The Swim Program: A 43 Year Collaboration between Racker and Ithaca College


This success story explores the history of Racker and Ithaca College’s collaboration to bring swim and other recreational development for both Racker students and IC students.

Since 1976, when Racker was known as The Special Children’s Center, students enrolled in the inclusive preschool and daycare have attended The Swim Program facilitated by students from
Ithaca College’s Therapeutic Recreation Program. Dr. Sarah Rich – a now retired professor of Therapeutic Recreation at Ithaca College – and Jody Scriber – former Director of Preschool & Clinical Education at Racker – set the foundation for this long lasting partnership between Racker and Ithaca College. This collaboration has withstood over 40 years and two agency name changes! When The Swim Program first started, Racker sent kids they served with Cerebral Palsy and other physical disabilities to IC. As part of their course curriculum, the college students learned how to create lesson plans catered specifically to the preschool children. As Racker’s preschool evolved and became fully integrated, all of the children with and without disabilities within the program have enjoyed getting to know their college buddies. Not only does this inclusive environment benefit the kids from our preschool, but it’s also a benefit for their college swim buddies, many who might have not grown up getting to know people with disabilities.

The Swim Program is incorporated into the class Understanding Disability, currently taught by Professor Joanie Groome – who first started her involvement in the early years of The Swim
Program as a Teaching Assistant for Dr. Sarah Rich

About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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