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Special Education Classroom Types

Ark Valley Special Education Cooperative offers a variety of Special Education Classroom Types for students from preschool through age 21. Placement into these classrooms is determined by the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and team decision at the IEP meeting. The least restrictive environment is always considered and how to best serve each student’s individual needs.

Instructional Support

Students served in an Instructional Support classroom setting include students with mild to moderate disabilities, such as learning disability, other health impairment, autism, mild intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury, etc.  The academic and behavioral needs of the students can typically be met using the general education curriculum presented through specially designed instruction.  Accommodations and modifications may be needed in order for the student to access the curriculum.

Mixed Abilities

A student may attend a Mixed Abilities classroom for a variety of reasons.  They may need intensive support and predictable, consistent routines and structure throughout the school day to engage in learning activities in the areas of communication, social skills, academic tasks, and behavior management. Students in the classroom may exhibit a rigid regimen of thought and behavior, have limited imaginative play, limited functional verbal or non-verbal communication skills, and difficulty in understanding emotions, gestures or ideas of others, which greatly hampers social relationships or successful spontaneous interactions in all environments.  Students may also demonstrate significant delays across multiple areas that require learning through the use of authentic tasks in a real-world setting.  Students may have a cognitive disability, traumatic brain injury, other health impairment, autism or some combination of disabilities that limit their ability to complete the K-12 general education curriculum without significant modifications.  These students typically participate in the alternate state assessment, but are expected to participate in general education classes to the greatest extent possible.  The classroom facilitates the development of language, communication, and social skills, along with self-help, sensory, and academic skills and to generalize skills in all settings. The curriculum addresses academics, vocational, basic living skills and work behaviors through a very highly structured environment with intense visual supports and strategies.

Positive Behavior Supports

A student that exhibits behavior that is considered significantly different from same age peers given the setting and circumstances in which they occur may benefit from a Positive Behavior Supports classroom. Students require specially designed programming in order to engage in academic tasks and comply with general conduct requirements in a general education setting. Access to PBS services occurs when the Individual Education Plan (IEP) team has determined that the student’s behavior, even with adequate interventions, interferes with their learning or the learning of others. Not all students with the exceptionality of emotional disturbance require the intense support of a PBS program. The IEP team has agreed that the student needs the behavioral structure and support offered by a PBS classroom. The academic curriculum delivered in this classroom is consistent with the instructional level of the student; special methods/materials must be employed to motivate students and to help compensate for lagging skills.

Preschool Program

Preschool-age children with IEPs who are three (3) or four (4) years of age on or before August 31 of the current year are eligible for the preschool program. Children with an IEP (individual education plan) attend in preschool classrooms with other children with IEPS and children who meet at-risk criteria. Visit the USD 262 Preschool Program page here: Preschool

Next Steps Academy

The Next Steps Academy is an 18-21 year-old Special Needs program designed to assist in the transition into independence. The program focuses on areas that include vocational development and training, independent living skills, community participation, recreation and leisure, and social skills. The program has a number of unique community partnerships that allow students to gain work experience and participate in activities.