Ray Curtis, Board President; Judy White, Superintendent; Reggie Thompkins, Associate Superintendent; Edwin Gomez, Deputy Superintendent; Trish Escamilla, Lead Teacher; Anny Yates, Principal; Dianne Rossum, Site Director College of the Desert; Joel L. Kinnamon, President College of the Desert
The philosophy that “Children are more alike than they are different” is embodied in the inclusive partnership spanning the past 20 years between Riverside COE’s Special Education Program and College of the Desert’s Early Childhood Center. It is the underlying principle for family-focused early intervention services provided to young children with special needs. The overarching purpose of this collaboration is to meet the developmental needs of infants and toddlers and help parents learn to support their children’s growth by building on their strengths. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that early intervention services “to the maximum extent appropriate, are provided in natural environments, in which children without disabilities participate.” RCOE children who participate in parent/child classes at the COD facility learn and play alongside typically developing peers in a natural milieu and benefit from the strong partnership between two exemplary early childhood education programs where all children are nurtured and thrive.