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Advocate dedicated to assisting low-income children

December 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Community

Rory Sipp is zone and disability/mental health director of Acelero Learning Clark County Centers.

A report aired last month on CNN confirmed for the world what many Nevadans have long known: Already among the hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, the state now ranks with the highest in the U.S. in numbers of homeless families and hungry children.
Rory Sipp is among those on the front lines, helping families combat the trickle-down effects of the struggling economy. As the zone and disability/mental health director of Acelero Learning Clark County Centers, he has earned a reputation as a leading, passionate advocate for Nevada’s children.
A central figure in the operation of Nevada’s Head Start program — geared toward assisting low-income families with child care, nutrition, health services and disability issues affecting children — Sipp is alarmed by the sour economic realities facing a growing number of the state’s residents. “I did not see the recent CNN special on Nevada’s families and children,” he said, “but everywhere I read recently, it indicates that Nevada has the highest number of school dropouts, highest number of people in poverty and the highest number of unemployed. It throws up a red flag. Not only for Head Start, which is a social service agency, but also for the other social service agencies that indicate they are a one-stop shop. I know that we can meet the current challenges if we, Nevada’s social service agencies, work together to provide cooperative services.”
The Clark County School District and Head Start programs are already in partnership, teamed to provide special education services to qualified low-income families. “Our job is to incorporate all of the general educational services into inclusive settings with children with disabilities, without pulling them out of the regular classroom setting,” Sipp said. “The big picture, as to what I do, is to serve as the liaison between the Clark County School District’s special education services and Head Start programs. I build and maintain relationships between our educational partners so that we provide quality services to our children with significant disabilities.”
Working to boost the fortunes of children in need, Sipp is quick to acknowledge that deficiencies in such areas as nutrition and health care can also hinder a child’s education. “The Head Start program also provides children with regular health screenings that include vision and dental,” he said. “If we find problems with the children’s health, we then refer them to other affiliate hospitals and clinics that will provide free or low-cost health services. Education is the larger piece to what we provide, but we realize that if a child is hungry, and not nutritionally fit, this will also interfere with the educational process we provide. So our nutrition program makes sure that the children are fed balanced and healthy meals.”
Now pursuing his Ph.D. in special education — next May, UNLV will officially confer the title “Dr.” on Sipp, who wanted to “thank all of my family, my dad who will be 60 in January, my dear friends, my 12 research and 21 research co-workers, my pastors and others for their support and prayers through this wonderful process” — Sipp draws on his experience as an educator to develop solutions for disabled children in Nevada.
“When I first began teaching in the classroom, I received a promotion and got the opportunity to train other teachers working with children with disabilities,” he said. “I realized that I really had a passion for sharing information I had gathered from my other teaching experiences and from what I had researched. I find gratification in sharing information and began an interactive training session for teachers. Now, my ultimate passion is working with children with significant disabilities, and giving them avenues to obtain a quality education and lifestyle.”

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