Special Education

The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District provides a continuum of program options for children identified as needing special education services. Every effort is made to provide needed services in the least restrictive environment. Children who qualify for special education services are provided an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Programs are available for children from birth through eighth grade. If you have general special education questions please contact the Special Education department at 619-668-5700 x6208.

Heather Dierolf

Program Manager
Heather Dierolf

Kate Cheney

Program Manager
Kate Cheney

Robin Galaif

Program Manager
Robin Galaif

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Student Data Technician
Christine Stalker

Director, Special Education
Eileen Cotter

Early Start Program

Families whose infants or toddlers have a developmental delay or disability or an established risk condition with a high probability of resulting in a delay may be eligible to receive an “Early Start” in California. Teams of service coordinators, healthcare providers, early intervention specialists, therapists, and parent resource specialists evaluate and assess infants or toddlers and provide appropriate early intervention and family support services for young children from birth to three years of age. This program serves children in our District and in the Lemon Grove Union School District. The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District Early Start program is located at Rancho Elementary School.

Early Start Parent Information

Here is a parent guide you may find helpful in answering questions about the procedure and Special Education services that come after age three. 

Special Education Preschool

Services for preschool children (ages 3 through 5) are provided free of charge through the public school system. These services are available through the same law—the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act—that makes early intervention services (Part C of IDEA), and services for school-age children, in grades K through 12 (Part B of IDEA) available. To meet eligibility, children must one or more of the following disabilities:

  • Autism
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Deaf
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Speech/Language Impairment
  • Visual Impairment
  • Deaf-Blindness
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Developmental Delay

Special Education Preschool Parent Information

Here are some parent guides that may help answer your questions about Special Education Preschool. 

Policies & Laws

Parent Rights/Procedural Safeguards 

The Notice of Procedural Safeguards: Rights of Parents of Students with Disabilities explains the specific rights and responsibilities of the parent in the special education process. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act 2004 (IDEA 2004) requires school districts to give parents the Procedural Safeguards only one time a year, except upon: initial referral or on request for evaluation; the first occurrence of the filing of a due process hearing complaint; or upon request by a parent. If you are a parent of a child with a disability and wish to review your Procedural Safeguards, please download the file below.

California Laws 

Here is a useful link to a website to search for California laws in all areas, including California Ed Code. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes.xhtml

Child Find 

Child Find is a component of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that requires states to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities, aged birth to 21, who are in need of early intervention or special education services. This Child Find web site is mainly focused on Part C of the IDEA, the Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities. However, much of the information and many of the links listed on the Child Find web site can be useful in conducting child find for all young children, not just child find for infants and toddlers. Here is La Mesa-Spring Valley School District’s most recent copy of a publication from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

East County SELPA Community Advisory Committee

The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is a Special Education organization of parents, professionals and community members from the ten school districts in East County. The primary function of the CAC is to advise school districts in the East County SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area) on matters concerning students with exceptional needs. The CAC concerns itself with the development of the Local Special Education Plan, and providing and supporting parent education. Business meetings are held the first or second Monday of selected months at the East County SELPA Office, 924 East Main St., El Cajon. Business meetings begin at 6:00 p.m. often followed by a presentation.

Community Advisory Committee SELPA Website

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