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On April 1st, 1947; a school for seven physically handicapped students was opened as part of the Riverside City Schools. Enrollment at the time was limited to students with the diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. Two classes began with Mildred Artiche as Principal and Helene Salerno, a teacher. A student named Wendy chose the winning name for Sunshine School. Mr. Thompson was one of the first Physical therapists at Sunshine. Sunshine was designed to provide therapy in addition to the educational program. It was CCS, service clubs, Pan-Hellenic societies and philanthropic members of the community who raised money for Physical and Occupational therapy equipment, special events and the hot lunch program. The school has undergone many changes since it’s opening in 1947. It now employs about 60 staff members, variety of programs and approximately 300 students. Sunshine began in a federal housing project building which has been remodeled twice in 1961. In 1994, the school became a site for children from birth to five years of age. Today, Sunshine Early Childhood Center now services children with all disabilities including the severely profound, Down’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Speech and Language Impairment. In addition, Sunshine also houses a Head Start/State Preschool program for low-income children.
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