Lombard's Soaring Eagle Academy can soon begin transporting its K-8 students on its multi-purpose bus to off-site educational activities thanks to legislation, sponsored by State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) and state Sen. Chris Nybo, (R-Elmhurst), that was signed into law on Friday, Aug. 3, by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Soaring Eagle Academy is an Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)-approved therapeutic day school that caters to the unique educational needs of autistic children. Current law limited its ability to transport students off-site to only those in 9th through 12th grade. The members' HB 2040 amends the Illinois Vehicle Code to allow Soaring Eagle to transport students in grades K-8.
"Soaring Eagle Academy serves students from 40 different municipalities through a curriculum that was developed through guidelines set by ISBE," said Breen. "The school addresses the physical, intellectual, social and emotional needs of autistic students, and it is important that all of their students can benefit from off-site, curriculum-based learning opportunities."
"Soaring Eagle Academy strives to offer a curriculum that is rich in experience with developmentally appropriate concepts and meaningful information," said Sen. Nybo. "Being able to conduct off-site activities for the students will lead to increased learning opportunities."
Upon learning of the bill's passage, Soaring Eagle Academy Executive Director Deanna Tyrpak had this to say: "Our school serves students with autism and flexibility is an essential component of our work.
Thanks to Representative Breen's advocacy, we will now be able to use our multifunction school activity bus to transport our students on academically and socially relevant field trips. Being able to use our own bus will give us the flexibility, convenience, and cost saving benefit of frequent outings, which is such a positive experience for our students. Representative Breen is a true advocate for children with Autism and we are extremely grateful."