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 An Inside Look at Friendship School

The team at Friendship School invited parents, educators, and community members to take a stroll around the campus Sept. 1 at its annual open house.

More than 30 people toured the school and met its students and teachers.

The open house serves as a way for the community to learn more about the school, which serves students between the ages of 3 and 22 who have multiple disabilities and health impairments.

“We are a unique, unique school,” said Allison Janusziewicz, a speech therapist at Friendship. “There’s not another one of us around.”

Visitors got a flier that highlights the ways students there are able to communicate, how educators assist them, and how they adapt the curriculum to meet students' special
needs. Educators and parents gave tours of the classrooms and campus.

Ramie Tyler, whose son attends the school, said that she liked to volunteer for the open house to give visitors a parent’s perspective.

“They really work hard here to meet your kid’s needs and help them reach their full potential,” she said. The five-classroom campus in Imperial Beach is operated by the San Diego County Office of Education in affiliation with the six school districts in the South County Special Education Local Plan Area.

The nearly 50 students there receive specialized instruction with specific goals based on their individual needs. They also have access to speech, language and hearing specialists as well as a psychologist, school nurse, occupational therapist and assistive technology specialist.

“It’s so important to educate people about what our kids are capable of,” Janusziewicz said. “It’s really easy to see a kid in a wheelchair and imagine all the things that they can’t do, but when you come in our doors, you realize all of the things that they can do.”


Photo: Allison Janusziewicz shows a group around Sept. 1 at Friendship School's annual open house.