School Extra By Bob Zimmerman

Flashback to 1955 and the two room school house in Wasioja where I began my education. There were about 15 other kids in the first floor classroom where Mrs. Burns taught grades one through four and I remember their laughter when I tried to say my teachers name, which came out of my mouth as “Mrs. Bones.”

I also remember thinking “who is that talking” when I first heard my own voice on the reel to reel tape recorder used by the school district’s speech therapist in nearby Dodge Center. Hearing my voice as other people heard it helped me become fluent in the “are, our, for” and most importantly to me, the “ur” portion of the English language. Early intervention helped me get past my speech impediment and made those other kids find something else to laugh about; thanks again, Mrs. Bones.

Dr. Kevin Munsterteiger is the Meeker and Wright Special Education Cooperative (MAWSECO) Special Education Coordinator for Maple Lake Schools and he gave me a great deal of information and editorial assistance for this column.

The following is from the Minnetonka Public Schools website: “Special Education is a specialized instruction specific to the child at no cost to the parents. The instruction is designed to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. Children must meet specific criteria set by the State of Minnesota and the Federal Government to receive special education services. Special Education is an instructional service, not a place.”

Dr. Munsterteiger told me there are 13 categories of disabilities that can qualify a student for services, and that services can be provided from birth through the age of 21. For the 2017-18 school year Maple Lake’s total public and non-public enrollment is 936 students and 171 of those receive special education services. The most prevalent primary disability area is Speech/Language, followed by Other Health Impairments and Specific Learning Disabilities. Services to students are always individualized and provided in the least restrictive environment possible, which means that general education settings are emphasized.

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