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About Us

Providing transition services to students aged 18-21 who have a current Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) and have not yet earned their high school diploma due to continued special education goals.

Our program is designed for students who need to work on real-world skills in the areas of employment, post-secondary education and independent living. At Next Step, our staff members are committed to creating a curriculum which provides students with opportunities to develop skills needed after high school to be successful adults at home and in the community.


Nicole Loch
Next Step Supervisor

General Information

The “Pathways to Independence Lab” serves South Washington County’s special education high school students and Next Step students as a part of the Next Step program.  The Pathways vocational assessment lab focuses on building skills in the areas of career development, skills training and lifelong learning activities.

In addition, the Next Step program has a collaborative partnership with outside agencies that include the YMCA, Goodwill Easter Seals program and Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation services as well as local business partnerships. Next Step students who are eligible for post-secondary education opportunities may enroll in career and technical training at Northeast Metro 916, community colleges and earning credits toward their diploma through employment.

About Next Step

Student Ambassador Welcome

Learn about Next Step from our 2021 Student Ambassador. 


Next Step Virtual Tour

Pathways Virtual Tour

The majority of Next Step students' classroom experiences take place at one of two locations. The Next Step learning site is located at 7155 80th Street S in Cottage Grove. The Pathways learning site is located in the Valley Creek Mall at 1750 Weir Drive in Woodbury. Both locations offer classes in the three areas of transition and allow us to create differentiated programming and experiences.

All of our students are Next Step students no matter their main learning site.

Frequently Asked Questions