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Bozeman Schools navigate increases in special education needs

Director of Special Education says students are outperforming all other programs in the state
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Posted at 7:49 PM, Apr 09, 2024

BOZEMAN — Over 12% of students in Bozeman schools are involved in special education. With the increased need for special education programming, the district is navigating ways to keep up with the need.

“We've seen a rate of growth within our special education department that has exceeded the rate of growth within the district,” says Director of Special Education Chad Berg.

Berg gave a presentation at the school board meeting on Monday night, April 8, discussing the growth and improvements to the district’s special education programming.

“Our special education population has grown from roughly a 500-student special education population to a 900-student special education population,” says Berg. “It becomes our task to constantly evolve our programming and services as those student needs change, our program needs to adapt.”

There are 13 disability categories that are outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Berg says there’s a wide umbrella of disabilities they work with including autism, deafness, blindness, speech and language impairments, and many more. It wouldn’t be possible without a great staff of about 160 and community support.

“That strong community support has enabled us to have special education services where, I'm proud to say that our students with disabilities in our district, are outperforming students with disabilities statewide at every grade level,” says Berg.

Berg says as the programming grows and the support continues, Bozeman Schools special education program will continue helping students.

“The whole thing is a challenge,” says Berg, “It's all a journey, and it's one that many of our students are very successfully navigating.”