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Our History

TrueNorth was first established as The Northern Suburban Special Education District (NSSED) to ensure that all students requiring special education would receive it even if their own districts did not have the facilities or staff to provide these services.

TrueNorth.mp4 from TrueNorth on Vimeo.

The Evolution of our Mission

The Northern Suburban Special Education District (NSSED), one of the first special education joint agreements in Illinois, was organized in 1960 and grew out of loosely knit organization of North Shore schools that provided limited special education services for their students.  Special education joint agreements were originally created in Illinois to enable school districts to collaborate to ensure the availability of special education services for all children, regardless of the nature of their disability.  They provide an “economy of scale” in providing certain special education services, particularly in highly specialized areas where districts cannot provide those services cost effectively on their own.

Early in its history, NSSED had primary responsibility to provide special education and related services to most special education students on behalf of its member district.  As service delivery models have changed, TrueNorth's mission has changed and now focuses on:

  1. Specialized instructional programs for students with low-incidence disabilities that are beyond the scope of most member districts (e.g., Education and Life Skills Program, North Shore Academy, Early Childhood Education)
  2. Delivering a "menu" of supportive services (e.g., assistive technology, behavioral intervention, vision services, and others); these services are only provided upon request of a district's IEP team
  3. Leadership in best practices in special education and professional development to support district special educators

Putting it in Perspective

Read about the evolution of special education in America, and how TrueNorth has been at the forefront of progress since 1960.


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