Programs & Services

At Rural Champaign County Special Education Cooperative, our purpose is to consider alternative means of education for all our learners. Through effective program management, we offer comprehensive education for a variety of life stages.


Utilize our free resources to learn more about our new SPECTRUM Program and stay current with our School Social Work Services.

SPECTRUM Social Services

Assistive Technology

Our assistive technology program is designed to let students and faculty work together to make the pieces fit.

Assistive technology is often defined as, "Any item piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of children with disabilities.”

In layman's terms, this type of program allows the student to access instructions and materials, provides means for involvement and participation, and gives the student the opportunity to demonstrate their skills.


All members of our Autism team have completed graduate-level work through Illinois State University. Our team is highly qualified to work with and assess individuals who are currently on the Autism spectrum. We currently provide services to 10 school districts members of Rural Champaign County Special Education Cooperative.

Hearing Itinerant

RCCSEC employs Hearing Itinerant Teachers to serve our member districts.  The Hearing Itinerant Teacher serves students who require educational services due to a hearing loss. The Hearing Itinerant Teacher addresses the educational, communication, functional and social/emotional needs of the student and provides guidance to the student’s family and school personnel. The Hearing Itinerant Teacher travels to multiple buildings to directly serve students, and effectively consults with a variety of staff and teams to identify students with hearing loss and to address individual student needs. The Hearing Itinerant works directly with students with hearing loss, consults with regular education teachers, develops individualized education plans, coordinates meeting and support services, provides in-service training to staff, provides information to parents and manages equipment such as hearing aids and FM systems.  The Hearing Itinerant Teacher works closely with CASE Audiology in Champaign for diagnostic purposes, use of hearing equipment for students, and team collaboration (EAR Team).

School Psychology Services

The School Psychology department provides direct support to students, teachers, and families by creating supportive learning environments and promoting achievement for a diverse group of learners. School psychologists may conduct assessments to determine appropriate instructional supports for students, participate in problem-solving teams, consult with teachers,  and provide insights to improve school-wide practices and policies.

School Social Work Services

The School Social Work department works as part of an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and supporting children who have difficulties at school. School social workers perform many functions in the school setting. These include assisting in the identification, evaluation and placement of special education students, direct individual or group counseling to students with identified social, emotional or behavioral needs, mobilizing school and community resources to assist children and families, and assisting in completing functional behavioral assessments and developing positive behavioral intervention strategies to support students, parents, teacher and other school personnel.


SPECTRUM is a preschool program for children three to five years of age who reside in rural Champaign County.  The program serves children who have a variety of needs, including those who would benefit from a preschool experience before kindergarten in order to increase their academic readiness skills.

SPECTRUM believes each child has unique strengths, talents and needs.  SPECTRUM is committed to meeting the individual needs of each child, as well as providing maximum opportunities for preschool-aged children to grow and learn together.  Each child is given respect and support as he or she works toward becoming an independent, responsible and capable person.

All 3 to 5 year old children who reside in one of the member districts may receive a quarterly preschool screening to determine whether the child is eligible for the program.  Screenings assess vision & hearing, speech/language, thinking & reasoning skills, fine & gross motor skills, and other academic readiness skills.

Children who exhibit significant delays at the preschool screening may be referred for additional evaluation. Children with previously identified special needs may also be referred to SPECTRUM by community agencies, health facilities or parents. SPECTRUM also provides screening information to families for children ages birth to three years of age.

The Spectrum Program currently has classrooms in St. Joseph, Thomasboro and at Unity East.

Program contact:

Samantha Pettry

St. Joseph Spectrum  
404 S. Fifth Street
P.O. Box 409
St. Joseph, IL 61873

Transition / Step Program

The Secondary Transitional Experience Program (STEP) is administered for Champaign County schools through the Rural Champaign County Special Education Cooperative. STEP is a state-wide program for students with disabilities, based on the Cooperative Work Training (CWT) program model. STEP allows for an individualized approach, with higher levels of training support provided to students, as needed, and with an option to engage in paid employment or volunteer work, based on student need. STEP is a partnership between local high schools, employers, and the Illinois Department of Human Services/Division of Rehabilitation Services (DHS/DRS.) In general, there is at least one designated Special Education 'Vocational Coordinator" available at each high school in Champaign County, to assist students, parents, and employers with STEP, and RCCSEC provides countywide coordination.

In STEP, employers, teachers, parents and vocational coordinators work as a team to help the students become productive members of society. Students receive training in employability skill, promoting job retention and  satisfaction. "Earning while learning" motivates  students. Transition in addition to STEP, RCCSEC provides support to teachers, students, and parents, on issues revolving around transition planning. The RCCSEC Transition Specialist is available to provide information and consultation regarding the transition planning section of the IEP, and linkages to various adult services (Please find link below to Transition Services Directory for Champaign County.).

RCCSEC maintains a Transition Resource Library for teachers; please find a link below to listings of library materials, and contact the RCCSEC Transition Specialist to arrange to borrow materials. Further, the RCCSEC Transition Specialist is active in planning countywide transition events (e.g., the annual DisABILITY Resource Expo) with the Transition Planning Committee (TPC); for further helpful links to transition information and resources, please find the TPC website at; ChampignTPC.weebly.com.

Contact: RCCSEC Transition Specialist/STEP Coordinator Joe Pittenger (217) 892-8877  Ext. 166  pittengerj@rccsec.org

RCCSEC Transition Resource Library-Assessment & Curricula (02 - 2021 Update)

RCCSEC Transition Resource Library-Ind Living & Social Skills (02- 2021 Update)

RCCSEC Transition Resource Library-Voc Training materials (02 - 2021 update)

Transition Directory - 2020 edition - website version

Features of STEP

Informational  Brief for School Administrators

Determining Educational Environment within an IEP

STEP Flyer for Students

UIUC's Center for Transition and Work - Transition Guide

Vision Itinerant Services

A vision itinerant is an individual who provides services to children with visual impairments in the school setting. There are currently two vision itinerants at RCCSEC who provide these services to children 3 to 21 years of age.

Typical target areas of service include: consulting with teachers in how best to meet the needs of these students within the classroom, strengthening visual concepts and skills, assisting with organization in the classroom, providing materials in large print and Braille, and providing instruction in the expanded core curriculum established as needed areas for students with visual impairments. These areas are: compensatory or functional academic skills, including communication modes; social interaction skills; independent living skills; recreation and leisure skills; career education; use of assistive technology; visual efficiency skills; self-determination; and orientation and mobility. At this time, orientation and mobility services are contracted through the CASE O&M Specialist.

Our goal is to assist students in becoming as successful and independent as possible in their environment and to empower them to advocate for themselves in their classrooms and in their future vocations.

Department Contacts

Pam Golden
807 N. Mattis Ave
Champaign, IL 61821
(217) 892-8877 ext. 164