Student Services

Joey Kowalik, Director of Student Serviceschildren

The Special Services Office at Lakeview School provides support to the special education programs and supportive services across the District. The office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily.

Zion Elementary School District 6 offers a full continuum of special education services. Special education is instruction and related services provided by special education personnel or by a general education program that has been modified through the use of special education support services, supplementary aids, or other special programming.

District 6 follows the state and federal laws that establish criteria for special education eligibility. The federal government recognizes 13 categories under which children may qualify for special education. These disabilities include: autism, deaf-blindness, deafness, emotional disorder, hearing impairment, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment.

District 6 develops individualized programs that align with each child’s individualized needs.  This program is developed with the goal of meeting each child’s educational need in the least restrictive environment. 


Certain children are identified at birth as having disabilities. The state has established an agency named Child and Family Connections (CFC), which assists families in securing itinerant services (e.g. speech therapy, occupational therapy) for children identified at this age. Children who are eligible for services through CFC may be eligible for services at the age of three in a District run preschool program.

At 2 ½ years, Child and Family Connections notifies the Special Education District of Lake County (SEDOL) of a child in need of transition. SEDOL has up to 6 months to complete any additional evaluations the team recommends and then meet with parents and the District 6 team to discuss whether continuing intervention is needed. A variety of options may be discussed with parents.

Early Childhood

Zion District 6 offers a continuum of special education services to meet the unique educational needs of the three to five year old students with disabilities. The range of available services is designed in compliance with the federal and state guidelines supporting the least restrictive environment in which services can be provided. Least restrictive environment means providing services in settings similar to programs provided to typical preschool children.

Preschool children are found eligible to participate in district services through an identification and assessment process. The assessment of preschool children focuses on the expectations and growth of the preschool child, and the evaluation of developmental skills, which are the foundation for academic and social learning. The assessed skill areas relate to academic functioning and are divided into five developmental domains: cognitive skills, fine and gross motor skills, self-help skills, social skills and speech and language skills.

Early Childhood Identification Procedures

District 6 provides preschool screenings on a regular basis throughout the school year. Three, four and five-year-old children, who have not entered kindergarten and are residents of Zion School District 6, may participate in the district screening. The child must be registered for the screening through the District 6 Special Services office (847-872-5455 x 0121). Screenings are free of charge. The screening process provides basic information about the child in the areas of cognitive, motor, social and speech and language development. The preschool screening is designed to identify developmental lags or areas of concern. Further assessment in one or all of the domains may be indicated from the results of the screening.

When further assessment is indicated, parents will be asked to sign a consent for the evaluation at the time of the screening.  After permission to evaluate is obtained, the child will be referred to the Special Education District of Lake County. SEDOL has sixty school days to complete the assessment and meet with parents to discuss results. If the child qualifies for special education services as a result of the evaluation and team meeting, goals and objectives are written. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for providing services is developed, and program placement is determined. The Individualized Education Plan is reviewed on an annual basis, adjusted and revised as necessary.

Finally, a preschool child may be brought to the attention of the Early Childhood Education team by parent referral. To schedule an appointment for Pre-School screening please call 847-872-0255.

Early Childhood Education Service Options

The District 6 Early Childhood Program offers a range of offerings. The program is based on each child’s individual needs. These needs are determined after an extensive assessment. The possible programs are listed below.

Speech and Language Services

When a child needs only speech and language services, the services are delivered at Lakeview School. Criteria for Speech services are based on a severity rating scale index; mild-moderate disorder/delay in one or more areas of speech/language or moderate/severe disorder/delay in speech production (articulation, phonological processes, oral-motor functioning, voice fluency).

Prekindergarten Program

District 6 is fortunate to receive grant funds to support a preschool program for students who are identified as being at-risk of academic failure. This two year program is available to children between the ages of 3 and 5 who are district residents. Entrance into the program is based on risk factors that are identified through the screening process.  At times children identified with disabilities may receive special education services in an at-risk classroom.  To schedule an appointment for screening please call 847-872-5455 x0121.

Lakeview Early Childhood Program

On occasion, children who have more intense educational needs may be placed in an early childhood self-contained program as determined by the educational team.

K-8 Special Education Programs

Children are provided special education services when they come to school with an existing IEP, as a result of a preschool program or because of a transfer in from another school district. However, children also can be identified as having a special education disability while they are at a District 6 school. Whenever a parent or a teacher has a concern about a child, a referral is made directly to the team at school. The formal assessment may be conducted after a series of academic interventions have been implemented (e.g. a reading intervention) or a child may be eligible under a Response to Intervention model. The assessed skill areas may include: general intelligence, motor, health, social/emotional, communication status and academic performance.

Students who qualify for one of 13 disability categories, receive services in accordance with their Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The child’s IEP is developed by her/his IEP team. There is a legal requirement for educating children in the least restrictive environment. This means that children with special education needs are programmed for, as much as possible, in their home school in a general education classroom. Services are provided in accordance with the IEPs of individual students.

Below is a brief description of the program options available for school aged children.

  • Inclusion support - The special needs staff in each of the primary buildings attempts to teach students within the general education environments. This is done utilizing a team-teaching approach. In collaboration with classroom teachers, the special educator may co-teach for a period of the day, where differentiated instruction is emphasized to address the needs of children with IEPs.
  • Skill Mastery Center/Instructional Classes - Certain children may need a specialized method of instruction for remediation of an identified deficit. When this is the case, the special education teacher will pull small groups of children with similar learning profiles from the classroom to receive highly specialized instruction in reading, writing or math. Student may also participate in the Skill Mastery Center to receive organizational and study skill support.  This program is available at all schools.
  • Learning Appropriate Behaviors Program - Some children need more structured instruction. When this is required, the Learning Appropriate Behaviors (LAB) program is an option. The LAB program is designed for children who have more intense learning needs that require more intense emotional support away from the general education classroom. These programs are housed at Zion Central Middle and West Schools.
  • Life Skills Program - The Life Skills Program provides support for children who require a parallel academic program.   This classroom handles the needs for life skill development (functional reading, writing and math). These programs are housed at Zion Central Middle and Shiloh Park Schools.
  • External Placements - On a rare occasion, children have more severe and profound educational needs. The district relies on the Special Education District of Lake County and private placement options for special education programming for children with severe and profound needs.

Related Services

Health Services

Students of District 6 can be screened for vision and hearing. Necessary follow-up procedures such as vision referrals and medical referrals will be recommended by the nurse and reported to the building principal. Identified special education students will have annual hearing and vision screenings.


Psychologists provide comprehensive evaluation services to students in District 6. They serve as case managers for case study evaluations and reevaluations. Additionally, they provide counseling services and intervention services. The school psychologists also serve as a resource for their colleagues.

Social Work

District social workers provide on-going counseling services to individuals, groups, and classrooms in District 6. They also provide assessments as part of the multidisciplinary teams at each school. Other responsibilities include referring families to community resources and assisting families in accessing those resources.

Speech and Language Services

When a child needs only speech and language services, the services are delivered at Lakeview School. Criteria for Speech services are based on a severity rating scale index; mild-moderate disorder/delay in one or more areas of speech/language or moderate/severe disorder/delay in speech production (articulation, phonological processes, oral-motor functioning, voice fluency).