Learning Services Department

Department Head: Nick Hildreth

Willowbrook Learning Services Department

The 21st-Century Vision for Willowbrook High School Learning Services Department is one of a learning community that welcomes, supports, and appropriately challenges our students. This envisioned future is described by:

A Department that…

  • Works collaboratively and diligently to meet student needs with their best interest at the forefront of decision-making
  • Recognizes the strengths and abilities of the students we serve while celebrating successes
  • Believes in providing all students equitable access to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) within the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

Leaders who…

  • Demonstrate a deeper understanding of the complexity and diversity of our students’ needs and the special education process
  • Are objective, honest, and take multiple perspectives into consideration when making decisions
  • Advocate on behalf of students and the programs which will best meet their needs

An IEP Team that…

  • Communicates and collaborates with related services, parents, and teachers to best serve our student
  • Has high expectations for student achievement and post-secondary planning
  • Demonstrates professional etiquette, courtesy, and sensitivity

Classrooms which…

  • Differentiate to provide access to all students
  • Create an equitable learning environment
  • Are welcoming, engaging, promote cultural diversity, and lend themselves to a variety of learning activities

Learning Programs that…

  • Challenge all students and equip them with skills and abilities which foster student success
  • Allow students to demonstrate knowledge in a flexible format
  • Promote meaningful and attainable objectives which are tied to post-secondary success

Students who…

  • Are aware of their specific strengths, needs and abilities
  • Feel understood and supported by their learning environment
  • Are empowered to become their own strongest advocate

Case Managers who…

  • Work to ensure that needs are being met within the educational environment of all students on their caseload
  • Help students plan for their post-high school transition and develop self-awareness, goal setting, self-advocacy, and self-determination skills which are necessary for post-secondary independence and success
  • Collaborate regularly with teachers, related service staff, students, and families regarding student progress

Parents/Guardians who…

  • Feel understood and respected by their student’s IEP team
  • Are fully included in the decision-making process for their student, per IEP
  • Are comfortable and informed about their student’s progress, goals, and post-secondary planning

 

Programming and Services for Students with IEPs at Willowbrook High School

Case Management:
All students with IEPs receive direct case management services from a certified special educator Tuesday to Friday during Warrior Time. This designated 35 minutes daily is for your student’s case manager to monitor their progress and demonstrated skill in all of their classes. The case manager is your and your student’s “go to” adult in the building. The case manager will also be at your student’s annual review each year and provide you with nine week goal updates throughout the year. Each year the case manager will contact you to introduce themselves and provide you with their contact information. The programs below illustrate the level of service within the classes your student will receive which are determined at their annual review.

General Education with Consult Support:
Students who are enrolled in all general education courses and also have IEPs will have access to their case manager on a consult basis. As deemed appropriate by the IEP team, students receiving services in this manner will be in their case manager’s Warrior Time Resource (Tuesday through Friday, 9:25-10:00 AM). During this time, the case manager will meet with students to ensure that IEP accommodations and supports on being met, monitor student progress, and help develop post-high school transition plans related to areas of strength and interest.

General Education with Co-Taught Support:
Co-taught courses at Willowbrook High School provide students with access to general education curriculum with the support of two teachers, and at times, a paraprofessional in the classroom. This allows for students to have access to seamless integration of supports, interventions, modifications, and accommodations in order to meet the unique needs of all learners.

Courses offered within the Co-Taught Model:

  • English 9, 10, 11, 12
  • Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2
  • Human Geography, US History, Government (semester), Economics (semester)
  • Biology, Chemistry, Physics
  • Reading 3

Bridge Program:
The Bridge Program adapts core curriculum and standards to meet the individual learning needs of students. The program offers a low student to teacher ratio, including a paraprofessional to provide individualized instruction to no more than 13 students in each class period. Consistent research-based assessment is provided to monitor student growth and achievement frequently.

