5. Educational & Training Facilities

The need for education and vocational training is paramount to maintaining and enhancing skills.  The Division of Rehabilitation Services operates 2 specialized educational facilities in Jacksonville, the Illinois School for the Deaf and the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired. Students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired may have trouble assimilating into mainstream education systems. The DRS schools use teaching methods that cater specifically to their student populations.  These schools allow students the chance to gain an unparalleled understanding of their culture, and they provide a more conducive environment to learn and socialize. Similarly the Vocational training facilities in Chicago,  the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation & Education - Roosevelt and the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation & Education - Wood provide vocational training techniques and strategies to help students maintain their independence.  Through specialized programming, students acquire the skills and tools necessary to pursue competitive integrated employment.

Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD)

The vision of the Illinois School for the Deaf is to provide an environment in which students will thrive and succeed to their optimal potential.  The mission is toISD Classroom Setting engage students in a supportive, safe and nurturing environment to achieve personal excellence academically, socially, physically and emotionally.

The Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD) was founded in 1839 and is located in the central part of the state in Jacksonville, Illinois on a 50 acre campus.  The school offers accredited educational services for children from three to twenty-one, who are deaf or hard of hearing and live more than 25 miles from Jacksonville, and day programming for students who live within 25 miles of Jacksonville. 

  • In FY21, ISD provided educational instruction to 49 Elementary Age (PreK-6th), 21 Junior High students, 77 High School students and 46 Birth to 3.
  • The Parent/Infant Program serves Illinois children diagnosed with hearing loss from birth to age 3 and their families.
  • Provides a full range of academic, career, and support services to meet the needs of each student.
  • Jr and Sr High students have choice in academic individualized educational programming that provides a transition plan to support the students in preparation for their post-secondary journey:
    • students may choose classes through the Career Technical Education (CTE) program, which emphasizes on pre-vocational and vocational subjects
    • students may choose to take advantage of agreements established with area schools if they are interested in a course not offered at ISD.
  • Provides a wide variety of sports and extracurricular activities such as boys and girls basketball, volleyball, football, track, and cheerleading that help them become well-rounded and productive adults.
  • Provides a bilingual environment in American Sign Language (ASL) and English so individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing and hearing can learn and work together to ensure effective communication.
  • Services are free and available to parents, students, teachers and educational personnel who work with children who are deaf or hard of hearing in Illinois including training on topics associated with hearing loss, conferences for parents, assessments to identify educational and vocational needs, annual conferences for educational personnel and Cochlear Implant support.

Program Highlights

ISD Classroom Setting

  • Due to COVID-19, remote learning was provided via Zoom, Google Classroom and WebEx. ISD provided training on these platforms to our staff and families to ensure the remote learning experience transitioned as smoothly as possible with the least amount of learning loss as possible.
  • The Career Technical Education (CTE) program served 53 high school students in various career and technical education classes.
  • The Student Work Experience (SWE) programs incorporate lessons on budgeting, banking, and mock interviews. It served 42 high school students in providing work experiences both on and off campus.
  • ISD expanded CTE knowledge to 21 Jr High students who participated in quarterly orientation courses in four CTE areas. The orientation courses were Keyboarding, Human Services Career Exploration, Production Technology and Transportation Technology.
  • ISD's Parent/Infant camp was held virtually. The yearly camp serves many families across the state of Illinois with Deaf/Hard of Hearing children.
  • The Robotic Girls Team (Elementary) received high honors in a competition including students from across the globe! There were 1,200 teams, 61 countries and the ISD girls were selected in the top 5!

Illinois School for the Visually Impaired (ISVI)

The vision of the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired is to provide a quality comprehensive education and serve as a statewide resource to students in Illinois with visual impairments assisting them in becoming personally productive and self-sufficient citizens.

