Disabled program loses advocacy

In 2010, ELAC instructor Linda Wilbur wrote a grant with the University of California Los Angeles for the Side-By-Side program.
Sponsored by the Los Angeles Unified School District and their division of Special Education, the program was also held throughout the LACCD campuses.
“We then started the collaboration with The Center for Advanced Transition Skills program and then the Child, Family Education Services Department. We bring in students that want to be teachers and they become mentors to the students with disabilities,” Wilbur said.
Three years later, the program was at risk of being cut until US Congresswoman Judy Chu and other community members raised attention.
ELAC was the first school in the district to receive a CATS location. ELAC student and former student leader for Side-by-Side Griselda Guzman said that Side-by-Side is one of the few places she could get experience teaching to disabled students.
“I could volunteer at a preschool, but it would be very different because there would only be one special needs student and I can’t just focus on one student – I have to focus on all the students,” Guzman said.
The CATS program continued at ELAC for several more years, but there is no current information on the ELAC website.

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