Special Education

Our special education department includes an array of programs and services designed to meet the needs of our scholars on Individual Education Plans (IEP's).

Special education and support services are available to all learners ages birth to 21 who have not graduated and who have been identified as needing these specialized instructional services.

Our Special Education teachers and support staff provide educational programming designed to meet the needs of our students with disabilities. We offer these services to ensure that learners with disabilities receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Highly trained Special Education teachers and paraprofessionals give students specialized instruction designed for each individual in an Individual Education Plan (IEP).

These service are provided by multiple individuals who are experts in their fields, including:

  • Speech and Language Pathologists
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Developmental Adaptive Physical Education (DAPE) Teachers
  • Work Experience/Handicapped Coordinators
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physical Therapists



See contact listings at the bottom of this page or contact:
Jodi Aydt
Special Services Office Manager

Need the Special Services page? Find it under Services in the menu or click the button below.

Special Services web page

The Special Education Process

Identification and Referral
The Special Education process begins with identifying learners ages birth to 21 who are eligible for special services and in need of specialized instruction.

We use formal and informal measures to determine the learner’s strengths and areas of need. Parent permission is required to start the Initial assessment and evaluation process. The parent is invited to participate in a Child Study Team at the building site to determine the areas of assessment.

During this phase, the learner’s needs are determined and, together with the family, a plan is written to meet those needs. The underlining principle is where the services are delivered; we use the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) as a guiding principle for determining whether this is in the mainstream classroom, in the resource learning center, in a self-contained special education classroom, or in a program that is off site. These decisions are discussed in a collaborative planning meeting entitled Individual Education Plan conference.

Services Offered

Services for Non-Public School Students

The state requires all school districts to provide special education services to students with disabilities who attend non-public schools within the school district's borders. Other services for non-public school students are nursing services for students in grades K through 12 and guidance and counseling services for secondary students (grades 7 through 12).

Districts must identify students who are potentially eligible for special education services, and, once identified, offer parents a plan for services.

The public school district may provide special education instruction and services at the non-public school building, a public school, or at a neutral site other than a non-public school. The public school district determines the location, student by student.

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Transition Plus

Continuing Education
Transition Plus is a joint program among the Hopkins, St. Louis Park, and Minnetonka school districts that works with young adults with disabilities, ages 18 to 21. Using the IEP team process, Transition Plus services help students achieve their goals by providing specialized instruction, training, and support.

Transition Plus

Intermediate District 287

The Hopkins School District is part of Intermediate District 287, a consortium of 14 metro-area school districts who work collaboratively to provide restrictive, smaller learning environments with students who demonstrate significant, multiple, and complex needs that cannot be served in our neighborhood schools. 

Intermediate District 287


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Special Education Contacts

Fhonda L. Contreras

Director of Special Services

Email: Fhonda.Contreras@HopkinsSchools.org

Phone: 952-988-4041  

Jennifer Muller

Early Childhood Special Education Lead

Email: Jennifer.Muller@HopkinsSchools.org

Phone: 952-988-5036

Carl Yancy

West Middle School & Pavilion Special Education Lead

Email: Carl.Yancy@HopkinsSchools.org

Phone: 952-988-4482

Matthew Byrnes

Due Process Coach

Email: matthew.byrnes@hopkinsschools.org

Phone: 952-988-2292

Brian Stanley

Assistant Director of Special Services

Email: Brian.Stanley@HopkinsSchools.org

Phone: 952-988-4319

Miranda Bernier

North Middle School Lead

Email: miranda.bernier@hopkinsschools.org

Phone: 952 988-4978

Nicole Doescher-Train

Elementary Supervisor

Email: nicole.doescher@hopkinsschools.org

Phone: 952-988-4695

Onika Miller

High School Special Education Lead

Email: Onika.Miller@HopkinsSchools.org

Phone: 952-988-5270

Heather Garibaldi-Davis

Elementary Lead

Email: heather_garibaldi@hopkinsschools.org

Phone: 952-988-2159