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Special Education


A recent lawsuit against the California Department of Education (CDE) is impacting all school districts across the state.

In April 2012, two organizations, the Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association and the Concerned Parent Association, filed a lawsuit against the CDE alleging widespread, systemic non-compliance by local education agencies with special education laws. The suit also alleges the CDE fails to monitor, investigate and correct such non-compliance in accordance with the law. The CDE denies these allegations and is actively defending the litigation.

Neither the Yolo Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) or any of the school districts in our SELPA were involved in the lawsuit and we were not the subject of any of the suit’s allegations.

Nonetheless, as a part of this lawsuit, CDE has been ordered by the court to release all data it has collected on general and special education students since Jan. 1, 2008.

For more information regarding the release of this data and how you can file an objection with the court to consider not releasing your data, visit:  http://www.cde.ca.gov/morganhillcase. You may also contact the California Department of Education at 916-319-0800.

The Davis Joint Unified School District is committed to providing all students with disabilities a quality instructional program to meet each child's unique needs. A federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, states that all eligible school-aged children and youth with disabilities are entitled to receive a free appropriate public education.

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 Preschool Assessment Team

The Preschool Assessment Team is located on the Valley Oak Campus.  The team is dedicated to locating, identifying and serving children with disabilities, ages 3-5, in our community in order to prepare them for successful transition to elementary school.

Valley Oak Campus
1400 E. 8th Street
Davis, CA 95616                                          

Phone: (530) 759-2127
Secretary - ext. 102

Hours: Monday - Thursday 8:00a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

For information on enrollment and referral procedures please call the Secretary at the number listed above.


Eligibility for Services

Students become eligible for special education services through a formalized process of evaluation. Anyone who suspects that a student is disabled may request an evaluation in writing. Requests will receive a response within 15 days. Usually a Student Study Team is set up with parents to gather more information and to determine which assessments are appropriate. If recommended, assessments will take place within 60 days of the initial request. If an assessment is not recommended, the Student Study Team will explain their reasoning in writing.

Once a student has been assessed, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting is held to determine a student's eligibility for services. Students may be found eligible in one of 13 categories:

  • Specific learning disability
  • Speech and language impairment
  • Deaf/blind
  • Visual impairment
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Hearing impairment
  • Deafness
  • Other health impairment
  • Autism
  • Multiple handicaps
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Intellectual disability

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Process

The IEP Process Overview

Referral: The best way to refer a student for assessment to determine eligibility for special education services is through the child’s teacher and the school’s Student Study Team Process (SST).

Assessment: Based on the concerns expressed on the SST referral, an assessment plan will be designed and explained to the student’s parent/guardian for approval.

Meeting to Review Assessment Results: The parent, principal (or designee), the child’s teacher and those who performed assessments will meet to review findings and determine appropriate services. Keep in mind that the goal is to serve students in settings that offer the most normal school experience as is appropriate.

Annual Reviews: At least every twelve months, the IEP team (principal, teacher, special education providers, and parent/guardian) meets to discuss the student’s progress, and to set goals for the upcoming twelve-month period.

Three-Year Reviews: Every third year, an extensive review is conducted and reported to the IEP team. Assessments may duplicate the thoroughness of the initial assessment.

Parents have the right to call an IEP meeting at any time they feel it is necessary.

The Individualized Education Program (IEP)

An Individualized Educational Program (IEP) describes the special education and related services specifically designed to meet the unique educational needs of each child with a disability.

Special Education Programs in Davis Joint Unified School District

Designated Instruction and Service and Related Services:
These are supportive services necessary for the student to benefit educationally from the instructional program.  An appropriate specialist provides the service which may include one or more of the following:  language and speech development and remediation; adapted physical education; health and nursing services; instruction in the home or hospital; physical and occupational therapy; interpreters; specially designated vocational education and career development; counseling and guidance; psychological services other than assessment and development of the IEP; parent counseling and training; and other services based on the IEP.

Resource Specialist Program (RSP):
Students with mild to moderate special education needs are educated in the Resource classroom through the Resource Specialist Program at each site.  In general, the program is a special education service that provides consultation and support to the general education staff and direct instruction and services to special education students who are assigned to regular classrooms for the majority of a school day.
Inclusion Program:
Students with moderate to severe disabilities who require more intensive Special Education instruction and supports are educated primarily in the general education classroom with modifications to the general curriculum. Direct instruction in specific content areas may be provided to students in a separate classroom as designated.  The Inclusion teachers provide case management, academic and developmental assessments, direct instruction, and curriculum adaptations based on the needs of the student.  This could include social skills training, behavior modification and intervention, and paraeducator support.

Special Day Class Program (SDC):
Students requiring more intensive instruction and services, where the nature of the disability precludes their participation in the general education school program for the majority of the school day are provided direct instruction through the Learning Center/Resource Room as well. The Resource Specialists provide case management, academic assessments, learning strategies, direct instruction, and curriculum adaptations for the students in the program.

