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Special Education Department's Parent Resources

“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”

                                                                                                                                       -  John F. Kennedy

Parent Involvement Statement

Parents are their child’s first teacher. This critical role does not stop as children enter the school setting and begin to interact with students and teachers. Student achievement, both academic and social, is most effective when parents and teachers build strong, lasting partnerships that will promote continuous growth along the students’ individualized learning path.


The VUSD Special Education Department Parent Involvement webpage was designed to cultivate partnerships with parents through parent education workshops, ongoing communication, participation in the IEP Team meeting process, classroom volunteering, and links to publications and resources that equip parents to play an active role in their child’s success in school and career.


Elizabeth Aquino developed the Extreme Parenting Video Project to encourage reflection among parents about children with disabilities. She asked hundreds of parents the following question: 

“If you could say one or two things to yourself the day of your child’s diagnosis, what would  those words be?”

Elizabeth then made an incredibly moving video of the responses:

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Parents can and do serve as agents of change. There are many examples of parents taking an active role in the education of their children. Dr. Karen Mapp (Harvard Graduate School of Education) is a nationally renowned expert in parental engagement. Watch her video presentation on parents as agents of change .  

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Arnie Duncan (U.S. Secretary of Education) has been instrumental in promoting parent involvement across the nation. Secretary Duncan is developing a new Framework for Improving Family Engagement. Here is the link to the latest article.

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Family Engagement Capacity Building Framework


Parent Education Opportunities

The North County Consortium for Special Education (NCCSE) is a Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA) that is composed of 14 school districts in the North County. Vista Unified is a member of NCCSE. Through this partnership, Vista Unified students, parents, and staff have access to a comprehensive array of services and resources. One of the most useful aspects of the NCCSE services is the parent and community support and resources website. Please visit the NCCSE parent webpage for more information .




ABC’s of Parent Involvement video:

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Spanish Language Resources

Here is a Common Sense resource‚Äč that includes videos and blogs in Spanish. It covers Digital Citizenship, Cyber Bullying and Digital footprints among other things. 

Teaching and Learning

Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were developed as a result of a multi-state effort to establish a shared set of clear guidelines for English/Language Arts and Mathematics. The development of the Standards was coordinated by the National Governor’s Association Center (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

For more information, click here.

Universal Design for Learning

Now that we are in the process of implementing new Common Core Standards, it is important to ensure that educators design lessons and learning environments that are accessible to students with exceptional needs.  Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to designing learning environments that eliminates barriers that are normally present in a one-size-fits-all curriculum. UDL focuses on creating instructional environments that are flexible enough to provide for the individual needs of all students, including students with exceptional needs.


Parents can take an active role in learning about Universal Design and discussing this concept with teachers at school.  Check out the the Parent Guide developed by the The Advocacy Institute .



 UDL at a Glance: 



UDL Three Principles:

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UDL Guidelines:

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