D211 Post: Palatine Police Department to Sponsor Drug Take Back Day Event

On Saturday, October 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Palatine Police Department, in partnership with Mariano’s and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will sponsor a Drug Take Back Day event, giving the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  Community members are encourage to bring pills and patches for disposal to the Palatine Police Headquarters located at 595 N. Hicks Road in Palatine.  The service is free and anonymous, with no questions being asked.

 

Last spring, Americans turned in nearly 475 tons (949,046 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,800 sites operated by the DEA and almost 4,700 of its state and local law enforcement partners.  Overall, in its 15 previous Take Back events, the DEA and its partners have taken in almost 10 million pounds — nearly 5,000 tons — of pills.

 

To ensure a quick and safe transaction, please do the following prior to your arrival at the event:

  • Medication: All medication should be sealed in clear zip-lock bag(s)
  • Syringes: Although the DEA does not accept syringes, Palatine Police will accept syringes for disposal.  Syringes must be capped and packaged separately from medication.
  • Liquids: Will not be accepted.

 

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Medicines that linger in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.  Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows year after year that the majority of misused and abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including someone else’s medication being stolen from the home medicine cabinet.  In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines — flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash — both pose potential safety and health hazards.

 

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the October 27 Take Back Day event, go to www.DEATakeBack.com or call the Palatine Police Department at 847-359-9000.




D211 Community Members Invited to Palatine, Schaumburg Unwanted Prescription Drug Collection Programs

Students are often challenged by social pressures to experiment with drugs and other substances. The response to these challenges can have a life-altering impact and frequently test young people’s abilities to understand long-term consequences.

To raise awareness as well as help prevent young adults from participating in drug use, District 211 is partnering with local authorities. On Oct. 22, the Palatine Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will be collecting unwanted prescription drugs at the Palatine Police Headquarters, 595 N. Hicks Rd., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The service is free and anonymous, and no questions will be asked of participants.

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To ensure a safe, and quick process, participants should do the following:

  • Medication: All medication should be sealed in clear plastic zip-lock bags.
  • Syringes: Although the DEA does not accept syringes, the Palatine Police will dispose of them. Syringes must be capped and packaged separately from medication.
  • Liquids will not be accepted.

The Schaumburg Police Department also participates in a prescription drug drop-off throughout the year. Community members can bring unwanted medications to the Schaumburg Police Department, 1000 W. Schaumburg Rd., 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Disposal recommendations are as follows:
  • Remove pills from their container and place them in a zip-lock bag.

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Keep liquid medications in the original container and place the bottle in a zip-lock bag.

  • The following items are not accepted:
  • Sharps/needles/EpiPens
  • Radioactive medications
  • Biohazard materials, including wound dressings

The prescription drug collection correlates with the upcoming District 211 Community Education Session at William Fremd High School, 1000 S. Quentin Rd., on Nov. 9 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The session will focus on student wellness, drug use and abuse, and the impact personal decisions can have for students. This session will be similar to the program held at Conant High School in May.

Representatives from Kenneth Young Center and the Palatine Police Department will discuss and review current trends concerning students’ access to, use, and abuse of narcotics and prescription medications. Chelsea Laliberte, executive director of Live4Lali, an organization founded in her brother’s memory and dedicated to the prevention of drug-related deaths, will join this discussion as a guest speaker. The session is designed to help parents and caregivers have greater awareness of warning signs so that connections to early intervention can be established.

Community education is important to High School District 211 and involvement will help our schools strengthen our commitment to serve all students. All sessions are open to the public and offered free of charge. There are also miami alcohol rehabs that can help educate and understand the ill effects of addiction.

For more information about the drug collection program through the Palatine Police Department, please contact the Palatine Police Department at (847) 359-9000. Please contact Schaumburg Police Department at (847) 882-3586 for more information about the Schaumburg prescription drug collection program.




District 211 ATP Program Changes Lives Through Creating Opportunities

Allison Meehan poses with her parents at their home in Palatine, Ill.

Allison Meehan poses with her parents at their home in Palatine, Ill.

Three days a week Allison Meehan goes to work. She runs through her morning routines and makes sure she gets herself to work at the local police department on time. Allison, or “A-Team” as her coworkers call her, is always interested in learning new tasks and starts the day’s projects with a smile on her face. Her hard work and love for her community show as she enthusiastically jokes around in the office while breezing through her work. While Allison’s day sounds similar to many, it is how she got there that is truly unique.

