Special Education Newsletter

March 2021

Message From Dr. Marco Villegas, Associate Superintendent

Dear Parents,

As I write this note it is almost one year from the closing of schools. It is hard to believe that it has been so long since we have seen our students' beautiful smiles in person. I know how much our teachers miss their students. Perhaps one of the very few benefits of the pandemic has been the ability to have remote, virtual meetings. Over the past several months we have been having virtual Community Advisory Committee CAC meetings. These meetings are meant to provide feedback to our programs with the goal of improving the services we provide all our students. The CAC is also a great way to learn about new and existing laws related to special education and discuss how they may impact our students. We have had three meetings since December and are happy about the growing number of parents that have been participating. At our last meeting we were able to approve the By laws and are very excited about the up and coming meetings this year. Our next meeting is scheduled for March 15 at 6:00 p.m. I really hope to see you there! One of my greatest goals for the special education division is to increase our partnership with parents and work together to support our students. If you have any questions about the the CAC, please contact Susan Allarid at allarid.susan@pusd.us.


Marco A Villegas, Ph.D.

Associate Superintendent

How to Prepare for Your Child's IEP Meeting

Going to your child's IEP can be challenging. But with some proper preparation you can help make the process easier. First, focus on your child's strengths. Make sure that you have high expectations that are realistic. Make a list of the information that you want to share with the IEP team. These could include medical records or work samples from home. Make a list of concerns that you wish to share as well. Talk to your child to find out what areas he or she finds challenging at school. If your child is under 15, find out if he or she wants to attend the meeting. If your child is over 15, they should be invited. As a courtesy, If you wish to bring someone with you to the meeting please let the case manager know.

Social Emotional Supports for Families (Pre-Recorded)

The Pasadena Unified School District was excited to connect with our parents on October 20, 2020. The office of Family and Community Engagement hosted our district school psychologists led by Dr. Ford and Ms. Reyes.

The presenters discussed Social Emotional Supports for Families. The training covered the challenges that students are facing in COVID-19 and along with strategies, tools and supports to meet those needs.

The training was done in both English and Spanish.

Link to the video: Here

Special Education Acronyms

Being a parent of a student with special needs is not easy. It seems like there are more and more acronyms being created each year. Here is a list of some of the more common acronyms.

EL (English Learner): A child who is learning English and has not been reclassified.

ELA (English Language Arts): Classes/Subjects that generally focus on basic reading, writing and communication

ELD (English Language Development): Strategies to help English Learners to acquire academic-level English

EO (English Only): A child who has English as his or her only language.

FBA (Functional Behavior Assessment): This assessment looks at the function of behavior.

FEP (Fluent English Proficient): A child who has other languages used in the home but is determined to be proficient enough in English for participation in school.

PBIP/BIP (Positive Behavior Intervention Plan): This is a plan which addresses underlying causes of behavior and has specific strategies to address them.

RFEP (Reclassified Fluent English Proficient): A student who was an English Learner, but has been reclassified according to the district policies.

SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium): A statewide test administered annually to all CA school children.

SDAIE (Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English): These are strategies for helping English learners in accessing content that is presented in English.

SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area): This is a regional consortium of school district to help facilitate the provision of special education services to all children with disabilities in the districts that are in the SELPA.

Tips For Your Child's Chromebook

Your child's chromebook is an amazing piece of technology. It supports virtual meetings, it is used to create documents and presentations, and can be used to access curriculum.

It's important to have good maintenance habits to get the most out of this device.

1. Do a full shutdown each night by holding the Power Button for 3 seconds. When the Chromebook powers up it will search the operating system for any malware to increase security.

2. Reduce the number of tabs that are open. This will free up memory and allow the Chromebook to perform tasks such as virtual meetings much easier.

3. Charge up your Chromebook each night. This way your child will not be searching for a charger during the middle of class time.

4. If your child's Chromebook has a tech issue, you can contact the PUSD ITS Help Desk. The easiest way to contact them with a concern or tech issue is by using the Fresh Ticket system available HERE. If you don't have access to the Internet, or need a service in Spanish you can call the PUSD Help Desk at 626-396-3699.

Mark your Calendars

Upcoming important dates:

  • March 15, 2021 CAC Meeting
  • March 31, 2021 Cesar Chavez Day (Schools and Offices Closed)

Look for the next Special Education Parent Newsletter in May.

Dr. Temple Grandin Shares Her Story About Growing Up With Autism

In 2010, Time Magazine listed Temple Grandin as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In this brief interview, Dr. Temple Grandin discusses how growing up with autism affected her and how different activities she engaged in changed how she viewed the world.

What it feels like to be autistic

Special Education Contact Information

Main Office
General Questions
626-396-3600 Ext. 88600

Marco. A. Villegas, Ph.D.
Associate Superintendent, Specialized Student Support/ SELPA
626-396-3600 Ext. 88605

Susan R. Allarid
Executive Secretary
626-396-3600 Ext. 88605