
Developmental Cognitive Disability

It is possible to meet the eligibility requirements of a disability and not need special education services. For example, a child with a hearing loss who is succeeding in the general curriculum may not require “specialized instruction.” In such instances, the district is still be required to make reasonable adjustments or accommodations to enable that student to access general education services.  In such cases, a Section 504 Accommodation Plan may be developed.

Section 504 Information

Referral for a Special Education Evaluation

Teachers and parents who suspect that a student has a disability that is interfering with academic progress may make a referral for a special education evaluation.  Parents are encouraged to talk to the student’s teacher 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.

CA Special Ed Referral Procedures


Parent’s Rights in Special Education

At least one time per year, Cologne Academy 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 or requested from:

Jami Reinitz:  Special Education Administrative Assistant
Phone #:  952 466-4017

Cologne Procedural Safeguards Part B

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 Cologne Academy, 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.  Cologne Academy does not bill private insurance.

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

Cologne MA Billing Rights 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 Cologne Academy, 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.  Cologne Academy 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.

Cologne Restrictive Procedures Plan Rev

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.  Cologne Academy’s SEAC meets at least one time per year.  The purpose of SEAC at Cologne Academy can be found below:

SEAC Purpose


If you are interested in becoming an active member of the Parent Advisory, please contact Amy Rodelius.


Phone #952 466-4004


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

Cologne TSES