Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95's special education program will have a strong new voice this year: Nancy Rosenfeld, assistant superintendent of student services.
Rosenfield is the newly appointed state-approved director of special education for the district.
Rosenfeld has been in special education administration for more than 20 years, and 12 of those have been with District 95.
"I derive a great deal of satisfaction from seeing and knowing that the programs and services we provide make a positive difference in the lives of so many children and their families," she said.
In 2008, Rosenfeld and her staff started working towards withdrawing from the Special Education District of Lake County, or SEDOL.
"We had a small percentage of students attending SEDOL programs, and we had developed programs within the district to provide a full continuum of services," Rosenfeld said.
Some children were traveling 25 miles to attend a program.
"Kids didn't feel like a part of the district or the school," she said.
Among the several steps and avenues needed to take to withdraw, one of them was to develop and present a comprehensive plan to the Illinois State Advisory Council in Springfield.
In addition, the Illinois State Board of Education reviewed all of District 95's special education policies and procedures to ensure they were in compliance.
"This process involved hundreds of hours of intense work, which included five large binders of information," Rosenfield said. It took about eight months to finalize and fulfill all the requirements for District 95 to withdraw from SEDOL, she added.
Each building in District 95 has special education programs based on age and the needs of the children.
"We focus on independence and want all of our kids to be continuous learners," Rosenfeld said.
More than 950 children receive services from least restrictive to more restrictive, from speech language only to self contained programs.
"I'm really proud of how well we have developed our programs and how great our staff has been in doing so," Rosenfeld said.
Each child has an individual education plan and goals are developed and based on that child's needs.
"The programs aren't cookie cutter, and there isn't a cookie cutter approach," Rosenfeld said.
The goals for the year include implementing more technology in the classrooms, providing a smooth transition for the district's expanded services and providing staff development various methodologies and strategies to improve instruction at all grade levels, Rosenfeld said.
So far, this school year is going extremely well, Rosenfeld said, and she only ses it improving.
"Our communication overall is so much better because all of the programs are District 95 programs," she said.