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District 47 to open new center for special education students

Students in the Adjusted Learning program at Bernotas Middle School soon will have an opportunity to learn and practice essential life skills, such as cooking, laundry and personal care, in the school’s new Life Skills Development Center.

Funded through a  $1.3 million federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act grant over the past two years, the new center includes a full kitchen and bathroom, washer/dryer, flexible area for group activities, private office and patio/rain garden, and it is fully compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.  

The Adjusted Learning program provides individualized educational opportunities for students in grades K-8 whose needs cannot be met within a general education environment.

There are eight students in the Adjusted Learning program at Bernotas (sixth to eighth grades) and 21 students in the Adjusted Learning program at Glacier Ridge Elementary School (kindergarten through fifth grade). Students in the program have mild to moderate cognitive, intellectual and adaptive delays and require modifications in instruction and programming. One of the goals of the program is to ensure that these students learn practical life skills, which combines academics, daily living, occupational and interpersonal skills with the ultimate goal of teaching students how to live and work in the community.

“Teaching life skills to our students is critical to helping them become independent and successful,” director of special education Kelli Catini said. “We look forward to being able to provide these students with essential skills and hands-on experiences in an educational setting that will lay the foundation for their future success and ultimately help them become career ready.”

To showcase the new center, Bernotas, 170 N. Oak St., Crystal Lake, will host a community open house from 2 to 5 p.m. Jan. 18.

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