Timely and Meaningful Consultation Notification

The Timely and Meaningful Consultation meeting will be held via Zoom Conferencing on Thursday, May 23, 2024, at 3:30 PM. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the district’s plans for providing special education services to students with disabilities who attend private schools and home schools within the district for the 2024 - 2025 school year. Please join the meeting if you are a parent of a private school or home-schooled student with a disability. Please use this link to join the meeting. 

If you have further questions about this meeting, please contact Jackie Janicke, Director of Special Education, at jjanicke@sd161.org or 708-647-7028.



The Special Education Department aims to improve student's educational experiences through collaboration with families, schools, students, and community parents. An array of comprehensive supports is coordinated to support every child's academic, social-emotional, and behavioral success. The Special Education Department encompasses Pre-K, Early Childhood, Special Education, Student Health Services, and a Multi-Tiered Support System.

Preschool for All Program:

Students qualify for the Preschool for All Program by attending Preschool Screenings throughout the school year. Through screening, staff can determine if a student is at risk of academic failure and qualifies for the grant-funded Preschool for All Program. All screenings occur at the District Office, 41 E. Elmwood Dr., Chicago Heights, IL. 

Click here for upcoming screening dates.

Early Childhood Program

The Early Childhood Program provides specially designed instruction to eligible students ages 3 through 5. Integrated related services are provided by a speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist.

Special Education

District 161 provides appropriate and effective educational programs for students with disabilities. Students must meet specific eligibility criteria to identify as a child with a disability. Once a child is eligible, an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is written.

Student Health Services

The District Nurse and School Health Coordinators work closely with families, students, teachers, and administrators to ensure quality, individualized, and responsive health services are provided to students.

Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS)

MTSS is a data-driven, problem-solving framework to improve outcomes for all students. MTSS relies on a continuum of evidence-based practices matched to student needs academically and behaviorally. 

504 Information

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. Section 504 establishes a student's right to full access and participation in education and all school-related activities. It requires schools to provide appropriate services to meet the individual needs of qualified students.

A student is considered "qualified" under Section 504 if the student is between the ages of 3 and 22 and has a disability, defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include caring for oneself, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, performing manual tasks, and learning. Some examples of impairments that may substantially limit major life activities, even with the help of medication, aids, or devices, are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), asthma, allergies, blindness or a visual impairment, deafness or hearing impairment, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, and mental illness.

Please contact Jackie Janicke, Director of Special Education, at jjanicke@sd161.org  or 708-647-7028 if you have any questions or concerns.