There are also four self-contained special day class programs in DJUSD:

Behavior Learning Class – Patwin Elementary and Emerson Junior High:
These are two self-contained classrooms for special education students who have behavior difficulties that interfere with their ability to benefit from the instruction in the general and special education environments. The classrooms can accommodate up to 12 students in each class, grades K-6 and in grades 7-9.  A positive behavioral model of intervention is used and students are included in the general education classrooms as appropriate.

Primary SDC – Birch Lane Elementary:
This program is for students in kindergarten through third grade.  It is for our students who are not ready for inclusion in a general education setting due to cognitive delays and behavioral issues.  The class works on developing students’ skills and improving their behavior so that they can transition into an Inclusion program, and to be successful at their neighborhood school.

ED Foundations – Holmes Junior High:
This is a program for students identified as emotionally disturbed.  The students’ emotional issues make it challenging for them to function in a general education setting.  They require more emotional support and a more flexible learning environment.

Superintendent’s Advisory Committee for Special Education (SACSE)

The Superintendent’s Advisory Committee for Special Education is a committee that includes parents, teachers, administrators, and classified staff.  The committee meets to discuss special education issues.  Meetings are held at 4:00 PM on the following dates at the District Office at 526 B Street:

  • October 10, 2016
  • November 14, 2016
  • December 12, 2016
  • January 9, 2017
  • March 13, 2017
  • April 10, 2017
  • May 8, 2017      

Mission Statement of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee

The Superintendent’s Advisory Committee for Special Education (SACSE) represents the collaboration of District special education and general education staff and parents to:

  • discuss significant issues and concerns related to special education;
  • review documents and information;
  • provide feedback, compile information, make suggestions and recommendations to the Superintendent;
  • gather and share information, as a committee, with the educational communities regarding philosophy, policy, service delivery of special education services to provide optimum educational outcomes for students.

Procedural Safeguards 

Online Resources

Mission Statement for the
Special Education Department

The mission of DJUSD Department of Special Education is to support all students with disabilities in achieving their highest potential in the areas of academics, communication, social skills and life skills to become included, productive members of the community.

Special Education Staff Directory

Department Phone: 530-757-5300 ext. 113

FAX:  530-757- 5416

Click on name to email:

Patrick McGrew
Director of Special Education

Jennifer Galas
Program Specialist

Erin Sander

Lead Psychologist

Jan Hlubik
District Administrative Assistant

Pam Gilleste


Inclusion in DJUSD


What is inclusion?

Inclusive education is a strategy which enables all students to participate in and contribute to their neighborhood school regardless of the severity of their disabling condition(s).  A free and appropriate education is the right of all children in our country.  Inclusion in Davis aims to provide the appropriate supports necessary to educate all children within the student's neighborhood school environment in the general education setting to the extent that is beneficial to the student.


When did inclusion start in Davis Joint Unified School District?                                   

This is DJUSD's 24th year providing an inclusive education for students with moderate/severe disabilities. DJUSD was the first school district in the state of California to start an Inclusion program. Inclusion started when a small group of Davis parents and teachers whose children were being served by Yolo County’s Special Education programs at Greengate School in Woodland wanted to bring their students back to Davis to attend their general education, neighborhood schools.  In 1989, DJUSD served four students in inclusion programs at two elementary schools.  Today DJUSD serves over 140 students in inclusion programs at elementary and secondary schools in our district.  


How does inclusion work?

Children with special needs are provided with the support, accommodations, and modifications they need to succeed in the classroom with their typically developing peers. 


Why inclusion?
All children:

  • recognize that everyone has something valuable to contribute despite their differences
  • acquire more well-developed social intelligence and are more likely to make compassionate, considerate choices in their peer interactions in the inclusion model
  • develop a more concrete understanding of human dignity and a richer ability to respect and appreciate diversity in the inclusion model  
  • benefit from becoming acquainted and comfortable with the children in their neighborhood who they may continue to interact with the rest of their lives
  • learn that they have unique areas of strength and areas of need

 Children with special needs benefit by having typical peers model appropriate social and academic skills.

   How do I contribute as a parent?

  • Remember all children are unique, all children have equal worth, and all children have something valuable to contribute to their learning community. 
  • Reflect on your own school experience and how that might have shaped any preconceived notions you have about children who are differently abled.  Think about the ways that you hope your own child’s school experience is similar and different than your own.
  • Look for opportunities to acknowledge and celebrate uniqueness in your family.
  • Talk to your child about his/her own strengths and challenges.
  • Talk about all children and families with respect.
  • Look for positive ways to model awareness, empathy, and inclusion in your family and in your own relationships.
  • Expand your circle of relationships:  encourage your child to invite someone who may be differently abled over for a play date, to meet for a picnic at the park, or to come to his/her birthday party.


“Every child instinctively knows what many adults have long since forgotten:

our differences are not something to be tolerated,

they are something to be celebrated.”