Skip to main content


Sunrise School's Special Education collaborative program receives Golden Bell Award!
Posted 12/5/22





The Mt. Diablo Unified School District is pleased to announce that its Sunrise School Social Emotional Educational Collaborative (SEEC) program has earned a Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association (CSBA) for its outstanding program in the category of Special Education!

The award recognizes the program’s unique ability to provide students in grades TK-8 - who have not been successful on a comprehensive elementary school campus due to their challenging behavioral and emotional needs - with special education and mental health services that help them thrive. Using a trauma-informed approach, the program meets students and families where they are and provides an equitable education with an unconditional care model through a collaboration with Contra Costa County Mental Health and the District Mental Health Collaborative that includes small classes with high levels of emotional support in a less restrictive setting than a non-public school placement. This allows students to remain in the District and gives them the opportunity to return to their home school, or another school, when ready.
“The ability to offer students an in-District placement that can best meet their needs and keep them in our school community where they are surrounded by classmates and their families is paramount to our mission of meeting the needs of all students where they are,” said Superintendent Dr. Adam Clark, “and the data reinforces the program’s success.”

Because of the nature of staff’s training and support, families believe their children can be successful. Students feel supported and successful for the first time in their school career, courtesy of the tools and strategies needed for transition back to a mainstream setting.


Success stories include:

  • a student who came to us last March shared that he finally felt comfortable completing his work and didn’t feel anxious about being in a large group of students, 
  • Principal Jenny Vargas attended the high school graduation for three of her first Sunrise students last year, 
  • a recent high school graduate now attends Chapman University with a full scholarship for dance.

When the flagship SEEC program at Sunrise was established more than 20 years ago, some didn't think its students would end up graduating. Now, due to the program’s success, it has been expanded in our District to Sun Terrace Elementary School; Pleasant Hill and Riverview middle schools; Concord, Mt. Diablo and Olympic/Alliance high schools, and to the Glenbrook Academy, which serves students in grades 6-12.


Congrats on this well-deserved award!