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Uptown in the News  

March 10, 2004
Inside Online
The Day School receives grant from Chicago Community Foundation

The Day School has announced the receipt of a grant of $21,000 from the Chicago Community Foundation for support of its Vocational Training Program. The funding will enable the school to continue to serve high school students in need of workforce development and job readiness skills and add to the program in ways that were previously unaffordable

"The vocational training program is critical to the success of our special education population," summed up Pamela Barnet, executive director of The Day School. "Without workforce development training, students are likely to end up incarcerated or dependent on the public welfare system. We are grateful and encouraged by this generous and much-needed funding.

The Day School, founded in 1943, was the first school of its kind in the City of Chicago for youth with learning and behavior problems. The school serves students at the elementary through secondary levels, primary- kindergarten through 12th grades (ages 5-21) and is a year-round or continuous program with a required summer term. The student population consists of individuals who are victims of abuse, neglect, family chaos and community violence. Their resulting problems prevent them from successfully participating in mainstream classrooms of a public school setting. In addition, many are far behind in their academic progress.

"Although chronologically in the 10th grade, very few students are actually working on 10th grade academics," explained the school's executive director. "Through our Individualized Education Plan (IEP), a student's disabilities are accommodated and academic instruction is tailored toward their current skill level. However, very few will earn entrance or be able to maintain themselves at a college level. Realistically, we know that our students need solid job-readiness skills. Our goal is to assist them to graduate ready to obtain and keep gainful, pro-social employment."

With job readiness as a priority, The Day School realized a vision this year when it opened a ninth classroom specifically dedicated to vocational training. The participants fall into three categories. The first is for students who risk reaching the age limit of 21 and are no longer eligible for tuition reimbursements before earning enough credits to graduate. The second group is comprised of students who are academically so low-functioning that higher education beyond The Day School would not be possible. Finally, the school's third group is made up of younger high school students in the 14-15 year range to receive on-campus pre-vocational skill building.

The School has divided the school time so that the morning is taken up with academic instruction and, in the afternoon, students are dispersed into community jobs to gain on-the-job training. The vocational program is credit bearing and students receive either a high school diploma or a modified certificate of completion per the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) standards

The grant will enable the school to expand and strengthen the Vocational Training Program.The Day School is located at 800 W. Buena Ave. For information, call (773) 327-6000, ext. 29.

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