Minnetonka 2-05.indd

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					                                                                                                                                        Intermediate District 287

                                                                  Minnetonka — February 2005

        The Hennepin County Home School and Epsilon Program
                                                  The Hennepin County               The CHS has adopted a nationally recognized model of services
                                                  Home School (CHS) is a            to youth called the Intensive Aftercare Program (IAP). This model
                                                  state-licensed residential        begins prior to admission to CHS with each youth having completed
                                                  correctional treatment            a risk-needs assessment. The youth participate in a cognitive behavior
                                                  center for juveniles ages         curriculum; life skills training; and intensive treatment with emphases
                                                  13 to 19, committed by the        on family, community, education, work, and reentry.
                                                  court for criminal offenses
                                                  ranging from breaking-            One of the services residents at the CHS receive is education through
                                                  and-entering to fire-setting       the Epsilon Program. Hopkins has been operating that program until
        and sexual assault. The facility is owned and operated by Hennepin          this year. Starting January 2005, Intermediate District 287 is now
        County, the largest county in Minnesota.                                    responsible for Epsilon. The 2004–2005 school year has been a
                                                                                    year in which both Hopkins and District 287 have been working to
        The County Home School provides a safe, secure, healthy environment         make that transition to District 287 take full effect in the 2005–2006
        on a 167-acre site in Minnetonka. The campus includes seven                 school year (see article on back).
        residential-treatment cottages, a transitional-living unit, a secure unit
        for internal security support, a school facility, and an administration-    Epsilon includes a full range of educational programming for all
        and-services building. The grounds also include a horse barn and            CHS residents. Teachers are licensed in general education areas
        indoor riding arena, playfields, and other recreational areas.               and special education and often are assisted by specially trained
                                                                                    education assistants. A Title I program is available for students
        In 2003, the CHS served 506 juveniles, with an average daily                with special needs. Class size averages 12 students. The school
        population of 113. Approximately 91% are boys. Some 64% are                 also works closely with the Hennepin County Library Transitions
        from Minneapolis, 18% from surrounding suburbs, and 18% from                Program to encourage students to be more active readers.
        other counties and states. Lengths of stay range from 2 ½ weeks to
        18 months.                                                                  In 2003, Epsilon students improved their reading comprehension by
                                                                                    an average of 3.5 grade levels; 82% improved their math skills by an
        The CHS has a national reputation as a premier model for treating           average of 3.5 grade levels; 95% graduated, earned a GED, or were
        serious teen offenders, most of whom have significant behavioral             successfully attending a community school before leaving the CHS.
        problems, mental illness, and chemical dependency issues.

        Education Program at Omegon, Inc. Now Run by District 287
        Omegon, Inc. is a nonprofit agency that operates as a dual diagnosis                                                            Intermediate
        residential treatment facility for adolescents age 12–18 with mental                                                           District 287 (see
        health and/or chemical dependency issues. The average length of                                                                article on back).
        stay is six months, and residents receive individual as well as group                                                          Course offerings
        counseling, with an on-site daytime nurse and regular appointments                                                             are primarily in
        with a child psychiatrist. The maximum number of residents is 26.                                                              language arts,
        On admission, the youth receive an in-depth assessment of their                                                                math, and social
        strengths and problem areas. This is followed by the design of an                                                              studies and
        individualized treatment program to meet specific needs.                                                                        represent grades
                                                                                                                                       7 through 12. It
        Omegon is a program with an intense family focus through family                                                                also is modified
        therapy sessions and semi-monthly parent support groups. The                in response to individual student learning styles and needs and
        program also includes a living skills/recreational component and an         graduation requirements. Attendance is mandatory, so students can
        aftercare component lasting as long as the client requests it.              make great strides in learning and earning credits. Communication
                                                                                    with the students’ home school districts is constant, and educational
        The school services at the facility have been through the                   information is exchanged to make their transition back into their
        Hopkins school district and, starting in 2005, are transferring to          community as seamless as possible.

