Spectrum Center Programs as we know it today was formed during 1979-80. Although the first order of business was survival, the staff aspired to build a unique organization to match the vitality and enthusiasm of a new generation of educators. Our vision was to create a passion for learning and behaviorism by building a culture of excellence where everyone - students, staff, and families - were committed to the students' success.
We began by committing ourselves to a mission to serve all students, particularly those with challenging behaviors. We agreed to immediately serve students in need (no "waiting lists") and to never give up on a student (zero expulsion). We agreed to treat students with dignity and respect, and that the responsibility for learning would rest on our shoulders, not the students'. As an agency, we made a commitment to rely on data-guided Behavior Analysis as the learning technology that would help us solve problem behaviors in a positive manner.
We also recognized the critical importance of our education staff. We became determined to offer a work environment that was reinforcing for staff, embraced continuous learning as a staff development model, and offered maximum support to staff to help them succeed in their jobs. In many ways, the early years of Spectrum resembled the dynamics of an "extended family."
These expressions of our new culture provided direction for an enthusiastic but inexperienced staff through our next ten years (1979 - 1989). During this time it was often said that working for Spectrum was not a job, but a way of life. There was no obstacle too large or too small to tackle in our ardor to serve our students.
What resulted was an era of expansion. We were determined to meet every need of our students. When there was a lack of group home options for our students, we developed group homes. When our students became too old for school and needed adult programs, we developed an adult program. When our students needed jobs, we started a supported employment program. Within a decade the agency had grown from a small "mom and pop" school to a sophisticated organization operating seven programs that provided services to individuals with developmental disabilities. – less–ZoomInfo