• The HAVEN Mission

    Hinsdale Area Vision for Emotional Needs (HAVEN) is a self-contained therapeutic program for students with emotional disabilities that is designed to provide a positive learning environment where students can develop:

    • Successful academic behaviors.   
    • Increased self-awareness and attentional control.

    • Reduced impulsivity.

    • Increased emotional regulation.

    • Improved interpersonal effectiveness.

    District 86 will provide each student with an optimal learning experience that includes a structured, safe, engaging, and responsive environment with increased therapeutic support by a team of highly qualified individuals.

    What is HAVEN?

    The HAVEN Program was launched in 2015 with eight students and quickly grew to 15 students by the end of its first year. After experiencing so much success and growth, HAVEN expanded its programming to a second classroom the following year. In 2018 the HAVEN added a third classroom and began accepting students from surrounding school districts.  

    The program currently offers a blended learning environment, a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills course, general education supports, and its own adaptive elective and physical education sections. In addition, some of the students we serve have the opportunity to attend mainstream classes at Hinsdale South High School.

    HAVEN is staffed by three special education teachers, three social workers, four paraprofessionals, and a program coordinator that are available to serve our students.

    We have created a unique environment designed to address academics and social and emotional skills through:


    • Individual Education Programming: Individual planning is used to help parents/guardians and students set personalized learning and behavior goals. These goals are created to support student success in and out of the classroom.

    • Meaningful Academic Instruction: The self-contained program provides academic instruction that meets the individual needs of our students. We work in conjunction with general education teachers to make sure our students receive an appropriate curriculum that aligns with mainstream students and aids transitioning.

    • DBT Skills Instruction: The DBT philosophy and skills are taught in individual and group formats to help address students’ emotional dysfunction. Therapeutic instruction will aim to:

      • Decrease dysregulation; Increase mindfulness (focusing skills)

      • Decrease impulsiveness; Increase distress tolerance (crisis survival skills)

      • Decrease volatile moods/emotions; Increase emotional regulation (de-escalation skills)

      • Decrease interpersonal challenges; Increase interpersonal effectiveness (social skills)

    • Goal Setting and Progress Monitoring: The program helps students focus on developing a set of academic, behavioral, and therapeutic skills that will be monitored by both the student and program staff. This system is designed to encourage and motivate students to improve their behavior, and also helps staff and parents/guardians know when students have made improvement. 

    Our Students

    HAVEN students demonstrate the need for additional academic, emotional and behavioral support that cannot be provided in a traditional mainstream setting.

    Entrance into the HAVEN program is the result of thorough planning and consideration by the student’s home school and resultant IEP team.

    Our students:

    • Must qualify for special education, most likely with an eligibility of emotional disability.

    • May demonstrate chronic emotional dysregulation or require frequent social work support.

    • May struggle to attend class, as evidenced by chronic tardiness or absences.

    • May receive frequent disciplinary referrals for an inability to manage challenges effectively.

    • May lack coping strategies to manage emotional challenges independently.

    • May require a calm and/or predictable self-contained educational setting.

    • May demonstrate challenges when it comes to interacting with others or communicating their needs.

    • May be credit deficient due to multiple failures or limited academic opportunities from a previous therapeutic placement.

    • Tend to be committed to learning and practicing strategies to overcome emotional challenges.

    Student Outcomes

    The HAVEN program has had a positive impact on the success of our students since its inception in 2015. Below are a few of the key outcomes our students have experienced while enrolled in the program.

    • HAVEN students earn credits at the same rate as mainstream students in District 86.

    • Students receive fewer disciplinary referrals once they have entered the program.

    • Students improve their full school day attendance by an average of 14.4%.