New Directions

Designed to work with students whose primary needs are emotional or behavioral in nature, and whose needs cannot be successfully met in a traditional public school setting

The program serves students in grades K-12.

The classrooms are small, structured settings that focus on differentiated academic instruction. In addition, the staff employ a variety of positive behavior interventions, including consistent feedback on behavior, social skills instruction aligned with the Illinois Social Emotional Learning Standards, specialized learning strategies, and vocational instruction and support. Intervention techniques aim to help students develop self-management skills, effective decision making, problem-solving strategies, and improved interpersonal skills. Students are taught self-regulatory strategies to monitor their ability to stay on task, complete work, focus on instruction, and interact well with teachers and peers.

The physical structure of the school is smaller to allow for greater individualization of instruction and increased opportunities to learn and practice positive coping strategies throughout the entire day. The classes generally have 8-12 students, with a 3:1 staff to student ratio in the high school program, and a 2:1 staff to student ratio in the elementary/middle school program. Students spend up to 100% of their day in this specialized program, with the goal of a gradual transition back to their home school or graduation, depending on the student's needs and IEP goals.

Related services may be integrated into the classroom activities with direct and/or consultative services provided, as appropriate. Two full-time social workers assist students with problem-solving, crisis intervention and social skills development. Information is also provided to families about community resources available such as mental health services, substance rehabilitation and vocational or post-secondary educational options.