Diverse Learner Program

At Cleveland, we believe that all students can learn. We believe there is a place for inclusion as well as a real need for self-contained classrooms. At Cleveland, we are able to provide all students with the full continuum of services. This continuum represents a range of educational placements in which an Individualized Education Program (IEP) can be implemented to meet the individual needs of our students with disabilities.

The Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) can range from the general education classroom placement with consultation services provided to the student and/or teacher to full time support within a special education classroom. 

LRE is not a “one-size fits all”. For some of our students it may look like full inclusion, for others they may be supported in a self-contained classroom, while others may be a mix of both. Cleveland teachers promote the concept of inclusion by applying one of three best practices:  in-class support, co-teaching, and consultation with classroom teachers. Whereas our self-contained and low-incidence /cluster classrooms will meet the needs of individual students while keeping with the fidelity of the grade level curriculum, or adapting the curriculum to enable the student to be successful while not diminishing their achievements.

All our placement decisions are based on what is in the best interest of the student. All our diverse learners attend enrichment classes, recess, lunch, field trips, etc., with their same age peers. Our general education students are our “Ambassadors” to our special needs population. The interactions between our students has encouraged an inclusive and accepting community within our school!

Inclusion Teachers

General Education Setting (1 Special Education Teacher and 1 General Education Teacher Co-Teaching)

Pre K Blended (½ day) Program Danielle Murakishi
Pre K Blended (full day) Program Erin Lusk
K-2 Matt Guyon
K-2 Bilingual Diana Castillo
3-4 Natalie Bunker
5th Christina Carrabotta
6th Patricia Dwyer
7th Paxton Deahl/Natalie Bunker
8th Anne Dunipace

Self-Contained Classrooms (Max 13 students, 1 Special Education Teacher 1 Paraprofessional)

K-2 Annie Reeder
3-4 Jason John
5-6 Sara Lopez
7-8 Gerald Burke

Low incidence/Cluster Program

Cluster programs are designed for students requiring a significantly modified curriculum with moderate to intensive supports in a separate classroom from general education peers for the majority of the day (over 61% of the day). Students may also need assistance with adaptive skills.


K-2 Cluster: Sandra Urquiaga
3-5 Cluster: Emma Urquiaga
6-8 Cluster: Jamie Vogenthaler

Special Education Paraprofessionals

Jesnaira Baez
Gloria Corona
Claudia Garcia
Leo Gil
Olga Gil
Vanessa Gomez
Alana Jackson
Michael Lang
Alejandra Leon
Lisa Mortier
Hector Paez
Jodie Ramos
Marisela Salinas
Nikki Taylor
Stacy Towner
Helen Zara

Related Service Providers (RSP)

Occupational Therapist
Paula Clark
Rochel Whitehouse
Speech Pathologist

Phillip Curtis (full time)
Jenna Lesser
Allie Kehoe
Social Worker
Rosita Ramirez (full time) 
Ellen Butitta 

School Psychologist   
Caroline Moore (full time)
School Nurse
Cihomara Rubio-Arias
Health Services Nurse
Megan Pacente


Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services (OLDSS): CPS Special Education

Contact Cleveland Elementary Case Manager:

Sandra Lang

Phone: 773-534-5297

Email: sklang@cps.edu

Programs and Partnerships

  • Big Green Sensory Garden
  • Special Olympics and Pep Rally
  • Young Athletes-a precursor to Special Olympics for our diverse learners under the age of 8
  • Community Based Instruction-walking trips to neighborhood stores/restaurants Sensory Path
  • Red Kite Project (Chicago Children’s Theatre) An innovative program for children on the autism spectrum
  • Filament Theatre: Performances for our students with special needs
  • Chicago Black Hawk First Stride Program: STEM activities, ice skating
  • Autism Awareness Month
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