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Parent Advisory Council Goal

The goal of the Parent Advisory Council is to ensure that parents maintain an organized voice in the district; that parents are involved in decision-making processes and procedures by law; and the parent needs, concerns and issues are communicated to, addressed by, and resolved by the district regularly and effectively. If you would like to be part of PAC please contact your Parent Liaison.


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Support and Related Services

Social Work

Each school building has social work and counseling services. Social workers support and empower students within our educational community by meeting with students individually, in small groups, and in the classroom. Various topics addressed with students include, but are not limited to: social skills, school motivation, anxiety, depression, confidence, self-esteem, conflict resolution, and anger management, problem solving skills, school phobia, stress management, and crisis intervention. Social Workers teach strategies and techniques that enable students to develop self-confidence, make good decisions, resolve conflicts peacefully and become effective problem solvers. Social Workers help students to develop a sense of understanding, individual uniqueness, and gain an ability to apply it to daily life. In addition to direct services, social workers also develop programs to address and meet the needs of students and the school at large by acting as liaison to community agencies, crisis intervention and parent consultation.

Guidance Counselors

The Guidance Counselors at the building assume a number of roles, all important and potentially critical in affecting a student's future. These roles relate in a major way to academic preparation and planning but they also extend to mental health, interpersonal relations, social adjustment, career planning, and work adjustment. Each student is provided a counselor who will begin to develop an academic map for high school completion and post high school interests and goals.

Physical and Occupational Therapists

Physical and Occupational Therapists provide therapy when a child with a disability requires this related service to assist the child to benefit from special education. Physical and Occupational therapists use purposeful activity to facilitate a student's active participation in self-maintenance; academic and vocational pursuits; and play or leisure activities that occur in school environments. Using direct and indirect services, as well as assistive technology and environmental modifications, school occupational therapists collaborate with parents, teachers and other educational staff to help implement a student's special education program.


The School Psychologists are people specifically trained in the psychology of learning and child development as well as social and emotional adjustment. The School Psychologist is knowledgeable in data-based decision making, consultation and collaboration, effective instruction, child development, student diversity and development, school organization, prevention, intervention, mental health, learning styles, behavior, research, and program evaluation. School Psychologists use these skills as they work with all school personnel, parents, and students to help make education as rewarding as possible.

School Nurse Services

The School Nurses advance the well-being, academic success and lifelong achievement of students. To that end, school nurses facilitate positive student responses to normal development; promote health and safety; intervene with actual and/or potential health problems; provide management services; and actively collaborate with others to build student and family capacity for adaptation, self-management, self-advocacy and learning.

Speech/Language Pathologists

The Speech and Language Pathologists work to enhance the development of technical assistance and professional development to meet the speech and language needs of students. Speech Pathologists address the overall communication and language skills in a holistic manner; in a one-one therapy setting, group setting, or in the general education classroom.

Special Transportation

Special Transportation provides one way and round trip transportation for students whose disabilities prevent them from walking to school or using public transportation. Students who require this service to participate in educational programs are recommended for such by their Individual Education Plan team.

Vision and Hearing Itinerant Services

Provide technological aides and educational services for students as indicated on her/her Individual Education Plan.

Student Safety

J. Sterling High School has a strong commitment to making our schools a safe yet welcoming environment for students, staff, and visitors. To this end the District has developed an extensive Crisis Response Plan which details for staff an appropriate response in a wide variety of emergencies. Our Dean Staff at each school is available to assist in the event of an emergency or crisis. The Deans regularly review procedures and facilities to assure that each school continues to keep safety as a focus of attention.

Special Education Programs Department

Special Education Administrative Staff

Dr. Ramona Stavros
Director of Special Education

Mr. Kevin Wolf
Campus Coordinator for MEHS/MFC/MAS
708-780-4000 ext 2333

Ms. Christina Cartwright
Campus Coordinator for MWHS
708-780-4100 ext 3051

Ms. Staci Yesner
Coordinator of the REACH Program
708-780-4000 ext 2528

Special Education Services at J.S. Morton High School

J. Sterling Morton High School District #201 offers a full continuum of Special Education services. Special education is instruction and related services that is established by first establishing eligibility for special education and then through the development of an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Special Education instruction is provided by special education and general education personnel through the use, of but not limited to, a modified curriculum, special education support services, supplementary aids, or other special programming.

Most of our students come to school with an existing IEP, as a result of an elementary program or because of a transfer in from another school district. However, students also can be identified to receive special education services while they are in high school. Whenever a parent or a teacher has a concern about a student's learning, a referral is made directly to the Student Intervention Team (SIT).

