Bridge View and Challenger Day Schools are two special-education schools housed in the same building, just east of…More the Milwaukee and Touhy intersection. The building is a two-story, brown, brick building that purposely does not have a sign, according to Chris Raspante, executive director/principal. It still bears the sign of its former occupant, Niles Elementary School South.
Students are bussed to the school from all over northern Cook County, as well as Lake County, and only a few live in the Niles area. Therefore, school leaders think of the school as a place for these students to gather in their own learning community, not necessarily a place integrated into the fabric of the Niles community. "It just happens to be in Niles, but not really of Niles," Raspante explained.
The school provides both an academic program and a clinical program, including therapy for the students and for their families. Students' tuition is paid by the school districts in which they reside.
St. Bernadette's accepts children with special needs, including developmental disabilities, autism and many other…More conditions. Students' tuition is paid by the school district in which they reside.
Children from toddlers to age 22 are accepted at the school, which is staffed by licensed special education teachers, as well as a clinical social worker and art, occupational, speech and physical therapists.
Sister Maria, who has a nursing background, is the executive director, and the school is housed in the former Lutheran school building, which is attached to St. John Lutheran Church.
On most afternoons, severeal middle and high-school students walk or take the free bus to the Niles Teen Center,…More located inside the Golf Mill Mall. There, director Mark Williams, a former middle school teacher, and his staff supervise as the students do homework, work on computers, watch TV or play Wii, swim in the pool and play board games. The staff also provides tutoring and, with input from Niles Family Services, assistance to teens who may be experiencing challenges in their personal lives. Interns from Niles Family Services also visit the Center once a week.
The Teen Center organizes special events, such as movie nights, dances, lock-ins, game tournaments and dance classes. There are also field trips to bowling alleys, baseball games, the beach and other fun places. Kids can also earn community service hours by tutoring younger students.
The Teen Center is open to teens in sixth through twelfth grades. It is operated by the Village of Niles. Membership is $20 annually for teens who live in Niles or attend a school located in the village, and $35 for teens who do not.
The Niles Teen Center expanded in 2010 to include a large game/video/recreation room, a large TV room/lounge, a computer lab and study area, a library area and a lobby with a basketball hoop. Entertainment includes Playstation II, Xbox 360 Live, Wii, foosball, bumper pool, air hockey, darts, DVDs and cable TV, Guitar Hero, DDR, arts and crafts and educational workshops.