Education Spotlight: MCOE hosts summer activities for students with disabilities

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In ABC30's segment, Education Spotlight, Action News Anchor Landon Burke will talk with Merced County Office of Education (MCOE) officials about some of the biggest topics in education.

A North Valley school district is hosting additional activities for students with disabilities.

Landon Burke spoke with Merced County Office of Education and learned how the district is making up for lost time with an exceptional amount of summer fun.

Landon: Okay, Lisa, so first of all, just tell me about some of the opportunities that are available for students this summer.

Lissa Mitchell: We created some additional opportunities this year just because of the whole COVID shutdown, and kids missed so much school, we decided we were going to make some additional opportunities to share. We've done things like the culinary camp at our cafe that we own. We've done ice cream making Hilmar cheese. We've had art lessons. We had an art teacher come into the classrooms and do like a paint night kind of thing with our kids. We have done a luau, which was really was a lot of fun with about 20 different classes in the county. Right now we are doing a sports camp, and this was kind of special because the extended year ended on Friday. So this is additional. This is just the extra. We are going to be swimming... right now, they're having a cornhole tournament in the other room. And then on Friday, we get to go fishing, which will be a very fun activity,

Landon: You mentioned the year that a lot of these students are coming off of.

Lissa: Everybody was just really ready for the kids to get back, and they didn't really come back until, kind of, about March-ish. We were just really in. In fact, our extended year, which is usually half days, we bumped it up to full days because we were really ready to get them back with us.

Landon: Why is it important that these summertime activities are available to kids in MCOE?

Lissa: Our kids (have disabilities that range from moderate to severe), so they did not engage as well as maybe a regular-ed student would on the distance learning on the computer. I mean, some of them did pretty well, but in general, they need to be with people. And that was our focus, getting them together with their peers as soon as we could. As soon as we could safely get them together. And you know, just provide additional opportunities for them.

Landon: So Lissa, say somebody is watching at home who wants to get their child involved, what's the best way for them to do that?

Lissa: If they're an MCOE student, they just need to contact -- like for the fishing trip -- if there's somebody that wants to go on a fishing trip and they're an MCOE student, they just have to contact us here. Contact Cindy Heaton or me, and we can see what we can do. The fishing opportunity should be really nice. Ryan Cook is a local fisherman. He and a lot of his friends, fellow fishermen in the area, have located a private pond for us up in the Valley Springs area, and they are providing everything they're giving each kid their own set up a fishing pole. They're barbecuing for us. They're doing trophies for the kids. It's just really going to be quite a big deal. A lot of community members donated so that they could do that for us, and they're they're doing, And they're taking care of all of that.
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