Special Education

link to Let's talk SPED video thumbnail
Let's Talk Special Education video

MVWSD staff members

Director of Student Support Services and Special Education, Frank Selvaggio
Administrative Assistant,  Yesenia Murillo
Clerk, Raquel Hernandez
Special Education Coordinator, Dawn Berlin
Special Education Coordinator, Jennifer Morgen
Special Education Coordinator, Marisol Shively
Special Education Coordinator, Melody Nelson

Important Documents

Procedural Safeguards: overview of the educational rights for parents, legal guardians, and surrogate parents of children with disabilities from three (3) years of age through age twenty-one (21) and students who have reached age eighteen (18).

What is Special Education?

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; and related services that help individuals with special needs to benefit from specially designed instruction. (As defined by California Education Code Section 56031).

Special education is an integral part of the total public education system. It promotes maximum interaction between students with and without disabilities in a manner in which is appropriate to the needs of both. Services are provided at no cost to parents. A full range of program options are provided to meet the educational and service requirements of individuals with exceptional needs in the least restrictive environment (LRE). The LRE is generally the setting that is most similar to those attended by general education students.

Want to know more about special education? Wondering what services might be available to your child? Click here for the Community Advisory Committee Special Education Handbook.  

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who is eligible for special education services?

Special Education is a specialized instruction provided for children from birth to age 22 who qualify according to the laws and regulations outlined by the state and federal government. A student may qualify for special education services as an individual with special needs in one of thirteen areas identified by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA 2004).

* Autism
* Hearing Impairment/Hard of Hearing
* Orthopedic Impairment
* Specific Learning Disability
* Visual Impairment
* Blindness
* Intellectual Disability
* Other Health Impairment
* Speech or Language Impairment
* Deafness
* Multiple Disabilities
* Severe Emotional Disturbance
* Traumatic Brain Injury

How is my child referred to special education?

If you suspect that your child displays any condition which may require some intervention or Special Education programs and services, a referral can be made by contacting the Special Education Department.

   * For children between the ages of 3 to 5 or for students enrolled at private school in grades Pre-K to 8th: Please contact Department Secretary Veronica del Rio or Administrative Assistant Yesenia Murillo

   * For students enrolled in Mountain View Whisman School District, please contact your child's school principal or your child's school psychologist for a referral to the school’s Student Study Team.

How will my child be assessed for special education?

Arrangements will be made to have your child’s strengths and needs evaluated. This will be done through assessment and conferences held among those who work with your child. The participants in this assessment process may include teachers, psychologists, nurses, counselors, therapists, and others. No assessment will be conducted without the written permission of the child’s parent or guardian. An assessment report will be completed and shared an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting within sixty days of the date the signed assessment plan is received by the district.

What is an assessment plan?

An assessment plan is developed by Special Education staff and the assessment plan will state the areas in which the child will be assessed and the titles of the staff members who will participate in the assessment.

What is an Individual Education Plan Meeting?

After the assessment has been completed, the parent or guardian will be invited to attend an IEP meeting. The date and time of the meeting is mutually set by all participants. The parent or guardian may also wish to bring along other persons to this meeting. At the IEP meeting, district staff will present the results of their assessment. Parents are encouraged to ask questions and become fully informed as to their child’s strengths and needs. A summary of the assessment findings including the student’s current levels of performance will be presented and discussed to help the team determine eligibility for special education services.

What are my parent rights?

Parents are notified of their rights at various stages throughout the IEP process and at least annually. Parent rights include the right to request an IEP meeting; the right to review assessment information; the right to have their eligible child receive free and appropriate educational services in the least restrictive environment. Remember, if you have any questions, school district personnel are here to assist you.

Your consent is also required before the IEP can be put into effect. If you are uncertain at the end of the meeting as to whether you want the plan to go into effect, you may wish to ask for further clarification. Any questions about your rights can be answered by the school personnel.

What supports are available to special education parents?

The Learning Challenges Committee is a group of MVWSD parents, teachers and students who work as a group to represent their needs and concerns to the administration and the school boards.  They strive to foster communication, share information and help children with learning challenges become active and successful participants in the community.

Our Community Advisory Committee (CAC) supports parents with resources, training and connections. The CAC is made up of four school districts: Los Altos, Mountain View Whisman, Mountain View Los Altos High, and Palo Alto Unified.

Click here for the SELPA-CAC Handbook.

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