About Southwest Cooperative

  • Welcome to the Southwest Cook County Cooperative for Special Education (SWCCCASE) website! Southwest Cooperative is proud to have served students with diverse abilities since 1959.  According to our archives, two years after the Illinois General Assembly decreed that school districts could work together to provide educational programs for disabled students the Southwest Cooperative was created by 16 area districts. Historically, the Cooperative was formed sixteen years before PL 94-142 mandated that public schools should provide a free and appropriate education to students with disabilities.

    The Cooperative was founded on the principle that “exceptional children” deserved an education. In 1961, a small group of parents of students with disabilities formed a Parent Teacher Association (PTA), the only one of its kind in Illinois. In preparing for the first PTA meeting, Mrs. Edward T. Dorke, the PTA president, wrote a letter to parents. She wrote: “Meetings of this PTA are not just another evening out, because we have found even with the small group that has attended so far, problems can be solved and burdens lightened, just by discussion with someone who has been through a similar situation. This group too, is pioneering as a Special Education PTA and if we can succeed and be recognized, similar groups can be formed throughout the country for the help and education of everyone who will have contact with exceptional children.”  The spirit of this PTA is still present at Southwest Cooperative as we continue to be progressive.

    Our PTA believed in the motto “for every child the highest advantage.”  I think they would be proud of all of the innovative work that the Southwest Cooperative has done over the last 50 years to “Open the World Through Education to Children and Young Adults with Diverse Abilities.” Our ability to provide high quality educational programs and services to students has remained constant; our ability to implement innovative practices has also remained constant.

    Over fifty years of excellence can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of our member districts, staff, parents and students. As we face the challenges of the future, Southwest Cooperative will continue to lead the way. 

    Please enjoy exploring our website. It clearly depicts our dedication to serving students with diverse abilities.