We’ve been educating students with learning and behavior disabilities for nearly 40 years, and have served hundreds of families and over 30 San Diego area school districts. That’s a lot of questions and answers. As unique as each student and family is, there tend to be questions that get asked fairly often, at least often enough that we have compiled some of those that have been asked most frequently and have provided an answer. Just click on the question. You may want to know more. If so, please contact us.
What is a nonpublic school (NPS)?
Nonpublic schools are private, nonsectarian schools that are certified by the State Department of Education. Such schools must meet all of the requirements specified in California regulations for public schools, including having credentialed teachers. State Department of Education certification permits COOK Education Center to provide special education and Designated Instruction and Services (DIS) according to student IEPs on contract with public school districts.
COOK Education Center specializes in educating students who could not obtain an education appropriate to their needs in the public schools. Because of our on-going training in evidence-based teaching and therapy methods, we are specialists in providing appropriate education for students whose disabilities include learning, communication, and behavior problems.
What DIS Services do you provide?
Based on the needs of our students as identified in their IEPs, COOK Education Center provides Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Counseling, and Behavior Intervention services.
Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy are provided for up to 30 minutes per week in a pull-out format that involves a minimum of two students per session. These services are generally not provided in a one-to-one format; rather, they are primariiy implemented by the student’s team of teachers and paraprofessionals throughout the student’s school day as guided by the student’s therapist. Our integrated service delivery model permits students to acquire the relevant skills as quickly as possible and to generalize those skills across school environments.
Counseling services are devoted primarily to the teaching of social skills. Similar to our integrated model for Speech and Language Therapy, social skills instruction occurs throughout the student’s school day and is taught by all team members. Social skills instruction is only occasionally conducted as a pull-out service. Counselors also manage the occasional traumatic episodes in the lives of our students.
Behavior Intervention Planning, based on Functional Analyses or Functional Assessments, are provided under the direction of Behavior Intervention Case Managers, and are provided whenever a student’s problem behavior is sufficiently severe that it cannot be addressed merely by classroom behavior management strategies.
Students may require other DIS according to their IEPs, which may be provided by school district personnel or by individuals contracted independently by the school district, but not by COOK Education Center or other TIEE personnel.
How long will our child stay at COOK Education Center?
The duration of a student’s enrollment at COOK Education Center depends on several factors, all of which are related in one way or another to decisions made by the student’s IEP team at properly scheduled IEP team meetings.
The student might begin achieving at the desired level and have fewer needs, which will permit the student to return to a public school placement. In this case, the student’s transition could be facilitated by a dual enrollment in which the student attends public school for a portion of the school day but retains placement at COOK Education Center.
The public school might implement a program that is demonstrably appropriate to the student’s needs, resulting in the possible return of the student to that public school program.
The student might pass all of the requirements to obtain a high school diploma from the public school district or reach the age of 22 and no longer be eligible for special education and services.
The student might reach 18 years of age and otherwise be eligible to transition to TIEE’s Urban Skills Center to continue special education and DIS until graduation or reaching age 22.
It is also possible that COOK Education Center is not able to implement a program that meets the student’s needs, including the possibility that the student just does not want to attend school. Such students are referred to other possible schools through the IEP process.
Otherwise, students can remain enrolled at COOK Education Center and we welcome the opportunity to provide for them a program that is appropriate to their needs.
What opportunities do you offer for family involvement?
COOK Education Center welcomes parental involvement in school activities. Parents have played significant roles in student dances, parties, the Thanksgiving feasts, open houses, fund raising for special events, and so on. COOK Education Center does not have a formal volunteer program for service in the school; however, parents who are interested in volunteering should inquire at 619-243-1325.
Parents can also learn more about the school’s program by scheduling classroom observations and video views. Also, through regular phone calls with the child’s teachers, parents can remain current on their child’s progress, provide information concerning progress at home, and learn how they might assist the school’s instructional team.
How do I get in touch with my child’s teacher?
Teachers are generally available by phone from 7:30 to 8:30 am, and from 2:30 to 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Phone calls that are likely to last longer than 5 minutes should be scheduled ahead of time to ensure that the teacher can address all of the parent’s questions and concerns. Teachers can be reached at (619) 243-1325.
What can we do to help our child be successful in school?
Families are the original and best source of a child’s health, security, care, affection, and socialization. Families also help determine a child’s attitudes about school and learning. In other words, family involvement is key to student success. First, do all you can to prepare your child for a successful school experience every morning. If your child is capable, review the school day with your child, perhaps at dinner. Find out how to assist your child to generalize skills acquired in school by communicating with your child’s teacher. Praise your child for progress, especially progress that your child displays in your home or in the community. We believe that one of the most positive contributions parents can make in assisting the school involves reinforcing good behavior at home.
Our students report that one of their favorite things about the COOK Education Center is that they get to spend time with their friends. If you spend any time at COOK Education Center, you will see many examples of students being friendly with one another. That’s because our students are directly taught the skills they need for making friends, including how to converse, take turns, be a good sport, and so on. They are given many opportunities to practice these skills throughout the school day, prompted and praised if that is necessary. The program is designed to help students generalize these skills to a variety of people and settings, including those at home and in the community.
Does the school have a dress code?
COOK Education Center recommends that students dress casually and comfortably for school, recognizing that school involves many different kinds of activities. We do not specify what students must wear, but we have identified many things that students cannot wear. Students are not permitted to wear clothing that identifies them with a gang, clothing that is revealing, clothing that has offensive pictures or language printed on it, and so on. The full listing of unacceptable clothing and adornments are specified in the handbook.
What is the policy on students bringing their own games and so on to school?
Certain items are at high risk for theft and breakage. COOK Education Center assumes no responsibility for keeping these or other personal belongings intact or free from theft. Consequently, it is recommended that the following items not be brought to school: hand-held games, MP3 players, cell phones, DVD players, radios, tape players, televisions, pagers, audio and videocassettes, DVDs, and CDs.
Neither weapons of any kind, nor toys that resemble weapons may be brought to school. Doing so risks placement at COOK Education Center.
The school also recommends against your child wearing expensive clothing and jewelry.
What do I do if my child is going to be late, absent, or picked up early?
Parents should notify the school before 8:00 am on the day of their child’s absence, late drop-off, or early pick-up. For late drop-offs, please also notify the front desk if a school lunch needs to be ordered for your child, because lunch orders must be placed by 9:00 a.m.
Do students get a summer break?
Students at the COOK Education Center are typically enrolled in an extended school year program, which is 210 school days.
The school year begins on the day after Labor Day and usually ends during the last week of July. Students have vacation during the month of August.