Special Education Department-Richfield Campus

Special Education Department-Upper School

Welcome to the Special Education Department of Seven Hills Preparatory Academy-Richfield Campus!

The Special Education department implements programs that have been developed to assist students who are eligible for services according to Minnesota eligibility criteria.  According to Minnesota statutes, a child with a disability means a child identified under federal and state special education law as having a hearing impairment, blindness, visual disability, speech or language impairment, physical disability, other health impairment, mental disability, emotional/behavioral disorder, specific learning disability, autism, traumatic brain injury, multiple disabilities, and a deaf and blind disability and needs special education and related services.  Once a child has been evaluated and identified as having an educational disability, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is created based on the student’s learning needs.  The IEP team works collaboratively throughout the school year to ensure the student is making adequately yearly progress.  The IEP team meets at least once a year to update the student’s learning goals and objectives.

Disabilities which may require Special Education services are defined below:

Specific Learning Disability (SLD)

A child has a significant difference or discrepancy between his/her intellectual ability and his/her achievement in the areas of reading, math, written expression, oral expression, and/or listening comprehension; severe underachievement in academic work and severe difficulty in processing information.

Emotional or Behavioral Disorder (EBD)

A child has exhibited significant concerns for six months or more with behavior, social skills, peer relations, emotional responses and coping skills which interfere with learning and/or relationships in school.  These concerns may be a sudden crisis that causes danger to the child or others.

Speech or Language Impairment

A child exhibits great difficulty speaking, understanding, or using words and sentences in a meaningful way.

Developmental Cognitive Disabilities (DCD)

A child exhibits multiple difficulties in learning and not showing skills of independence usually expected at the child’s age.  The student experiences a much slower rate of learning.

Visually Impaired

A child has experienced a loss of vision, visual field acute and/or very poor visual acuity even with correction (glasses), which interferes with the student’s performance in school.

Physically Impaired

A child has experienced a permanent, severe and acute, or chronic physical condition diagnosed by a physician which greatly interferes with performance in school.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

A child has great difficulty in communicating and interacting with others which interferes with learning and/or relationships at school.  These significant difficulties are usually first observed at an early age.

Traumatic Brain Injury

A child has experienced a permanent and severe injury to the brain occurring after birth, which greatly interferes with learning.

Other Health Disability

A child exhibits a broad range of chronic or acute health conditions diagnosed by a physician that greatly interferes with learning.

Deaf-Hard of Hearing

A child experiences a hearing loss ranging so severe that it impairs the processing of linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification.  This includes hearing impairment, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects educational performance but is not included under the definition of deafness.

Deaf Blind

A child experiences concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational concerns that the individual cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or blindness.

Meet the Special Education team

Kate Docken Special Education Director

Laura Christoff-Doyle Special Education Teacher-Middle School

Dennis Walsh Special Education Teacher-Middle School

Sianna Banham Special Education Teacher-Elementary School

Dianna DiPalermo Occupational Therapist

Sarah Lenz  Speech and Language Pathologist

Linda Tickle School Psychologist

Jill Johnson Special Education Nurse

Brittney Keating School Counselor and Behavior Specialist

Elementary School Educational Assistant

  •  Ann Bennet
  • Sara Carson
  • Zamzam Hashi
  • Mark Sorvari

​Middle School Education Assistants

  • Molly Doyle
  • Alex Herrera
  • Ayan Ibrahim
  • Chris Plog
  • Jonika Riggins
  • Alexa Spangrud
  • Levi Spangrud
  • Danielle Sweany                                                       

Total Special Education System Manual (TSES)

Seven Hills Preparatory Academy's Total Special Education System (TSES) manual provides the school district with the federal and state requirements in the area of Special Education and due process of the law.  Examples of policies and Individualized Education Plan and related documents are provided.  Please see attached chapters 1-15.  For questions, please contact Kate Docken at 612-314-7600 or akdocken@shpamn.org.

Please see the "Files & materials" tab above for the TSES Downloads.


PACER is the Minnesota Parent Training and Information Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs



PACER Simon Technology  Center



OSERS  is the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services of the U.S. Government



Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports



Minnesota Department of Education Special Education Programs


Minnesota STAR  Assistive Technology Program



LD OnLine 



National Center for Learning Disabilities


Minnesota Association of Children's Mental Health



SEAC Special Education Advisory Council

Minnesota StatuteMinnesota law requires each school district in the state to have a special education advisory council (SEAC). Here is what the statute says:

125A.24 Parent advisory councils.

In order to increase the involvement of parents of children with disabilities in district policy making and decision making, school districts must have a special education advisory council that is incorporated into the district's special education system plan.

(1) This advisory council may be established either for individual districts or in cooperation with other districts who are members of the same special education cooperative.

(2) A district may set up this council as a subgroup of an existing board, council, or committee.

(3) At least half of the designated council members must be parents of students with a disability. When a nonpublic school is located in the district, the council must include at least one member who is a parent of a nonpublic school student with a disability, or an employee of a nonpublic school if no parent of a nonpublic school student with a disability is available to serve. Each local council must meet no less than once each year. The number of members, frequency of meetings, and operational procedures are to be locally determined.

TSES 2016-2017