The Douglas Education Service District is excited to announce the expansion of opportunities for young children and their families in Douglas County with the opening of a new Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) classroom in Yoncalla.
ECSE provides special education and related services to Douglas County families and their preschool-age children with developmental delays or other disabilities, such as autism or physical impairments.
The new classroom is opening Feb. 25. An open house for families to tour the new classroom and meet the new teacher and instructional aides will be offered Feb. 21.
The Early Childhood Special Education program has been experiencing a large amount of growth, with an increase of 40 percent more children needing services than just three years ago. Currently, ECSE has classrooms in Myrtle Creek and Green and serves 336 kids ages 3-5 from around Douglas County with special education needs.
Besides the concern of rapidly growing class sizes, the ECSE program faced another problem.
“Three and 4-year olds from the northern parts of our county had very long bus rides, some over an hour, in order to access our classrooms. This problem has led to some parents choosing to opt out of these vital services,” said Angela Keeran, Special Education Coordinator for Douglas ESD. “We knew we wanted to find a solution to this issue right away.”
A win-win solution came in the form of a generous proposal from the Yoncalla School District, which offered the use of a classroom in its Yoncalla Early Works preschool building.
“This opportunity not only allows us to provide services to children closer to their homes,” Keeran said, “it also reduces the sizes of our other classrooms, gives local families better access to resources, and is allowing us to build a new partnership with the Yoncalla Early Works program.”