Contra Costa Special Needs Education


The Contra Costa County Office of Education provides a full range of services designed to meet the needs of students with disabilities throughout the county, ranging in age from birth to age 22.

Student Programs serves the following:

  • Students with Autism
  • Community-Based Instruction and Transition Programs
  • Early Start and Preschool students
  • Students with emotional disabilities
  • Students with severe and multiple disabilities
  • Students with visual and auditory impairments
  • WorkAbility I (Special Education)
These programs provide classes and training that use innovative approaches in a structured, positive environment to support each student in meeting his or her Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals and objectives. Approximately 420 students are served in more than 10 locations throughout the county.

Classroom settings include fully integrated sites on regular school campuses, community-based instruction, and special centers. By offering a range of settings, the programs can address students' individual education needs.

Programs for Students with Autism

The Contra Costa County Office of Education provides highly specialized, intensive, early intervention programs for students with autism, ranging in age from birth through age 22. These programs utilize a variety of instructional and behavioral strategies, derived from best practices and research in the field, to reach and teach each individual student. Comprehensive instructional plans are systematic and responsive to each child's individual present needs, and incorporate both home and school activities.

Community-Based Instruction and Transition Programs

The goal of the Transition Program is to implement and evaluate a model program that demonstrates innovative approaches to facilitate the transition from school to adult life for young adults with severe disabilities. The Transition Program assists a large group of students, parents, interested community personnel, educators, adult service providers and prospective employers with this process. The Transition Program includes appropriate identification of the individual transition needs of each student. Individual transition services are developed in conjunction with the annual IEP with each student who is 14 years or older. A student centered team including parents, teachers, assistants, and support staff, develop and implement the transition services.

The focus of the Transition Program is to assess, train, and place each student. Informal assessments, portfolios, and standardized tests are ongoing in the classroom for each student. Students can attend Community Based Instruction classes which utilize the community as well as the classroom. The students learn transition skills in the environment in which they will apply them as adults. Specialized Regional Occupational Program courses are offered to meet the needs of students who require a more supportive environment.

Community Based Instruction is a class for students 18-22 years of age. The goal of this program is to facilitate the transition from school to adult life for students with severe disabilities. Curriculum and transition strategies include: Independent Living Skills, Social Skills, Recreation/Leisure Opportunities, Employment Training, Mobility Training, Economics/Money Management and Community Awareness and Services.

Early Start and Preschool Programs

The Contra Costa County Office of Education operates a multifaceted program for children 0-3 years old who qualify for special education services.

EARLY START serves children to age three who have vision, hearing, orthopedic problems, autism, or other developmental disabilities. Early Start educators assist the family in developing an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) to address the child's needs and priorities. The Early Start team includes teachers, instructional aides, occupational therapists, a psychologist and a speech language therapist. Service is provided in a variety of ways which may include classroom activities, individual home-based instruction, play groups and family activities.

Counseling and Education Program

The CCCOE provides Special Education classes for approximately 100 elementary, middle, and secondary school students who exhibit a wide range of emotional and behavioral problems. The program is based at the Floyd I. Marchus School.

The intent is to help students address personal issues and change their behavior so that they may return to a less restrictive educational setting when appropriate. To that end, students are taught academic, social, and conflict resolution skills that foster healthy emotional development and academic achievement.

Staff members work within a collaborative model to help each student meet the social, emotional, academic, and behavioral goals that are prescribed in the student's Individual Education Program (IEP).

Severely Handicapped Program

The Contra Costa County Office of Education provides a full range of services designed to meet the needs of severely handicapped students from age 3 to 22.

Programs emphasize integration of students with age-appropriate peers, placement in the least restrictive environment, a comprehensive curriculum for severely handicapped, and programs to support transition. Leadership and support exists to insure the quality of their student's instructional programs as well as having facilities that are appropriate and maintained in a safe condition.

Programs For Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities

The regional office is located at Mauzy School in Alamo. Preschool through high school classes are offered at the Mauzy site. In addition, Meadowlark, a typical preschool and the San Ramon Valley Unified School District's early childhood special education programs are located there.

Support staff, such as speech therapists, nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists, augmentative communication specialists, and teachers of vision and hearing impaired students are also part of the program team. In addition, the California Children's Services has a medical therapy unit at the Mauzy site.

WorkAbility I (Special Education)

WorkAbility is a community and state of California transition program providing special education students (ages 16 to 22) the opportunity to complete their secondary education while obtaining marketable job skills.

Workability was started in the early 1980s by Gail Zittel, a vocational education visionary. She wanted a continuum of vocational education, work experience and life skills for special education students. The student-focused philosophy continues today, helping students understand how they fit into the "world of work" and preparing them for life. From a small beginning, Workability services are now available throughout the state of California.

The Contra Costa County Office of Education program, begun nearly 20 years ago, was the third program established in California. Currently, there are 304 established in the state.

Online Resources for Special Education

California Autism Professional Training and Information Network (CAPTAIN)

CAPTAIN is a multi-agency network developed to support the understanding and use of Evidence Based Practices for individuals affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder across the state. Link to their website at:

Special Education Contacts:
Director, Student Programs Nicholas Berger 925.942.3376
Administrative Assistant III Jennifer Wall 925.942.3376
FAX, Special Education 925.942.3353

Direct Access to the CCCOE Special Needs Page

Click Here

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Updated: 21st October, 2019 7:31 AM.