Welcome to Middlefork Student Services

All student services are under the supervision of Emily Dunham, Director of Student Services
847-881-9518. dunhame@sunsetridge29.org

Students With Disabilities 

Sunset Ridge complies with the provisions of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and provides a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to all students identified with a disability under IDEA. Special education and related services are provided to address the adverse effect(s) of the disability on a student’s education. Students already identified as having a disability and receiving special education services are provided with an Individual Education Program (IEP) created by student’s educational team and parents. Careful consideration and planning occurs during the student’s IEP meeting to ensure the student’s needs are being met in the Least Restrictive Environment. If you suspect your child may have a disability, please contact Emily Dunham (Director of Student Services) @ 847.881.9518.

For more information on the types of disabilities covered under IDEA, and general information regarding special education services for students attending an Illinois public school, please visit the Illinois State Board of Education Web-Site @ http://www.isbe.state.il.us/spec-ed/Default.htm.

Response to Intervention

The ISBE now requires that any student suspected of having a Learning Disability must be determined eligible for services through a Response to Intervention (RtI) assessment framework.

RtI consists of three essential components: providing high quality, research-based instruction/intervention matched to student needs, using data regarding learning rate over time and level of performance, and making educational decisions based upon student’s response to instruction/intervention. Sunset Ridge utilizes an RtI approach to evaluating the needs and special education eligibility that includes a series of progressively more intensive intervention and progress monitoring systems designed to match student needs to appropriate services.

For general information about Response to Intervention and special education, click the following links:

Special Education Eligibility and Criteria within an RtI Framework:
Early Childhood Services
Special education services are available for pre-school aged children beginning on their third birthday. District 29 provides a full continuum of services from itinerant speech services to a full-day early childhood program (provided through the Northern Suburban Special Education District), based on the individual needs of a given child. If you believe that you have a child that may be eligible for early childhood special education services, you should contact Emily Dunham (Director of Student Services) to schedule an evaluation.

More information regarding early childhood special education services is available through the Early Childhood Web page of the Illinois State Board of Education @

Learning Resource Support
Learning Resource services are provided to students that demonstrate unique educational programming needs. Therefore, special education services are NOT necessarily contingent upon eligibility under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), and often occur in the context of an RtI process.

At Middlefork School, three full-time certified special education teachers, with support of a number of teaching associates and in collaboration with our general education staff, provide assessment,remedial instruction, pre-teaching, direct instruction, co-teaching,curriculum modification, curricular/instructional differentiation support, emotional/behavioral support, and case management services.Every effort is made to provide our special education resource services in the general education classroom (Least Restrictive Environment).

For more information regarding special education resource services at Middlefork School, please contact:
Maureen O'Looney, Middlefork Student Services Teacher
Dodi Bailen, Middlefork Student Services Teacher
Laurie Barry,
Middlefork Student Services Teacher

Social Work & Psychology
Social,emotional, and behavioral supports are available to students demonstrating needs in these areas. Services include assessment,counseling, direct instruction, resource linkages, and case management.

For more information regarding mental health services at Middlefork School, please contact:

Susan George, District Counselor
Adelaide Allen, District Psychologist

Speech & Language Pathology
District 29 provides services for student with speech and or language impairments. Services include individual and small group speech therapy, inclusion supports, and case management services.

For more information regarding speech & language services at Middlefork School, please contact:

Stephanie Tuthill, Speech Pathologist (Kindergarten Through Third Grade)

Services Parentally Placed Students In Private School Settings
As required by Federal Law, District 29 provides special education evaluation services for eligible students that are either home-schooled or parentally placed in a private school within the boundary of District 29. If you have a child that is home-schooled or parentally placed in a private school within our boundary, and suspect that he/she may have a disability, you should contact Emily Dunham, Director of Student Services @ 847-881-9518 or dunhame@sunsetridge29.org

Additional Student Services

English Language Learner (ELL) Resources
District 29 is committed to supporting students that are learning the English language or have Limited English Proficiency (LEP). These students are referred to as English Language Learners(ELL)-previously known as English as a Second Language Learners (ESL).

Individual seeking more information regarding ELL services in District 29 should contact Diane Sigman, ELL teacher.

In addition, more information regarding ELL services is available through the following links:

Illinois State Board of Education

The ESL Center

Gifted & Enrichment
District 29 provides a variety of services to enhance the standard educational experiences of our students. Gifted services are provided to students that demonstrate a mastery of curriculum content through pretesting and are recommended by classroom teachers. Enrichment services are provided to students in an effort to expand the standard curriculum. Both gifted and enrichment services can be provided through small group or whole class formats, and are available in a number of subject matter/content areas.

For more information regarding Gifted Services in District 29, please contact Terri Zazove, Gifted Teacher.

For more information regarding Enrichment Services in District 29, please contact Dr. Ken Smith, Enrichment

Assessment Services
The District 29 team employs state of the art technology to assess the educational needs of our students and to evaluate the effectiveness of our instructional programs.

For more information on student assessment in District 29 please go to the Assessment Link.

Last Modified on January 29, 2015