SPECIAL EDUCATION IS:


"Specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of individuals with exceptional needs, whose educational needs cannot be met with modification of the general instruction program..."

- California Education Code(section 56031)

Special Education

COMMITMENTS


Our Special Education Staff has identified four key commitments that will ensure this mission is fulfilled:

  1. Responsiveness - timely communication with students, parents, and staff
  2. Guidance - program implementation in accordance with federal and state laws
  3. Support - to create stimulating learning environments
  4. Resolution - to ensure a free and appropriate public education for all students

PROGRAM OVERVIEW


The Vista Unified School District Special Education Department offers a continuum of specialized services to meet the unique and individualized needs of each student. Comprising the largest program of the North County Consortium of Special Education (NCCSE), Vista Unified prides itself on the commitment to locating, identifying and serving over 3000 children with special needs from ages 3-22. We are committed to supporting each student's access to differentiated core instruction in the least restrictive environment, while aligning each IEP (Individualized Education Program) to the Common Core State Standards. Our program spans the spectrum from full integration in the general education environment with accommodations, to separate special education programs addressing more significant needs. The dedicated professionals working to support classroom teachers in achieving these goals include: school psychologists, speech-language therapists, occupational therapists, adaptive physical education specialists, behavior interventionists, visual impairment specialists, resource teachers, and instructional assistants.

It is important to note that special education is a service provided to students with exceptional needs. Special education is not a location or specific classroom. Special education is intended to provide a full range of services in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): the instructional setting that is most similar to the instructional setting attended by general education students.

The LRE requires that students with disabilities are to be educated to the maximum extent possible with children who are not disabled. The Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) 34 C.F.R. Section 300.114 to 300.117 provide specific federal requirements related to LRE.

 


MISSION STATEMENT


Our Special Education Staff is committed to providing specialized academic and behavioral support and services to students with exceptional needs in order to fully engage them in high quality learning environments that challenge and prepare them to be well-rounded, active members of a global society.

Department Contact List:
Nereida Gutierrez
Director
ext: 92902
nereidagutierrez@vistausd.org
Steffanie Rupp
Coordinator
ext: 92905
steffanierupp@vistausd.org
Kursten Carlson
Supervisor

ext: 92906
kurstencarlson@vistausd.org
Tracy Zachry
Supervisor
ext: 92909
tracyzachry@vistausd.org
Katherine Abraham
Supervisor
ext: 92904
katherineabraham@vistausd.org
Chris Altona
Principal - Vista Adult Transition Center
ext: 83002
chrisaltona@vistausd.org
Rachel Schmidt
Principal - California Avenue School
ext: 84002
rachelschmidt@vistausd.org
Jennifer Gruman
Supervisor- Cal Ave/Non Public Schools
ext: 84026
jennifergruman@vistausd.org
 Office Staff
Jean Potter
Administrative Secretary
ext: 92902
jeanpotter@vistausd.org
Debra Harris
Staff Data Technician
ext: 92908
debraharris@vistausd.org
Yvonne Fortin
Staff Data Technician
ext: 92910
yvonnefortin@vistausd.org
Alejandra Hoffmann
SPED Interpreter/Translator
ext: 92911
alejandrahoffman@vistausd.org
Leticia Robles
SPED Interpreter/Translator
ext: 92150
leticiarobles@vistausd.org

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Special Education Department
Vista Unified School District
1234 Arcadia Avenue
Vista, CA 92084
Phone: 760-726-2170
Fax: 760-630-7719
Specialeducationdept@vistausd.org


A message from Nereida Gutierrez
Special Education Director
August 17, 2021

 

Re: Vista Virtual Applications for Independent Study for Students with IEPs


Dear Parents and Staff: 


We are excited for the 2021-22 school year to start and are looking forward to welcoming our students back to school. Please see VUSD Learning Model Options for the 2021-22 school year and click here for additional information. Our department is continuing to collaborate with the Student Services Department regarding  applications for students with Individual Education Programs (IEP) to participate in Vista Virtual.


