School Aims to Raise $250,000 to Assist Children with Complex Learning Disabilities
The Hyde Park Day School (HPDS) announced today that it is hosting an event to raise $250,000 for scholarships to help children with complex learning disabilities. The benefit, Making Bright Kids Futures Brighter, will take place on February 28th at the Glen View Club in Golf, Ill.
The HPDS is the only school in the Chicago area that specializes exclusively in addressing the needs of children of average-to-superior intelligence who have learning disabilities. The school educates these children whose complex learning needs cannot be served by traditional schools. The goal of the school is to provide a specialized learning experience so that eventually children can successful transition back to their home school community.
“More than a decade ago our school opened with five students. It now serves more than 100 children annually at two campuses, which speaks to the need for these types of educational options,” said Casey Crnich, executive director of HPDS. “Some children who are very bright have difficulty in a traditional school setting and need a different educational approach in order to unlock their learning potential.”
In 2000, the Leslie Shankman School Corporation at the University of Chicago established the HPDS to address the lack of educational options for children with complex learning disabilities. Just 14 years later, the HPDS has campuses in Chicago and Northfield, Ill. serving more than 100 students in grades 1-8 from all over the Chicago region, Indiana and Wisconsin.
“When we discovered our daughter’s learning challenges, we had hoped her public school could accommodate her needs. However, it became clear very quickly that they did not have the necessary resources for her complex learning issues.” said Catherine Daniels, co-chair of this year’s benefit. “Hyde Park Day School was the only school that proved a fit for our intelligent daughter who learned in a non-traditional way. After transferring to HPDS our daughter transformed from having a defeatist attitude to one of confidence and an eagerness to learn, and she continues to develop the skills needed to succeed in life. She is now interested in becoming an inventor. Our son is also now attending HPDS and thriving as well. It is not an overstatement to say that the school has changed for the better the lives of our entire family.”
At HPDS, an individual learning plan is created for every student and is supported by a small class size (5 to 1 student to teacher ratio) and on-site specialists, including speech and occupational therapists. Over the past decade, HPDS has successful transitioned 238 students back to their home school communities and 75 percent of all HPDS students go on to a two or four year college.
“Our scholarship fund is vital because approximately 35 percent of families at our school rely on some type of financial assistance to attend,” said Crnich. “We want to ensure that all families are able to benefit from the valuable educational services the HPDS provides.”
The Making Bright Kids Futures Brighter benefit will feature a live auction and performance by Jazz vocalist Tammy McCann. Bill Leff, midday host on WGN-AM 720, will serve as master of ceremonies and auctioneer.
HPDS is the premier educational organization for bright students who struggle with learning disabilities. In March of this year, HPDS is opening a brand new, state-of-the-art facility in Woodlawn that will expand the Chicago campus by 50 percent.
For more information about the HPDS or the Making Bright Kids Futures Brighter benefit, please go to hpds.uchicago.edu.