A New Name for Camelot Education’s Newest Therapeutic Day School Location – The South Suburban Center for Exceptional Learners
Camelot Education moved its therapeutic day school (TDS) campus from Bourbonnais, IL to Custer Park, IL this summer. Camelot has announced a new name for its newest and largest campus, the South Suburban Center for Exceptional Learners. Camelot Education’s deputy superintendent for therapeutic day schools, Theresa Mortl Smith, says this new, larger campus is a natural extension of Camelot’s services and commitment to children with special needs.
“Over the years, we’ve had a relentless pursuit to hone in on the best practices for exceptional children. We have a passion for helping exceptional students, and what takes place in our schools is extremely effective,” Mortl Smith says. “We’re really proud of what we do, and through various forms of professional development, peer coaching, and workshops, we are able to maintain the high level of therapy and high expectations in each of the programs we provide.”
The move into the 11-acre property in Custer Park allows Camelot to build upon its programming in two broad areas – early learning and adult preparation.
“In our early learning center, our work involves intervention, regulation, and remediation, whereas, in our adult prep program, we’re focused on how our future adults are going to be able to gain meaningful employment once they leave us and lead successful happy lives,” she said. “The larger facility has allowed us to expand in those areas and open up new opportunities. For example, we’re running a culinary program in our new, large kitchen. We are also opening up a mock apartment in the new space where students will learn basic skills in-home care. And in our early learning center, we will have a state-of-the-art indoor gross motor skills room that will assist our students in developing or fine-tuning their coordination. All of these enhanced features allow us to build upon the extremely solid program we had at the much smaller campus that was previously located in Bourbonnais.”
The South Suburban Center for Exceptional Learners features a full cafeteria with a large kitchen, stocked and equipped with commercial-grade appliances. Nicole Davenport, the school’s executive director and head of education for Camelot Education’s therapeutic day schools, calls it an ideal facility for the culinary program, which is tailored to different groupings of students.
“Most of the work we do for children 14 and older is typically either for school credit or life preparedness. Students can earn elective credit for the class, or if they’re in our adult prep program, we’re focused more on basic cooking and menu planning, so that when they are living on their own or in a group living situation, they’re able to take care of their needs. The third purpose of the program is vocational training geared toward students gaining employment in a similar type of kitchen setting in a restaurant,” said Davenport.
Decisions on which students participate in the culinary program, like all educational determinations at TDS’s, are made by a team. The team includes the family, the child once he or she turns 14, Camelot, and the student’s home school district,
The new campus, serving the far south suburbs of Chicago, offers many other amenities including a full-sized gym, a large outdoor playground, a picnic pavilion, walking trails, and coming soon, an indoor playground.
The school will also serve as the future home of educational residencies for special needs educators from both Camelot and Illinois school districts. Stay up-to-date with this program in future posts on our blog.
Related Article: Camelot Education Expands Therapeutic Day School to Custer Park