District Services » Special Education

Special Education

Special Education Programming Overview

The Frederic School District is dedicated to its students who are serviced through the special education team. We are committed to the challenge of engaging students in learning activities that will allow them to make progress toward Common Core State Standards in our efforts to exceed local, state and national standards. We thrive to support a safe learning environment for all and to allow for our students to be prepared for life following high school.

In addition to providing child specific, individualized and differentiated instruction, our team provides a full range of specialized educational services to students with disabilities. It is our goal to ensure that each student has the opportunity to have access to general education curriculum and general education standards and achieves to his/her greatest potential. 

Our special education team does its best to determine the most appropriate educational environments for each student. This determination is made with the child’s parents. We prefer to educate our students with disabilities with their non disabled peers whenever appropriate. Our students are currently benefiting from a solid team teaching model from pre-school through high school. When making these decisions we must consider the needs of each student as an individual. We will consider placement in an environment other than the general education classroom when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in the general education class cannot be achieved satisfactorily even with the use of supplementary aides and services. Each child is placed in the educational environment best suited to deliver the services specified in the students Individualized Education Plan, regardless of the student’s disability. Program placement decisions are made in order to ensure the best fit for each child to reach his/her potential.

Special Education Defined
Special education is a broad term used by the law to describe specially designed instruction that meets the unique needs of a child who has a disability. The specially designed instruction, otherwise known as special education services, provides comprehensive and individualized programs for students with disabilities. Services are provided to students ages three through high school and to some students until age 21 by a public school system free of charge. Students are identified in accordance with Federal and State laws governing public schools. The Special Education Department provides specialized instruction based on the student's written plan called an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Students with the following impairments and a need for special education may receive special education services:
  • Autism
  • Significant Developmental Delay
  • Emotional/Behavioral Disability
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Speech & Language Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Orthopedic Disability
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Cognitive Disability
  • Vision Impairment
  • Deaf/Hearing Impairment
Related Services are provided when they are necessary for the student to benefit from their special education program and may include:
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Health/Nursing Services
  • Transportation
  • Audiology
  • Psychological Services
  • Vocational and Transitional training
  • Orientation and Mobility

We are committed to providing high-quality learning experiences for each student in our schools. Our vision is that students are provided the most inclusive learning environment so that they become independent, confident self-advocates who turn present successes into positive post-secondary outcomes. Please feel free to contact the special education team with questions.


The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website provides a number of resources related to special education, including eligibility criteria, referral information, links to external resources, and information about the rights of children and parents.

Wisconsin’s Informational Guidebook on Dyslexia and Related Conditions

The informational dyslexia guidebook required by 2019 Wisconsin Act 86 is online at https://dpi.wi.gov/reading/dyslexiaguidebook. The guidebook was created through collaboration between the advisory committee, as outlined in Act 86, and DPI. Per Act 86, the informational guidebook discusses screening, instruction and intervention, and resources that can support improved learning for school-aged individuals with characteristics of dyslexia. The audience for the information is broad and includes but is not limited to parents and families, educators, interventionists or reading teachers, and educational leaders.

Director of Special Education: Dawn Western
School Psychologist: Ashlyn Barbieri
Special Education Secretary: Melody Schneider
Frederic Elementary Certified Staff: Jada Anderson, Danielle Sloper
Frederic Middle/High School Certified Staff: Brenda Martin, Joe Draxler
Speech and Language Pathologists: Carol Lanza

Special Education Paraprofessionals: Prudence Lahti (MS/HS), Mitch Coe (ES), Randi Paro (ES), Kari Robin (ES), Lynn Slater (6-12),  Lori Taylor (ES), Terri Anderson (ES), Pam Flietner (6-12), Bonnie Foehser (6-12), Dawn Lunsmann (6-12)

Comprehensive Screening
The Frederic School District has a comprehensive screening program to locate and screen all children with suspected disabilities who are residents of the district. Children are referred for special education evaluations by school staff including the classroom teacher, parents and other community service agencies (such as St. Croix County Birth to Three, Head Start, area preschools and day cares). Below are different set procedures the Frederic School District utilizes to identify students with suspected disabilities:

Three Year Old Screening - Each year the Special Education Team conducts pre-school screenings for three and four year olds who are not yet enrolled in school. Parents may register to attend and learn about child development and for the child to be screened for potential need areas. These screenings allow for district staff to assess a child’s social, emotional, cognitive, motor and speech development as well as vision and hearing. Please watch the district newsletter and special education web page for upcoming Screening Days. If you have a concern regarding the development of your child ages 3-5, please contact the Director of Special Education or School Psychologist. You do not need to wait for the next Child Development Day for a screening. 

Universal Screening – Universal Screeners are utilized in all grade levels, starting with four-year-old kindergarten. Universal Screeners allow our teachers to identify students who may be in need of additional academic support. Typically students who are two or more grade levels behind their peers in reading/and or math are identified as needing interventions in those content areas. Please see more information below about Response to Intervention.
If you have questions regarding the needs of your child and/or the special education process, please contact Dawn Western, Director of Special Education 715-327-4223.