D-C Middle School Special Services

Crash Lounge

Free To all Students

PACT 4 and WCFSC grants have provided an opportunity for students to 'Crash' in the Middle School Commons on Mondays from 3:00-5:00. Ping-Pong, foosball, board games, music, movies, reading books, magazines, darts, open gym, swimming, air hockey and many other opportunities will be available to those students attending. Concessions (pizza, pop, popcorn and other treats) will be available. A one time permission slip must be submitted in order for students to attend.

Homebound Instruction

Continued education is provided for those students who are confined to home or hospital for long periods of time due to illness or injury. Parents must make application to the school principal for this service.

Connections Program

The middle school Connections program is designed to support at-risk students socially, emotionally, and academically. It is staffed by a full-time licensed social worker and a paraprofessional and it serves students in grades 5-8. Students gain entrance to the program through a process that involves teachers, administration, and parents.

Learning Disabilities Services

The services of a Specialist in Learning Disabilities are available to those students who require the alternative program to meet their learning needs. Students who receive this service must be referred to the specialist for testing and program planning. The student load for this service is limited so students with the most severe difficulty are taken first.

Odyssey (Gifted) Program

The Dassel-Cokato school philosophy states in part, "every youth enrolled should have the program appropriate to his/her needs that results in success for the student." In order to address that part of the school philosophy a program must be developed to meet the needs of the gifted/talented students.

Students, the community, administrators and teachers must be involved in the planning of curriculum and instruction.


  • The Dassel-Cokato school shall support the gifted/talented program through financial and other support measures.
  • The Dassel-Cokato school shall identify students using measure of ability and achievement, teacher rating and parent information.
  • The Dassel-Cokato school shall develop curriculum and instruction appropriate to the needs of the identified gifted/talented students.
  • The Dassel-Cokato school shall provide inservice for staff in the area of gifted/talented education and instruction.
  • The Dassel-Cokato school shall evaluate the total program generally, and student progress specifically to aid the improvement of the overall program.


Gifted and talented student identified by professional, qualified persons, are those who are by virtue of outstanding abilities are capable of high performance. They require differentiate educational programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order to realize their contributions to self and society. Children capable of high performance include those with demonstrated achievement and/or potential ability in any of the following areas, singly or in combinations:
  • General intellectual ability
  • Special academic aptitude
  • Creative or productive thinking
  • Leadership ability
  • Visual and performing arts
  • Psychomotor skills


The main purpose of the screening process is to determine which students should be assessed to determine their eligibility for the Odyssey program. In general terms we want to make sure no students are missed. To determine which students are tested we look at all existing test scores, ask teachers for recommendations, and encourage parents to also recommend their own children.

Middle School Program

In the middle school, we continue the pull-out program in grades five and six. Identified students are pulled out of the mainstream classes one morning a week for special instruction. The curriculum for the pull-out program is written during he summer by the Odyssey teachers. We attempt to have 90% or more of the activities be at application level or higher on Bloom's taxonomy.

It is our belief that at some point in the educational process a pull-out program is no longer quite as effective as it was in previous years. The main reason for this is the fact that as children progress through he grades, the course content becomes more difficult. Therefore, it becomes increasingly more difficult for students to be pulled from class.

In the seventh and eighth grades, we take an individualized approach to Odyssey students' learning. The Middle School by nature of its own philosophy is very conducive to the enrichment and acceleration needed for Odyssey students. Special contest are held in several curriculum areas, individualized writing and reading projects are conducted, exploratory classes are provided as well as many other enrichment opportunities.

In addition to that, we also provide the opportunity for each student to have an Individual Learning Plan (ILP). This optional ILP which is developed by the students, a teacher, the student's parents, and the Odyssey coordinator is made to reflect the student's individual needs and interests. It may by a plan where student can have some or their course work differentiated to eliminate some work and to provide more challenging activities. It may also be an extension to the media center where research can be done on a certain topic. After developing the plan the teacher meets periodically with the student to check on progress and to provide counseling s needed.

Special Education Coop

The services of a psychologist, counselor and special education specialists are available to provide diagnosis, program planning and serve as resource persons to the school and its students. These persons have knowledge of community resources as well and can make referrals to an appropriate agency for assistance in problem areas.

A program of services for those students who are mentally handicapped and unable to function in the mainstream classroom is offered through special education services. A specially trained teacher in the field of handicapped children is employed for these services.

