Board of Education Cipriano Vargas Carol Weise Herrera Jim Gibson Rich Alderson Board Policy Book Rosemary Smithfield
Special Education Department Special Education Department's Parent Resources Special Education Department's Teacher Resources Common Core State Standards CURRENT INFORMATION FROM NCCSE IEP Brochures Parent Flyers from Vista Unified's Special Education Department Parents Feedback and Flyers Positive Behavior Supports Program Spotlight! Special Education Assessment for Eligibility Special Education Eligibility Specially Designed Instruction and Related Services Special Education Task Force Extended School Year Brochures 2015
Blueprint for Educational Excellence and Innovation Community Forums
School Directory Charter School Authorizing and Monitoring VUSD at a Glance History of VUSD Outstanding Programs VUSD in the News Preschool
Superintendent of Schools Educational Excellence Business Services Human Relations Innovation
Welcome Parents & Families/Bienvenidos Padres y Familias Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Network Team Motivating at-Home Literacy College & Career
Students WAVEpact
Employees Teacher Resources
WaveCrest Cafe/Child Nutrition

Special Education Department

What's Happening

Today: 2/24/18


Department Address:

1234 Arcadia Avenue

Vista, California  92084

Attn: Special Education Department

Department Phone#:
760.726.2170 ext:92900

Department Fax#:

Office Hours:

Monday through Friday

8:00am to 4:30pm

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 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

Program Overview

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.

Instructional Assistants

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 Task Force 2017/2018

Under Construction

Watch for updates coming soon!



Informational Brochures

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.

Department Contact List:

Rebecca Nobriga

Interim Executive Director/ Supervisor -Secondary Schools

ext: 92902


Leslie Taylor
ext: 92903
Jean Potter
Administrative Secretary
ext: 92902

Kaylee Ramsey

Staff Secretary

ext: 92900

Jana Hegg
Supervisor – Elementary Schools
ext: 92905
Laurie Leigh
Supervisor – Elementary Schools
ext: 92909
Tammy Parker
Supervisor – Middle Schools
ext: 92906
Katherine Abraham
Supervisor – Secondary Schools
ext: 92904

Chris Altona
Principal - Adult Transition Program

ext: 83002

Rachel Schmidt
Principal – California Avenue Preschool

Supervisor - Speech Therapists
ext: 84002

Jennifer Gruman

Supervisor- VATC/VALA/Cal Ave

ext: 84026


Debra Harris
Staff Data Technician
ext: 92908
Yvonne Fortin
Staff Data Technician
ext: 92910
District Translators