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Friendship School

Friendship School is a special education school in Imperial Beach that serves students who have multiple severe disabilities with health impairments. The school is operated by the San Diego County Office of Education, and is affiliated with the South County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA). Friendship School serves as many as 50 students between the ages of 3 and 22.

In 2012, the school earned a Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association for its Assistive Technology and Sensory Integration Program. Friendship School also has a multi-sensory environment which features a variety of sensory equipment to help students learn through all of their senses.

The five-classroom school serves students from southern San Diego County. Each classroom is staffed by a teacher and two student attendants. Each teacher holds a moderate/severe specialist credential, and all staff members are continually trained on specialized health care procedures. Class sizes range from eight to 10 students, with a staff-to-student ratio of one adult for every three students.

Each student is continually evaluated by the teacher and related service staff members to determine the most appropriate curriculum to meet his or her needs. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) tied to California Standards is designed for each student. The IEPs emphasize functional skills areas, including language and communication development; pre-academic skills; social skills; community interaction; daily living skills; vocational skills; and leisure and recreation. Students receive related services as needed, such as vision support, deaf and hard-of-hearing support, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and assistive technology services.

The school has a full-time nurse, a part-time occupational therapist, a part-time speech and language therapist, a part-time assistive technology specialist, a part-time psychologist, and a physical therapist on consultation.