The Illinois School for the Visually Impaired (ISVI), established in 1849, is a residential/day school for students who are blind or visually impaired. Located in Jacksonville, ISVI provides accredited educational and related services for children from birth to 22 years of age through preschool, elementary and high school.

  • In FY21, ISVI provided educational instruction to 52 students and 80 Birth to 3 babies and their families.
  • Strong academic programming emphasizes independence and vocational skills, instruction in Braille, daily living skills, orientation and mobility training, and assistive technology.
  • Students enjoy a variety of extracurricular and dormitory activities, including track, cheerleading, swimming, wrestling, goalball, bowling, forensics, yearbook, student council, and choir.
  • The available curriculum units provide for easy credit transfer from and into public schools. Students can be referred for enrollment by their parents or their local education agency.
  • Educational services are provided at no cost to parents. Personal belongings, health care, and spending money are the responsibility of the parents. The home schools are responsible for transportation cost for home-going breaks and personal assistants.

Program Highlights

  • Remote learning was provided via Zoom and Google Classroom. ISVI established a Google help team and various other training platforms to ensure the educational experience was not adversely impacted for any student.
  • Student enrollment grew by 9.0%.
  • A three-day virtual Summer STEAM Camp was held to support students across the state. During COVID there were growing concerns with social emotional needs of students. The camp offered a social emotional language component that had not been offered in past camps. This was attended by 12 students across the state.
  • Opening Doors, a workshop for parents and children age 0-5, was held virtually reaching 37 families and 7 professionals.
  • Provided independent living and vocational support for 15 students through the Transitional Living Center.
  • An ISVI wrestler participated in the State wrestling tournament.
  • Monthly webinar series, in lieu of in person conferences, were provided. Through this change, many new families and professionals were reached through this medium. Attendees from over seven states and five different countries participated.

Illinois Center for Rehabilitation & Education - Roosevelt (ICRE-R)

Group of ICRE-R studentsThe mission of ICRE-R is to provide transition services including independent living, post-secondary education, vocational training, advocacy, community participation and services to assist students with disabilities in achieving the highest level of independence in community living and employment.

ICRE-R, which first opened in September of 1946 under the name Illinois Children's Hospital-School (ICHS), provides a comprehensive transition program for students with physical disabilities and other health impairments who have completed their high school education, but have deferred their high school diplomas. The program is 2 years in length and is available to students for 2 years or until they reach 22 years of age, whichever comes first.

  • In 2021, ICRE-R currently provides educational instruction to 35 transition students and 11 Pre-Employment Preparation students.
  • ICRE-R work with students, parent/guardian, local education and community agencies to assist with coordinating services from high school to adult living.
  • Students may attend ICRE-R as a residential student in the dormitories or attend the day program Monday - Thursday, as a day student.
  • Each student's program is tailored to his/her individual needs, skills and interests and have the opportunity to learn Living Skills, Vocational Skills, Employability Skills, Self-Advocacy, Social Skills, Leisure Skills, Medical Management, and Mobility Skills and participate in College Education and Vocational Training.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors are part of the students programming and are able to help coordinate the services that will best suit the needs of the students and their families.
  • ICRE-R offers a wide variety of evening extracurricular programs in the arts, music, martial arts, scuba diving and dance.
  • Services at ICRE-R are offered at no charge to Illinois residents. 

Program Highlights

  • ICRE-R used Google Classroom for instruction during all remote learning sessions. All students were provided with an iPad to ensure successful instruction.
  • Vocational programming was expanded to all students to include embroidery, production, graphic design, food service, employment skills, and two business software classes.
  • In FY21, 80.0% of students received vocational evaluations, an all-time high.
  • Six (6) transition students enrolled in college courses and began creating relationships with their Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.
  • All students participated in the Mobility Access Program (IMAP) whereby through the efforts of a mobility trainer, students learned independent mobility, working their way up through targeted levels, with the highest level being complete independent mobility throughout the entire Chicagoland area.  All students received their building, grounds, and Jewel IMAPs and 5 students earned their Chicagoland IMAPs.