Courses offered in the Bridge Program:

  • English 9, 10, 11, 12
  • Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 2
  • Human Geography, US History, Government (semester), Economics (semester)
  • Biology, Chemistry, Physics
  • Consumer Management (semester)
  • Heath (semester)

Self-Contained Programs at Willowbrook High School

Strive Program:
The Strive Program ensures a focus on educational success, self-awareness, and community development. It is through this program that all components of the student’s life are brought together to achieve the goals that have been set. Lifelong learning is promoted in the areas of academics, careers, community, and most importantly, self.

Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their behavior and academic progress. Strive offers a safe and structured environment to promote student learning. Not all students learn in the same manner, therefore, Strive will provide a variety of instructional approaches to support their learning. Each student is a valued individual with unique academic, social and emotional needs. The Strive staff will help students learn how to make appropriate decisions in a supportive and challenging environment. A commitment to continuous improvement is essential for Strive to succeed. Parent/guardian support is important to the success of our students. As part of the program, students receive art therapy, music therapy, and pet therapy; in addition, those eligible for IEP social work support get their needs met through program.

Perseverance and Resilience Education Program (PREP):
The goal of the Perseverance and Resilience Education Program is to provide support to students to strengthen their academic and social emotional skills in order to find comfort and confidence within the educational environment. It is a program goal to help students develop coping strategies to address social-emotional needs, and apply those skills in the broader school setting in order to meet academic success. The PREP classroom includes in-classroom sensory regulation spaces to allow students to use coping strategies during heightened emotional experiences while remaining in the learning environment.

All PREP courses are aligned to state standards and District 88 curriculum. Curriculum is modified to meet the needs of each learner. Students have the option to float out to other courses with the support of PREP staff in order to take classes in areas of interest and/or to meet graduation requirements. Various therapies are included in the program including social work group support, art therapy, music therapy, meditation and mindfulness, and pet therapy.

Link Program:
The Link program is designed to provide tiered life-skills and functional-academic instruction. The focus of the program is to provide students with skills necessary for independent living and competitive employment in the post-secondary environment. Students in the program benefit from vocational training/support integrated into their school day, as well as community outings to develop and practice independent living and self-determination skills, with support, in the real world environment.

Courses offered in the Link Program:

  • Functional Academics
    • English
    • Math 1
    • Math 2
  • Self-Reliance
  • Pre-Occupational Skills/Vocational Skills

Students enrolled in the Link Program will participate in a variety of transition/life experiences that include but are not limited to:

  • Cooking Experiences: menu planning, grocery shopping, following recipes, kitchen safety
  • Community-Based Instruction: budgeting, communicating, shopping, volunteer opportunities, community safety, money skills
  • Self-Determination Activities: goal setting, self-advocacy, self-awareness, problem-solving
  • Vocational Experiences: in-school vocational training and community vocational training
  • Social Instruction: teamwork, communicating, conflict resolution, relationships
  • Daily Living Skill Instruction: housekeeping, hygiene, home safety, healthy choices

Developmental Learning Program (DLP):

The Developmental Learning Program (DLP) is a highly individualized program designed to meet the needs of students with multiple disabilities (Intellectual Disabilities, Autism, etc.). The purpose of the program is to support the development of functional academic skills as well as everyday life skills such as: money management, social and emotional skills, community based skills, vocational skills, communication skills, self-care, self-advocacy, and functional life skills (cooking, cleaning, hygiene, etc.)

Placement into the Developmental Learning Program is an IEP team decision based on specific student needs. The team determines the placement that best meets the needs of an individual student. The decision is made after a thorough review of the IEP components which may include present levels of performance, goals/objectives, accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids and services, state and district assessments, behavior intervention plans, teacher and parental input, and results from any previous evaluations.

The students in the Developmental Learning Program receive instruction from various related services including speech, occupational therapy, social work, music therapy, and art therapy. Related services are conducted in small group, whole group, or individual sessions. The amount of time that each student receives instruction is dependent on their IEP. Students enrolled in the Developmental Learning Program go out into the community on a weekly basis to practice and apply skills which are being taught in the classroom setting.

Off-Campus Placement:
When needs of students extend beyond the resources and programs available at Willowbrook High School, the IEP team may consider placement in an off-campus setting. District 88 partners with more than 50 different public and private facilities to ensure that the unique needs of District 88 students can be met.

