The San Mateo County Office of Education and the San Mateo County Board of Education dedicated the Anne Campbell Center for Children and Families at a farewell party for Superintendent Campbell on October 18. The center, located at 65 Tower Road in San Mateo, honors retiring San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Anne E. Campbell for her vision, leadership, and commitment to public education and the children and families of San Mateo County and across the state.
“Anne has dedicated her entire career to ensuring San Mateo County students have access to excellent and equitable opportunities, especially our youngest and most vulnerable students,” shared County Superintendent-Elect Nancy Magee. “We are proud to dedicate this center in her name and we commit to continuing Anne’s vision through our programs.”
The Anne Campbell Center for Children and Families is home to SMCOE’s Early Childhood special education program and Related Services program. The early childhood program provides early intervention and preschool services to children ages birth to five years with identified low incidence and/or multiple disabilities, while the Related Services program supports students with identified disabilities throughout the county.
In addition, the center houses Head Start Preschool and Early Start Programs operated by the Institute for Human and Social Development (IHSD); Stella Piccolo, a private preschool serving families from the local community; and California Children Services (CCS), a state program that provides a variety of therapeutic services to children who have qualifying health conditions. Staff members from all organizations at the Anne Campbell Center collaborate to provide the highest possible quality of care to students and their families, including opportunities for children with disabilities to learn and play with typically developing peers.
“Everyone benefits from this type of collaboration,” explained Mary Browning, SMCOE’s Inclusive Services Coordinator. “Children with disabilities can learn alongside their typically developing peers, who in turn develop friendships, empathy, and understanding. Early learning teachers, specialists, and support staff share their skills and knowledge, building capacity to support all students. Families have access to the tools they need to help their children thrive.”
The strategic plan developed under Superintendent Campbell’s leadership includes the creation of a lab school that also serves as a space for the early learning workforce to develop, train, and collaborate. Over the past two years, SMCOE staff members have been focused on developing the lab school concept, which will become a demonstration site for other centers and provide educators across the county with training and exposure to best practices in early childhood and inclusive education.
“Celebrating the diversity of children and families who live in San Mateo County and providing them with services which enable them to thrive is at the heart of the work at the Anne Campbell Center for Children and Families,” shared Mary.
In addition to the new name, the center received a San Mateo County First 5 inclusion grant that enabled the program to purchase curriculum, classroom furniture, playground equipment, and other supplies.
In mid-November, SMCOE will release a Request For Proposal (RFP) to identify a partner agency to operate two additional early education classes. The ideal RFP applicant will demonstrate a commitment to collaborating with SMCOE’s early childhood special education program, SMCOE’s Early Learning Support Services team, and the various partner agencies currently housed at the Anne Campbell Center, with a shared focus on developing a quality, inclusive early learning community that celebrates and supports diverse learners and their families.
Mary added that “staff at the Anne Campbell Center are committed to bringing Anne’s vision of Excellence and Equity to life, and are excited to partner with Superintendent-Elect Nancy Magee to build the center’s legacy.”