Special Education

Special Education at Yucca Valley High School

Yucca Valley High School provides a broad range of services to support the Individual Education Programs of its students receiving specialized academic instruction. Support services allow students to be taught in a special way.  In most cases, services and goals can be provided in the generalized education classroom. However, students who need more interventions may be taught in a specialized classroom environment. These classes have fewer students per teacher, allowing for more individualized attention. The teachers at YVHS have specific training in helping these students. Because the goal of the IDEA is to ensure that each student is educated in the Least Restrictive Environment possible, every effort is made to help the student stay in the general education classroom.

The IEP teams consists of many professionals and can include: a psychologist, a speech therapist, a physical therapist, a special educator, a vision or speech specialist, an occupational therapist, a general educator, administrator, and others' depending on the child's specific needs.

IEP notification: Annual and tri-annual IEP meetings at Yucca Valley High School are scheduled according to each Case Manager's availability and class schedule. Meeting notices will be mailed after case carriers make contact by phone, mail, or email to schedule a meeting.

Click on the link below for information regarding parental rights and the differences between IEP and 504 plans:

Mission Statement

The mission of the YVHS Special Education Department is to support all students with special needs, their teachers, and their parents. We work to support students with their individual academic, personal, and career goals to successfully transition to postsecondary endeavors while promoting the least restrictive environment possible. In doing so, we strive to increase students’ academic and basic skills by supporting their daily efforts within the school environment.

This mission statement will be used to:

  • Guide the Special Education Department’s decision making.
  • Guide Special Education Teacher instruction and planning.
  • Guide Special Education Case Manager Responsibilities.

Special Programs

Special education is a set of services, rather than a specific place for your child to go, the general education classroom is considered the LRE for most kids. Besides instruction in general education, other options for receiving special education services may be considered, including special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions. The IEP team identifies the services your child needs to reach her goals and objectives and how they’ll be provided. Students with disabilities, like their peers, aspire to take part in a wide range of activities as they leave high school and enter their adult lives. These might include:

  • Finding and holding down a job
  • Going to college
  • Training in a vocational field
  • Engaging in civic life
  • Living independently
  • Maintaining fulfilling relationships
  • And starting a family

Young adults with disabilities experience all of these outcomes, although not necessarily to the same extent as the general population. Through Workability and TPP, we are getting students more involved in the community and preparing them for hiring in the workplace for employment.

What is the Transitional Partnership Program?

The Transition Partnership Program (TPP) is a cooperative agreement between the Morongo Unified School District and the Department of Rehabilitation. Our students look forward to participating in this exciting program each year.

For students to be eligible for the TPP Program, they must be:

  • Served under a current Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan
  • Have a current psycho-eval report or current medical documentation stating disability
  • Grade 12 credit status and eligible to graduate at the end of the current school year
  • Accepted as a client by the Department of Rehabilitation

The agreement between Morongo Unified School District and the Department of Rehabilitation identifies that 40 students will complete the "intake" process and participate in the TPP class per year. There are approximately 18 spots available for Yucca Valley High School students.

Students whose parent attends the Transition Orientation Night will have priority registration. The rest of the applications will be distributed on a given day and completed applications will be date stamped as they return. As applications return, the class will fill until quota is met. Students who did not get to participate in the TPP Program are eligible to self-refer to the Department of Rehabilitation once they graduate school. The job developer/coach will orientate any eligible students in the self-referral process.

WorkAbility I Program - Ed Code 56471(d)

WorkAbility I job positions and wages are limited to state allocated funds that fluctuate yearly. Once the yearly budget is announced by the state, the WorkAbility I Interdisciplinary Advisory Committee will review the funding to determine the number of students that can be placed in a subsidized position for that fiscal year. MUSD WorkAbility I endeavors to maintain student wages at the current California minimum wage. Historically, MUSD has been able to fund 50 students in paid work experience, way above the state required/projected number. We also serve 100+ with alternative services to employment

WorkAbility project application shall include, but are not limited to, the following elements:

  • recruitment
  • assessment
  • counseling
  • pre-employment skills training
  • vocational training
  • students wages for try-out employment
  • placement in unsubsidized employment
  • other assistance with transition to a quality adult life
  • utilization of an interdisciplinary advisory committee to enhance project goals


Through this state program, MUSD funded to serve 45 students and place 15 students in a paid work experience.

For students to be eligible for the WorkAbility I Program they must be:

  • serviced under a current Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
  • meet and maintain state, district, and site criteria for a work permit
  • must be able to work independently
  • must be able to take care of self hygiene needs
  • must show ability to benefit from job experience

The WorkAbility I Program is a cooperative agreement between the Morongo Unified School District and Employers in the Morongo Basin. A successful application to the WorkAbility I Program does not guarantee employment: subsidized or unsubsidized.

SPED Faculty

Randy Berry
Randy Berry
School Psychologist
Holly Montgomery
Holly Montgomery
Rebecca Pessa
Rebecca Pessa
RSP Math / Study Skills / Head Coach
Donna Powell
Donna Powell
Bryan Schutten
Bryan Schutten
RSP Math / CSI
Minoo Sigler
Minoo Sigler
Mel Smith
Mel Smith
RSP / Government, Economics / Transitional Partnership Program
Erin Tarascio
Erin Tarascio
Teacher-Sped M/M
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