Special Education Family Newsletter

December 2021

Happy Holidays


Wishing you all the joys of the season and happiness throughout the coming year. I am grateful for our family support and collaboration to serve our students. I hope that you have a wonderful and relaxing holiday season and I look forward to continuing the collaborative efforts to support our students in the New Year.


With gratitude,


Nereida Gutierrez

Director, Special Education

Congratulations to Our Special Education VUSD Stars

Parent Resources

Thank you to those of you who attended the Parent Learning Opportunity on Inclusion. There was some great dialogue and we appreciate the opportunity to hear your thoughts.

Here are some inclusion strategies utilized in the classroom:

Environmental supports:

  • Clear boundaries

  • Opportunities for flexible seating

  • Calming corner (for students to use when they are

Visual Supports:

  • Written schedules/task lists

  • Reward chart

Instructional Strategies:

  • Provide choice (ex. menu of tasks)

  • Present information in a variety of ways (text, videos, live examples, hands on activities)

  • Provide opportunities for students to show mastery in a variety of ways


Social Emotional Support:

CASEL Social Emotional Resources for Families


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

North Coastal Consortium of Special Education (NCCSE), Regional Center, FRC/FEC 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

CAPTAIN website

Engaging Students in Learning Around the District

Parent Training Opportunities

Upcoming VUSD Parent Learning Opportunities:

February 8, 2022 - Understanding the Transition Process (Preschool - Adult Transition)

April 5, 2022 - Strength Based IEPs

May 17, 2022 - Parent as Partners in the IEP Process


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!

Next Meeting Jan 19, 2022


Looking for a job while your kids are in school?

Vista is currently looking for dependable people that are excited about working with our students. Vista has a need for both permanent and substitutes 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

Special Education Department Contact Information

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


SpEd Supervisor Site Support 2021-22