Bloomington Public Schools - District #271

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Students with Unique Needs (SUN)

Students with Unique Needs is a special education program serving students in grades K-8. 

The program is designed for students on the autism spectrum who function as developmentally disabled. Currently there are six classrooms: four elementary and two middle school classrooms. The program functions as part of the Olson elementary and middle school campus, where students have the opportunity to participate in regular education classrooms and school-wide events as appropriate. This program started in the fall of 2014.

The SUN Center curriculum focuses on...

  • a variety of instructional formats including direct instruction, small group, and teacher-directed interactions.
  • communication skills to express needs and wants using verbal cues, symbol use, and occasionally sign language.
  • occupational therapy including functional fine motor skills, handwriting (when appropriate), and sensory integration.
  • academic skills, highlighting literacy skills using the Four Block Model and math skills.
  • swimming for elementary students (20 times per year), practicing following directions, stretching muscles, and having fun.
  • music therapy (three days per week), gaining academic skills, learning language concepts, understanding how to follow instructions, and more.
  • self-regulation and coping methods.
  • adapted physical education, where students work on team building, sports rules, increased muscle tone, and learning to play with peers.
  • behavior interventions for students who need them, along with functional behavior assessments. Positive reinforcement, behavior charts, redirection, and a variety of strategies are used.
  • functional skills, specifically for middle school students, to learn responsibilities, leadership, and community skills.

In every SUN classroom, you will see...

  • the use symbols for expressive and receptive communication (schedules, first/then, requesting, etc.).
  • a swing and other sensory items to help calm students.
  • stations set up for individual work and group work.
  • dedicated teachers and paraprofessionals with years of teaching experience.
  • in most cases, a 1:1 ratio of students to staff.
  • students engaged, classrooms organized, and individuals happy while learning and being challenged.


Student with Unique Needs
(SUN Center)
Olson Middle School, Lower Level
4571 W 102nd Street
Bloomington, MN 55437
Phone: 952-806-7960
Fax: 952-806-7958