Extended School Year (ESY)

Extended school year is a program for students who may show a regression of skills without schooling during the summer months. Eligibility for this program will be decided upon at your student’s Annual Review IEP meeting.

District 88 LIFE Transition Program

The LIFE program is located at our District 88 Office building. This program is designed for students ages 18-22 who need additional assistance preparing for their adult lives. The focus of this program is vocational and life skills. For more specifics, please please contact the Transition Department Chair, Jack Andrews (jandrews@dupage88.net, 630-458-4512)

Related Services

Related services are provided on an as needed basis determined at your student’s IEP meeting. They are services to supplement their academic curriculum that support their overall success in school. Examples of these services are listed below.

Social Work (group or individual)
Speech-Language Therapy
Occupational Therapy
Physical Therapy
Assistive Technology
Transportation

Technology Center of DuPage (TCD)

TCD provides a hands on educational environment which supports and encourages individual learning styles, develops occupational skills and fosters professionalism. Staff at TCD keep their education up to date and on the cutting edge of what is current in the workplace to provide an accurate picture of the working world for students to experience. As part of their high school day, students would attend TCD and earn high school credit. Students are typically determined appropriate for TCD at the IEP table, effective during 11th or 12th grade. See link below for details:

https://www.tcdupage.org/

 

Learning Services Department and Legal Compliance

In compliance with IDEA and the "Rules and Regulations to Govern the Administration and Operation of Special Education," mandated by the Illinois State Board of Education, DuPage High School District 88 offers special education classes and services designed to meet the unique needs of students with the following areas of eligibility:

Visual Impairment
Specific Learning Disability
Hearing Impairment
Emotional Disability
Physical Impairment
Intellectual Disability
Speech/language impairment
Autism
Other Health impairment

As required by law, program placement is determined by the IEP team based on each student’s individual needs. Students can be placed full time or part time into any of the above programs without barriers to enrollment.
Appropriate District 88 staff participates on the Behavior Interventions Committee. This committee develops policies and procedures for students with disabilities who require behavioral interventions. This is in accordance with P.L. 89-191 and the guidelines set forth by the Illinois State Board of Education.

All students are expected to comply with the rules and regulations as stated in the Parent Student Handbook, which outlines the District 88 discipline policy. In specific circumstances where general policies are not sufficient /effective, an individual behavioral intervention plan may be developed.

Each year a copy of the procedural safeguards and rights for students with disabilities are furnished to all parents and/or guardians of students with disabilities receiving special education and related services. Additionally, all students and parents are notified concerning the District 88 policy on "Behavioral Interventions for Students with Disabilities."

Parents or students interested in knowing about the programs and specific classes available at Willowbrook beyond what is provided here, should contact the Learning Services Department Chair:
Willowbrook High School

Mr. Nick Hildreth
Learning Services Department Chair
nhildreth@dupage88.net
(630) 530-3682

Parent Preparation for IEP Meeting
The purpose of your student’s IEP meeting is to review assessment information and to evaluate progress. Input from all members of the IEP team is essential in creating a successful working plan/document. Speak with your student about these topics prior to the meeting and develop questions or information you would like to share and have staff consider during the meeting. The link below provides information and suggestions for you to consider when preparing for an IEP meeting for your student

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/ieps/navigating-iep-meetings

Request for Special Education Case Study Evaluation
Illinois State law governs the process by which schools consider a student appropriate for an evaluation for special education services. If you would like to request an evaluation for special education services, please put your request in writing and send to Nick Hildreth, Special Education Department Chair at nhildreth@dupage88.net or send to Willowbrook at 1250 S. Ardmore Avenue, Villa Park, IL 60181 c/o Nick Hildreth. Mr. Hildreth will get back to you on the individualized process for your student. If you have questions about this process, please contact him directly at nhildreth@dupage88.net, (630) 530-3682.

