The district's Branch Out program has dedicated itself to supporting and educating youth with disabilities as they transition into adult life. The goal is to increase these students' self knowledge, give them access to education and job training opportunities, and to immerse them in the community.
Branch Out students have not yet met the requirements for High School graduation, but they have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) to reach this goal. Some attend classes at Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College, while others take part in job coaching work experiences at ProAct and other local businesses. Students can also partake in driver's permit education, resume writing and job skill building.
The Dakota County Area Learning School serves district students who do not thrive in a traditional high school setting. DCALS is located at 150 East Marie Avenue in West St. Paul and is operated by District 917, which also provides services for eight other Dakota County school districts.
School Age Care provides safe and caring programs before and after school for elementary and middle school students, both during the school year and the summer. School Age Care is provided through TriDistrict Community Education.
Elementary School Programs: Social and educational activities, skills development, service learning and recreation are all part of the program. The elementary programs are conveniently located in District 197 elementary schools.
Middle School Programs: Quality time is devoted to experiential learning, homework help, service learning, recreation, social skill development, leadership development and team-building activities. Middle school programs take place at various locations within District 197.