Allison also has an intellectual disability that challenges her in her day-to-day life, but she has developed skills to compensate for her challenges through the opportunities and experiences she had while at Palatine High School and in the Adult Transition Program (ATP). The ATP in District 211 does more than teach students important life skills – it creates opportunities for them to experience life through a more independent lens. The focus is on developing student’s self-determination skills so they can live as independently as possible, access community resources, and become full participating members of society.  Students participate in a variety of experiences that promote skill development in the areas of recreation and leisure, functional daily living, accessing and navigating their communities, and vocational experiences.

“We are very thankful that there is a program like this to provide different experiences and exposure for her,” said Allison’s mother Amy Meehan. “For her to learn what she likes as a work experience and environment and what she is comfortable with, she really ran the gamut on her experiences.”

Allison (center) works at the Palatine Police Department. She poses with Palatine Police Chief Alan Stoeckel and his assistant Kathy Leffelyoung.

Allison (center) works at the Palatine Police Department. She poses with Palatine Police Chief Alan Stoeckel and his assistant Kathy Lesselyoung.

Since 2009, ATP has provided specific instruction and community-based experiences to 18-21 year old students like Allison, who have intellectual disabilities.  Between District 211’s two ATP locations, an average of 60 students per year, or roughly five percent of the District’s total special education population, are served.  For many parents of students in ATP, where their child will go or what they will do when the leave the program is of great concern. Ultimately, the goal in ATP is for students to seamlessly transition from high school to leading adult lives, as independently as possible, with an individualized plan in place.

“We knew ATP was in place when she was in high school,” said Michael Meehan, Allison’s father. “We knew after she graduated she would be in ATP, which was great. We were hoping for a number of experiences she ended up having so she could find her way and see what she was capable of doing. She rose to the top. I believe we could have been a little lost without the support she received.”

The two ATP houses are located at Higgins Education Center in Hoffman Estates (ATP-South) and on the grounds of Palatine High School. The newly constructed building, ATP-North at Palatine High School, was built by District 211 Building Construction students and District 211 maintenance staff in a joint effort. An open house will be held on August 19, 2016, from 4:30-6:00 p.m.

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“We are so excited for our students to move into the brand new Adult Transition Program-North building at Palatine High School,” said District 211 Transition Services Coordinator Patrick Abraham. “The construction of this new home for our students is extra special because it was built in partnership by our own D211 Building and Construction classes.  By being directly involved in the building of the new ATP at Palatine, these students have in turn helped pave the way for future ATP students to gain an even greater experience each day at school in working towards their individualized Transition goals so they can become contributing members of our local community within which they live.”

 

Work Experiences and Independence

The opportunities provided in ATP through various in-district and community-based work experiences allow students to work towards becoming individuals who are ready for employment. Prior to the 2009-2010 inception of the program, post-secondary outcomes for this population showed that approximately 25 percent of students exited District 211 with competitive employment or having established linkages to community-based services and resources. Approximately 75 percent exited the school system with no plans for working within the state’s limited work capacity or linkages to post-secondary adult-based community agencies.

Since the inception of the Adult Transition Program, the number of students of this population who have exited District 211 with competitive employment or having established linkages to community-based services and resources has increased significantly. Currently, over 75 percent of ATP students exit the school system with community-based volunteer placements, adult day program placements, supported work placements and/or competitive employment opportunities.

The program’s innovative and individualized curriculum helps students like Allison gain exposure to different aspects of adult life. The Adult Transition Program provides students exiting the program to experience as seamless of a transition as possible and access to linkages for adult services such as Community Alternatives Unlimited (CAU), Division of Rehabilitative Services (DRS), community volunteering, adult day programs, supported work placements and/or competitive employment opportunities.

The ATP facility and program are designed to simulate an independent student’s full day. Some additional learning opportunities ATP students have include participation in work experiences such as the coffee cart service, delivering mail within the school and greeting school visitors at the front desk. Additionally, each student participates in a community-based work training experience.  Staff works to align those experiences to students’ areas of interest, as they prepare for their transition from the school setting to adulthood.  District 211 has many community business partners, which enables the program to offer a wide array of experiences tailored to individual students’ interests and abilities in industries such as hospitality, retail, fitness, community services and food service.

“The Adult Transition Program helps our students in District 211 with intellectual disabilities and other related disabilities to have opportunities in a variety of work experiences in our community as well continue to develop their daily independent living skills each day,” Abraham said.

Allison works at her desk at the Palatine Police Department.

Allison works at her desk at the Palatine Police Department.

