About Learning Center

  • General Description

    The New Trier Learning Center (NTLC) is a small therapeutic day school within New Trier High School. It is designed to assist special education students who require a small structured learning environment. This frequently includes both academic setbacks and emotional struggles. The program is designed to provide space for students to continue their high school experience while receiving additional academic and emotional support. Even though each student is different, the goal of NTLC is to help the student prepare for their post high school goals. For most students this is either returning to their campus or entering college.

    Clinical Approach

    The mission of NTLC is to help the students develop the skills they need in order to function in the larger school environment. During the time it takes to develop these skills NTLC gives the students the opportunity to continue with their academic studies. NTLC provides the students with academic and therapeutic services. These services take on a variety of forms, from school wide interventions to individualized work with each student. NTLC has developed a program model we call the Stages Model of Change. The model seeks to help students understand the steps needed to create lasting change across any problem area (academic, emotional, behavioral, etc). Some of the core elements of the NTLC Stages program include a milieu treatment approach, the use of cognitive-behavioral techniques and principles based on the trans-theoretical model of change, along with concepts from motivational interviewing and behavioral techniques.

    These theories all share in common an emphasis on the role of individual motivation and self-reflection in the change process. At NTLC, we believe that an individual's motivation for change is the key factor in creating lasting change. People develop their personal patterns of behavior and change occurs in an established pattern, it is this pattern that the Stages Model follows. With the help of NTLC staff, students are encouraged and supported to self-reflect and problem solve on their own behalf. Skills such as self-reflection, self-awareness, testing of assumptions and use of interactive feedback are central components of the NTLC intervention approach.


    The milieu treatment model offers the opportunity for student driven curriculum instruction in academic classes. The NTLC staff meets with other departments to align academic standards and material to then individualize it for the classroom. All classes are designed to have the student interested and involved in their education while maintaining a manageable workload and completing graduation requirements. The flexibility and individuality of the content, offers students the opportunity to examine additional academic material of interest while still upholding Illinois State Standards. NTLC offers major and minor classes in English, Science, Social Sciences, Business Education, Mathematics Arts and Kinetic Wellness.