Speech/ Language Services

A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) is a specialist, sometimes called a speech therapist or speech clinician, who is a member of the special education team with a role to assess, diagnose, treat and help prevent speech, language, cognitive-communication, voice, swallowing, fluency and other related disorders. Some of the primary disability areas an SLP works with in the educational setting include, but are not limited to, autism spectrum disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, developmental-cognitive delay, learning disability, ADHD, and articulation disorder. Evaluation and diagnosis of speech, language, cognitive-communication and swallowing disorders includes a variety of qualitative and quantitative assessment methods utilizing standardized tests and other special instruments, in order to analyze and diagnose the nature and extent of speech, language and other impairments. The SLP formulates an individualized plan with both long-term goals and short-term goals established for each individual's needs. Clinical services may be provided individually or within groups, depending upon the student's diagnosis and needs.

S.T.A.R.S. Program

S.T.A.R.S. is a program that is designed to help students be more successful. S.T.A.R.S students meet after school two days per week for two hours. During those hours, students work on academic skills, peer relationships and involvement in recreational activities. Students can be referred to the program by teachers or by a parent. If you have questions pertaining to the S.T.A.R.S. program, call Beth Steinleitner at 286-4100 ext. 1606.

Summer School Program

Summer School at DCMS focuses on reading and math skills while exploring science and social studies. All students are welcome during the 6 week summer program. Any questions regarding summer school can be directed to Alisa Johnson at (320) 286-4100 ext. 1604.

Title I Services

The possibility of Title I service for children may raise some questions for parents. Here is some general information regarding the program which we hope will be of assistance to all parents (produced in cooperation with the Comprehensive Regional Assistance Center for Region VI).

What is Title I?

Title I is a federally funded program designed to provide help for students who are below grade level in their academic achievement. Typically Title I programs offer assistance in the areas of mathematics, reading and language arts. Its goal is to help students succeed in the regular classroom and reach grade level performance.

Do all schools have Title I programs?

Federal guidelines require that Title I programs are available in schools within the districts with the greatest level of low-income families. Once a school qualifies, academic need, not economic status, determines which students will receive the extra instruction. Decisions about which particular grades and students will receive Title I are left up to district planning teams consisting of parents, staff and administrators.

What are some typical Title I services?

Districts work hard to create Title I programs that meet the needs of the children and families at individual school. At some buildings this may mean selected students receive assistance during the regular school day either in their classrooms or at another location in the school. Other schools may offer programs either before or after school, on the weekend, or during the summer. Schools with the greatest need may implement school-wide programs which focus on improving the educational program for all students in the building. Title I funds provide various services to students and their families all aimed at improving student achievement and family literacy.

What is the secret to Title I success?

Title I has always encouraged close communication and a spirit of cooperation among parents, school staff, and administrators all working together to give students the tools they need to become successful learners. This emphasis on cooperation is now more important than ever before.

Title I supports high standards for all children and instruction which challenges the student and promotes and supports life-long learning.

For over 30 years Title I has offered students the kind of supplemental instruction that enhances their ability to experience classroom success. It has in the past, and continues to make a difference in the lives of students throughout the nation.

What role do parents play in Title I?

Educational professionals and parents agree, students are more successful learners when they are supported by a partnership between home and school.

Parents have always played an important role in the Title I program, but the passage of the Improving America's Schools Act in 1994, the focus on parental involvement and responsibility is greater than ever before.

Parents are asked to:
  • Establish home environments which will help students succeed.
  • Communicate with teachers on a regular basis.
  • Volunteer in the schools whenever possible.
Schools are obligated to:
  • Provide information to parents on how to help children continue their learning at home.
  • Involve parents in school decisions.
Both parents and schools are encouraged to:
  • Seek out resources from the community which strengthen student learning and development.

Parents are asked to sign a Parent Compact, which is simply a written statement of how schools and parents will work together to help students achieve.

Section 504 Services

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that federal fund recipients make their programs and activities accessible to all individuals with disabilities. No qualified handicapped person shall, on the basis of handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity which receives or benefits from Federal financial assistance. (34 CFR 104.4a) Section 504 of the Act protects persons from discrimination based upon their handicapping condition.

A person is handicapped under the definition of Section 504 if he or she:
  • has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of the person’s major life activities;
  • has a record of such an impairment; or
  • is regarded as having such an impairment (34 CFR 104.3j)
"Major life activities" means functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working. (34 CFR 104.3 j 2 ii). When a condition significantly limits a major life activity, an accommodation plan must be developed for that individual. Services under Section 504 must be determined by a team .