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Special Education

We work together with families and member district staff to determine the best learning environment for every child that enrolls to 287. 

Intermediate District 287 serves students in grades K-12, as well as transition age students (18-22 years old), who live in our 12 member school districts located in the West Metro area. We provide an array of services and customized programming to meet the needs of students who receive special education.

Our special education services primarily include two main service delivery models:

  • Federal Setting IV Special Education environments. Within our schools, we provide layers of support, direct and indirect services, and inclusive learning spaces for each student within our programming.

  • Itinerant services provided to students within their home district or within our District 287 sites.  These services are generally provided to students with low incidence disabilities and/or who require related services or specialized supports.  

Referrals are accepted only from our 12 member school districts for our special education programs.

Who We Serve

We are experts at serving the unique needs of students with disabilities. We design and support programming across all 13 disability classifications across our services and programming.  We have experience supporting students with low incidence disabilities, students with multiple disability classifications and needs, and students who need innovative, specialized, and coordinated support.

Innovative Programs

We believe that all students can learn and grow. Students who attend our schools experience an innovative school program where they:

  • Focus on building strong relationships with peers, adults and the community as a whole

  • Experience customized learning with small class sizes and hands-on experiences

  • Experience a warm, safe, and fun learning environment that models a “traditional” school

  • Enjoy a calm learning environment with sensory rooms and unique learning spaces

  • Learn tools for effective social-emotional skills, self-regulation, and self-advocacy

  • Are treated with respect, compassion, and dignity by school staff

Within our Itinerant programming (provided within our schools and within our member districts), students will experience service providers who:

  • Specialize in supporting students with low incidence disabilities such as Blind/Low Vision, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, and students who need related services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech/language therapy.

  • Collaborate with their classroom teachers, specialists, and support staff to promote the student’s full access to educational content throughout their day.

  • Are committed to ensuring the student develops a positive sense of self, feels confident int he gifts they bring and their uniqueness, and has self-advocacy skills to navigate a wide variety of settings at their developmental level.

  • Believe that when we coordinate our efforts and best position our services for student success, we can lay the foundation with the student to grow, thrive, and reach their fullest potential.

Helping Students Grow

Students who attend our schools and programs experience intensive services that support their academic, behavior, and personal growth. Students strengthen and develop important skills related to their bodies, minds, school and social experiences. Students practice skills related to social, emotional, sensory, communication and behavioral development.

Our specialized schools are known for:

  • Expert classroom and educational staff who are experts in special education, mental health, and trauma

  • Specialized support staff such as counselors, mental health staff, nurses, social workers, and psychologists

  • Strong values of restorative justice, positive behavior supports, AVID and racial equity

  • Helping students emotionally regulate so they can access learning

Within our Itinerant programming (provided within our schools and to our member districts), students will experience service providers who:

  • Specialize in and have advanced training meeting the unique needs of students 

  • Deeply believe that each student deserves and is entitled to full access to their educational experience 

  • Provide wrap-round and coordinated support so that each student is seen, valued, and understood. 

Program Selection

Our district and schools have a continuum of programs that support students with varying needs. Within our schools, our goal is always to help students build the skills needed to return to their home district.

We look at all kinds of factors when determining the best placement for a student. We work with the family, home school district, and Individual Education Plan team to create a customized school program for each student. We strive to create classrooms of similarly-aged students that offer varying levels of support.

We value equity and ensure that students are not placed in programs based on race or disability, but rather based on the unique needs of each student. For the itinerant programming, services are provided to the student at one of our schools or are provided to the student within their home school. 

Transitions Program

Intermediate District 287 offers Transition Programs for young adults ages 18-22 to help them meet their maximum potential. Our programs support students who have attended a high school special education program and wish to go on to obtain an Individual Education Plan driven-diploma or to advance their skills in education and training, employment, and independent living.

We empower students to thrive in school, college, career, and life!

Students in our programs:

  • Gain educational, training, and college experiences

  • Explore careers

  • Gain skills to live independently

  • Gain personal and relationships skills, such as independence, self-advocacy, and determination

What makes us unique? 

  • Individualized and holistic student-centered planning (short and long-term)

  • Community partnership with Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) and county social workers to create post-school plans

  • Mental health, behavior and social/emotional supports

  • Higher staff to student ratios

Program Locations


Itinerant Programming

Our itinerant programming provides services to students from birth to age 22. Students within this programming either: attends one of District 287 elementary, middle, high school or transition sites listed above, or attends their home school and the provider travels to the student’s school for services.

Services provided within Itinerant programming include: 

  • Blind and Low Vision Services

    • Teacher of Blind and Low Vision

    • Orientation and Mobility

    • Materials Production including Braille, Enlarged Print, and graphics

  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

    • Teacher of Deaf or Hard of Hearing 

    • Educational Audiologist

    • American Sign Language Interpreter 

  • Physical and Health Disabilities

    • Teacher of Physical and Health Disabilities

  • Communication 

    • Speech and Language Pathologist

    • Assistive and Augmentative Communication

  • Physical Therapist 

  • Occupational Therapy


  • This team of professionals work in collaboration within and across discipline areas and as part of the student’s  IEP team to ensure each student has full access to their programming and receive individualized and well coordinated support.

  • As this team works across the birth to 22 age band, it fosters a robust understanding of student development and helps us design programming appropriate for developmental level, best positions the student for the next developmental stage, and builds the skills needed for post-secondary experiences. 

  • As a team there is a deep belief that we are partners in the work and that as a team we can foster conditions to promote a student’s positive self-identity, a strength to navigate a wide array of experiences to self-advocate to their fullest potential, skills to find partners and allies in the work, and to be a lifelong learner.