Special Education Family Newsletter

"We are stronger together"

September 2021

Hello VUSD Families,


Welcome Back! I hope this email finds you all safe and healthy in this new school year. We are grateful for the opportunity to welcome your students in person at the start of the year. All of our team members including education specialists, psychologists, speech language-pathologists, occupational, physical, adaptive PE therapists and our instructional assistants are committed to meeting the needs of all students. We appreciate you all so much and look forward to continuing the collaborative efforts to ensure a successful school year to support your children.


With gratitude,

Nereida Gutierrez, Director of Special Education

This Month's Focus

  • Upcoming Parent Training Opportunities/ Learning Recovery Survey
  • Canvas Resources for Families
  • Vista Virtual School Independent Study Update

VUSD Parent Learning Opportunities

Parent workshops are currently being planned for October, December, February, April. More information to come with specific dates and times.


Topics may include:


  • Parents as Partners in the IEP Process
  • Universal Design for Learning for Parents
  • Understanding the Transition Process
  • Strength Based IEPs


We'd love to hear from you. Please fill out the survey with your topics of interest.

Parent Learning Opportunities Survey

NCCSE Parent Training Opportunity

Nonviolent Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) pilot training, De-Escalating Challenging Behaviors, A Training for Families and Caregivers

Presented by: North Coastal Consortium of Special Education (NCCSE) - 255 Pico Avenue, San Marcos, CA 92069


This workshop is 6 hours in length and is similar to the Nonviolent Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) training provided to VUSD staff. The training includes practice with CPI disengagement skills and holds (standing position and control position). It was determined by CPI that the disengagement skills and holds provide a means to safeguard vulnerable children who put themselves and others at risk. As always, there will be an emphasis on de-escalation strategies and that holds should occur only as a last resort. This is a pilot training presented by NCCSE with an opportunity for parents to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the workshop.

Available Dates and Times:

  • Monday, September 27th, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at NCCSE
  • Wednesday, September 29th and Thursday, September 30th (must attend both dates), 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at NCCSE
  • Wednesday, October 6th, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at NCCSE


Sign up here: NCCSE Parent Sign up Form (English & Spanish)

Canvas for Parents

While VUSD makes every effort to keep our students safe while on campus, there may be times when your child may need to quarantine. If your child is quarantined, please check with your child's teacher to see if they have a Canvas page. If so, here is information on how to access Canvas.

Vista Virtual Independent Study School

  • All parents who are interested in having their children participate in Vista Virtual Independent Study must complete the application through student services.
  • Once the District receives the completed applications for our students with IEPs, our Special Education Department will contact parents and school teams to set up an IEP meeting to determine if the Vista 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 work diligently 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.

Special Education Department Contact

Nereida Gutierrez, Director, Special Education, nereidagutierrez@vistausd.org

Steffanie Rupp, Coordinator, Special Education, steffanierupp@vistausd.org

Chris Altona, Principal, Vista Adult Transition, chrisaltona@vistausd.org

Rachel Schmidt, Principal, California Avenue School, rachelschmidt@vistausd.org

Katherine Abraham, Program Supervisor, katherineabraham@vistausd.org

Tracy Zachry, Program Supervisor, tracyzachry@vistausd.org

Jennifer Gruman, Program Supervisor, jennifergruman@vistausd.org

Kursten Carlson, Program Supervisor, kurstencarlson@vistausd.org

Jean Potter, Administrative Secretary, Special Education, jeanpotter@vistausd.org

Special Education Department: specialeducationdept@vistausd.org

Special Education Supervisor Site Support

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