In October 2006, a Corpus Christi family gave birth to a son who was diagnosed with Down syndrome. The family soon discovered that Corpus did not have any preschool programs that provided full time educational and therapeutic services to infants, toddlers and preschool aged children with developmental disabilities. Further, the state-funded services that were available were narrowly defined and limited in scope. Due to the limited choices available, the family and good friends began to search for an exemplary, nationally recognized program in the hopes of providing the “best” possible educational experience possible for their son.
Their search took them to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where they discovered the special “something” for which they had been searching. It was a program named “Rise” which focuses on the needs of toddlers and preschoolers who have developmental disabilities. Under the long-term leadership and influence of Martha Cook, Ed.D., Rise has developed and implemented an effective early childhood special education approach. A unique component of the program is the integration of children having developmental disabilities with typically developing peers, which has resulted in children’s achievements beyond previous expectations.
After visiting Rise Schools in Tuscaloosa, Houston, Dallas, Austin and Denver, the family was committed to establishing a Rise School in Corpus Christi which would emulate the Rise Program at the University of Alabama.
In order to bring the model to their city, a strong affiliation was needed that would lend credibility and respect in the community. Fortunately, Driscoll Children’s Hospital approved an affiliation agreement that became the first step in making Rise a reality. With a team of highly motivated and enthusiastic community volunteers, and a dedicated Board of Directors and Advisory Board, The Rise School of Corpus Christi opened its doors August of 2007.