Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)

  • The Shakopee Public Schools' Early Childhood Special Education team provides a full continuum of services for children ages birth through 5 years. The ECSE program strives to provide services to children in the most natural learning environment possible.

    Assessment for children ages birth through 5 can include cognitive, speech/language, motor, self-help, and social/emotional development. The assessment plan is designed based on the needs of each child.

    Center-based Classroom
    The center-based classroom is a full program for students who have multiple needs. The program’s philosophy is that services are most effective when delivered in an integrated manner. Services are available one to four days per week and are provided by a team that includes an OT, adapted physical education teacher, ECSE teacher and a speech/language clinician.
    ECSE Team
    The ECSE team may comprise:
    • Early Childhood Special Education Teachers (ECSE)
    • Educational Speech/Language Pathologists
    • Occupational Therapist (OT)
    • Physical Therapist (PT)
    • Adapted Physical Education Teacher
    • School Psychologist
    • School Social Worker
    • School Nurse
    • Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing
    • Educational Audiologist
    • Teacher of the Visually Impaired
    • Consultation for children suspected of having Autism or Related Pervasive Development Disorders
    • Mental Health Consultation and Referral
    Home Visits
    Regularly scheduled home visits are an option for families of children participating in center- or community-based programs. This provides a natural setting for working on specific skills with parents.
    Parent Activities
    Parent support and education activities are offered in cooperation with Early Childhood Family Education. Programs are offered at a school site and may include sibling care. Parent involvement is also encouraged in the center-based classroom.
    Referral Procedure
    If you have concerns about your child's development, please click here for information on how to make a referral. If you are new to the community and have a child with an active IEP or a diagnosed disability, please contact Julie Ritter, (jritter@shakopee.k12.mn.us), Early Childhood Special Education Administrator (952.496.5860).
    For children ages 3.5 to 5 years of age, Early Childhood Screening should occur before making a referral. If problems are identified at the screening, a referral for assessment will be made by the screener.  Screening appointments can be made by emailing Elaine Berens at eberens@shakopee.k12.mn.us or calling 952.496.5861.
    Speech/Language-Only Groups (for 3-5 year olds)
    Services are provided in small groups of children with similar needs and are offered in a play-based environment. The amount and frequency of service is based on each child’s individual needs.