ABC School (Ages 6-22)

A Better Chance School 2020-2021 reopening plan and Related Service Support for small Cohorts on April 12 2021 Hybrid model.

This Covid Safety reopening Plan was designed in consultation with recent state guidelines, with the superintendent of schools for Contra Costa county and the public health department as well as the consortium on Special education NPS directors for the Bay area. Our school is characterized by very unique specific features and serves students with severe Autism from four different counties and twenty two different schools districts. Furthermore, many of our students might be exempted from wearing masks due to sensory needs.

Read full version of the plan here

Updated July 31, 2020

As of July 17, Governor Newsom announced new statewide requirements that public and private schools shall be closed to in-person instruction in counties that are on the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list.

A map of county status can be found here.

A Better Chance school is located in the Contra Costa county, which is on the watch list unfortunately.

Schools in these counties receive the instruction to provide distance learning only when beginning the school year and cannot open for in-person instruction until they have been removed from that monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. More detail about the new reopening requirements can be found here.

For LEAs in counties not on the state’s watch list, they retain discretion to begin the school year in accordance with the instructional models laid out in SB 98 (in-person, distance learning, or hybrid).

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has also issued new industry guidance which outlines updated recommendations and requirements for masks, physical distancing, testing, and contract tracing. That new guidance from the CDPH can be found here.

County monitoring criteria

The Administration’s guidance for school reopening considers the same criteria used by CDPH in determining county closure, including things like:

  • Positivity rates
  • Transmission rates
  • Hospital Capacity
  • ICU capacity
  • Ventilator availability

More detail on CDPH county monitoring criteria can be found here. County data monitoring can be found here.

For schools open for in-person instruction, when should schools close?

While recommending a school consult with their public health official first, the new guidance creates a tiered structure for when a classroom, school or district should shut down in-person instruction in the event a student or staff person tests positive for COVID-19:

  • A classroom cohort must stop in-person instruction if there is a confirmed case within the cohort
  • A school must stop in-person instruction if multiple cohorts within the school have confirmed cases or once more than 5% of the school’s population has tested positive
  • A school district must stop in-person instruction if 25% of their schools are closed within a 14-day period

Under the guidance, schools may typically reopen after 14 days and the following have occurred:

  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Public health investigation
  • Consultation with the local public health department

For districts, a district may typically reopen after 14 days, in consultation with the local health department.

Physical distancing

In what will likely be a controversial element, the updated guidance does not require a 6-foot distancing requirement. Instead, the new guidance refers to “maximum distance, as practicable.”


When schools are providing in-person instruction, the Administration is mandating all staff wear masks, with the following requirements for students:

  • Grades K-2: strongly encouraged
  • Grades 3-12: required

Students in grades 3-12 who refuse to wear a mask may be referred to distance learning-only instruction. Prior to today, there was no authority for schools to mandate masks for students. Today’s guidance will allow local policies to do so. According to the Administration, California is the first state to allow for this mandate.

Staff testing and contract tracing

The Governor’s guidance recommends testing for staff every two months, with 50% of staff being tested each month. This is not a requirement and is recommended “as practicable” and based upon testing availability locally (within 30 minute drive or 60 miles).

Our hearts are broken knowing that we will not be able to reopen in person as planned on August 17.  Our team will continue to do the best that they can to provide our solid distance learning until we receive state and county clearance to reopen in person.

We are really concerned about our students social emotional and academic, functional skills and communication skills regression. We strongly encourage all parents to check emails and follow our teachers guidance , reach out for Zoom consultation session with our team of teachers.

If you are dealing with behavior challenges and need additional support please feel free to call the behavior hotline: (Same number as transportation line): 510-685-0508

We will continue to do our best as a team to provide the best services as we can given the impossible situation we are all facing.

I sincerely hope we can reopen at some point soon enough this fall.  We already ordered all protective supplies and are currently in the process of replacing all of our water fountains and faucets by sensor touch less faucets and we designed strong safety protocols so we will be ready to welcome all students once we are authorized to reopen in person.

Meanwhile we are encouraging parents to practice wearing a mask or a face shield with our students, these are state mandated for all students 3rd grade and older for future in person learning and we understand that this will be extremely challenging to implement with our population of students in regards to behaviors and sensory integration.