In Allison’s experience, she excelled in ATP and was a very quick learner. With opportunities such as work experiences, practicing independent living skills, and social interactions, she has skills that allow her to be more independent in several aspects of her life. During her time in ATP, Allison participated in community-based work experiences at locations such as Innovative Components in Schaumburg, Ikea, and The YMCA. She also learned her likes and dislikes, as well as her strengths, in the work setting. Allison discovered she really likes working with people and would thrive in situations where she had interaction with others. Allison also identified her interest in police work. As Alison prepared to exit the program, a volunteer clerical position with the Palatine Police Department was coordinated as a work experience, which has since led to a paid intern position, where she works three days a week for four hours each day.

 

Practicing Skills in ATP Houses

A typical day in ATP consists of several different activities and opportunities located at the two ATP locations. In large, the ATP space is an environment that supports the transition from high school student to young adult.  The ATP building space allows students to develop and practice skills that are necessary to lead as independent of lives as possible in a supported and safe environment.  Students then work to generalize these skills in community-based settings, as they prepare for young adulthood and leading independent lives.  Each of the buildings are handicap accessible, including all kitchen appliances, making it is far easier for students who struggle with mobility, gross motor skills and navigating smaller spaces.

ATP North is on the grounds of Palatine High School. The newly constructed building will be completed by the start of the school year. An open house will be held on August 19, 2016, from 4:30-6:00 p.m.

ATP-North Campus is on the grounds of Palatine High School. The newly constructed building will be completed by the start of the school year. An open house will be held on August 19, 2016, from 4:30-6:00 p.m.

Students in ATP spend a portion of their week engaged in recreation & leisure activities. They are encouraged to participate in healthy recreation and leisure activities and to develop lifelong healthy living habits. This is achieved through accessing community-based fitness centers, nature centers, and public libraries. Additionally, connections are made with community-based special recreation programs that offer recreation and leisure actives that are age-appropriate and encourage the continued development of healthy living skills into adulthood.

Students also work on functional daily living skills. Developing functional daily living skills is a fundamental step toward independent adult living. To accomplish this, students participate in a wide-range of activities in the ATP house on a daily basis. Functional daily living skills activities include meal preparation, which in addition to cooking includes meal planning, budgeting, preparing a grocery list, and shopping for groceries.

Higgins Education Center

Higgins Education Center

Students also work to develop household skills, such as vacuuming, washing dishes, doing laundry, taking out the trash, and light home maintenance type tasks such as changing a light bulb or hanging a picture on the wall.

Allison’s mother said she is confident in her daughter’s skill base and abilities to do several tasks around the house. Right now, Allison can make foods such as Ramen Noodles, and she is learning to make grilled cheese sandwiches. She also has helped prepare food for a family gathering.

“Any skill we want her to do, she can do,” said Allison’s mother. “Since Mike and I leave for work, she really is on her own to get herself up. We pick out her clothes the night before, and she has some milk, packs snacks for work, takes her backpack and sweater – even now she is more independent than when she came out of the program.”

To practice various life skills, each ATP house has state of the art amenities and rooms that can simulate an independent living home such as:

  • Group Instruction Area

Students use the instructional area for small group pre-and post-community trip planning and review.  Students who may need to first learn how to complete a task or job for their community-based work experience might use this space to first learn the skill before generalizing to community-based work experiences.  This space also is used for computer-based tasks and small group social skills instruction.

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    Student kitchen at Higgins Education Center

    Student Kitchen

Students have weekly opportunities to plan, purchase and prepare breakfast or lunch.  Students also complete regular household chores such as washing and drying dishes, putting away groceries, and sweeping the floor.

  • Laundry Room

Students in ATP work on the life skill of using a washer and dryer.  In developing this skill, students engage in the activity of laundering a variety of items, including clothing worn during community-based recreational activities, kitchen towels and washcloths.  Additionally, some students utilize the ATP laundry rooms as an in-house work experience, as they launder a variety of items for the school, such as athletic uniforms and student work shirts.

  • Dining Room

Students use this space each day for breakfast and lunch, which they may prepare on their own, bring from home, or purchase from the student cafeteria.  When not in use for breakfast or lunch, students use this space for pre- and post-planning for larger community outings, for full-program meetings and presentations, and for small group work.

  • Leisure Area

Students in ATP are not only working on developing their vocational and community skills, but also independent and interactive leisure skills. The leisure skill development occurs both in the community and in-house.  Students might choose to engage in leisure activities such as reading a magazine, searching for information on the Internet, socializing with peers, or playing a game.

  • Sensory Room

Students are working on learning to use “real life” sensory supports when they may become anxious or upset in any setting.   Physical exercise is encouraged not only for healthy living, but also as a practical way to relieve feelings of anxiety, excitement and/or frustration.

