The Winston Knolls School at Hoffman Estates Campus is a private, non-profit school for children with autism and developmental delays, located in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Students are in school for a minimum of 179 school days during the regular school year. During the regular school year, the school hours are 8:50 AM-2:50 PM Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Students attend The Winston Knolls School 8:50 AM- 1:50 PM on Wednesday.
Extended School Year (ESY) runs approximately mid- June through the end of July. Classes are in session for a total of 120 hours over the ESY session, which is approximately 8:50 AM- 2:00 PM; Monday through Thursday. The exact end time for ESY varies year-to-year, due to when the July 4th holiday falls on the calendar.
Students are transported to school as determined by their IEP; typically in a bus or taxi, or driven by the parent. Students are met each day at the appropriate vehicle and escorted into the building by a familiar member of staff. At the end of the day, students are escorted to their vehicle by a member of staff. The Winston Knolls School, at Hoffman Estates Campus works closely with drivers to ensure that students are secured appropriately in their vehicle.
The classroom team is led by a state-certified teacher. Classes have a maximum size of eight students, with a minimum of three staff (one classroom teacher, and two assistants) depending on student need. Children enrolled in the program are between the ages of 3 and 19. The Winston Knolls School, at Hoffman Estates Campus educates students in grades pre-kindergarten through high school. Students are assigned to classrooms based on ability level, while still maintaining only a four year age span in each classroom. Classroom Assistants and Life Skills Assistants are trained in the implementation of behavior intervention plans and program instruction. They assist with behavior management and instruction, and support the classroom teacher.
The school is overseen by the President/CEO and the Principal. The Principal directly supervises the Assistant Principal, the classroom teachers, and the related service staff. The Assistant Principal oversees the BCBA, Behavior Specialists, Classroom Assistants and Life Skills Assistants. The Behavior Specialists collect data on student performance, which is used by the classroom team to develop behavior intervention plans. Consultation with a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is provided to assist in the development and implementation of appropriate behavior intervention plans as needed, and to supervise the behavior specialists.
Speech and Occupational Therapy services are provided by licensed Speech/Language Pathologists and Occupational Therapists. Speech and Occupational Therapy are incorporated into the curriculum, but students will receive direct and group therapy minutes as determined at their Annual Review. Where appropriate, related services staff will work with and train families and school staff to ensure that augmentative communication devices are being used appropriately in both school and at home. All related service professionals consult with the classroom team on a regular basis to ensure program integrity.
Students will receive Adaptive Physical Education as part of their weekly schedule. The Adaptive PE teacher is a state certified special education teacher. Students receive two, 30 minute Adaptive PE sessions per week, which are held in the school gym.
The clinical model utilized at The Winston Knolls School at Hoffman Estates Campus is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). It is used to teach and increase skills and appropriate behaviors and to decrease inappropriate and negative behaviors. This model has been chosen because ABA is the only evidence based methodology that has proven to be effective for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. Student behaviors and necessary skills are broken into smaller components. It allows the trained, school staff to manage behaviors and teach the students alternative behaviors that are socially appropriate.
The Winston Knolls School at Hoffman Estates Campus has a full year staff training program, which focuses on best practices for teaching children with special needs, applied behavior analysis techniques, and effective use of curriculum. All staff members attend two days of professional development activities at The Winston Knolls School at Hoffman Estates Campus, before classes resume. During this time, staff training includes Blood Bourne Pathogens and Mandated Reporting for DCFS. There are two additional professional development days included in the school calendar. Each Wednesday during the regular school year, students are dismissed at 2 PM to allow for staff training and development. The Winston Knolls School at Hoffman Estates Campus also holds weekly classroom meetings to review individual student needs and to provide a forum for additional professional development. Staff training also includes appropriate training for new hires.
Staff members are trained in the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (NCI) system, which includes a full range of strategies and procedures targeting a wide spectrum of adaptive functioning (positive and productive behaviors) and maladaptive functioning (aggressive and self-injurious behaviors).