A Much Anticipated Alternative

A different kind of therapeutic day school opened five years ago for the 2010-11 school year: Safe Haven School in Northfield, Illinois.

This school, founded by Holly Schaefer and other highly experienced colleagues, offers you a much anticipated alternative. Unlike resource rooms or other therapeutic day schools, Safe Haven School accepts only students with internalizing behaviors in grades K-12.

Until now, there has been no environment in which these children could learn without being affected by the presence of classmates who exhibit externalizing behaviors (verbal and/or physical aggression, bullying, ridicule, etc.).

We offer students an environment free of such distractions, and the anxieties associated with them. Hence, our name: Safe Haven.

2015-16 LAKE BLUFF Calendar | 2015-16 NORTHFIELD Calendar

Safe Haven School serves students in grades Kindergarten through high school who are not dealing with externalizing disorders. Of course we know that all students act out from time to time due to frustration, anxiety, or anger. They may yell, stamp their foot, throw something, or pound their desk. The students we accept into our program occasionally exhibit these types of behaviors. We do not accept students who are a danger to themselves or others on a daily basis or multiple times a day by hitting, kicking, shoving students or staff, fleeing from the classroom or building, destroying property, or who need to be physically restrained. Instead, our students require special education because of internalized difficulties such as:

  • Mood Disorders
    • Major Depressive Disorder
    • Bipolar Disorder
  • Severe Anxiety Disorders:
    • Social Phobia
    • Separation Anxiety
    • School Refusal
    • Selective Mutism
    • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
    • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Learning Disabilities
  • High Functioning Autism/Asperger's Syndrome
  • Multiple Diagnoses

The Need For Safe Haven School

  • “This area needs a school for children aged 5 through 18 who have internalizing behavior issues only....”
  • “The choice has been limited to settings that combine students with internalized behaviors and externalized behaviors....”

“During my career in teaching and administrative positions in Northbrook and Wilmette, I’ve heard comments like these. They’ve come from directors of special education within school districts around the Chicago region. They’ve also come from parents of our special students. There is a need. This need is now being filled.”

-Holly Schaefer, Founder/ Executive Director,