January 20, 2015

December 2014

Hi Laura,

I just want to take some time to express my sincere gratitude to you and Mark (McClain)!

John really enjoys going to Cypress and being in Mark’s class. He has a great, successful school year under Cypress’ uniquely structured school activity/curriculum (talent credit to you, Laura!), and undeniably, under Mark’s leadership and direction.

Mark is the type of teacher that always give the extra mile to connect to students, parents, and the rest of the staffs/therapists! He does a terrific job! He gives us unwavering support. I can always count on him to restore order, and feel comfortable leaving John with him. He has great intuition, creativity, and insight! His PE program has made such a huge difference in John, physically and mentally, in school and at home! Something I could only dare to dream for before he took over the class. I appreciate him more than he’ll ever know!

Laura and Mark, thank you for your sheer dedication to providing a model school, a model teacher, to the special needs community! You have really lighten up our burdens. I am sure others feel the same way I do!

Forever grateful,
-Cypress Parent

November 2014

Hi parents, just wanted to take the opportunity to wish all of you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I am very lucky that I get to come to a job every day that I love and work with all of your amazing kids.  I learn so much from each of them each day and they all inspire me more you can know!  I look forward to the rest of this year and into 2015!  Thanks so much for all of your help and contributions to Redwood classroom!
Mark McLain
Special Education Teacher
Cypress School

Grandmother Testimonial to Jennifer Whalen after Cypress Summer Program II in August 2014.

April 2014

Dear Cypress,

I am a man of many mumbles and a few coherent words, so I write this letter in place of the things I would have liked  to express to you all in person.

When I started my life with Cypress two years ago, I was as green as they come and had no clue what to expect when taking my first steps into 3835. I was emerged into a place where there were parks, gardens, horses, and even Toy cars!

I found myself in the midst of laughter, crying, talking, and screaming, (All at the same time). Not to mention all of the high fiving, creative story telling, singing and dancing. Occasional times of tantrums, attempts of getting bit, pinched, scratched, spit and or pooped on. ( All at the same time). It was the dysfunctional family I had always wanted! It became my second home as I made valuable connections with the students and staff.

I have collected so many moments good and bad, with the good memories out weighing the bad I know that I am leaving Cypress a better, wiser man with a plethora of stories to tell.  I appreciate everyone here and will always be truly grateful for the time we shared. I want to thank you as I bid farewell for now as I will hope to keep in touch. Big hug and much more love!

All the best,


Cypress After-School Coordinator

January 2014

January 31, 2014

Good Morning Ms. Briggin,

My name is Zack and I’m a student at Sonoma State. I heard the story on the radio yesterday about your school and the work you are doing. My nephew in Utah is autistic and I know how special and smart he is and how much potential he has if only my sister had the option to send him to a school like yours. I’m sure you help so many people and probably don’t get the thanks you deserve. So, Thank you and all your staff/coworkers. You are doing something great and should be proud of yourselves.

Sincerely,  Zack Crossman

Cypress School Parent Beth ​Silver provided a wonderful lunch from Petaluma Mary’s Pizza for the Cypress Staff Training Day on January 8, 2014.

“To Everyone at Cypress,

A huge thank you for all you do for Brooks and the other students at our school.  We particularly appreciate the respect and compasion you show towards our kids.  Your energy is wonderful.  Keep up the great work and enjoy lunch!

In gratitude,

Beth & Barry Silver”

Proud parents of Brooks Silver

December 2013

Text message from mom of new student, Ethan, who has been with Cypress for 1 week to teacher Andrea Nielsen:

“Thank you for the note, Andrea! VERY MUCH APPRECIATED! A guy said he played with drums and Ethan. Don’t know his name. Seems like he really enjoyed today. A new word also. Goose. He was saying duck duck goose. Wonder if that was something you guys did with him? Pretty neat to hear a new word!

Then Andrea told the mom that they did play duck duck goose that day.  This is the text message response from the mom:

“WOW!!! He was telling me what he did at school! Never happened before! Never ever happened before! I’m gonna cry! 😀 LOL”

May 2013

“Seriously, I truly thank you for starting this program years ago with UCP.  I am grateful for your expertise and your compassion.  Because of you and your awesome staff, Sean is learning and having a great time.  Sean’s family is relieved and happy, because Sean has a wonderful place to go to.  Thank you!

Cypress School Parent

January 2013

“My child has successfully engaged in more community based activities in his first two days of Cypress than his whole life.” 

Cypress Parent

December 2012

“Thank God for Cypress School!!!! We have been searching for perfect school for our son, Vee-Liam Ouneklap for years. He had been to at least ten schools before we found Cypress. Vee-Liam is in 8th grade now and he loves his school and looks forward to riding with his friends every morning to school. The staffs are very well trained and professional. They are very loving and compassionate. Vee-Liam would not have been this great without the love and support from all the teachers and staff at Cypress. With great appreciation.”

Ben and Maly Ouneklap

Cypress Parent

“Cypress School is what Special Education should be — Special.

From Kindergarten through Third Grade, our daughter was placed in five different schools. A child in such a condition usually faces a very bleak future, but school number five was Cypress. This school has a staff that is skillful, deeply caring, and consistently gifted with the patient temperament needed for this work. Cypress services begin with transporting our daughter safely to and from school, and wrap-around throughout the summer, providing the continuity she needs.

She’s happy. She really enjoys Cypress, and it’s making her a better person. She is far from out of the woods, but she definitely has the right people to walk with.

If you have been a donor to Cypress School, I’d like to thank you so much for saving our child.”

Marshall Goldberg

Cypress Parent

“I think we all have a basic need to connect with others and to have a life that is meaningful. For an individual who is relationship-based but lacks social filters, navigating life can be tricky! Cypress School has provided Grace a safe place where the curriculum is meaningful and purposeful. Each day she wakes up and asks to look at her school schedule, and each day when she comes home, the first thing she does is unload her backpack and tell me who she worked with and what she did. And if there is an “art treasure” in there, she shows this masterpiece to everyone who walks through our door! The pride in her smile is worth a thousand words…thank you Cypress staff for looking at Grace as an individual and building a program that accentuates her strengths and challenges her to grow through her weaknesses. It’s like having a personal life coach five days a week-oh that we could all be so lucky.

With utmost respect and appreciation for all you do.”

Terri Beckett

Cypress Parent


Read about us in the

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more

Community Relations

Jen Whalen, Director
Steve Gatlin, Manager
Click for contact form

Administrative Office

1425 N. McDowell Blvd, Suite 115
Petaluma, CA 94954
Click for contact form

© 2019 UCP of the North Bay – 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. EIN: 94-2284940