Special Ed Family Newsletter

September 2022

Dear Families,

Welcome Back! We hope everyone had a restful summer. We are looking forward to a great school year with many enriching activities and fun learning experiences. Several parent workshops are scheduled throughout the year to meet and collaborate with each other and members of the Special Education Department. We look forward to continuing the collaborative efforts to ensure a successful school year to support your children.

We are working closely with Human Relations in helping to recruit new staff to fill our various vacant positions. If you know someone who is interested in working in the Special Education Department please encourage them to apply online.

With gratitude,

Nereida Gutierrez

Director, Special Education

THE Leadership Academy and Roosevelt Middle School welcoming All of our students back!!

VUSD is still actively recruiting to fill various certificated and classified positions

Open positions include: bus drivers, child nutrition assistants, and instructional aides for our special education students and after school programs. Instructional assistants, or paraprofessionals, work directly with students who receive special education services and play an invaluable role in providing instructional, physical and even medical support for students.

Interested in working in VUSD?

Vista Unified continues to look for dependable people that are excited about working with our students. Vista has a need for both permanent and substitute employees! We can get you working immediately! Come work with a district that is making a difference in the lives of children!

For more information, click below:

Instructional Assistant II - LH/CH/SP

Instructional Assistant - Behavior Intervention

Special Education Assistant IV - SH/PH

Please Welcome Our New Secretary Dafnee Ramirez

Dafnee has worked for VUSD for almost sixteen years. She has been the Administrative Secretary for California Avenue for almost eight years. She started her journey in the education field as a GEAR UP tutor and mentor. She has also worked as a translator and interpreter for the Special Education Department. Dafnee is excited to continue her journey with VUSD in our Department as the new Secretary for the Special Education Department.

Read more about Dafnee

Parent Portal

A friendly reminder. If you haven't done so, please update your student's parent portal (Aeries) It is important that VUSD has the most current contact information for your student, to facilitate communication.


If your child qualifies for transportation during the school year per their IEP, please make sure you have filled out a new transportation form for the 2022-23 school year. Just a reminder that not all students qualify for transportation during the school year.

Questions? Please call or email the Special Education Department at 760-726-2170, ext. 92900 or email specialeducationdept@vistausd.org

North Coastal Consortium for Special Education (NCCSE) Resources

NCCSE Parent Workshop Opportunities (NCCSE)

Adult Transition Program (NCCSE)

What are the options students have after graduating from high school? Watch the following video to see a sample of what an Adult Transition Program


Transition Service Taskforce

Additional Resources

Teen Guide Mental Health & Wellness

Resources for Transition to Adulthood

Understanding Different Types of Learning Disabilities

YMCA Behavior Support Services

Food, Housing, Mental Health Resources

Free Transit for Youth

California Autism Professional Training and Information Network, (CAPTAIN): CAPTAIN Website

North Coastal Consortium for Special Education SELPA is proud to partner with the California Autism Professional Training and Information Network, (CAPTAIN ) by promoting the use of evidence- based practices for students with Autism.

CAPTAIN is part of the California Department of Education Statewide System of Support in collaboration with Marin County SELPA

Community Advisory Committee Meeting:

CAC Meeting Agenda (English and Spanish)

Next Meeting: Wednesday, October 12, 2022

  • A Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is made up of parents, educators, and community members who are involved in special education. The CAC of the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education (NCCSE) provides meetings and special events throughout the year and advises the superintendents of the 14 school districts about special education services. Each meeting includes information on a special education topic, resources for families, and opportunities to meet with other parents to exchange resources, information, and ideas. Whether you are a student who qualifies for special education services, a parent or family member of a student, or a district teacher or staff person, we can help!

Special Education Community Liaison

Finish Strong by Simple Truths

If you've ever run a distance race, you know that the last 200 meters can make all the difference. Runners who can finish strong often pass those in front of them who have nothing left in the tank. How does that apply to your daily life? Find out with 20 inspiring chapters, amazing photography, inspirational quotes and stories that are guaranteed to bring out the fire in anyone.
Finish Strong w/DVD by Simple Truths

Special Education Department

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

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

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

Katherine Abraham, Principal, Vista Adult Transition Program, katherineabraham@vistausd.org

Jennifer Gruman, Program Supervisor, jennifergruman@vistausd.org

William Foley, Program Supervisor, williamfoley@vistausd.org

Dafnee Ramirez, Administrative Secretary, Special Education, dafneeramirez@vistausd.org

Chelsie Smith, Interim Secretary, Special Education, chelsieisa@vistausd.org

Doris Cruz, Community Liaison, Special Education, doriscruz@vistausd.org

Special Education Department: specialeducationdept@vistausd.org

Special Education Department Contact List