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Special Education

Special Education

As required by the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). San Mateo Union High School District provides a continuum of services for students with disabilities. Some services for students with moderate/severe disabilities are provided in conjunction with the San Mateo County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) or with County Mental Health. All programs are open to students in grades 9-12. Not all programs are provided at each campus; students are placed through the individualized Education Plan (IEP) process in the program that best meets their needs. Most students in Special Education qualify for services as having a Specific Learning Disability, Emotional Disturbance, Speech and Language Impairment, Hearing Impairments/Deafness, or Other Health Impairment, but some are identified as having a Traumatic Brain Injury, Visual Impairment, etc.  

The special education planning process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials, accessible settings, and other interventions designed to help learners with special needs achieve a high level of personal self sufficiency and success in school and community than would be available if the student were only given to a typical classroom education.


Carolyn Schwartzbord, Director of Special Education
SMUHSD, 640 N. Delaware Street, San Mateo, CA 94401

(650) 558-2265


Special Education Department Staff by School 2016-17




(650) 558-2999 school- (650) 558-2952 fax

Mike Gibbons,  Department Chair             mgibbons@smuhsd.org      (650) 558-2931

Kirt Peterson,  Department Chair           kpeterson@smuhsd.org    (650) 558-2931

Florian Davos,  Speech Therapist              fdavos@smuhsd.org             (650) 558-2911



(650) 558-2899 school- (650) 558-2852 fax

Danielle Mansfield,  Department Chair                dmansfield@smuhsd.org       (650) 558-2832

Sharon Bleviss, Department Head              sbleviss@smuhsd.org           (650) 558-2858

Melissa Mark,  Speech Therapist                 mmark@smuhsd.org              (650) 558-2851

Sean Dmyterko,  Adaptive Physical Education     sdmyterko@smuhsd.org            (650) 558-2262

Tara Ciardella,  Adaptive Physical Education     tciardella@smuhsd.org      (650) 558-2864

Jennifer Beasley,  School Psychologist          jbeasley@smuhsd.org       (650) 558-2515



(650) 558-2799 school- (650) 558-2752 fax 

Vasilis Rousseas,  Department Chair                    Vrousseas@smuhsd.org        (650) 558-2723

Jewel Walli, Department Chair                 jwalli@smuhsd.org            (650) 558-2742

Faith Cabie-Ramil,  School Psychologist           fcabieramil@smuhsd.org        (650) 558-2732

Linda Wade,  Speech Therapist                   lwade@smuhsd.org           (650) 558-2709



(650) 558-2699 school- (650) 573-4173 fax 

Antoinette Chavez,  Department Chair              achavez@smuhsd.org        (650) 558-2635

Deborah Stuart, TOSA               dstuart@smuhsd.org           (650) 558-2638

Jennifer Giese,  School Psychologist           jgiese@smuhsd.org            (650) 558-2640

Barbara Nourse,  Speech Therapist          bnourse@smuhsd.org         (650) 558-2648

Sean Dmyterko,  Adaptive Physical Education     sdmyterko@smuhsd.org       (650) 558-2262



(650) 558-2599 school- (650) 558-2552 fax 

Amanda Butler,  Department Chair           abutler@smuhsd.org      (650) 558-2562

             Kevin Goyer     kgoyer@smuhsd.org    (650) 558-2565

Juliet Hunter,  School Psychologist   jhunter@smuhsd.org          (650) 558-2515

Melissa Mark,  Speech Therapist                mmark@smuhsd.org         (650) 558-2540

Sean Dmyterko,  Adaptive Physical Education     sdmyterko@smuhsd.org        (650) 558-2262



(650) 558-2399 school- (650) 558-2352 fax 

Molly Mdaka,  Department Chair                mmdaka@smuhsd.org     (650) 558-2372

Jason Miller, Department Chair             jmiller@smuhsd.org             (650) 558-2361

Christi Hadley,  School Psychologist                chadley@smuhsd.org        (650) 558-2321

Linda Wade, Speech Therapist                lwade@smuhsd.org          (650) 558-2365



(650) 558-2499 school- (650) 866-4120 fax 

Julie Suess, Department Chair       jsuess@smuhsd.org              (650) 558-2431



(650) 573-2652 school

Judy Camarota, Coordinater/Instructor                   jcamarota@smuhsd.org    

 "Project Search" is a transition to work program with students with disabilities.

Referrals & Information

Special Education Department

Referrals & Information


Special Education Programs


“The Legislature finds and declares all individuals with exceptional needs have a right to participate in free appropriate public education and special educational instruction and services for these persons are needed in order to ensure the right to an appropriate educational opportunity to meet their unique needs.”


