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***Click Here for Information Regarding the Incident at
Braun Educational Center 10/17/2014***

Braun Staff Brave Weather to Participate in Bullying Stops Here Walk

Braun staff braved the cold weather and flurries to Stop Bullying Here! On October 4th, Julie Beasland, Colleen Geary,
Rhonda O'Connor, and Laura Lesniak participated in the Bullying Stops Here Community Walk in Orland Park, sponsored by Whole Foods in support of the Bridge Teen Center.

The Bridge Teen Center is proactively combating everyday acts of bullying by offering a safe and supportive space for students not just to be, but to become. As part of the Expressive Arts programing the Bridge provides, Art Therapist, Melissa Ferriter hosted an interactive art installation as part of the walk experience which was inspired by a project completed by Julie Beasland's Junior class last year.

The art piece helped walkers to identify how a person who is bullied feels alone and empty inside. Each walk participant had the opportunity to fill up empty human sculptures with colorful words of encouragement. 


Braun Students' Art on Display in CA

Braun's 4th and 5th grade art therapy work is currently on display in Los Angeles, California at UglyCon 2014! Inspired by a student's love for Ugly Dolls, Ms. Ferriter helped students make a their own version of an ugly-buddy to teach lessons on self acceptance, bullying awareness, and noticing that it's what's on the inside of friends that counts. Each student in Ms. Mitchell's class hand stitched a plush buddy to take home back in October.

Then in May the class answered an open call to make fan art for UglyCon 2014 by sewing a second Ugly Doll to send off the the convention to celebrate IceBat's 10th birthday. With help from Ms. Mazan, Ms. Mitchell and Ms. Ferriter, the students again demonstrated their sewing skills and shipped their creations off to California for the grand opening on June 21, 2014. Braun's photos were posted in the UglyCon Facebook fan page and generated a number of positive comments from all over the U.S. Even David Horvath, creator of the UglyDoll commented, "IceBat x 1000, made my day!"  The display is at Giant Robot Gallery and runs through July 9th. Congratulations Braun's 4th and 5th grade students!

Ferriter Attends Micro Residency

During the week of June 22-28 Art Therapist Melissa Ferriter took part in a 6 day Art Educator Micro Residency Program at the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois Champaign campus. The program grouped 24 applicants from throughout the Midwest with Fine and Applied Arts faculty mentors to explore new media in art, develop technique and discuss current events and applications in art education. The week culminated with a gallery show on Friday, June 27th at Figure One Gallery in Champaign, Illlinois.

Melissa's worked identified the stereotypes and labels that students with emotional and behavioral disorders face from the schools, peers, parents and the community. By using the archetypes of mythological beasts paired with silhouettes of children the imagery suggests that the aggressive words and actions of the student often earn the student a reputation, label or misconceived identity as monstrous person, when it is in fact a myth. The educator's role is to see beyond the scaly, stone or spiked exterior of that masked individual and then tend to the child within.

Braun Receives Gold from PBIS 

The Illinois PBIS Network has recognized Braun Educational Center at the Gold Level for its implementation of PBIS during the 2013-14 school year. Braun achieved at least 80% fidelity across two or more tiers, as measured by the School-wide PBIS Tiered Fidelity Inventory, and documented successful behavioral outcomes. The dedicated efforts of all the Braun staff are to be commended.



Please join us in celebrating some of our staff members who have demonstrated one extra degree of effort to achieve results:

McKee Adds Degree of Effort by Providing Homebound Instruction

The first DESTINY Plus 1 of this school year goes out to Erin McKee.  Erin has agreed to take on the extra duty of homebound instruction for a student who will soon be a new student in the DESTINY Program. 












Although this student is not yet medically able to attend school, Ms. McKee has offered her services of homebound instruction after her school day until he is able to come to school.  Thank you, Ms. McKee for going above and beyond!  Your student is going to benefit from your extra efforts before he even rolls through your classroom door!!

Nurse Debby Goes The Extra Dial!

Nurse Debby Tengerstrom worked a full summer day calling the parents of all 22 new DESTINY ESY students. Not only did she reach most of them. She took the rest home with her to try again later.  Thank you, Nurse Debby!

DESTINY Elementary Staff Present at
Gigi's Playhouse

A big Plus One goes out to a few DESTINY Elementary staff members who gave of their time to present an evening "Toilet Training Panel" to parents at Gigi's Playhouse on Wednesday, May 7th. Thank you to
Beth Sullivan, Kelsey Broughton,
Erin McKee, and Nurse Debby Tengerstrom! Each participant brought in resources, stories and "tips n tricks" to share with the parents in attendance. 

The evening was very successful with many parents gaining some new ideas or things to think about related to toilet training their children with special needs. Gigi's Playhouse is a Down Syndrome achievement center, and it offers both recreational and skills-development opportunities for children with Down Syndrome and their families. Gigi's Playhouse is located at 5400 W. 159th Street, Oak Forest in the lower level of a former church building. The website is  

Farrell and Wigboldy Help Create First Transition Yearbook

Kudos to the entire Photo/Yearbook Club at Transition, sponsored by Jean Farrell and Brandon Wigboldy, for their first ever Transition Yearbook! Everyone worked extremely hard to create a beautiful, professional-looking yearbook that will provide our Transition students and staff with years of happy memories! You all have definitely demonstrated the “plus one degree” work ethic!

Donna Lindemulder is CD's
+ 1°

Donna Lindemulder is a member of the CD Program at the High School level as a para professional.  She is a staff member who goes above and beyond her every day duties and truly thinks about the students she works with, her colleagues, and beyond. Donna takes it upon herself to volunteer her time and creative resources to help coordinate and set up for CD Social Events.  

She coordinates and makes sure that every CD student has a birthday card mailed to them with a message from every CD teacher. She is the first to remind the staff of a colleague's birthday or to rally the team to support a colleague if an event occurs that impacts their life. Donna's extra degree is the one that makes a different in the spirit of the CD students, their families, and her team.   




Click the links below to visit a program web page:

Braun Educational Center
Communication Development
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)
Project Challenge
Transitional Employment Program
Vision and O&M Services


A Message from the Director



Southwest Cooperative provides services for eleven public school districts:

113a Lemont

117 North Palos

118 Palos

142 Forest Ridge

145 Arbor Park

146 Tinley Park

159 Matteson

160 Country Club Hills

210 Lemont High School

228 Bremen Community High School

230 Consolidated High School


Southwest Cook County Cooperative Association for Special Education
6020 W. 151st Street  | Oak Forest, IL 60452
(Telephone) 708-687-0900 | (TTY) 708-687-2151
(Fax) 708-687-5695

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