District 129’s history of providing alternative educational options for students dates back many years. Early programming efforts, due to physical classroom space and staffing, allowed staff the ability to work with approximately 15 - 18 high school students per academic year. This program was housed at West Aurora High School during the late afternoon and evening hours. In 2010 - 2011, discussions began regarding finding a way to reach more students with this type of intervention. In 2011 - 2012, staffing was increased to accommodate an additional high school classroom and a middle school classroom. With this additional space in the Nexus of the high school, the newly named SUCCESS Academy (Students Understanding that Correct Choices Enable Scholastic Success) was initiated in collaboration with supports through the Kane County Regional Office of Education.
Realizing that there was a need to provide support for even more students who would benefit from a smaller educational environment, District 129 allocated resources to lease the building at 1720 N. Randall Road. In August of 2014, Blackhawk Campus opened its doors to three programs: SUCCESS Academy, Connections Academy, and the Transition Program. SUCCESS Academy consisted of three high school classrooms and one middle school classroom. Connections Academy opened two classrooms for students with services specified under the IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and three classrooms for students age 18 - 22 who focus on work and life skill development. The program resided at the Randall Road location for four school years until recently opening its doors at the new West Aurora Learning Campus.
Currently, Blackhawk Academy serves over 150 students each year. This year alone, SUCCESS Academy graduated 31 high school students, assisted 17 students in gaining part time employment, promoted 121 students to the next grade or programmatic level, and provided 11 students a successful transition to their traditional and comprehensive buildings.
When Blackhawk Academy opens its doors in August of 2019, the staff will provide all of the educational programming and supports for all high school students needing additional time, beyond four years, to complete their high school diploma.