Camelot Therapeutic Day School Moves to Larger Campus in Custer Park, IL
Will hold Job Fair on July 12th
South Suburban Center for Exceptional Learners is moving to Custer Park, Illinois. The new 40,000 square-foot building and the 11-acre campus is not only beautiful but also provides a tremendous opportunity for expansion.
“Camelot decided to move after 11 years in our current space because we needed more room to expand student programming and post-secondary opportunities,” explained Camelot’s deputy superintendent for Therapeutic Day Schools Theresa Mortl Smith. “The campus in Bourbonnais has served us well and works with up to 100 children. We’ll be able to add new programming components in the new space that will help our students meet their goals.”
The new location, less than 20 minutes northwest of Bourbonnais, served as an elementary school in the Reed Custer School District until a few years ago. More recently, the building has been used by The Center to provide activities and supports for the community, including a micro food pantry for families to access when in need. Camelot will maintain that tradition, with students assisting in maintaining the pantry.
The campus, situated close to the Kankakee River, includes a large playground, two baseball fields, a basketball court and a pavilion. There are bike trails very close by. Additionally, there is a courtyard with a gazebo where students will tend a garden, plant flowers and do outdoor learning.
“Our students will be able to learn, play and grow inside and outside,” added Principal Allison Watford. “The building is very large and will allow us to run PE in a full-sized gym, build a vocational mock apartment for our 18-22-year-old students, build a developmental workshop, run a culinary program, and create a makerspace (a collaborative space where students create, think, share and grow using an assortment of materials and technologies). Our team is already planning how we will utilize the outdoor spaces for educational and vocational programming.”
Most of the staff from Bourbonnais will move with the school to its new location. Camelot is also recruiting additional special education teachers and paraprofessionals. The school is hosting a Job Fair on July 12. Both Mortl Smith and Watford hope to meet local educators who would like to join the Camelot family. The Job Fair will run, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the new school building, located at 35445 Washington Street in Custer Park.
The network of Camelot Therapeutic Day Schools in Illinois have become increasingly important as the needs of children are being addressed earlier and more often than ever.
“Early intervention has been emphasized and recommended for children for many years,” Mortl Smith noted. “Our Bourbonnais program has had a preschool classroom open for quite some time, supporting our youngest children, with many successfully reintegrating back to their home schools. Similarly, an expanded preschool program and a kindergarten-2nd-grade program will be available at the new site. Once we are moved in, we will be adding an indoor gross motor (physical) play space for the students, custom designed for our special learners.”
Mortl Smith said she anticipates all of the currently served school districts will continue to refer students to Camelot in Custer Park and the school may gain a few new districts as well.
“We can’t wait for our district partners and families to see the space with all its amazing features,” she said. “We are planning an open house and special event later this summer to bring people in to see the school in its new location. This is a very exciting time for us!”
Related Article: Camelot TDS of Bourbonnais – Health Conscious Campus