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Special Education


The Purpose of the VandenBerge Middle School Special Education Team is:
To meet the needs of our students and help them reach their highest potential based on their own unique strengths, skills, and abilities.

Our teachers and related service specialists provide instruction and support to students with educational needs related to a disability.  We work with students who meet the Minnesota State Criteria for special education services and have an Individual Education Plan (IEP).  Here is some information that may answer a few questions that you have. 

Referral Process:

A referral can be made by a parent, teacher, or school staff member. Interventions through general education teachers are completed prior to a referral to ensure that a special education referral is appropriate. The special education referral process includes a meeting with several members from the special education team based on each child's presenting concerns. The main goal of the meeting is to determine a child's strengths and weaknesses and then decide whether or not to pursue a special education evaluation at that time.  

Special Education Evaluation:

If a special education evaluation is determined to be needed, an evaluation plan is created by the members of the special education team who will be involved. If the child's parent(s) agree with the plan, the special education team has thirty school days from the date the permission form is received to complete the evaluation. The child's parent(s) will be invited to a meeting at the completion of the evaluation in order to discuss their child's results and determine if the child meets the MN criteria for special education services.   

Individual Education Plan (IEP):

Once a child qualifies for special education services, a member of the team (case manager) will develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) based on the educational needs from the evaluation. If the child's parent(s) agree with the goals and objectives of the IEP, a signature is obtained and the IEP becomes a legal document. Changes can be made to the IEP at any time with involvement from the child's parent(s) and case manager. The IEP is good for one calendar year.  An IEP is appropriate until a child’s goals are met.  This legal document can follow and support a student through their college years.

In the state of Minnesota there are thirteen areas of disability which include:

-Autism Spectrum Disorders

-Blind-Visually Impaired
-Deaf and Hard of Hearing

-Developmental Cognitive Disabilities

-Developmental Delay

-Emotional or Behavioral Disorders
-Other Health Disabilities

-Physically Impaired
-Severely Multiply Impaired
-Specific Learning Disabilities
-Speech or Language Impairments
-Traumatic Brain Injury

If you have any questions about special education or the referral process, please contact Crystal Podvin, special education evaluator, at 241-3400 extension 2653 or Laura Bloom, school psychologist, at 241-3400 extension 2671.


Joanna Wuornos x1262



Crystal Podvin x2653


School Psychologist

Laura Bloom x2671


Social Worker

Krista Brannan x2687