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SAN JOSE, CA – Students and staff at the Santa Clara County Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHOH) program, located at Oster Elementary School in Union School District, were welcomed back to a completed first phase of building upgrades.
"We are very fortunate to have the necessary funds to make important facility improvements for our students and staff. I appreciate the students, families and staff's patience during the construction and their commitment to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program," County Superintendent of Schools Jon R. Gundry said. "We also appreciate our strong partnership with the Union School District as we work together to help all students in Santa Clara County achieve."
The upgrades included five new portable classrooms along with a shaded courtyard, modernized playground for preschoolers, restored turf area, and new planter boxes.
"The classrooms are open, airy, and bright," said Sue Freedman, a Speech Language Pathologist at the site, a stark change from having no classroom windows previously.
"Our program has had very few openings over the years because our teachers love what they are doing and strive to help our kids succeed," said Bob Whalen, SCCOE Principal of Oster Cluster Programs. "This consistency of our staff really benefits our students and the quality of our programs. The new classrooms represent the outside physical structure finally matching what has been taking place inside our classrooms for many years."
Freedman and Inclusion Teacher Jan Blake shared their excitement for the second and final phase of upgrades, which will impact the work space for itinerant staff including themselves, other speech therapists, occupational therapists, adaptive PE staff, and audiologists. The additional upgrades will also greatly improve the teaching and learning environment for students, and meetings with parents.
The final phase, expected to begin in December 2016 with a completion date of July 2017, will include extensive upgrades made to reconfigure the space in the permanent main building that houses the DHOH offices and several classrooms.
"I'm just really thankful that the County and Union School District collaborated in order to make this happen," Blake said. "When all the construction is done, we will have a better place to work with students."
The site houses 60 preschool through fifth-grade students from all around the county. The renovation work totals 5,280 square feet of the campus at Oster Elementary School.
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