History

The Technology Resource Center was created in 2001 by Dedication to Special Education, an all-volunteer parent organization, in partnership with the Marin County Office of Education. At that time, it was becoming clear that technology could significantly improve the access and prospects of special education students, but the field was too new to have become a regular part of the curriculum.

While it was required by law to provide for AT/AAC concerns in the IEP process, the mandate came with no funding and nobody in Marin County was providing them in a comprehensive and systematic way. What had become an ineffective patchwork of expensive outside evaluations and interventions was clearly not meeting the needs of the students.

Dan Phillips, a speech and language pathologist, and his colleagues had been learning how technology could help the students, and had been advocating for a way to provide what the students needed. Before long, it was clear that what was needed was more than could fit in the trunk of Dan's car. But with education budgets continually on the chopping block, there was little way to address the problem on a large enough scale.

At the same time, Dedication to Special Education was gaining ground as a county-wide fund raising organization and was looking for a larger impact than the teacher stipends it had been granting since 1997. The partnership between Dedication to Special Education and the Marin County Office of Education solidified around the creation of the Technology Resource Center of Marin. Within a 6 month period of 2001, DSE raised the money needed from the community, and the TRC opened its doors in October of 2001, providing AT/AAC evaluations, equipment loans and teacher training to Marin's 4000 students receiving special education services.

Since that time the TRC has become the crown jewel of special education in Marin, and an internationally-acclaimed model for delivering the best technology interventions to the greatest number of students at the lowest cost. The TRC has saved tens of thousands of dollars over the years with economy of scale and a centralized point of service for the county, while at the same time is able to stay focused on bringing the latest innovations to students.

Until 2006, the TRC was dependent on Dedication to Special Education for its operating support. In 2006, the Marin SELPA (Special Education Local Planning Area) took on funding the TRC, as its services were mandated by law. By that time it had proven to be both effective and efficient, as well as immensly popular with educators, families, and especially students. Today Dedication to Special Education continues to provide essential support for the TRC, keeping it on the cutting edge by providing funding for new equipment and critical staffing annually.

The Technology Resource Center is truly the result of a partnership between the Marin County Office of Education, the parent volunteers of Dedication to Special Education and the generous community that supports it. Your help is much needed and appreciated. A contribution to Dedication to Special Education will help ensure the TRC will continue to help the children who need a little extra boost from technology to live and learn, as well as the educators who want to learn how to use technology to help their students in a rapidly changing classroom environment.