Beard School is a unique Specialty School with two very different types of programs housed in the same buildings. The school is located on the northwest corner of Jefferson Park, Chicago, near the intersections of Nagle and Gunnison. We currently have an enrollment of 290 students. Programs at Beard are designed to have an academic focus integrated with social emotional learning skills. Our success is based upon a high level of stakeholder involvement in the school partnered with high expectations for our students. All of the Beard School programs are free to families. We also offer after school and after care programs for interested families.
This year we are opening up 10 brand new classrooms in a gorgeous state of the art facility to accommodate our highly sought after preschool programs. Our largest program is our neighborhood preschool program designed to serve 4 year olds in a full day academic learning program. The models of programs that Beard School has includes general education, blended and intensive support programs. Our full day preschool programs begin daily at 7:30-2:30 with priority given to 4 year olds in preparation for kindergarten. We also have half day programs that are two and half hours long, Monday through Friday. All of our preschool programs have a Gold Circle of Quality Excelerate rating with the state of Illinois. Our high-quality programs make our preschool programs one of the most desirable in Network 1. Many Beard staff members have enrolled their own children in our preschool programs. Class sizes for the general education and blended programs can have up to 20 students, while the intensive support classrooms can have up to 10 students.
Instructional practices used at Beard School provide students with developmentally appropriate, authentic, culturally and linguistically relevant opportunities for reading, writing, speaking, and listening. English Language Learners are provided with support daily. Over 97% of teachers at Beard have an ESL endorsement. Instructional practices create environments that are language rich and are supported through play based center learning experiences.
Beard School’s climate and culture is positive and promotes the development of social-emotional competencies and meaningful connections between home and school. This is essential for early literacy development. Teachers use the Creative Curriculum to provide a balanced literacy program to ALL students, including diverse learners and English Language Learners. The classroom will have hands-on inquiry based learning and project-based investigations to build children’s confidence, creativity and critical thinking skills while developing student’s social emotional skill sets.
The second and longest program at Beard School is our cluster program for diverse learner students grades K through 3rd grade. These programs are daily from 7:30-2:30. We also have two half day instructional preschool programs. The morning session is from 7:30-10:05. The afternoon session is from 11:55-2:30. Many of our students are picked up at their homes and arrive to Beard School on a bus. Beard’s cluster programs are specifically designed to have an academic focus integrated with social and emotional embedded learning. We focus on increasing desired behaviors with a class size that can go up to 10 students. There are at least three paraprofessionals, and a teacher in each classroom. This allows students to be provided with intensive support for academic, social and emotional development and development of communication skills.
We utilize a variety of instructional approaches, teaching models, and communication methods geared toward increasing student achievement. Our curriculums are academically aligned to the national common core standards. Many of our teachers are Orton Gillingham (multi-sensory approach) and TEACCH (structured teaching and independent task learning) trained.
Small group instruction is rotated throughout the day in student centered stations. This is our primary instructional strategy used by all teachers. The staff are trained in utilizing Picture Exchange Communication Systems, assistive technology devices, social emotional learning strategies, technology integration, and classroom based models of therapy delivery of services. As a CPS intervention school, our role is to prepare students to return to their next school setting and provide them with the foundations necessary to be successful. Instruction throughout the school is highly differentiated to address the learning style needs and behaviors of different students.
Integrating Fine Arts is a large component of Beard School’s curriculum. We are an award winning excelling fine arts school. Enrichment programs for our students have included past partnerships with Hubbard Street Dance, Tiny Tunemakers, Chime Music, Urban Gateways, Children’s Theater, and Red Kite. Currently students have PE, Art, Counseling, and Music daily.
Therapy services are provided by a team of highly qualified related service providers. As a Chicago Public School, therapy services are delivered to students through a classroom based model in which students receive services with other classroom peers. Beard School provides speech, occupational therapy, psychology, counseling, social work, physical therapy, and nursing based on IEP eligibility and student needs.
Beard School serves as an intervention school for the district at the early childhood level. We can identify students that need additional support and immediately minimize learning gaps by providing multi-tiered supports to students at any grade level. Providing early childhood intervention as soon as possible, is single most important key to student success at this early age. Students in our diverse learner program are placed at Beard by the Office of Diverse Learners and Supports. They can also be identified by our own staff members for needed additional supports. Staff members are highly trained specialists in working with students on the autism spectrum and other disabilities. All IEP’s are honored at our school, but we only go up to 3rd grade. Each year your child will be evaluated to see if they are eligible to return back to their home school to be educated with typical developing peers as indicated in Illinois state law.