Inside a room packed with proud parents and jubilant teachers, the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) held a touching commencement ceremony on December 15 for six exceptional graduates who received certificates through the program for students who are severely handicapped.
Most of the students honored during the ceremony have received education and related services from SCOE since they were young children. The event honored them for their achievements.
"For you graduating students, this is a commemoration of your incredible journey within our Sacramento County schools," said Marty Cavanaugh, Sacramento County Deputy Superintendent of Schools. "For you parents and guardians, this day is a testament to the unconditional devotion you have for your children."
SCOE Program Specialist Lauren Roth served as master of ceremonies, and Trustee Elinor L. Hickey presented certificates of completion. A slide show was presented by Program Specialist Leora Bautista Hendricks.
"What's really great is seeing students who have moved from area to area over the years," said SCOE Program Specialist Meladee McCarty. "I have seen students from their early days in SCOE's Infant Development Program all the way through graduation, some with no hope of ever speaking — and today they are speaking! This shows there is always hope," McCarty added.
SCOE Assistant Superintendent Robin Pierson praised all of those involved with the special education program. "A generation ago, it would have been unimaginable to hold such a wonderful celebration as this. That's because a generation ago, many parents did not have the opportunity to enroll their children in special education programs managed by such highly skilled and wonderfully caring professionals."
County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon said that today's special education programs have room for growth, but the overall system has improved dramatically over the years. "A generation ago, it would have been unimaginable to hold such a wonderful celebration as this. That's because a generation ago, many parents did not have the opportunity to enroll their children in special education programs managed by such highly skilled and wonderfully caring professionals."
As part of the SCOE Special Services Department, this learning program provides special education services to students with severe disabilities and students with emotional disturbances, from ages 3-22 years, throughout Sacramento County. Educational programs are located on more than 25 sites/schools located in 12 school districts within the county.
The Special Education program has 226 staff members serving students. The program serves 455 students in special day classes for students with severe challenges (Severely Handicapped) or with emotional disturbances (Emotionally Disturbed). The other students served include district students with visual impairments, mobility needs, or speech and language disorders. In the course of a year, the program serves over 258 students and provides services to all 16 districts within Sacramento County.
For more information about SCOE special education services, call (916) 228-2382.