Middlefork School is part of the Vermilion Association for Special Education cooperative, an ISBE approved program, which serves Vermilion County schools. It consists of three programs designed to serve students ages 5 to 21 years of age whose needs cannot be adequately met in their home school districts. Middle Fork School does work with students to acheive their highest potential. Students attending Middle Fork School are able to participate in the Illinois School Meal Program as they did in their home schools.
Program for Students with Emotional Disabilities
The E.D. program is designed to serve students who are struggling with severe emotional and/or behavioral issues. These students often also have a medical diagnosis of ADHD, bipolar, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as other DSM IV diagnoses.
This program offers students small classes of no more than 10 students, each with a teacher and a teacher’s aide. Some of the students’ needs are severe enough to also require a personal aide. The classrooms are highly structured, with a charting system and levels that the students strive to achieve. Academics are offered at the level that each student needs through individualized instruction.
Each student also receives counseling services each week through certified school social workers. Most students receive both individual and group counseling on a weekly basis. The social workers also work with the families to connect them with community resources that would be beneficial.
The primary focus, both in the classroom and in counseling, is to give the students the social and behavioral skills they need to successfully return to their home schools. There is no predetermined time frame; this can take anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on the students’ progress and the decisions of the IEP team.
ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) program
There are currently three classrooms to serve students on the autism spectrum or who have other similar disabilities, whose capabilities range from non-verbal and physically limited to extremely verbal and very quick on their feet. Often, the students have received a medical diagnosis on the autism spectrum, in addition to the assessment done by the school evaluation team, although it is not required.
The classrooms are set up with soft colors on the walls, and muted lighting to help cut down on sensory stimuli. There are literally as many educational programs going on as there are students. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech and language pathologists come into the classroom throughout the week to work with the students; they also consult with the teachers to help them carry out their sensory and/or speech programs at all times. Social workers come in to teach the students social skills training.
VASE teachers regularly consult with the home school districts regarding students who are still being served in their home schools.
Regional Safe Schools Program
Middlefork RSSP Program serves all of the Vermilion County schools, including District #118. The program is designed to serve students, Grades 6-12, who have been expelled from their home schools. Generally, the students do not have an IEP, although it wouldn’t preclude a student from coming to RSSP. The minimum time that we will accept a student is nine weeks, although a semester or even a year is preferred. This gives us time to build a relationship with the student and help him/her make positive changes.
Middlefork RSSP offers students small classes of no more than 10 students, with one teacher. A teacher’s aide is shared by both classes. There is a junior high class and high school class, each taught by teachers certified at those levels. The classrooms are highly structured, with a charting system and levels that the students strive to achieve. Academics are offered at the level that each student needs through individualized and group instruction.
Each student also receives counseling services each week through a certified school social worker. Most students receive counseling on a weekly basis. The social worker also works with the families to connect them with community resources that would be beneficial.
The primary focus, both in the classroom and in counseling, is to give the students the social and behavioral skills they need to successfully return to their home schools. The students remain at RSSP for the length of their expulsion. At that time, they may return to their home schools, or they may petition the Regional Office of Education to remain with us for another semester, for a maximum of two years, to receive additional assistance.