Special Ed Family Newsletter

October 2022

Happy fall season!

Hello Families,

Here is our latest monthly newsletter with updated information and several opportunities for learning and supporting your child. I encourage all of you to sign up for the training opportunities provided through the District and NCCSE. The links to sign up are in the newsletter. As always if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to the Special Education Department. We are here to support you and your children.

Nereida Gutierrez

Director, Special Education

SPED Department Updates:

Chelsie Isa, our interim secretary is no longer assisting at the District Office. If you need to get in touch with our Secretary please contact Dafnee Ramirez dafneeramirez@vistausd.org.

We currently have a SPED Community Liaison Vacancy. Please reach out to Doris Cruz, she is here to provide resources for your children.

Contact information:

Email: doriscruz@vistausd.org

(760) 726-2170 ext 92914​

On September 26 we had our first parent workshop of the year

Welcome to Special Education - What to Expect in the IEP Process

Thank you to all of our parents who attended the training! We appreciate your input and support.


Doris Cruz, received recognition for her work as a community liaison for her hard work and dedication to our families. Assembly Member Horvath officially recognized the Family and Community Engagement Network (FACE) and the contribution of our District's FACE Community Liaisons. We are so appreciative to have Doris as part of our team!

Community Advisory Committee (CAC)

The 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, the CAC can help!

Parents who have attended CAC meetings report they have found opportunities to:

  • Connect with other parents and school district teachers and administrators
  • Learn about resources for their child and family
  • Participate in shaping the activities of the committee, including conversations with school district staff and administrators, parent workshops, an awards ceremony
  • Develop and expand their leadership

CAC Meetings are open to the public. The next meeting will be on November 9, 2022.

CAC November Meeting Information

Social Emotional PD at NCCSE

The Self & Match System: Systematic Use of Self-Monitoring as a Behavioral Intervention: Intro to Self & Match in the Home Setting

October 28, 2022 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. PT Live Online

Click here to register

Next Month: cac meeting and educational topic

November 9, 2022

Educational Topic:

Supporting Families in Addressing Mental Health Challenges for Students with IEPs


Lauren Hughey, LMFT, Program Director San Diego START

Director for San Diego START, (Systemic, Therapeutic Assessment, Resources, and Treatment) her team has become the first START Certified Team in the state of California.

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.

California Autism Professional Training and Information Network (CAPTAIN):

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

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. 92914 or email specialeducationdept@vistausd.org

Take Me Home Registry

Helping At-Risk San Diegans Get Home Safely.

Special Education Community Liaison

Are here to facilitate communication between VUSD and families.

If you need assistance please reach out to Doris Cruz.

Phone number: (760) 726-2170 ext. 92914

Email: doriscruz@vistausd.org

Special Education Department Contacts

Nereida Gutierrez, Director, Special Education, specialeducationdept@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

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

Special Education Department: specialeducationdept@vistausd.org