Our Mission

The mission of Hyde Park Day School is to provide students of average-to-superior intelligence with learning disabilities an innovative and comprehensive educational model that will help prepare them for a successful transition to public or private schools in their home community.

From humble beginnings, our dedication and success have paved the way for achieving our ambitious goals.


HPDS opened a Chicago campus with 5 students


A second campus opened in Northfield with 40 students


The Chicago campus moved into a new, state-of-the-art facility


Created 5-year Strategic plan entitled Vision 2020


Opened third campus in Lemont, IL


Completed new strategic plan

Our Success

Hyde Park Day School opened in 2000 in a small converted auditorium on the campus of the University of Chicago. After quickly reaching a maximum enrollment of 40 students, we opened a second campus in Northfield, IL to expand the number of students that we could serve. Similar to the Chicago campus, our Northfield campus quickly grew to its maximum enrollment. Realizing that we were turning away many students, we embarked on a building campaign to replace our Chicago campus in 2011.

We heralded the opening of our new state-of-the-art facility in the Woodlawn neighborhood in the spring of 2014 to further our reach and impact on bright students with learning disabilities. Realizing our potential for growth and continued success, we completed a full strategic plan in January 2016, Vision 2020, which set our vision for the next five years. In addition to codifying the instructional practices at the school, we have also pledged to expand the number of students directly and indirectly served by our program as well to continue to provide the best quality education to our students. One way in which we were able to accomplish this was with the opening of our Lemont campus in 2018.

In 2022, we completed a new Strategic Plan which will help us further refine, enhance and expand our HPDS model.

Hyde Park Day School is accredited by the North Central Association and The Independent School Association of the Central States. It is also institutional member of the Lake Michigan Association of Independent School, the International Dyslexia Association, as well as a founding member of the Association of LD Schools (ALDS). Hyde Park Day School has also received Wilson® Accredited Partner status by Wilson Language Training® (WLT).

of our alumni have enrolled in a four-year college or university

of past students have an average high school GPA over 3.0

of past students received academic honors in high school

Hyde Park Day School Long-Term Outcome Study

Hyde Park Day School has completed a ten-year longitudinal research of students who attended HPDS from 2000-2010. This document reflects the committed work of our Executive Director Emeritus, Dr. Pamela Adelman and former Director of Research, Dr. Jane Hornickel. It is dedicated in memoriam to Brooke Whitted whose unyielding support of Hyde Park Day School has allowed it to grow and thrive.

HPDS Long-Term Outcomes Study (Abridged Version)
HPDS Long-Term Outcomes Study (Unabridged Version)

We are so proud of our alumni for pursuing their dreams. Click here to review the colleges and universities at which they have enrolled.

Success Stories

Our outstanding graduates are proud to share their personal stories of their time and transition at Hyde Park Day School, and continually help define why we are steadfast in our push to provide the best education possible for all our students.

Here’s a letter from alum Chris G. to Principal Melanie Mitra and HPDS thanking them for helping him learn how to persevere.

Words cannot express my gratitude towards you and everyone that educated me during my time at Hyde Park Day School.  During my three years, not only did you teach me grammar skills and reading and writing but you taught me discipline, something that I needed very much.  You taught me to problem-solve, how to accept defeat and to keep moving forward.  I remember, and still have the red cards Miss Higgins gave me that say “This is annoying, but I can take it” or “Everyone makes mistakes.”  The biggest takeaway from Hyde Park for me was how to deal with hard times and being frustrated.  And oh Lord I used to get frustrated.

I remember once pushing over my desk and walking out of a classroom in 5th grade.  I remember 7 times I had to leave school because of my frustration.  One thing that was different from you than any other principal I know, is that you would not give up on me. You could have done what most people do and say this is a disrespectful kid that needs punishment and expulsion.  And I thank God every day you didn’t do that.  You really changed my life.  And now I am writing to you as a senior in high school who will be attending the College of William and Mary next year, and all of my accomplishments I couldn’t do without you, my parents, and God.


“One thing that was different from you than any other principal I know, is that you would not give up on me…You really changed my life.”


