Special Education Family Newsletter

October 2021

Congratulations to our VUSD Stars

These 5 outstanding special education team members were recognized this month for their hard work and dedication to our students.

Parent Learning Opportunities

October 19, 2021, 8:30am - 10am @ Vista Innovation Center, MPR - Parents as Partners in the IEP Process

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.

Mental Health Resources for Teens

A popular San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) resource from 2020 has been updated with new apps, information, and supports for teen mental health and well-being. The English and Spanish versions of the Teen Guide to Mental Health can be downloaded from the SDCOE Student Support Services website. It is one of the many mental health resources listed on the site. Visit the SDCOE Facebook page to download image files for sharing on social media.

District Behavior Support Team


The purpose of the District Behavior Support Team (DBST) is to provide timely support to Vista Unified school sites with positive behavioral interventions for both general and special education students with social, emotional, and behavioral barriers to learning.

The DBST is designated to provide sites with program support, staff training, and student-specific intervention. The intent is to build the capacity of general education teachers, special education teachers, and family members to support the behavioral needs of all learners.

2 Behavior Specialists

3 Instructional Assistants (Intensive Behavior Interventionists)

The District Behavior Support Team (DBST) is part of Vista Unified's Blueprint Strategy 4 which promotes equitable access to high quality teaching and learning and supports an inclusive learning environment. Please reach out to your school site if you'd like more information about the DBST.

National School Psychology Week

During the week of November 8–12, 2021 schools throughout the country will celebrate National School Psychology Week to highlight the important work school psychologists do to help students thrive. Currently Vista Unified has 29 school psychologists throughout the district who work hard for our students everyday. Let’s start celebrating and thanking our amazing school psychologists for the great work they do! More information to come next month!

Special Education Department Contacts

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