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Students at Dakota Ridge are engaged in standards-based learning and a balanced approach to academics.

Dakota Ridge uses district curriculum, including the Literacy Collaborative, and has a variety of specialists to support student success. Based on each student's level of necessary support, staff at Dakota Ridge collaborates with schools in the district to develop programming for each student. Many students attend Dakota Ridge for part of the day and his or her home-school for the remaining portion. Staff at Dakota Ridge collaborates with other special education teachers as well as general education teachers in the district through creating common assessments and discussions about effective teacher practices. Students at Dakota Ridge participate in either Individual or Group Programming that is decided by the Individual Education Plan (IEP) team:

Individual Programming

The individual program is designated for students who require a high level of adult support to successfully navigate their educational environment. Programming is run by a licensed special education teacher who supervises a team of paraprofessionals to carry out individualized instruction and emotional-behavioral support for each student. Many students who receive individualized programming have specific communication needs. The speech language pathologist, licensed teacher, and paraprofessionals collaborate to properly implement language plans and effectively use communication devices.

Group Programming

The group program is designated for students who can participate in small group instruction. Each classroom has a licensed teacher, two paraprofessionals, and up to 8 students. Students stay with their classroom for all classes at Dakota Ridge, and do not rotate for different subject areas. This helps provide a strong sense of community and predictability in the daily schedule.

Post-High School Planning

High school students and transition-aged students receive instruction specific to job-skills and independent living skills using the Practical Assessment Exploration System (PAES); as well as working with the work-based learning teacher to participate in community outings, pursue outside employment, and explore post-high school options. Some students are able to connect with vocational rehabilitation to access resources through the county.

Classroom Norms

  1. Well-defined expectations
  2. Positive reinforcement and incentives incorporated throughout the day
  3. Field trips to enrich learning
  4. Modified curriculum to promote individual growth
  5. Social skills instruction