Joseph Academy is a Private, Non Profit, Therapeutic Day School that works with Chicago Area school district Special Education representatives who place students in the program. Local school districts or social service agencies may have criteria regarding who they refer to our school. You may contact your local public school district or Joseph Academy directly to inquire about local criteria. Prior to acceptance an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) must be completed along with a formal interview of the family. If you have further questions regarding your child's potential acceptance into our program, please feel free to contact us.

Motivational System

The reinforcement of positive student behavior is achieved through the motivation system, which is divided into five levels of advancement. Points must be earned to advance from one level to the next, and with each new level, students gain responsibilities. Students are awarded points every day for academic work and good behavior. They can lose points as well for inappropriate actions. With accumulated points, student buy items from the school store or earn privileges.

Within the Level System, Joseph Academy utilizes a point system based on the Boys Town model. The point system is the foundation for determining movement between the five (5) levels. As with the Level System, the goal is to effect behavioral change and growth to increase the students successful participation in both the alternative and mainstream settings.

The point system is a therapeutic tool that provides:

  • A basis for establishing rapport and building relationships with student
  • Structure and predictability
  • Immediate reinforcement and feedback
  • Motivation for student growth
  • Development of internal monitoring and evaluation strategies
  • A measurable record of student progress


Students at Joseph Academy study the same subjects as their counterparts in regular classrooms, but with greater structure and individual attention. The curriculum is based on the requirements of each sending school district and the goals and objectives started in the student's IEP. We offer many new and exciting vocational opportunities for our students. Woodshop, Bicycle Maintenance and Small Engine Repair are just a few of the programs in which our students can participate.

We work closely with each student's sending public school district to ensure that the student is enrolled in the appropriate academic classes. Many students have the opportunity to mainstream seamlessly back to their high schools. Our extended school year also offers the opportunity for students to graduate before their expected date.

Alternative Programs

Turn Around Alternative Program (T.A.A.P.)

This program begins at 1:40 p.m. and ends at 5:40 p.m. Monday through Thursday on scheduled school days. TAAP is appropriate for special education or regular education students who need an alternative day placement for a myriad of reasons: students who work part-time in the morning and/or who just function better in the afternoons, students who wish to use core subjects to prepare for a G.E.D., students who are frequently tardy to school in the morning, or an alternative placement in lieu of expulsion for serious disciplinary infractions.

Short Term Alternative Response Program (S.T.A.R.)

This program is for students with or without an IEP in grades K through 8, who may need a temporary option due to suspensions for disruptive school behavior, or an interim alternative classroom due to other problems. Students will be able to take advantage of Joseph Academy’s therapeutic support services, their consistent behavior management system, and an individualized curriculum specifically designed to address each student’s academic levels of performance. It is hoped that students who have completed the STAR program will have developed a more positive attitude toward school, or show a more focused attitude for school goals and want to change some previous unproductive patterns.