Bloomington • Brooklyn Center • Eden Prairie • Edina • Hopkins • Minnetonka • Orono • Osseo • Richfield • Robbinsdale • St. Louis Park • Wayzata • Westonka
Hopkins Transfers Epsilon and                                             Kapani House
Omegon Management to 287                                                                                                    Kapani House is
                                                                                                                            a Lutheran Social
Intermediate District 287 has taken on a big new project this year.                                                         Services Rule
As of January 1, 2005, it now is responsible for the management of                                                          8 Group Home
two care-and-treatment programs: Epsilon Program and Omegon.                                                                located in the
In a superintendent-to-superintendent agreement, Hopkins school                                                             Orono School
district asked that 287 take on these two programs. Epsilon is the                                                          District; it is
education program at the Hennepin County Home School (HCHS),                                                                licensed through
a correctional residential treatment center, and Omegon, a dual                                                             the Minnesota
diagnosis chemical dependency/mental health residential treatment                                                           Department of
center that includes an education program. The district in which                                                            Human Resources.
such facilities are located has a statutory responsibility for ensuring                                                     This facility
all youth placed in them receive educational services during their                                                          provides services
treatment stay. Hopkins has been providing those services for             for up to 8 boys between the ages of 8–17 years, most of whom
many years at HCHS and Omegon even though a high majority of              are referred from Hennepin County. The youth served at Kapani
their youth come from other districts. This year, Hopkins and 287         House are experiencing serious problems at home, school, or in the
decided that these programs are a better fit within the mission of an      community. Many of the youth have had problems managing their
intermediate district.                                                    emotions and behavior.

This school year is serving as a transition year in which both            Kapani (pronounced Ka-paw-nee) means “balance” in Swahili. The
districts are involved with the programs so that the transfer of          name is symbolic of the atmosphere that staff members strive to
program management is as smooth as possible, and District 287             create for the young people who live at the house. The overarching
can be fully managing and operating them by July 1, 2005. The             goal of staff members is to create an environment that strikes a
transition project involves collaborative work between the two            balance between nurturance and discipline. This is accomplished by
districts in several areas. “Big Picture” items: Hopkins has had a        the provision of a consistent structure, positive adult role models,
contract with Hennepin County to spell out the terms of education         and the development of caring relationships. Once the residents gain
program operation at HCHS that now must be between District 287           trust adults, they begin to accept guidance and direction to help them
and the county. The program designs for Epsilon and Omegon must           to make wise choices in life. They can grow in this capacity while
be reviewed to ensure District 287 continues quality programming          experiencing a chance to regain lost childhoods and to “just be kids.”
next year. Curriculum and Instruction, Compliance with State
Standards: Both programs must balance requirements for state              When students enter Kapani House, educational team members in
academic standards with sensitivity to the individual student needs.      the Orono School District review educational histories. A decision is
The programs also must ensure that students’ education rights are         made regarding whether the young people can have their educational
honored through the provision of special education services and           needs met in an Orono School or whether a referral should be
due process. Hopkins has recently completed a set of monitoring           made to special education programs in Intermediate District 287.
visits from MDE which culminated in a “full approval” rating              Kristi Fehr, Director of Special Education in Orono, comments,
just prior to the management transfer in January. District 287 will       “We welcome the Kapani House youngsters and strive to provide
ensure that this status of quality is maintained under its leadership.    them with the best possible education while they are living in our
Finance: District 287 now will be responsible for ensuring that           community.”
the tuition billing and student data accounting continues smoothly
with the students’ resident districts. Human Resources: District          EXPLORE, an EBD Program that serves some secondary-age
287 must ensure that it has the staff necessary to follow through         students, offers an orientation phase for all incoming residents,
effectively with the program missions and designs. The current            including youngsters from Kapani. Initially, students are assessed
staff has been doing a tremendous job, and 287 wants to ensure that       for educational and mental health needs, as well as aptitudes and
high quality service continues.                                           interests. They are also exposed to experiential learning activities
                                                                          and have time to develop close relationships with staff members
Intermediate District 287 welcomes Epsilon and Omegon to its              prior to integrating with the rest of the student body.
community of education programs and looks forward to all the
possibilities of mutual program enhancement that can take place           Bill, a student from Kapani House, recently completed the
with this change.                                                         Orientation Program. He has commented on various occasions,”I
                                                                          love it here” and “I had a lot of fun during elective today.” His
                                                                          classroom teacher, Amy Stewart, notes, “Bill is fun to have in class
                                                                          and is very polite. He is inquisitive and a very diligent student. He is
                                                                          also very kind to staff and students alike.” Another Kapani student,
                                                                          Chris, has also made a positive impression. According to Dr. Ellen
                                                                          Teelucksingh, Program Facilitator and School Psychologist, “He
                                                                          always says please and thank you and is usually extremely well-

                                                                          For referrals or more information about Kapani House, contact:
                                                                          LSS Kapani House                        763.476.6214
                                                                          2020 Grand Avenue                       www.lssmn.org
                                                                          Long Lake, MN 55356

                        Partners in Education is published by Intermediate District 287 Community Information Services.
       For additional copies, contact Community Information at (763) 550-7124 or check out www.int287.k12.mn.us/districtnews.htm

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