El Camino College Union

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Special Resource Center aims at ensuring student success at EC

This+chart+shows+the+number+of+students+enrolled+in+DSPS+per+year%2C+for+the+past+five+years.+Information+courtesy+of+the+California+Community+Colleges+Chancellor%27s+Office+Data+Mart.+Photo+credit%3A+Alissa+Lemus
This chart shows the number of students enrolled in DSPS per year, for the past five years. Information courtesy of the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office Data Mart. Photo credit: Alissa Lemus

This chart shows the number of students enrolled in DSPS per year, for the past five years. Information courtesy of the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office Data Mart. Photo credit: Alissa Lemus

This chart shows the number of students enrolled in DSPS per year, for the past five years. Information courtesy of the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office Data Mart. Photo credit: Alissa Lemus

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The transition from high school to college may be frightening for many, especially to the students who are told that in college, no one is there to help.

However, this is not the case when colleges everywhere offer a variety of services and resources to help all students succeed at the college level.

El Camino is known for its many resources on campus, but a very popular one that has been assisting students for years is the Special Resource Center.

The SRC has specifically been assisting students with disabilities since 1972 and its main goal is to help students perform equally with non-disabled students.

With the many resources available to students with disabilities, students are able to get the specific help they need on campus.

EC has found success in their SRC program, which has not only focused on students with disabilities, but has also merged the program with other programs to reach all students at EC.

Julie Land, learning disabilities specialist at the SRC has found the SRC center to be very successful for students with disabilities.

“Here at the SRC we encourage students to go out and get involved as any ot her student would,” Land said. “We do not want them to hide in the SRC or get too comfortable here.”

The SRC for the past years has had a over 1,600 students enrolled in their program. With the numbers being consistent and similar from 2012 to 2016, the only difference occurred this past 2016-2017 academic year.

In the 2015-2016 academic year, the SRC had a total of 1,914 students enrolled in the program. However, this number decreased the following academic year to 1,682 students.

Land described this decrease as something that could have a variety of different reasons as to why the enrollment amount dropped by 232 students for the 2016-2017 academic school year.

“Some students move on from El Camino to other schools, and this affects enrollment at the college including all programs, just like the SRC,” Land said

With many students having different disabilities, there are a variety of different resources these students need.

j8 chart dsps.jpg

This chart shows the number of students enrolled in DSPS per year, for the past five years. Information courtesy of the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office Data Mart. Photo credit: Alissa Lemus

A common resource that students with disabilities need are extra help in their classes, especially with tests. When registered as a student in the SRC, the right documentation stating your disability can grant you this extra help.

A journey that seemed too difficult in the beginning, with many sleepless nights and frustration, became something worthwhile for a student who has struggled to succeed his whole life.

With his braces on his legs, his earphones always in and his blue Jansport backpack around his shoulder, he rushes to get to his classes and tutoring on time so he can do his work.

Alvaro Montero, 26, sociology major, was born with mild cerebral palsy, which has greatly affected his body physically since the day he was born. Montero has been at El Camino for almost three years now, and has been registered in the Special Resource Center ever since.

The SRC has greatly helped Montero find success here at El Camino, and even though he has struggled to pass his classes, he has been provided the resources needed to assist him and what he may need at school.

Montero explained the different sources he uses as being part of the SRC, and those include being able to borrow wheelchairs or scooters to assist him in walking, and testing accommodations.

“For students that normally get an hour on tests, I would get about two extra hours to complete that test,” Montero said. “They help me really understand what the questions are asking.”

Although El Camino offers a lot of services for students with disabilities, other community colleges also provide services to these students that have been helpful to the s as well.

Santa Monica College also has a program very similar to EC’s, however, at mostly all other community colleges in California, these programs are called Disabled Student Program and Services.

SMC has averaged a total of 44,000 to 45,000 students per year, which is significantly greater than the total enrollment count at EC.

However at their DSPS center they have a lot less students enrolled in their program. from 2012 to 2016 they averaged about 1,400 per year, but in the recent 2016 to 2017 school year, their enrollment in DSPS went up to 1,799 students.

This is a 369 increase from the previous year and the 2016 to 2017 school year enrollment in DSPS has not been seen at SMC within the past five years.

Maria Gonzalez, 20, engineering major at SMC has been a student there for almost two years. Gonzalez is not a student registered in the DSPS program.

“I think (the increase) has to do with students coming to Santa Monica (College) from high school,” Gonzalez said. “There could have been a lot of students with disabilities that graduated in June 2017.”

Another school that has a similar enrollment count as EC, is Cerritos College. Cerritos College averages about 29,900 to 31,000 students per year.

Although their enrollment count is similar to EC, their enrollment in their DSPS program is less than EC and SMC’s.

Cerritos experienced a growth up to the 2014 to 2015 academic year, but that has decreased since.

Cassie Velazquez, 19, business major, has been at Cerritos College for a year and a half, and is currently a player on the women’s soccer team at Cerritos.

As a soccer player, she explained how it is very common for athletes to get injured. She explained this because during her first season with the soccer team, she sprained her ankle and was on crutches for a few weeks.

During these few weeks, the DSPS program at Cerritos helped her immensely with getting to her classes on campus.

“I was offered a wheelchair and (a) scooter to help me get around campus,” Velazquez said. “I am not enrolled in the DSPS program but they did help me so much.”

DSPS programs at all colleges across California are very helpful and reach out to students who are either disabled, or just need help on a daily basis.

The DSPS has helped students for years and encourages success in everyday life on and off of campus.

For students like Montero, the SRC has had a big impact on him.

“The SRC has helped me so much,” Montero said. “I will always be grateful for all they have done to help me here at El Camino.

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Special Resource Center aims at ensuring student success at EC