Illinois Center for Rehabilitation & Education - Wood

ICRE-W customer learning to write braille on a Perkins braillerThe Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education -Wood (ICRE-Wood) is a facility that provides a concentrated, short-term residential or day training program for customers in the Vocational Rehabilitation program who are blind, visually impaired, or DeafBlind. Services are provided to individuals with visual impairments via support services and residential facilities. Support services are designed to enable individuals who have lost all or part of their sight as an adult to continue to reside in their own homes and experience normal lifestyles. Support services include programs to provide clients with such skills as: communication skills, Braille, computers, career skills such as software training and counseling. Illinois residents who are blind, visually impaired, or DeafBlind and at least 18 years of age or older may participate in these services.

  • Approximately 50 individuals, 24 of which utilize residential services at the facility, who are blind, visually impaired, or DeafBlind receive services from ICRE-Wood on an annual basis.
  • In FY21, 14 customers graduated from the program.
  •  During this 14-week course, participants receive intensive training in mobility, orientation, and activities of daily living.
    • Vocational training and assists visually impaired adults to become self-supporting citizens of their communities.
    • Facility staff work one-on-one with adults who are blind or visually impaired to help them achieve their employment, education, training, and independent living goals.

Program Highlights

  • ICRE-Wood provided remote instruction through FaceTime, phone calls, and WebEx. Instruction methods and techniques were developed to meet customers' vocational and training needs.
  • The training for the Business Enterprise Program for the Blind, offered on-site at ICRE-Wood, implemented the Hadley's Online curriculum to provide consistency and continuity to the program.  The implementation also enabled customers to take advantage of training remotely while working at their own pace toward receiving certification as a blind vendor. 
  • Orientation and mobility continued to be provided in person to customers, despite the facility's migration to remote instruction, so as not to impeded their vocational goals.ICRE-W Customer Learning to Receiving Oreintation and Mobility Instruction

Operational Spending

$ in thousands

Educational/Training Facility State Federal
Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD)
Personal Services $12,825.1
Student Compensation $2.1
Social Security $700.9
Contractual Services $1,268.7 $13.4
Travel $0.6
Commodities $117.0
Printing $1.3
Equipment $796.0
Telecommunications $13.2
Operation Of Auto Equipment $35.6
Secondary Transitional Experience $4.2
 Sub-Total ISD $15,760.5 $17.6
Illinois School for the Visually Impaired (ISVI)
Personal Services $6,788.6
Student Compensation $0.0
Social Security $357.9
Contractual Services $675.4
Travel $0.8
Commodities $73.0
Printing $0.0
Equipment $159.5
Telecommunications $0.0
Operation Of Auto Equipment $15.2
Secondary Transitional Experience $0.0
 Sub-Total ISVI $8,070.4 $0.0
Illinois Center for Rehabilitation & Education - Roosevelt (ICRE-R)
Personal Services $3,265.8
Student Compensation $0.0
Social Security $227.9
Contractual Services $644.7 $17.4
Travel $0.0
Commodities $27.2 $8.2
Printing $0.0
Equipment $56.0
Telecommunications $8.9
Operation Of Auto Equipment $0.4
Secondary Transitional Experience $25.6
 Sub-Total ICRE-R $4,230.9 $51.2
Illinois Center for Rehabilitation & Education - Wood (ICRE-W)
*Personal Services $787.3
*Social Security $58.0
Contractual Services $30.3 $4,42.7
Travel $0.0
Commodities $11.3
Equipment $20.5
Telecommunications $25.8
Operation Of Auto Equipment $1.1
 Sub-Total ICRE-W $875.7 $501.6
Grand Total of All Educational & Training Facilities $28,937.5 $570.4

* The majority of the Personal Services and Social Security for the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation & Education - Wood is included in the overall federal payroll for the Division and therefore not reflected in the chart.