District 67 Student Services

  • The Department of Student Services offers a comprehensive continuum of services for students eligible for special education services due to academic, social, or language difficulties. These students are supported in general education classrooms and Learning Resource Centers with a variety of resource supports and related service providers. Care is taken to use research-based instructional materials and skill development is frequently monitored. The department endorses a partnership philosophy with parents and encourages them to be active members of their child’s educational team.

    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) details the guidelines for the identification, evaluation, and eligibility determination for students who may be eligible for special education services. In the most recent re-authorization of IDEA (2004), the process for identifying students eligible under the Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) category changed significantly from over 30 years of practice. The most noticeable changes include the removal of the requirement to consider a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability, and the inclusion of the requirement that a local education agency may use a process which determines if a child responds to scientific, research-based intervention as part of the evaluation process. This process is most commonly referred to as Response to Intervention (RtI).

    The Illinois State RtI Plan, issued on January 1, 2008, outlines a framework for statewide implementation of RtI. Included in this Plan is the requirement that school districts are required to use a process that determines how a student responds to scientific, research-based interventions (RtI) when determining whether that student is or continues to be eligible for and entitled to special education services under the category of SLD. (ISBE Guidance Doc ref.)

    Key components of an RtI process include (a) a school-wide, multi-tier instructional and behavioral system for preventing school failure, (b) universal screening, (c) progress monitoring, and (d) a data-based decision making process for determining the severity of student needs and movement within the multi-tier system. In short, an RtI process eliminates the wait-to-fail model. All students are screened on an ongoing basis, services are provided based on need rather than waiting for students to fail before high-quality interventions can be used, and an accountability system ensures frequent progress monitoring that informs changes in both the type and intensity of programming.

    Student Mental Health Days

    A new law, effective December 31, 2021, states that a student may be excused for mental or behavioral health for up to 5 days in the school year without a medical note.  The student shall be permitted to make up any work missed during a mental health absence. After a second mental health day absence is used, the student may be referred to appropriate school support personnel.

    Important Additional Information for Parents/Guardians

    1. Parents/guardians have the right to inspect and/or obtain a copy of their child’s school student records prior to any IEP meeting. Written requests to inspect and/or copy the student records should be submitted to JoAnn Ford-Halvorsen, Director of Student Services, jfordhalvorsen@lfschools.net or 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045.

    2. Qualified interpreters are available at IEP team meetings upon request from parents/guardians whose native language is other than English. If a qualified interpreter is not available, the District may use outside vendors, including telephonic interpreters.

    3. Parents/guardians, including parents/guardians who are deaf, may request an interpreter at IEP team meetings by contacting JoAnn Ford-Halvorsen jfordhalvorsen@lfschools.net or 847-582-9662. Parent/guardian requests for an interpreter at IEP meetings should be made at least 3 days before such meetings whenever possible.

    4. Parents/guardians have the right to request that the bilingual  interpreter provided at an IEP meeting by the District serve no other role in the IEP meeting than as an interpreter, and the  District will make reasonable efforts to fulfill this request.

    5. Parents/guardians may contact JoAnn Ford-Halvorsen jfordhalvorsen@lfschools.net or 847-582-9662 with any questions or complaints about interpretation services.

    Availability of Related Service Logs

    Students with disabilities may receive related services as part of their individual education programs (IEPs). Lake Forest School District 67 will maintain related service logs that record the type and number of minutes of the related service(s) administered to such students. Copies of any related service logs will be available to parents/guardians at their child’s annual review IEP meeting. Parents/guardians of students with disabilities may also request copies of their child’s related service logs at any time.

    Notice Regarding Students with Disabilities

    Notice Regarding Students with Disabilities: House Bill 5770, which became law on August 28, 2018, requires that, beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, a school board posts on its internet website and incorporates into its student handbook or newsletter notice that students with disabilities who do not qualify for an IEP may qualify for services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 if the child: (i) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (ii) has a record of a physical or mental impairment; or (iii) is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment.

Department of Student Services

  • Dr. Jenny Sterpin

    Dr. Jenny Sterpin
    Executive Director of Special Education, Compliance and Grant Management


    JoAnn Ford-Halvorsen
    Director of Student Services
    (Office located in the CUBE at Deer Path Middle School)

    Maggie Pawelko

    Maggie Pawelko
    Student Data/Testing Coordinator


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