All parents who are interested in having their children participate in Vista Virtual must complete the application through the Student Services website for Vista Virtual. VUSD Student Services Learning Model Options for 2021-2022. Once the District receives the completed applications, for students with IEPs, our Special Education Coordinator, Steffanie Rupp and/or Special Education Supervisors will contact parents and school teams to set up an IEP meeting to determine if the Virtual School/Independent Study program is appropriate for the student. Under California law, a student who is eligible for special education may not participate in independent study, unless his or her IEP specifically provides for enrollment in an independent study program. Applying to Vista Virtual does not guarantee automatic enrollment into the program for students with IEPs. As discussed above, the District will need to convene an IEP meeting to review if placement in Vista Virtual is appropriate for the student.


The District will diligently work to schedule IEP meetings as soon as practicable and within 30 days of a parent’s request to have his/her child participate in District’s Vista Virtual/Independent Study program. Until the team meets in an IEP meeting, the student’s current IEP offer of a full-day, in-person program on school campus continues to be the offer of a free, appropriate public education and remains available to the student. The District will then follow up with providing parents with a Prior Written Notice and copy of their parent rights and procedural safeguards.

 

I will keep you updated as we receive further information. Please understand that our department is also addressing questions from our families regarding their requests. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we launch the new school year.

Asunto: Aplicaciones de Vista Virtual para Estudio Independiente para alumnos con IEPs

Estimados padres y personal,

Estamos emocionados por que el año escolar 2021-22 empiece y esperamos darles la bienvenida de regreso a clases a nuestros alumnos. Por favor, véase las Opciones del modelo de aprendizaje en VUSD para el año escolar 2021-22 y haga clic aquí para más información. Nuestro departamento continúa colaborando con el Departamento de Servicio Estudiantil sobre las aplicaciones para alumnos con un Programa Educativo Individualizado (IEP, por sus siglas en inglés) para participar en Vista Virtual. 

Todos los padres que estén interesados en que sus hijos participen en Vista Virtual deben de completar la aplicación por medio del sitio web de Servicios Estudiantiles para Vista Virtual. Modelo de Aprendizaje en VUSD Dept. Servicio Estudiantil  para el año escolar 2021-22. Ya que el distrito reciba las aplicaciones completadas, para alumnos con IEPs, nuestra Coordinadora de Educación Especial, Steffanie Rupp y/o Supervisores de Educación Especial se comunicarán con los padres y los equipos de la escuela para programar una reunión de IEP para determinar si el programa de Escuela Virtual/Estudio Independiente es apropiado para el alumno. Según la ley de California, un alumno que es elegible para educación especial no puede participar en un estudio independiente, a menos de que el IEP específicamente proporcione servicios para inscribirse en un programa de estudio independiente. El aplicar para Vista Virtual no garantiza inscripción automática al programa para alumnos con IEPs. Como se mencionó anteriormente, el Distrito necesitará llevar a cabo una reunión de IEP para revisar que la asignación en Vista Virtual es apropiada para el alumno.    

El Distrito trabajará diligentemente para programar reuniones de IEP tan pronto como sea posible y dentro de los 30 días de la petición de padres de que sus hijos participen en el programa del Distrito de Vista Virtual/Estudio Independiente. Hasta que el equipo se junte en una reunión de IEP, el IEP actual del alumno de un programa en persona, de día completo, en el establecimiento continúa siendo la oferta de educación gratuita, pública y adecuada y permanece disponible para el alumno. El Distrito hará seguimiento en proporcionarle a los padres una copia del Aviso Previo por Escrito y una copia de los derechos del padre y garantías procesales.  

Yo los mantendré actualizados cuando recibamos más información. Por favor comprendan que nuestro departamento también está atendiendo preguntas de parte de nuestras familias sobre sus peticiones. De antemano, se les agradece su paciencia y comprensión en lo que empezamos un nuevo año escolar. Por favor comuníquese si tienen preguntas.