The SIT including the parent will determine the best way to address the area of concern. The first step is to consider all academic and behavioral data such as past district and state wide assessments, classroom performance, prior academic problems, etc. A series of academic and or behavioral interventions may be implemented to determine how the student responds to the interventions. If the student responds to the interventions and progress is monitored, then the intervention support is continued until the student no longer needs the support. For that student, a Case Study evaluation to determine special education eligibility would not be considered because the student is making progress.

Should a student not respond to a series of interventions and demonstrate progress, the SIT will meet with the parent and determine the skills needed to be assessed and the assessments that will be used. This process is called a Case Study Evaluation. The assessed skill areas include: general intelligence, motor, health, social/emotional, communication status, and academic performance. Once all assessments are completed and reviewed by the educational team and parent, a student may be determined to have a disability that adversely affects his/her progress in the general education classroom.

J. Sterling Morton High School District #201 follows the state and federal laws that establish criteria for special education eligibility. The federal government recognizes 13 categories under which children may qualify for special education. These disabilities include: autism, deaf-blindness, deafness, emotional disability, hearing impairment, cognitive disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment.

Once eligibility for special education is determined, a student will receive services in accordance with his/her Individual Education Plan (IEP), which is developed by her/his educational team. Parents are an integral part of the education team and are expected to participate in all aspects of educational planning. J. Sterling Morton High School District #201 is required by law to provide special education instruction and related services in the least restrictive environment. This means that students who receive special education are programmed for, as much as possible, in their home school in a general education classroom.

District wide instructional programs for students with disabilities are available at all four campuses: Morton Freshman Center, Morton East High School, and the Alternative High School in Cicero, and Morton West High School in Berwyn. Below is a brief overview of J. Sterling Morton High School District's continuum of services.

Student Intervention Team (SIT)

Morton East, West, Alternative School and the Freshman Center have a team that is comprised of a group of educational experts who can address a myriad of learning and emotional concerns, known as the Student Intervention Team. This team may include a psychologist, social worker, speech pathologist, special education teachers, general education teachers, occupational therapist, nurse, guidance counselors, special education administrators, and the school principal/assistant principal. This team meets weekly to address concerns from teachers and parents for students with and without disabilities. This team conducts special education evaluations, makes disability determinations, develops and implements individual education plans.

Consultative Support

The special education staff in each of the buildings attempts to teach students within the general education environment. This is done by utilizing a collaborative approach. General education content teachers and the special education teacher collaborate regarding the student's IEP. Differentiated instruction is emphasized to address the needs of children with IEPs.

Academic Support

As the challenges of the curriculum advance, many students with disabilities need extra support. Academic Support is a smaller sized class taught by a special education teacher, who can pre-teach, re-teach, organize schoolwork or provide direct instruction in any content areas a student may find difficult. Academic Support is offered as an academic class in place of an elective.

Instructional Class

Certain students may need a specialized method of instruction for the remediation of an identified deficit in reading, writing, and/or math. When this is the case, students are provided a special education class and are grouped with students having similar learning profiles. These small classes have access to technology, instructional materials, and learning approaches that encourage the learner to move at his/her own pace in the curriculum.

Functional Academic Classrooms

For students requiring specialized instruction or remedial support on a consistent basis. Students receive a functional academic program as part of their individual schedule while continuing to participate in the regular program, when appropriate. These classrooms are designed to teach students who have significant disabilities and who have a need for life skill development (functional reading, writing and math).

Adaptive Academic Classrooms

For students who may present significant levels of developmental delays, multiple disabilities, functional and pervasive developmental disorders, Autism, and to students exhibiting physical limitations with mobility, vision and hearing. Teachers incorporate adaptive strategies and supports to encourage student success. Students are presented with daily instruction in the areas of communication, socialization, daily living skills, vocational skills and recreational activities.

R.E.A.C.H. Program

(Respect, Empathy, Academic Engagement, Choices, and High Expectations) - For students in need of emotional or behavioral support. The R.E.A.C.H program combines a highly motivating curriculum and positive behavior interventions and supports to effectively support academic and emotional learning. A level system is used to provide each student with on-going behavior monitoring. Positive behaviors are acknowledged immediately through verbal praise and the earning of classroom points. Students in the R.E.A.C.H. program have a behavior intervention plan that addresses their individual emotional/behavioral needs.

External Placements

On a rare occasion, students who have academic, medical, and/or behavioral needs that cannot be met in one of our levels of support programs are referred to an out-of-district program. Most of the out-of-district programs are private schools designed to meet the unique and intense needs of the student population for which they serve. All private placements are approved by the Illinois State Board of Education

Page modified by Edgar Garcia, march 14 ,2014.