Our Special Education Program

A strong sense of collegiality among our Special Education Team helps create a positive and safe
learning environment for students. With a shared classroom culture, the team works together to support all of the students with IEPs in the building, rather than operating as isolated case managers. Students know they can talk to any of of the team members for help, not just their case manager. 

Our approach is professional, comprehensive and personal. We are extremely proud of the work our Special Education Team does to make their students feel welcome and successful. Our team includes contracted specialists in several areas including, but not limited to speech and occupational therapy.



The three major student goals of our team are the following:


  1. Support instruction of "at risk" learners through an array of service options including consultation, team teaching, and small group instruction including Response to Intervention

  2. Develop effective interventions for individual students which build on unique strengths

  3. Provide special education services to students identified as meeting the Minnesota State Criteria

Culture of Learning & Persistence

Here are some things we have in our special education room to help us create a respectful classroom with a culture of learning and persistence.  

  • Organizational Tools

Many of our students have difficulties with organization. As such, we have multiple systems in place to help support those needs in the classroom.  

  • Colorful and Fun Learning Visuals

These visuals enhance the learning for multiple learning styles. For example, visuals/pictures can help students remember Phonemes.

  • Appropriate Instructional Technologies

Students use of Smart Boards and computers to access learning.


MN Department of Education Compliance

A particularly important “point of pride” for our Special Education team is that the Minnesota Department of Education has commended us for compliance with our Due Process files and indicated there were no negative findings. This is not a one-time occurrence. We say we are committed to due process and compliance, and we have proved we are.




Part of what makes our Special Education Team exceptional is the ability to team. In addition to daily teaming between Special Education teachers,
where they support each other and develop strategies to help students, they also work closely with the classroom teachers.


Our staff is not isolated and forced to work on their own islands within the building. By working with the classroom teachers, Special Education
teachers learn about how to support students with special needs by working so closely with the grade level standards. This allows all teachers to be
flexible and able to adjust to the student’s needs on a day to day basis instead of only working IEP goals.




The mission of the special education department is to ensure through comprehensive teaming that all learners at Achieve receive the necessary services to be academically, socially, and emotionally successful at school.

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Be healthy and take care of yourself, but be happy with the beautiful things that make you, you.


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Special Education Staff

Tier II Staff

Amy Petschauer

Special Education Teacher



I am a special education teacher at Achieve Language Academy and have been teaching at Achieve since 2000. I graduated from Macalester College with a B.A. in Anthropology and a K-6 teaching license. I received my Masters in Special Education and Learning Disabilities Teaching License from The University of Minnesota.

My passion is teaming with parents and general education teachers to best support the learning needs of children with disabilities. I am married and have four children, two dogs and a cat. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, swimming and gardening.

Tier II Staff

Kathy Oelze

Social Worker and Special Education Coordinator



I have worked at ALA for over 20 years and can’t imagine being any place else. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my husband, children and extended family and friends. I love animals and have a Lakeland terrier, named Nina.

I admit I like warm weather best and enjoy hiking, biking, gardening, kayaking and just about anything that takes me outdoors. I also love to read, play piano and travel the world!

Tier II Staff

Laurie Wagner

Special Education Teacher



I have been a special education teacher for the past 25 years in a variety of settings. I am very excited to join the team at Achieve Language Academy. I have a degree in Elementary Education from Augsburg College and completed graduate courses at St. Cloud State University for my teaching licenses in Learning Disabilities and Emotional Behavior Disorders. In my free time I enjoy reading and daily walks with my husband and small dog, Luna. I also enjoy traveling and spending time with my 2 adult sons.

Tier II Staff

Nicole Glickman

Special Education Teacher



I have been a special education teacher at Achieve since the Fall of 2019. I graduated from The University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences in 2007. I spent several years working as a preschool teacher and in childcare, which eventually led to me becoming a special education paraprofessional. I had found my calling, and went back to school to get my teaching license in Special Education: Specific Learning Disabilities. I am currently working towards a master's degree in special education. Outside of school, I enjoy reading, photography, and spending time with my husband and our two daughters.

Tier II Staff

Rosalynn Strand

Special Education Teacher



I am Roz Strand, the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Teacher at Achieve Language Academy! The 2020-21 school year marks my 14th year in ECSE and my 2nd year at Achieve. I'm very excited to support our younger students with diverse needs, ideas, and learning styles. I believe in educating the whole child, which includes using our feelings, interests, culture, and family to help us learn reading, writing and math. I support multi-sensory learning, which means that our hands, eyes, ears, voice, and body are all participating in learning at school. I love working at Achieve where I also get to learn from our long history as a community for families that include Spanish and Hmong language and culture.
Outside of school, I am a mother of 2 children (2 years and 6 years old) and married to a school librarian. We love traveling to family across the Great Plains, cooking new foods, reading, and having family dance parties. My favorite place to visit in St. Paul is the Japanese Garden at the Como Conservatory. My children's favorite places are playgrounds around St. Paul!
Thank you for letting me work with your spectacular children! I know we will have fun, no matter where we are or what we are learning!