 

Accessing the Community

Outside the ATP house, students are immersed within their communities as they develop skills for independence. Students learn to be better consumers through shopping trips to purchase items for weekly cooking lessons, supplies for the ATP coffee cart, and for their personal needs. While in the community, students develop soft-skills needed for interacting with others in their communities. They rehearse steps needed to access community resources, such as public transportation, the local township office, the post office, and volunteer opportunities. Additionally, students participate in various activities out of school, such as game night or trips to a movie theater, that provide a more collegiate feel to ATP.

“Many students leave Palatine High School and go to work or Harper College, and take the next step,” Abraham said. “Facets of the program allow ATP students to hang out together and do things that young adults their age do.”

 

Moving Forward

Allison, or “A-Team” as her coworkers call her, is always interested in learning new tasks.

Allison, or “A-Team” as her coworkers call her, is always interested in learning new tasks.

District 211 continues to work with local communities to create supports that help students with intellectual disabilities prepare to live more independent lives. The goal is to continue fostering relationships with local businesses to provide more work experiences for students, as well as create a more accessible community. For instance, public transportation is a possible growth area within the community because many students need extra supports while traveling independently.

In the meantime, students who leave the program are continuing to grow their own skillset. Allison’s family hopes that parents who have children with disabilities learn about the ATP program and get their children involved.

“We take a lot of pride in the program and from my lens it is cutting edge what we are doing in our community,” Abraham said. “The Board of Education and Superintendent Cates strongly support students with disabilities, and this program exemplifies that commitment and dedication to our students’ needs. Someone told me this a long time ago – I have adopted it since – I want the first day of every student’s young adult life to look like the last day of their day of their transition. That’s what it’s all about.”




District 211 Staff, Local Police Practice ‘Active Shooter’ Drills on Institute Day

The Palatine Police Department responded to Palatine High School's active shooter drill on April 8. Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates police departments ran a drill at Schaumburg High School the same day.

The Palatine Police Department responded to Palatine High School’s active shooter drill on April 8. Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates police departments ran a drill at Schaumburg High School the same day.

While Township High School District 211 has educated and trained staff about what to do in emergency situations, staff worked with local police to practice a hard lockdown scenario as if an armed intruder entered the building, complete with sounds of gunshots.

The Hoffman Estates, Palatine, and Schaumburg Police Departments coordinated efforts with District 211 to practice active shooter drills within school buildings. Schaumburg and Palatine High Schools were used as training sites while no students were present at the buildings on April 8 because of Institute Day.

“Twice a year our drills include active participation from the local police departments and our school staff,” said Daniel Cates, associate superintendent of administrative services at District 211. “Those drills have become very proficient, and our staff has developed skills that are right where we would like them to be. These active shooter drills, in coordination with the police, afford both organizations an opportunity to examine what realistically happens specifically within the first 30 seconds of an event starting.”

Local police coordinated with District 211 to run an active shooter drill at two high schools. Squad cars and a crime scene investigation team are parked outside of Palatine High School. No students were present for the drill.

Squad cars and a crime scene investigation team are parked outside of Palatine High School during the training. No students were present for the drill.

To eliminate concern within the community, District 211 first notified parents and members of the Palatine and Schaumburg of the drill so they would not be alarmed if they saw law enforcement vehicles outside the schools. Police training teams used firearms with training ammunition, or blanks, to simulate what gunshots sound like in a school building. Just as if they were intruders, police acted out events that could happen in real life.

The purpose of the exercise was to prepare staff for any scenario. The benefit of the drill was not just for staff in the event of an emergency, but also for police response teams to practice their protocols in a school-shooting situation. In light of unfortunate events that have occurred across the nation, such as the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, District 211 wants to provide the best resources for its employees to handle a changing society.

“We’re all aware of unfortunate events that have happened nationally, and they can happen anywhere, including schools,” Cates said. “Although we cannot guarantee that an incident or crisis won’t ever occur, we can put forth every conscientious effort possible to prepare our staff to limit the damage that could occur if an event were to start.”

After the drill, staff gathered in Palatine and Schaumburg High School gymnasiums for a Q & A session where they had the opportunity to review the drill and ask police questions. Without the collaboration and partnership with local police departments, the open forum and trainings would not be possible.

“All of our police departments do a fantastic job, and our partnership with them is invaluable,” Cates said. “We couldn’t do so much of what we do without their assistance. Their partnership, particularly in crisis, is remarkable, consistent, and a great service to our students, staff, and community.”