"A Child Miseducated Is A Child Lost"- John F. Kennedy

Wolcott School:
An Idea Whose Time Has Come

The new school year has begun.  In our house, the beginning of school resumes the barrage of tutors, the hours of homework, and the community-wide effort to prop up the self-esteem of the student who struggles in school.  Based on the groundswell of support that Wolcott has received, we know that our experience is shared widely.
The arrival of the new school year is also a stark reminder that the city of Chicago does not have a high school with the distinct mission of educating students with learning disabilities and differences, and does not provide a single, centralized resource center to serve these students, not to mention their families or the community that supports them.
It is with this backdrop that I am thrilled to give you a status update of Wolcott School, Chicago's first high school that educates students with learning disabilities and differences.
  • Wolcott School owns the 30,000 square foot building at 524 N. Wolcott Street, formerly housing the Boys Club of Chicago.
  • Larry Kearns of Wheeler Kearns Architects has nearly completed the working drawings converting the 1926 building into a high school capable of accommodating 160 kids. Three Chicago-area school principals collaborated with WKA to optimally design the space.      
  • We have the full support of Alderman ‘Proco’ Joe Moreno, and we anticipate receiving city permits and beginning construction this December.  
  • We have hired a national search firm to conduct a nationwide search for the founding head of school and expect to identify our candidate by early 2012.  
  • In September 2012, Wolcott will open a community outreach center, with the mission of serving and supporting the community.
  • In September 2013, Wolcott will open with its first freshman and sophomore class.
As a founding member of Wolcott School’s Board of Trustees, I want to thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm.

There is still much to be done to open our doors to our first class of students.  Thus far we have raised $4.6 million.  Our goal is to raise an additional $3.4 million before we begin renovations this winter. You can help us reach this goal by connecting us with individuals, family foundations and corporations in your network who may be interested in the school. Consider hosting a parlor meeting to raise awareness, taking a tour of the school, or even just forwarding this newsletter to 10 of your friends.  We appreciate anything you can do to spread the word. Please call our development office at 847.942.6071 if you are interested in making a gift to the school.

Together we will fill the void in the Chicago educational landscape.
Jennifer Levine

Click here to learn more about Wolcott School.

The First Annual Wolcott School Golf Outing was held on September 14th at Bryn Mawr Country Club. Close to 70 golfers came out to play and show their support for Wolcott School.  Together we raised nearly $150,000 while we played, ate and listened to moving personal stories of students who are in need of the type of educational environment Wolcott School will provide.  Thank you to all who participated and made this a memorable afternoon.

Don't miss the HBO Family Documentary, "I Can't Do This, But I CAN Do That: A Film For Families
About Learning Differences."
Click here to watch the trailer.

Why Wolcott, Why Now?
"I cried every night after spending hours with my dad struggling and fighting through homework. I was made fun of at school. I was known as the kid who took the ‘short bus’. There was always a feeling of being special and never being just normal."
-- Josh, a student with learning disabilities, recalls his junior high years in a private school in Chicago.

  At Wolcott School, students like Josh will be understood, supported, and taught in a manner that compliments their learning style.  Students will not be singled out for their learning differences; they will be appreciated for their strengths. Research shows that when students experience success, they strive toward their full potential. Wolcott School will allow them this critical opportunity.

Thank You to our Generous Donors!

For information about making a gift to Wolcott School, please contact or 847.942.6071

Read about the impact that schools like Wolcott have had around the country:
Landmark School, Prides Crossing, MA
The Siena School, Silver Spring, MD
Denver Academy, Denver, CO


A Private School
with A Public

Chicago's first high school that educates students with learning disabilities and differences

Wolcott Leadership
Don Monroe,
Acting Executive Director

Pearl Rieger, Psycho- educational Diagnostician

Board of Trustees
Jeff Aeder
Heidi Albert
Sheryl Bellick

George Gaines
Bruce Halbeck
Eric Henschel
Jennifer Levine
Don Monroe

Conor O’Neil
Jamie Diamond Schwartz

'Z' Zaldwaynaka Scott
Howard Sharfman
Nancia Shawver

Professional Advisory Council
Dr. Pam Adelman,
Former Executive Director,
Hyde Park Day School
Dr. Mary Ellen Caron, President and CEO,
The Hope Institute for
Children and Families

Jane Herron, Former Head of School, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School
Dr. Josh Price,
School Psychologist
Dr. Peter Rastelli,
School Psychologist
Pearl Rieger, Psycho-educational Diagnostician
Dr. Warren Rosen,
Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Joe Ruggiero, Head of Upper School, Francis W. Parker School
Alyse Siegel, Private
Learning Specialist
Carol Sonnenschein, M.A., Nationally Certified
School Psychologist

Joanne Steinback, Former LD Teacher and Board Member,
Hyde Park Day School

Words Failed, Then Saved Me
"One night, lying in bed as she read to me, I realized that if I was ever going to learn to read I would have to teach myself."
Click here to read this
article by Philip Schultz
in the New York Times.

Our Leadership Speaks to the Need in Chicago...
“Here we are, the 2nd month of school and my phone continues to ring off the hook.  I can’t keep up with the number of parents from Chicago and the suburbs calling because their children are in such pain. So many children with great potential are struggling and often failing to succeed in mainstream schools, not because they lack ability, motivation, or intellect, but because they learn differently. Their educational needs are simply not being met by the options that exist here in Chicago.”
Pearl Rieger,
Psycho-educational Diagnostician

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