Request for Special Education Records
Special Education records are considered a “temporary” record for a student. Law requires that schools keep a student’s temporary record for five years after graduation and then shred the documents. Only previous students themselves or the legal guardian for a person over the age of 18 is able to request records. Please contact Shelley Kanara, Learning Services Department Secretary, at 630-530-3431 to request the information.

Observation Hour Requests
At Willowbrook High School we field a large number of requests for college students requiring observation hours within our programs. As a result, we create an observation schedule for students to follow when they come into the building. This schedule provides an experience in a wide variety of settings where an observer can obtain a perspective in working with a wide variety of students. If you would like to schedule dates to come in and follow this schedule, please call Nick Hildreth, Learning Services Department Chair, at 630-530-3682 or email at nhildreth@dupage88.net.

Practicum/Student Teaching Requests
If your college or university would like to request a placement at Willowbrook for a Practicum or Student Teaching placement, please send the information to Assistant Principal, Yvonne Tsagalis at ytsagalis@dupage88.net or 630-530-3442. Mrs. Tsagalis’ office screens candidates and then will forward potential student teachers to the Department Chair. All student teaching applicants must apply to open vacancies online through our Human Resources department. Closing dates for fall and spring semester and listed there.

Extra-Curricular Activities
Please use the links below to explore extracurricular opportunities available to all students at Willowbrook High School. 

Clubs and Activities: http://dupage88.libguides.com/WBClubsandActivities

Athletics: https://il.8to18.com/willowbrook

Important notice
Students with disabilities may receive related services as part of their individual education programs (IEPs). DuPage High School District 88 will maintain related service logs that record the type and number of minutes of the related service(s) administered to such students. Copies of any related service logs will be available to parents/guardians at their child’s annual review IEP meeting. Parents/guardians of students with disabilities may also request copies of their child’s related service logs at any time.

Name Phone Schedule Contact
Madeline Addante
Teacher
Contact Madeline Addante
Staff member Jim Bolsinger photo
Jim Bolsinger
Teacher
View Jim Bolsinger schedule Contact Jim Bolsinger
Staff member Matt Cochran photo
Matt Cochran
Teacher
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Staff member Brandon Collings photo
Brandon Collings
Teacher
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Staff member Mary Doro photo
Mary Doro
Teacher
Contact Mary Doro
Staff member MacKensye Guza photo
MacKensye Guza
Teacher
View MacKensye Guza schedule Contact MacKensye Guza
Staff member Nick Hildreth photo
Nick Hildreth
Department Head
Contact Nick Hildreth
Staff member Gabrielle Horabik photo
Gabrielle Horabik
Teacher
Contact Gabrielle Horabik
Staff member Shelley Kanara photo
Shelley Kanara
Department Secretary
Contact Shelley Kanara
Staff member Tiffany Linwood photo
Tiffany Linwood
Teacher
View Tiffany Linwood schedule Contact Tiffany Linwood
Staff member Michael Marotta photo
Michael Marotta
Teacher
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Elizabeth Matysek
Teacher
Contact Elizabeth Matysek
Staff member Katherine Milling photo
Katherine Milling
Teacher
Contact Katherine Milling
Staff member Susan Moran photo
Susan Moran
Speech and Language Pathologist
View Susan Moran schedule Contact Susan Moran
Staff member Rachel Morris photo
Rachel Morris
IEP Coordinator
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Staff member Bernice Nash photo
Bernice Nash
Teacher
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Staff member Anthony Pennella photo
Anthony Pennella
Teacher
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Staff member Michael Phillips photo
Michael Phillips
Teacher
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Staff member Maggie Porter photo
Maggie Porter
Teacher
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Staff member Dalila Ramirez photo
Dalila Ramirez
Teacher
Contact Dalila Ramirez
Yusuf Shah
Teacher
Contact Yusuf Shah
Staff member Elizabeth Stady photo
Elizabeth Stady
Faculty
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Staff member Gary Walker photo
Gary Walker
Teacher
View Gary Walker schedule Contact Gary Walker
Staff member Hannah Walsh photo
Hannah Walsh
Teacher
Contact Hannah Walsh