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Academic Collaborative for Exceptional Learners (AcCEL)

AcCEL logo Through the AcCEL Program, the Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE) offers educational services to students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities, ages 3 through 21. Students attend school in special day classes located on school campuses throughout the county or in special centers located in Visalia, Tulare, Porterville, and Yettem.

There are over 75 "satellite" classes located on school campuses. Instruction in these special day classes is specially designed and takes place in the classroom, in other locations on the school campus, and in various locations in the community. Curriculum follows California State Standards, but is significantly modified to meet the individual needs of students who have moderate to severe intellectual disabilities. Students interact with their typically developing peers to the maximum extent possible.

Students who are educated in one of the TCOE-operated special centers generally have multiple or profound disabilities and/or are able to function best in a more sheltered environment.

Needed services and support identified on a student's IEP are provided. These services include, but are not limited to:
  • Speech and Language
  • Audiological and Hearing
  • Physical and Occupational Therapy
  • Visually Handicapped
  • Assistive Technology
  • Psychological and Counseling
How is a child enrolled?

Students are enrolled in satellite or center-based classes as a result of the decisions of the IEP team. Parents who believe their child should be enrolled in a TCOE-operated special day class may contact their local school district to request an assessment and possible referral to this program.

AcCEL student group

What else should I know?

Educational programs for students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities focus on life skills, academics, language development, vocational training, and leisure skills.

Transition Services

Beginning at age 16, a major focus of the students' program is planning for life after the school years. Individual Transition Plans are written with the goal of identifying the areas of instruction that will be most helpful to preparing students for adult life. Vocational education focuses on teaching career awareness, planning vocational objectives, assessing, and building upon job skills as necessary steps toward transition into competitive or sheltered employment. Some students participate in on-site job training and some students participate in a paid work program called WorkAbility.

For more information on vocational education and the WorkAbility program, contact Jennifer Reimer at (559) 730-2910, ext.5141.

Movement Opportunities via Education (MOVE ®)

AcCEL student in walker MOVE ® is an integral part of the AcCEL program in Tulare County. The program helps children and young adults who have severe physical disabilities acquire increased independence in sitting, standing, and walking. As a result, they may gain greater mobility, better health, and enhanced personal dignity.

If students are able to sit, stand, or walk, the burden of care for families and other care providers is decreased, thereby bringing new opportunities for fuller participation in family life, as well as integration and inclusion in the wider community.

For more information about the MOVE ® program, contact Sarah Hamilton at (559) 730-2910, ext.5128.

Services for Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities who have Autism Spectrum Disorders

Students who have Autism Spectrum Disorders and intellectual disability may be served in the TCOE AcCEL Program. Curriculum is specially-designed – through the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process – and includes use of such methods as PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), visual strategies, and a variety of related services. For additional information on educational services to students who have Autism Spectrum Disorders, visit the SELPA Autism Resources website.

AcCEL student one-on-one

Transportation Services

Special education student transportation is provided as a related service for students with an identified need. Students are transported from their home to school and back each day. Approximately 875 students attend 64 school sites throughout Tulare County. Of these students, approximately 110 are in wheelchairs and require special care. The 77 school buses, provided under a contract with Student Transportation of America (STA), travel more than 1.3 million miles annually, logging more than 7,500 miles each school day. Student safety and quality of service are the primary goals of the Tulare County Office of Education transportation system.

For more information about student transportation services, contact Melody Camarillo at melodyc@tcoe.org or call (559) 730-2910, ext. 5133.


View the AcCEL brochure.

  • Sarah Hamilton, Administrator
    (559) 730-2910, ext. 5128
    sarahh@tcoe.org

    • Visalia Area
      Occupational Training Program
      3102 E. Houston Ave., Visalia
      Carrie Stephens, Program Manager
      carries@tcoe.org
      (559) 733-1992, ext. 6510

    • Tulare Area
      Maple Learning Complex
      509 W. Maple, Tulare
      Rebecca Hendrickson, Program Manager
      rebecca.hendrickson@tcoe.org
      (559) 688-2868, ext. 6412

    • Porterville Area
      L.B. Hill Learning Center
      1051 S. Plano, Porterville
      Cathy Machado, Program Manager
      cathym@tcoe.org
      (559) 781-0843, ext. 6310

    • North County
      Yettem Learning Center
      14246 Avenue 384, P.O. Box 247, Yettem
      Jill Santivanez, Program Manager
      jills@tcoe.org
      (559) 528-6925, ext. 6210


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Tulare County Office of Education
Special Services Division
All mail to: P.O. Box 5091, Visalia, CA 93278-5091
Physical address: 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, CA 93277

Tammy McKean, Assistant Superintendent
(559) 730-2910 • fax: (559) 730-2511



Tim A. Hire, County Superintendent of Schools
Tulare County Office of Education
All mail to: P.O. Box 5091, Visalia, CA 93278-5091
Physical address: 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, CA 93277
phone: (559) 733-6300 • fax: (559) 627-5219

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