A stay at the hospital can take kids away from many of their daily activities. To accommodate school needs, we offer two fee-free education programs. Each program serves a slightly different purpose.
The School Services program is led by Scott Zagalak, M. Ed and Catherine Vautier, M. Ed. This program is designed to keep children engaged in learning and moving forward in their school's curriculum while hospitalized. It serves patients with a full range of diagnoses regardless of length of stay. School Services can help with many aspects of your child's education, such as:
- Work with your child's school to coordinate instruction
- Focus on core subjects as well as preferred interests
- Provide age/grade appropriate learning activities
- Communicate in regard to a child's needs upon discharge
- Act as a liaison with the CPS teachers
The Chicago Cubs Charities Classroom (located in the Panda Cares Center of Hope on the 12th floor) is open year-round. Access is available by appointment and, when staffing allows, walk-ins are welcome. We encourage visiting this space to experience hands-on learning fun – homework is not necessary but curiosity and a sense of adventure are welcome!
Additionally, the Chicago Board of Education assigns two teachers who work exclusively with Chicago Public Schools students who meet criteria for their services. These teachers are on premises for the CPS calendar year and regular CPS hours. Patients enrolled in CPS have full access to our classroom and all of its resources.
Questions? Please contact Catherine Vautier at 312.227.3353 or Scott Zagalak at 312.227.3352.
Education Liaison Program
The Education Liaison program is a school outreach program sponsored by specific divisions in the hospital. There are Education Liaisons dedicated to the Department of Epilepsy, the Department of Audiology, the Department of Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplantation, and the NICU-Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Heart Program in the Heart Center. The liaisons partner with patients/families and their schools to help ensure access to education.
The Education Liaisons can help with many aspects of your child's education, including:
- Provide information regarding educational rights and special education services available to your child within the school system.
- Relay information to your child's school in regards to the impact of diagnosis on your child's education
- Collaborate with schools to create educational plans that support your child's needs.
- Problem solve with parents and schools around barriers to educational services.
Questions? Please contact the Education Liaison for your department.
- Division of Epilepsy: Amanda Torres, 312.227.4516
- Division of Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplantation: Katlyn Treinen, 312.227.3293
- Department of Audiology: Jen Haney, 312.227.3069
- Division of Cardiology, NCNP Clinic: Sarah Johnson, 312.227.0245
Visit the Illinois State Board of Education: Special Education website for additional help if needed.