There is no institution I credit more than Hyde Park Day School.  This is not to say I would be a complete failure without Hyde Park, but I would not be the young man I am today.  Everything I ever do whether that is being a varsity athlete, a National Honor Society member, or anything, my credit goes to you.  Inside or outside of school, my honesty, my character, my determination were encouraged by your great school.

I leave you with this message by Jackie Robinson, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”  This is a message I live by.  I believe the richest people are people that make others’ lives better, like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life.  And you Ms. Melanie are the richest person I know for you changed my life and the lives of so many others.

Mr. Station and HPDS have made a world of difference to Zac academically and emotionally.

Zac is a current HPDS student who entered — and won — an essay-writing contest about his favorite teacher. His parents added this introduction:

Hyde Park Day School (HPDS) serves children with diagnosed learning disabilities. Among Zachary’s diagnoses are dyslexia, dysgraphia, sensory processing disorder, language based learning disorders, ADHD, fine motor issues and auditory processing disorder. Zac has an IEP because his disabilities impact his ability to learn although he is bright.

Because (his teacher) Mr. Station and HPDS have made a world of difference to Zac academically and emotionally, Zac wanted to enter this contest. There are a lot of great teachers that educate typically developing children. When a teacher can impact a special needs child in one semester and change the trajectory of his life, that teacher is truly special. Teachers like Mr. Station deserve to be acknowledged.

Here are excerpts from Zac’s essay:

Mr. Station is my favorite teacher. He’s my teacher at Hyde Park Day School. Hyde Park Day School is for kids with issues like dyslexia and ADHD. Mr. Station is my math teacher and my guitar teacher. He’s in the classroom for other stuff too like social studies and science.

Mr. Station makes me feel good. He never tells me to try harder. He never says what‘s wrong with you or makes me feel embarrassed. He never makes me or anybody cry. I never get sick on Sunday anymore. Mr. Station makes me want to go to school and makes me want to learn.


“I always thought I was the dumb kid. I don’t feel like the dumb kid anymore.”


Mr. Station makes me feel smart. I always thought I was the dumb kid. I don’t feel like the dumb kid anymore. I’m never afraid to raise my hand. I don’t worry if he asks me questions I don’t know the answer to. Mr. Station told my mom that I’m smart at math. He said that I just learn different.

I know he’s interested in us. He talks about college with us and says we are smart enough to go. He knows what teachers are supposed to do. He smiles a lot. He understands us. He’s a good teacher for kids who feel bad or stupid.

Mr. Station made me like school again. I live far from school. I have to get up really early for school and that’s ok because I like going to this school. He makes me want to do homework and study. That’s why I sometimes do it on the car ride home. He makes me want to learn even when I’m tired or bored.

I know he cares. He’s proud of me and that makes me really happy. I feel safe in his class and never afraid. I like going to school and not being afraid. Mr. Station is my favorite teacher.

Jonas completed High School with high honors, and graduated from Indiana University all because of the help of Hyde Park Day School.

My name is Jonas W.  I attended the Hyde Park Day School from the summer before 4th grade in 2002 until 6th grade in 2005. You may be asking yourselves, “What can a school even do for a kid in that short of a time?” …especially one who has severe ADHD, Dyslexia, Anxiety, and OCD or as I like to call it, my holy Quartet. Well, let me just tell you, it did everything and then some.  Ever since kindergarten, I always felt different from everyone else when it came to school. I always found myself extremely discouraged and frustrated when it came to school work. My therapist suggested we look into a new school that was just for kids with LD. I was immediately against it, going to another school where I knew no one and the thought of leaving all my friends, or lack thereof, sounded like the end of the world. However, after countless fights and perhaps some bribery, I agreed to give it a try for summer school.

“From the moment I stepped in the door on my first day, a sense of ease I had never felt before came over me.”

I remember my first day like it was yesterday. From the moment I stepped through the door, a sense of ease came over me that I had never felt before. After I got home, I could not stop talking about how amazing it was…well there are very few times when I’m not talking…but honestly I had never been so happy at school in my life. I was finally surrounded by other kids, who were not all 10 steps ahead of me, and by teachers who were not telling me I had to catch up or get left behind. The first of many things HPDS taught me was it’s okay to need a little extra time! In fact, one of the most important skills that HPDS taught me was the importance of self-advocating. My teachers helped me to realize it’s okay to say that I needed help and you should never be afraid to ask for that help. The faculty and staff of HPDS are one of the most significant and valuable assets the school has. Each and every one of them had a hand in helping mold me into the man I am today.