Thank you all for your incredible patience, please do not hesitate to reach out if you need additional support.  We miss our students so much and we cannot imagine how stressful and challenging this situation had been for our dear community of parents and caregivers.

Please stay safe , I will definitely keep everyone posted as soon as we receive new guidance indicating that we can reopen in the near future hopefully.

Kindest regards,
Edith and ABC School Team

Dr. Edith Molinier, Ph.D
Director of Special Education, School Principal, A Better Chance School
Phone:(510) 262-1500 x101

California Autism Foundation

Wearing a mask to protect my friends and teachers at ABC School

Take a virtual tour of ABC School:

ABC School is a non-public school that serves children and young adults from ages 6 to 22 that have autism and other developmental disabilities.  ABC School offers community-based programming which provide students the opportunity to learn generalized skills that are transferable to daily real world settings in addition to the classroom environment. ABC School’s highly specialized curriculum and highly trained staff, excel in helping students who have been unable to succeed elsewhere. ABC School’s functional skills curriculum includes math, language arts, vocational training, culinary classes, art classes, music classes, travel training and self-help skills.

ABC School utilizes Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), TEACCH structured teaching methodologies, Pivotal Response Training, and Community Based Instruction (CBI). ABC School specializes in behavior management, offering a positive behavior support approach to maladaptive behaviors that prevent the student from being successful in a less restricted environment. Utilizing a team approach, students are regularly assessed to determine skill acquisition and maintenance in accordance with the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals. ABC provides 1:2 staff to student support unless otherwise specified in a student’s IEP.

Workability vocational training and transition preparation program for students 16 years of age and older is provided. In this comprehensive program, students are assessed to identify areas of strength and employable skills and then matched with an employment opportunity in the local community. Students receive training to include: mock interview trials, job application practice, mobility training with public transportation, budgeting and banking skills, problem solving, and safety skills within the work environment. Additionally, Students receive on the job training through staff assistance and job coaching and bi-weekly paychecks!

Current Workability vocational training sites for students at the A Better Chance School:

  • Western Contra Costa Transit Authority (aka “WestCAT”)
  • Milo Foundation
  • RabbitEars Pet Supply
  • Courtyard Marriott Hotel
  • The Richmond Memorial Auditorium
  • Accurate Auto Body
  • The Watershed Project
  • East Bay Regional Park District

Graduating students of ABC School receive a Certificate of Completion and will transition from school to adult life with confidence, work skills and community experiences that will promote future success.

Schedule a Tour Today!
ABC School
Dr. Edith Molinier, Director of Special Education and Training
(510) 262-1500, Ext. 101

Selection of our Virtual Lessons / Resources on YouTube

Hi Everyone,Happy Monday! Please find below our list of daily activities, plus the links to the videos.

Thanks so much! Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to video conference.

Have such a great week!

Daily song: You Are My Sunshine

Suggested playlist:
1. Dancing In The Dark, Bruce Springsteen
2. Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It, Will Smith
3. I Got A Feeling, Black Eyed Peas

Daily Lesson: Water Play: Magnet fishing
What you’ll need: something large to put water in (ie: sink, tupperware, storage bin), water, refrigerator magnets, string

Optional: Stick
How to: tie one magnet to the end of your string. Fill container with water. Place all other magnets around the bottom of the container, making sure they’re not too close together. Use the magnet on a string to “fish” for the other magnets. You can tie your string to a stick you find outside for an added challenge.

Daily book: Pete The Cat: Play Ball!

Daily stretch: Jumping Jacks





Staff Bios

Danielle TraegerDanielle Traeger
Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)

My name is Danielle Traeger, and I am the Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) at ABC! I grew up in Benicia, went to UC Santa Barbara for undergrad, and then to Northern Arizona University for my graduate program. I specialize in AAC (alternative and argumentative communication), and this is my 7th year working in schools with students who have complex communication needs.

Michelle Estrada
Speech Language Pathologist Assistant (SLPA)

Trisha Vaquera

Occupational Therapist

School Calendar

School Accountability Report Cards (SARC)

Additional Resources

Pictures from December 2020 Graduation

Pictures from our annual Halloween celebration