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Hopewell Academy - Joliet


Hopewell Academy of Joliet provides educational, therapeutic, and transition services to special needs students ages 12-21. We help students manage emotional challenges that have previously interfered with their success in school. We instruct students using work-based and differentiated lessons themed around career areas so that students are motivated to learn and to seek out a future pathways to success.

Hopewell Academy's goal is to maximize the level of independence for students with significant disabilities whose needs may include:

      • Completing High School Graduation Requirements
      • Social & Emotional Support through Therapeutic Intervention
      • Vocational, Daily Living & Social/Recreational Skills Development
      • Linkage to Adult Service Agencies, if applicable
      • Linkage to Post-Secondary Education & Other Career Training Opportunities

Hopewell Curriculum

The educational curriculum for students is tailored to meet the individual needs and course requirements for each student. Each student is provided with group and individual instruction according to their ability and needs. Hopewell offers curriculum that is similar to local school district offerings. We make every attempt to provide similar books, materials and instruction students receive in their home school. We regularly assess how students perform and what teaching methods provide them with the best chance for academic success. The core academics of English, Mathematics, Science, Physical Education, and Social Science are offered on a consistent basis. We also occasionally offer other classes that may be considered electives at other schools.

Transition planning and implementation is a also a high priority in our program. We provide instruction to meet the goals of the three domains of transition including career education, daily living skills, and social/recreational skills. Individual transition planning is essential for students to reach their transition goals. Students develop their plan in both a group and individual setting. Career education students are engaged in may include the following:

  • career exploration,
  • on the job training
  • internships
  • job assessments
  • career research
  • classroom instruction
  • social skills building on the job (i.e. networking)
  • generalizable skills that transfer among all jobs (i.e. accepting criticism, dressing appropriately)

Students also receive daily living skills instruction that may include the following:

  • managing medication
  • creating budgets
  • understanding household safety
  • paying bills
  • understanding banking
  • learning to use available transportation options
  • cleaning and chemical safety
  • shopping for groceries

Social/recreational skills instruction will include community outings organized by staff to expose students to new and appropriate activities and to aide in building a network of friends. Social interaction will be taught through all classes and activities through modeling, role playing, and redirection.

Career Development

2008_Graduation__Talent_Show-101With a career development program in place, students begin applying the concepts taught in class with their individual career goals. Students are encouraged to explore their career interests and take steps toward a foundation for life after high school. Students are provided the opportunity to explore career interests on a variety of levels including the following:

Pre-Vocational Training - This training focuses on developing transferable job skills through supervised volunteer work. Students participate in programs through partnerships with community businesses to work in a team atmosphere among peers while being provided assistance from a job coach or teacher. Students gain valuable work experience and prepare for paid employment.

Career Exploration - Truly happy people are interested and passionate about their job, which is why the Hopewell takes the career exploration process so seriously. Students in high school and sometimes college rarely know what it is they want to do when “they grow up.” Through research the federal government has designed an organizational structurefor occupations that is called the U.S. Career Clusters. These clusters aid in career development greatly because students may not know exactly what job they want, but this tool points them in the right direction so they can utilize their high school time to develop and learn new skills in that field.

In addition, the career cluster identifies related jobs so students may find a better match with their skills, desires, and aptitudes. Picking a career is one of the most important decisions made by people and sometimes the most uninformed due to schools only working on academic requirements. Integrating academic and career standards is one form of career exploration that students are exposed to at our academy. In addition, students will complete interest inventories, aptitude tests, career research. They will experience job shadowing, job assessments, group tours, guest speakers, and other related activities to help narrow down their career search.

Therapeutic Program

A core aspect of the therapy program in all of our schools is the creation and maintenance of a positive therapeutic milieu. We want students to like going to our school because it’s a nice place to be everyday. The goal is to uniformly promote a spirit of cooperation, goodwill and respect among our students. Our therapy program helps us to create this positive and safe environment for our students.

The frequency and level of support our therapy program provides is based upon each student’s individual needs. Upon referral to Hopewell, each student’s history of special education and psychological issues are reviewed as well as current interventions the student previously received. Our staff will work in collaboration with any physicians or psychotherapists the student is seeing outside of school. Furthermore, each student’s therapy program will be based on what parents experience with their child and the concerns of the family. We want to help student’s lives improve in school and at home.

Emotional needs are addressed in the school setting. Students interact each day with licensed professional counselors and social workers. Needs are met in a variety of ways including:

Group Therapy- With appropriate guidance, a positive peer culture can be produced in group therapy that promotes hope, awareness of self, improved social skills and enhanced functioning in life. Group therapy is conducted in with each class by a licensed psychologist, a licensed clinical professional counselor, or licensed social worker, on a daily basis. Group therapy involves discussions that may include conflict resolutions, family disruptions and frustrations with school – or whatever comes up on a particular day.

Individual Counseling Sessions- Our staff likes to talk, especially with students. We think that real problems are solved in the real world by talking with one another – so we model this with students every day. Each student at Hopewell is assigned an individual therapist, a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed clinical professional counselor, or a licensed clinical social worker. Individual therapy time will be available to every student. Factors that affect the frequency and longevity of the therapy sessions include the acuity and severity of the child’s issues, the treatment they are or are not receiving outside the school and the character of the child’s relationship with their therapist. Generally, students receive 30 minutes of individual therapy per week or as indicated by their IEPs.

Family Therapy- Families need help. They need someone to talk to about the difficult task of raising children today. We understand that and are available to help. Therapists conduct family meetings whenever necessary. The purpose of these meetings is to provide the parents feedback as to the child’s progress, and receive input from them. When appropriate, family therapy interventions or a referral to a therapist to make family therapy interventions will be made. Use of multi-family groups led by a licensed mental health professional may also be suggested to facilitate positive change and a sense of community.

For more information or questions about Hopewell Academy of Joliet, contact:

Titus Payton,

Hopewell Academy - Joliet
1009 S. Briggs Street
Joliet, IL 60433

Phone: (815) 553-0680

Fax: (815) 553-0681