When I finally transitioned back into my local school system, I was nervous I was going to miss all my new friends. Ironically, this was really the only thing I was worried about. I was not worried or scared about not being able to stay with the class, not scared to ask questions, and not even concerned about bullies. For the first time in my life, I finally felt confident that I had all the tools and skills I needed to be successful.

Today, I am proud of where I came from, where I am, and where I am going. I was able to graduate middle school with High Honors and High School on the Dean’s List and with honors. Most importantly, I was able to graduate within four years from Indiana University, majoring in Apparel Merchandising, and minoring in Business, Fashion Design, and Informatics. Currently, I am the Assistant Buyer for watches at Sears Holding.

I am where I am today because of HPDS, and I am completely confident almost nothing I just said would have happened without it. Words cannot describe the gratitude I have for this school and the faculty and staff for changing my life. This quote from former president John F. Kennedy reiterates how I keep HPDS with me every day and how I show my appreciation, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Hyde Park Day School has changed the course of Christopher’s life for the better.

When Christopher started at HPDS, I was so worried and fearful that I was losing him. He had always been an incredibly curious and adventurous kid, however, being a kid with dyslexia at a traditional school was sucking the life out of him. The stress that Christopher felt, that I felt, and that my family felt was truly overwhelming.

After spending three years at HPDS, he emerged a totally different person. He is more confident, he understands his strengths and weaknesses, and he is learning to advocate for himself.  Most importantly, he’s beginning to like himself! This school has changed the course of his life for the better.

I hope everyone at HPDS understands the impact they have on students’ lives, and how much their efforts are appreciated. I respect everyone there as a true professional, and incredibly talented, patient, hard-working, and committed. More importantly, you are all incredibly kind and warm human beings. Christopher and I are better people because we had the chance to get to know all of you.

Thank you all so much.

Aislinn has a new-found outlook on herself and her own possibilities.

By the time Aislinn was in second grade, she began to withdraw from her friends, her schoolwork and us, her family. Previously an inquisitive, outgoing child, she rarely called her friends for play dates and she stopped raising her hand and engaging with her teacher at school. In her public school class of 30 plus students, she spent most of her day being teased by her peers as she watched other children do their work.  Then she would come home to struggle through hours of homework at night, as we tried to re-teach her what she was supposed to be learning in school. She met with failure and frustration every day at school and every night at home. We were also unsure of what Aislinn’s challenges were and what she needed to learn to read and do basic math.  Also, her social challenges were taking a toll on her confidence.


“She perceives herself as a learner, someone who persists through barriers to access knowledge.”

(Fast forward five years later) Aislinn now lives in a different world because of her time at HPDS. She has different opportunities now because she has gained academic skills that enable her to do grade level work with the necessary learning supports. Most importantly, she has a different outlook on herself and the possibilities that lie ahead.  She perceives herself as a learner, someone who persists through barriers to access knowledge.  She understands that everyone brings something different to the table; that everyone has their own set of challenges. Thanks to HPDS, she has many tools she can use to address her own challenges.

Her teachers at HPDS left no stone unturned and now Aislinn can live a different life. Perhaps people might think I’m exaggerating about what HPDS has done for Aislinn, but I have a brother and a father who struggle with similar challenges and while they have made good lives for themselves, their early academic difficulties continue to define their worldview in difficult and painful ways.

Aislinn’s learning challenges will always be with her, but she believes that she is a learner, that she can go after academic goals, and with hard work and support she can achieve them.

We are led by two boards comprised of talented and committed men and women.

Hyde Park Day School is a division of the Leslie Shankman School Corporation (FEIN # 36-3900221), an Illinois not for profit corporation, and our assets are stewarded and protected by the Foundation for the Educational Development of Children. Together these organizations represent over seventy years of dedication and commitment to children with special learning needs, and have demonstrated through their actions, the long-term commitment necessary to ensure the success of educational programs for children in need.
Does Hyde Park Day School feel like a great fit for your child?