Special Education


All individuals with suspected disabilities from birth through age 21 will be identified and referred to the appropriate agency to be assessed. Each individual will receive a full and individual evaluation to identify the disability, determine eligibility and identify educational needs. The assessment information will provide the basis for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) to ensure the individual receives a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). (SMCOE SELPA)


Child Find


The Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA) and Individual district will actively and systematically seek out all individuals with disabilities including children with disabilities who are homeless, or are wards of the State and children with disabilities attending private schools, regardless of the severity of their disabilities and who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located, and evaluated. (SMCOE SELPA)




IDEA Definition of FAPE- IDEA defines “Free appropriate public education” or FAPE as special education and related services that: are provided at public expenses, under public supervision and direction and without charge, meet the standards of the State Educational Agency including the requirements of IDEA, include an appropriate secondary school education in the state involved, and are provided in conformity with an individualized education program (IEP) that meets the requirements of the IDEA. (SMCOE SELPA)


Student Study Team


The Student Study Team (SST) is a regular education function. It is a process of reviewing individual student problems and planning alternative instructional strategies to be implemented in the regular classroom. Although specialists, such as school psychologists, speech/language specialist, and resource specialist may be involved, the SST is not a special education function and as such is not subject to the associated restrictions and timelines. (SMCOE-SELPA Procedures)


 Referral Process


Referrals for assessment to determine eligibility for Special Education and related services may come from teachers, parents, agencies, appropriate professional persons, and from other members of the public. The referrals will be coordinated with school site procedures for referral of pupils with needs that cannot be met with modifications of the regular instructional program, including referrals from student interventions teams, such as the Student Study Team. (SMCOE SELPA)


Referral Procedure

Referrals for assessments to determine eligibility for special education and related services will be made to the school site principal or designee at the child’s school of residence. Referrals may be processes through the school site Student Study Team and other student intervention teams to review the referral and document interventions tried prior to referral. All requests for assessments will be submitted in writing. If a parent makes the request verbally the principal or designee will assist the individual in making the request in writing. The School site administrator or designee will review the referral. If the information is incomplete the referral source will be contacted to request additional information. No assessment will be conducted without the written parent consent. If, after reviewing all relevant information, the administrator and assessment planning team, consider the referral inappropriate, the parents must receive a prior written notice which includes the following: a description of the action refused by the district, an explanation why the district refuses to take the action, a description of any other options that the district considered and the reasons why those options were rejected, a description of each procedure the district used as a basis for the refused action; a description of any other factors that is relevant to the district’s refusal. (SMCOE-SELPA)


Parent Consent

The LEA (Local Education Agency) shall conduct a full and individual initial evaluation before the initial provision of Special Education and related services to a child with a disability. Either a parent of a child or LEA may initiate a request for an initial evaluation to determine if the child is a child with a disability. Such initial evaluation shall consist of procedures within 60 days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation and to determine the educational needs of the child. The LEA proposing to conduct an initial evaluation to determine if the child qualifies as a child with a disability shall obtain informed consent from the parent of a child before conducting the evaluation. Parental consent for evaluation shall not be construed as consent for placement for receipt of special education and related services. The results of the assessment will be used by the child’s IEP team to develop an appropriate Individualized Education Program. (IEP)


 Eligibility Criteria

Upon completion of the administration of tests and other evaluation materials, the determination of whether the student is an individual with a disability shall be made by the IEP Team, including the parents of the child and assessment personnel. The IEP Team will take into account all the relevant material, which is available on the pupil. No single score or product of scores shall be used as sole criterion for the decision. Three primary factors must be considered in making this determination:

· Does the pupil meet the eligibility criteria as an individual with a disability?

· Does the severity of the disability have an adverse effect on the pupil’s educational


· Does the child require special education and services to achieve a free appropriate

public education?


Federal Categories of Disabilities


Autism, Deaf-Blindness, Deafness, Emotional Disturbance, Hearing Impairment, Mental Retardation, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impaired, Specific Learning Disability, Speech and Language, Traumatic Brain Injury, Visual Impairment


**** Students who have been diagnosed with Dyslexia or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) may qualify for special education

services if they also meet eligibility under one of the thirteen categories such as Specific

Learning Disability, Other Health Impaired or Emotional Disturbance.


**** In making a determination of eligibility, a child shall not be determined to be a child

with a disability if the determinant factor for such determination is: a lack of

appropriate instruction in reading, including the essential components of reading

instruction, lack of instruction in math or limited English proficiency. (SMCOE SELPA)


Special Education Definitions


IDEA Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEIA/IDEA 2004)

FAPE Free & Appropriate Public Education

IEP Individual Educational Plan

SAI  Specialized Academic Instruction

DIS Designated Instructional Services (e.g. Speech/Language)

ED Emotionally Disturbed

TDS Therapeutic Day School

AAC Applied Academic Curriculum

LRE Least Restrictive Environment 



Special Education Support Staff

SMUHSD - Special Education Support Staff


Carolyn Schwartzbord,  Director of Special Education  (650) 558-2265  cschwartzbord@smuhsd.org

Greg Quigley, Assistant Director of Special Education, (650) 558-2266  gquigley@smuhsd.org

Janette Iniguez, Special Education Assistant  (650) 558-2260  jiniguez@smuhsd.org

Katie Schwarz, Program Specialist  (650) 558-2254  kschwarz@smuhsd.org

Cathy Davis, Program Specialist  (650) 558-2268  cdavis@smuhsd.org

Teresa DeAnda, Account Analyst  (650) 558-2292  tdeanda@smuhsd.org

Margaret Bradley, Vocational Specialist  (650) 558-2267  mbradley@smuhsd.org

Eli Poblitz, Vocational Specialist  (650) 558-2945  epoblitz@smuhsd.org

Wendy Parker, Transition Specialist  (650) 558-2941  wparker@smuhsd.org

Kristina Ish, SPED/MTSS Coordinator kish@smuhsd.org

Mary McGrath, Mental Health Manager (650)558-2273 mmcgrath@smuhsd.org