Regional Cooperative Overview
A regional cooperative is an agreement between school districts/charters and Arizona State
Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (ASDB) intended to increase the ability of districts/charters to identify and
serve children who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, multiply sensory disabled, or deaf-blind. A pilot project of
three regional cooperatives was authorized in 1987. The North Central Region started operating in 1988.
The Southeast and Southwest Regions started operating in 1993. The last two regions, Eastern Highlands and
Desert Valleys, became operational in the 1998-99 school year. The ASDB cooperatives serve member school districts/charters throughout Arizona. Districts/charters become members by signing an agreement with ASDB.
The number of students with sensory-based special education needs is low. Education services for students who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, multiply sensory disabled, or deaf-blind require specialized staff, training and equipment. Most school districts/charters do not possess sufficient
numbers of children nor the expertise to provide services on their own. The typical school
district/charter would require part-time personnel to meet the needs of its small population of sensory based education needs. It is extremely difficult to recruit and retain these type of specialized staff on a part-time basis,
particularly in rural areas of the state.
*Please note: regional cooperatives provide services only when it has been determined that the student's level of hearing or visual impairment impedes their access to a free appropriate public education in a general classroom setting.