Special Education

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Mary Geraghty

Executive Director of Student Services
(847) 998-5071
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Kristin Caceres

Assistant Director of Student Services
(847) 657-2271
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Patti House

Administrative Assistant
(847) 998-5013

We, the special educators of District 34, in partnership with parents, students, general education colleagues and the community, seek to empower all students with special needs to be successful learners who are contributing integrated members of the community.

We are committed to:

  • The provision of a continuum of services within the least restrictive environment (LRE).
  • The development and implementation of individual educational plans for each special education student.
  • Early intervention and identification with the focus on prevention.
  • Providing ongoing staff development.
  • Advocating for the rights, unique needs, acceptance and self-worth of each student.

Special education is an integral part of the total program offered to students in School District 34.  Special education staff work collaboratively to meet the needs of all of our students.

A full continuum of programs and services is available to meet the needs of students with disabilities between the ages of 3 through 8th grade.

In cooperation with The Northern Suburban Special Education District (NSSED), a special education cooperative in the northern suburbs, School District 34 offers special education programs for students with all types of disabilities.  These include:
  • Early Childhood Program
  • Educational Life Skills Programs
  • Resource and instructional level programs defined by student need
  • Programs for students with hearing and vision impairments
  • Homebound Services

The Special Education Department provides all related services.  These include:
  • Physical and Occupational Therapy
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Health Services
  • Psychological Services
  • Social Work Services
  • Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Services
  • Vision Services


Eligibility is determined based upon a team-based assessment of the child that may include Response to Intervention (RTI), formal and informal evaluation measures, interviews, observations and a review of records.  Eligibility for each special education service is based upon the child’s educational needs as well as federal and state guidelines.


A student who is experiencing difficulties in school may be referred to the school problem solving team or student support team by a teacher, parent, principal or other concerned person.  The team reviews the referral information and collaborates with the classroom teacher to develop intervention strategies designed to facilitate student success within the general education classroom.

Parents are invited to their child’s team meeting.  Student support teams also determine the need for additional evaluation.  When an evaluation is discussed, parents are notified in writing of the team’s decision as to the need for an evaluation.  Written parental consent must be obtained before an initial case study evaluation is initiated.

Upon completion of the case study evaluation, parents are invited to a formal conference where evaluation results are reviewed and eligibility for services is determined.   If a student is eligible for special education services, an Individual Education Program (IEP) is developed.

Parent Involvement

We believe a cooperative effort between parents and school is necessary to provide the most beneficial programs and services for students.  The special education staff is committed to working with parents to provide a positive, productive learning environment for students.

Through parent/teacher conferences and progress reports, parents are regularly informed of their student’s progress toward annual goals.