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The COVID-19 vaccination requirement for visitors to IDJJ facilities has been suspended as of 1/12/23. Visitors may be required to complete a rapid COVID-19 test when they arrive at the facility. 

School District #428

IMPORTANT: Dial 988 for the suicide and crisis lifeline!


The Department of Juvenile Justice operates School District #428 according to the Illinois Compiled Statutes (105 ILCS 5/13-40). "Its purpose is to enhance the quality and scope of education for youth within the Department of Juvenile Justice so that they will be better motivated and better equipped to restore themselves to constructive and law abiding lives in the community."

According to statute, "It shall be responsible for the education of youth within the Department of Juvenile Justice and inmates age 21 or under within the Department of Corrections who have not yet earned a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate and the said district may establish primary, secondary, vocational, adult, special and advanced educational schools as provided in this Act." The Board of Education for this district shall with the aid and advice of professional educational personnel of the Department of Juvenile Justice and the State Board of Education determine the needs and type of schools and the curriculum for each school within the school district. The School District Superintendent is Dr. Tresa Dunbar.

On December 8, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education issued a "Correctional Education Guidance Package." A statement concerning the information and links can be found here.

U.S. Department of Education Correctional Education in Juvenile Justice Facilities

DJJ’s School District provides students with a general education as required by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Youth who have not received a high school diploma or GED are required by law to attend school each day.

Classes are available to allow students to earn an 8th GradeDiploma, G.E.D., or a High School Diploma. Youth will be given the Basic Achievement Skills Inventory (BASI)Test at Reception or immediately after transfer from Reception to assess math and reading levels. The test scores assist educators in designing an educational program which fits the youth's individual needs.

School Calendar 2023-24

How to Apply for Positions within School District #428:


Curriculum Council

The Curriculum Council was developed in 2017 to review the curriculum processes occurring within the school district to include data analysis, course content, and future curriculum goal planning.  Each school has teacher representatives. Council member representation has rotated over the years.  The meetings are held virtually and in-person.  

Pearson Connexus Curriculum

SD #428 uses Pearson Connexus as an On-line Credit Recovery Program. Connexus allows youth to catch up on classes missed in the community and earn credits needed for graduation. Teachers provide supportive assistance to the youth as they complete their credit recovery courses. Connexus software allows youth to work at their own pace and receive additional levels of teacher support based on individual needs.

When a course is completed with a passing grade of 60% or higher, students will receive .50 credits for the subject matter on their transcript. Any traditional schoolwork completed will be assessed and awarded based on the Carnegie hour of credit (30hours = .25 credit; 120 hours = 1credit).

Direct Instruction/Blended Learning

The process of Direct Instruction/Blended Learning. Eight to nine hours per week are devoted to Direct Instruction/Blended Learning.  The Direct Instruction/Blended Learning time require formal development of teacher lesson plans submitted to the school principal for review. The youth receive Carnegie Credit Units for their engagement during the NCD which then renders .25 credit toward graduation after 30 hrs. of participation.  

Supplemental Curriculum

Language Live (English Language Arts Program)

The Language Live program is a comprehensive literacy intervention curriculum designed for struggling readers in grades 5-12.  It is a personalized online learning program combined with text and teacher directed instruction to significantly increase reading achievement.  It is designed for students who read and write below grade level and need a program that places them at their instructional level.  The goal is to move students to grade level proficiency in English Language Arts and engage them in grade level content across subject areas. It is built around two instructional components- Word Training and Text Training that incorporates reading skills of phonological and phonemic awareness, phoneme graphemic correspondence, sight words and rhyme patterns.  It also focuses on more advanced word study, exercises, multi syllabic words, prefixes, suffixes, root words, and morphology.  Fluency is the focus and is organized around five key programs:  reading foundational skills, reading comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, and writing.

SAVVAS Math with Success-Maker

SAVVAS Math is a comprehensive Math Program for middle and high school students who are below grade level and are struggling with math concepts.  It provides an alternative math curriculum for youth who are facing challenges completing the online Connexus Program.  It provides direct instruction, manipulatives, graphic organizers, and intensive support within the classroom environment.

GED Program

The specific purpose of the General Educational Development Test (GED) Test is the measurement of the educational development of youth ages 17 years old to adults who have not completed their formal high school education. Passing the GED exam will earn the youth a state high school diploma and recognition that indicates a high school level of education. The General Educational Development Test consists of four subject tests.  Once passed, the youth earn a high school equivalency credential. The four subjects are language arts, math, social studies, and science.

Blended Learning Model

Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice School District #428 employs the blended learning model. Teacher-facilitated and technology-supported learning that promotes student engagement and achievement through various methods, including: Individual instruction, small-group instruction, and whole-class instruction.

Central Office Administration's role in Blended Learning

Empower principals to be instructional leaders by ensuring they are equipped with the necessary resources and supports. Provide district-wide leadership to ensure that blending learning and quality instruction is provided daily.

Principal's role in Blended Learning

Empower teachers to be instructional leaders by ensuring they are equipped with the necessary resources, tools, and skills. Provide guidance and oversight to ensure the highest quality implementation of blended learning in every classroom.

Teacher's role in Blended Learning

As instructional leaders and facilitators for students, provide individual, small-group, and whole-class instruction. Actively engage with students in educational activities, connecting students to the appropriate resources and tools, and monitoring student progress. Creatively combine traditional learning methods with technological supports that foster student engagement and achievement.

Student's role in Blended Learning

Actively engage with teachers and technology to create a personalized learning experience. Work with teachers to track progress and receive guidance. Use technology as a tool for learning.

Role of Technology in Blended Learning

Provide a customizable and self-paced learning environment for students to gain knowledge and demonstrate self-sufficiency. Allow active monitoring by teachers and students to assess progress and make improvements. Support student achievement in core knowledge areas.

Professional Learning Communities

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

Each curriculum content area has a PLC team.  (Ex: Math and English Language Arts).  The PLC teacher teams meet monthly to clarify which IL Learning Standards are targeted within the curriculum, to review/revise curriculum Scope and Sequence courses, and to enrich the learning experiences for youth as they master educational outcomes. The goal is to embed rigorous and functional instructional practices districtwide.

Professional Development during No youth In Attendance (NIA) Days and No youth In Attendance Remote (NIAR) Days

NIA and NIAR Days are used to focus on curriculum development training, blended learning activities, and a variety of other targeted teacher professional development inservices to promote classroom/student engagement. 

Administrators of School District #428