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 Supporting Students with Severe Disabilities

Student on swingFriendship School isn't your typical campus, and the educators there don't serve typical students.

The Imperial Beach school serves some of the county's most fragile students, those with multiple and severe disabilities along with health problems.

Each of its five classrooms is staffed by a teacher and two student attendants who educate students according to state standards.

The school, which shares a campus with Imperial Beach Elementary School, also has a special pod and room designed to help students relax and learn through all of their senses. These are part of the school's Assistive Technology and Sensory Integration program, which includes interactive white boards, mirrored walls, fiber optic images, an aromatherapy machine, and other devices. In 2012, the school earned a Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association for the program.

The school is operated by the San Diego County Office of Education in affiliation with the school districts in the South County Special Education Local Plan Area. It serves as many as 50 students that range in age from 3 to 22 years old and live in the southern portions of the county.


Photo caption: Justin enjoys some time on a specially designed swing outside of Friendship School with Danny Udarbe, a substitute student attendant.