• RISE (Rigorous Individualized Specialized Education) Program


    Vision/Core Beliefs

    The RISE Program is committed to supporting students who have moderate-to-severe intellectual/developmental disabilities within a supportive and caring environment in which every student is expected to achieve and develop to their greatest capacity in terms of academic achievement, social-emotional functioning, communication skills, and independence. We accomplish this through a collaborative team approach, strong parent partnerships, inclusive practices, and the use of research based curriculum and best practices.   Students are provided individualized supports that allow both access to general education experiences and specialized instruction.  

    Students supported by the RISE Program are fully integrated members of the King Arts community, participating in all community building activities, all school events, field trips, and school celebrations. 


    Program Description

    RISE is a self-contained, special education program which provides a supportive and rigorous educational experience for students who present with moderate to significant disabilities and require special education instruction for more than 50 percent of the school day.  Students in the RISE program typically have multiple disabilities which may include but are not limited to speech/language disorder, physical impairment, intellectual disability, sensory processing deficit, other health impairment and/or autism. 

    The RISE program consists of three classrooms with small student to teacher ratios, supporting students in grades K-8.  Each multi grade level classroom is taught by a certified special education teacher and supported by licensed paraprofessionals. Students follow a typical school daily schedule which includes core academics, PE, FIne Arts, and lunch/recess.  

    Students are assigned a general education classroom with their grade level peers and instruction occurs in both the special education and general education settings, providing all students with some inclusionary experiences. The special education teacher provides academic instruction using both alternate and/or modified curriculum based on student needs and levels of functioning as determined by the IEP.  Students have access to general education core curriculum supported by accommodations and modifications as appropriate per the IEP.  

    Students who are eligible may receive related services in the areas of speech & language, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work, ELL, and adaptive physical education.  These services are provided either outside of the classroom in a more therapeutic setting or provided within the special education or general education classroom to support authentic learning and the generalization of skills.  


    Curriculum Information

    Students in the RISE Program are instructed utilizing various curriculum materials that support learning focused on Illinois Learning Standards and Illinois Common Core Essential Elements.  General education curriculum is both modified and supplemented to support diverse learning needs.

    ELA Curriculum: Units of Study (K-5), StudySync (6-8), Reading A to Z, Unique Learning System, ReadWorks, Jolly Phonics, Okapi’s Lift Off to Literacy

    Math Curriculum: Eureka Math, Zearn, Number Worlds, Unique Learning System, IXL


    Additional Program Supports and Strategies

    Students in the RISE program are often eligible for additional services and support as determined by the IEP team.  In addition, various strategies are commonly implemented to support students across the course of the day.  Shared below are some examples which do not represent an exhaustive list. 

    Program Supports

    • Transportation
    • Health Services 
    • Co-facilitated Parent/Teacher Conferences
    • Paraprofessional Support
    • Assistive Technology 
    • Therapist Co-treatment (e.g. social thinking group facilitated by the school Social Worker and speech-language pathologist) 
    • Collaborative Goals


    Strategy Supports

    • Sensory Diet
    • Visual Schedule 
    • Reinforcement System
    • Zones of Regulation
    • Social Thinking 
    • Calm Corner 
    • Work-Break Schedule
    • Multi-Sensory/Multimodal Learning



    On an annual basis, the IEP team determines LRE (least restrictive environment) or the appropriate level of inclusion to meet the individual needs of the student. To the extent that is educationally appropriate, students are included in the general education setting for parts of the school day.  This is individualized for each student.  Students are assigned a general education classroom that serves as their class community and home base for general education instruction and activities.  We know that inclusion is beneficial for students with disabilities and students without disabilities. 

    A list of the benefits of inclusion for students with disabilities and students without disabilities has been compiled and families are encouraged to view this resource together. 


    Considerations for Student Recommendation

    Students who will benefit from the RISE Program-

    • Require a smaller learning environment and a modified and/or alternate curriculum for 50 percent or more of the day due to significant delays and in order to make progress toward grade level standards
    • May need support with communication and/or require total communication methods
    • May need support to physically access the school environment 
    • May require support in adaptive functioning and independence skills 
    • Have significant delays in processing, retention, and retrieval of information 
    • Need repetition, practice, multi-sensory approaches for new learning to become established
    • Present with academic progress that is significantly behind peers


    ISBE Student to Teacher Ratio Guidelines* 



    Grade Level

    Maximum with paraprofessional(s)

    Adult:student ratio







    Middle School




    *Table represents ISBE guidelines for maximum student placement. RISE class size and adult to student ratios are typically smaller, taking into consideration individual student needs and class make up.


    Program Transition

    Prior to finalizing an IEP recommendation to transition a student to the RISE Program:

    1. A student observation will be conducted by either a teacher or other designated member of the RISE team. The RISE teacher will be given access to the IEP for review and have an opportunity to gather information from a member of the sending team.
    2. A parent visit will be scheduled (optional) to tour King Arts and meet the receiving teacher.
    3. An IEP Review will be scheduled by the sending team to include the RISE teacher and selected team members.


    Important Contacts

    Dr. Amber Henderson, Principal - hendersona@district65.net

    Rebecca Calloway, Assistant Principal - callowayr@district65.net

    Darlene Wolford, Teacher - wolfordd@district65.net

    Mary Schwarz, Teacher - schwarzm@district65.net

    Fiona Egan, Teacher - eganf@district65.net