Community Update - May 17, 2022


Cal Ave

"specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parent, to meet the unique needs of individuals with exceptional needs, including instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and other settings, and instruction in physical education."
California Education Code (section 56031)


Our Special Education Staff has identified four key commitments that will ensure this mission is fulfilled:

  1. Responsiveness - timely communication with students, parents, and staff
  2. Guidance - program implementation in accordance with federal and state laws
  3. Support - to create stimulating learning environments
  4. Resolution - to ensure a free and appropriate public education for all students


The Vista Unified School District Special Education Department offers a continuum of specialized services to meet the unique and individualized needs of each student. Comprising the largest program of the North County Consortium of Special Education (NCCSE), Vista Unified prides itself on the commitment to locating, identifying and serving over 3000 children with special needs from ages 3-22. We are committed to supporting each student's access to differentiated core instruction in the least restrictive environment, while aligning each IEP (Individualized Education Program) to the Common Core State Standards. Our program spans the spectrum from full integration in the general education environment with accommodations, to separate special education programs addressing more significant needs. The dedicated professionals working to support classroom teachers in achieving these goals include: school psychologists, speech-language therapists, occupational therapists, adaptive physical education specialists, behavior interventionists, visual impairment specialists, resource teachers, and instructional assistants.

It is important to note that special education is a service provided to students with exceptional needs. Special education is not a location or specific classroom. Special education is intended to provide a full range of services in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): the instructional setting that is most similar to the instructional setting attended by general education students.

The LRE requires that students with disabilities are to be educated to the maximum extent possible with children who are not disabled. The Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) 34 C.F.R. Section 300.114 to 300.117 provide specific federal requirements related to LRE.

Mission Statement

Our Special Education Staff is committed to providing specialized academic
and behavioral support and services to students with exceptional needs in
order to fully engage them in high quality learning environments that
challenge and prepare them to be well-rounded, active members of a global society.

Independent Study:

Vista Virtual Applications for Independent Study for Students with IEPs

 Aplicaciones de Vista Virtual para Estudio Independiente para alumnos con IEPs

Special Education Family Monthly Newsletters

Vista Unified School District
1234 Arcadia Avenue
Vista, CA 92084
Phone: 760-726-2170
Fax: 760-630-7719


Department Contact List:
Nereida Gutierrez
ext: 92902
Steffanie Rupp
ext: 92905
Kursten Carlson

ext: 92906
Tracy Zachry
ext: 92909
Katherine Abraham
ext: 92904
 Jennifer Gruman
ext: 84026
Chris Altona
Principal - Vista Adult Transition Center
ext: 83002
Rachel Schmidt
Principal - California Avenue School
ext: 84002
 Office Staff:
Jean Potter
Administrative Secretary I
ext: 92902
Debra Harris
Staff Data Technician
ext: 92908
Yvonne Fortin
Staff Data Technician
ext: 92910
Alejandra Hoffmann
SPED Interpreter/Translator
ext: 92911
Leticia Robles
SPED Interpreter/Translator
ext: 92150
Doris Cruz
Special Education Liaison
ext. 92914
Araceli Sanchez Martinez
Special Education Liaison
ext. 92900

Special Education
Strategic Plan 

Strategic Plan 

Plan Estrategíco

Board Approved May 12, 2018