Southwest Cook County Cooperative
 Association for Special Education

Opening the World Through Education
to Children and Young Adults with Diverse Abilities for over 50 years




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Transition Supports the Troops 

With Transition's ESY theme being holiday picnic Amy Lendy's homeroom wanted to do something patriotic.  What better way to show our appreciation for the brave men and women in the armed forces than to assemble, decorate, pack, and send care packages?  Amy's homeroom was very excited to give back to the community and the armed forces!

Her homeroom hopes to stay in contact with the soldiers and that they enjoy the items sent from home.  The photo shows their care packages in Afghanistan.  Home of the free because of the brave!

Important Orientation Information and More!

Please be sure to view the correspondence from Dr. O'Neil regarding information on orientation dates, upcoming technology initiatives, as well as a "Back to School" celebration.

Letter from Dr. O'Neil

Orientation Dates by Program


It's official! We have Gone Google! If you have not yet logged into your account, please be sure you do as soon as possible. Not sure how? For step-by-step directions please see our Google Resources page located under the SWCCCASE Staff tab of our website.

Transition Program Hosts Third Annual
Creative Arts Festival

The Transition Program celebrated their third Creative Arts Festival on Wednesday, May 20, 2015! Family members, friends, staff and students enjoyed viewing the beautiful artwork that was proudly displayed!

Transition students worked individually, in classroom groups, and in various electives throughout the year to produce a wide variety of artwork. Mediums included plaster, poetry, photography, colored pencil, markers, crayons, chalk pastels, tempera and acrylic paint. Savory and Sweet helped host the celebration and provided a wide variety of delicious refreshments prepared and served by students throughout the event.

We look forward to next spring’s festival, which continues to grow each year!

Jeans for Troops

The staff at Braun Educational Center participated in a Jeans for Troops fundraiser to benefit veterans through the GI Go Fund which raises money to help veterans find employment, housing, and secure their educational and health benefits.  Braun staff made donations on May 18th in exchange for a jean pass and together we raised $141.00! Thanks Braun Staff!

Lemont High School Wins!

Junior Illinois Association of the Deaf (Jr. IAD) team from Lemont High School came in first place out of 10 teams at the Jr. IAD Volleyball Tournament held on April 25th at Harper College.  Congratulations team!   Coaches Judy Gray and Eric Smithson led the team to victory.

In addition only 2 students were chosen from the 10 teams to be MVPs- Lemont High School students Ashley M. and Ryan G.!   Furthermore, students Greg S. and Abby B. were selected as All-Stars.  Lemont High School demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship and represented exceptionally well!  

Lemont H.S. Student Matt Nachtwey
Named Student of the Month 

Matt Nachtwey was picked as the Freshman Student of the Month by the Learning Resource Center. Matt is an honor roll student whose favorite courses include Reading and Life Science. He visits the Learning Resource Center nearly every day to read Manga titles, and already has checked out more than 250 titles this year. Regardless of whether he's in the LRC reading a book for pleasure or working on an assignment, Matt is there with a smile on his face.

 Principal Eric Michaelsen and Matt Nachtwey

While he enjoys reading graphic novels, he has his sights set on tackling more difficult works. Matt plans on studying science, with an ultimate goal of becoming an engineer and building things that will help people with their problems. He does yoga to keep his body in shape, and also enjoys working around the house, hanging out with his family, and playing video games.

 Superintendent Dr. Mary Ticknor and
Matt Nachtwey



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

Celebrating a Year of Achievement

On May 6th, the Communication Development Program at Victor J. Andrew High School held our annual Student Achievement Night. This program recognizes our students accomplishments over the course of the school year. Our students were honored for their participation in various clubs, sports, and general education classes. Our CD staff members shared about our students’ success within their academic class work, exhibiting strong character, and leadership amongst their peers. Our graduates gave their Senior Speeches to the crowd. They gave heartfelt accounts of their growth within the Communication Development Program and expressed their gratitude for those that have helped them on their journey.

Mrs. Granato Wagner presented the first annual Sharron Santefort Student Award. Mrs. Santefort is a beloved CD teacher who demonstrated grit, perseverance, and held herself and her students to high expectations. Mrs. Santefort passed away earlier this school year, but her influence and memory lives on. This award is a tribute to her memory and recognizes students who embody her spirit.

Mr. Janzon and Mr. Deacy gave a music and movie presentation highlighting our students’ learning experience and encouraging our graduates to “Change the World.” We expect they will! Congratulations to the Class of 2015.

Thank you to our CD volunteers and sponsors, Mrs. Kellermann and Mrs. GranatoWagner, for hosting this special event for our students and their families.

Let's Play!

A big DESTINY Plus 1 goes out to
Ms. Kelsey Broughton who was able to secure a very nice toy shelf for her classroom with a little extra effort. 
Ms. Broughton posted a request for such toy shelf on the website 

She had to submit a justification outlining why her students would greatly benefit from the shelf and how it would allow a more accessible environment for her learners. 

Ms. Broughtons proposal was sponsored with just two weeks left in its publication.  Great job Ms. Broughton!

Kempke is DESTINY's +1

A big PLUS ONE goes out to
Karyn Kempke for accompanying the parent of one of her 8th grade students to visit potential high school placements.  Karyn's willingness to accompany the parent has helped to reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with a child transitioning from middle to high school and into a completely new program. 

Thank you, Karyn, for going above and beyond for our students and their families!

Gerhardt and Wegner Inspire Future Educators
Oak Forest High School Project Manager Mallory Platt announced today that the OFHS Guidance Department sponsored a presentation about teaching special education.

Featured speakers were Southwest Cook County Cooperative DESTINY program special education teachers Brianna Gerhard and Elizabeth Wegner, who teach in a special wing at Oak Forest High School.

Gerhard and Wegner told students what a typical day looks like in the special education program classroom.  Also, they discussed their likes and dislikes and challenges they faced in their profession.

Another topic of the presentation was the educational track they took to become special education teachers and what materials and technology they used daily in their jobs.  Brianna Gerhard said that the most common pieces of technology she uses daily in his classroom is an iPad.  Students use an app on the iPad that allows students who have difficulty verbalizing answers because they can press a button.

Also, Gerhard and Wegner discussed opportunities with the special education career field and related careers.

Gerhard Takes on Homebound Student

A big "Plus 1" recognition goes out to the DESTINY Program's newest special education teacher, Ms. Brianna Gerhard.  Ms. Gerhard has taken on the Homebound Teacher role for one of our students throughout the Winter months. 

Because of Ms. Gerhard's dedication to the success of our DESTINY students,  this student will receive high quality instruction even though the weather prevents her from attending school. Thank you Ms. Gerhard for your care, commitment and willingness to give of your afterschool time!



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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