Special Education is:
"Specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of individuals with exceptional needs, whose educational needs cannot be met with modification of the general instruction program..."
- California Education Code(section 56031)
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.
Our Special Education Staff has identified four key commitments that will ensure this mission is fulfilled:
- Responsiveness – timely communication with students, parents, and staff
- Guidance – program implementation in accordance with federal and state laws
- Support – to create stimulating learning environments
- 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.
VUSD Instructional Assistants or Para-educators are Special Education professionals who help support students and teachers in special education settings. Paraprofessional educators in these roles work with students with a variety of disabilities including learning disabilities, emotional disturbance, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, developmental disabilities, and communication disorders. Paraprofessional educators may work in special classrooms, learning centers, or serve as inclusion assistants who support classrooms and individual students throughout their day. Paraprofessional educators in these roles may require specialized training in behavior management, de-escalation, and personal-professional boundaries. Instructional Assistant webpage
Special Education Strategic Plan
(Adopted by School Board on June 27, 2013)
The Strategic Plan is organized into five service priority areas that will ensure a coherent, student-centered academic and behavioral program for students with special needs at all levels within the school district from preschool to adult transition.
The development of the Strategic Plan was a collaborative effort that included representatives from all constituency groups including parents, special education teachers, general education teachers, site administrators, district office administrators, and community members. These representatives composed the Special Education Task Force.