In 2001, it was becoming clear that technology could significantly improve access and prospects for special education students, and yet there was no comprehensive and systematic way to address their needs. Assistive Technology and Augmentative and Alternative Communications (AT/AAC) concerns were to be addressed by law, there was no funding for the mandate.
Dedication to Special Education recognized that something had to be done. At that time, there was no concerted effort to provide evaluations, no ability to try out different interventions, no follow-up, no training, no nothing. What little that was happening was being farmed out-of-county, haphazardly and at wasteful expense. The vision of the Technology Resource Center came together through partnership with MCOE, and we raised the money to create it with the help of the Wells Fargo Foundation and the Marin Community Foundation.
Today the TRC is one of the most respected and renowned programs in the world, and the only program of its kind created and supported by the community. For its first six years, the TRC relied entirely on Dedication to Special Education for its operating funding. Once its value was proven, and as technology became a larger and larger part of special education, primary funding moved to the school system. Today the TRC depends on us to keep it on the cutting edge. We provide about $20,000 per year to chart the future of what's possible.
For instance, in 2010, when the iPad was first released, we didn't hesitate to put 20 into the TRC to see what it could do. The result? Four months later, we were deluged with requests from teachers to put this amazingly powerful tool into their hands in classrooms, and we bought an additional 75. It literally opened entire universes for students who struggled with everything from reading, writing and comprehension to providing non-verbal students with the ability to communicate. Since then, the iPad has become one of the staples of what our special educaors request through our grants program, and we have purchased hundreds of them. The combination of the TRC identifying possible new tools, and DSE's ability to act fast in supporting forward thinking, make Marin County the envy of districts everywhere.
This is made possible by our strong community of volunteers raising the money to support innovation through technology.
Grand Re-Visioning at the TRC
Spring-Fall, 2017 look for a fantastic rollout at the TRC. It's getting a makover, funded by Dedication to Special Education. Look for exciting new interactive equipment in an updated space. This is the future, and it is happening at the Technology Resource Center, thanks to our generous community!