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Voices From the Field!

Voices from the field: Los Angeles Office of Education testimony.
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A Voice from the Field: Vanessa Lopez

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Vanessa has been an educator for 18 years and in her present role as Coordinator for the Imperial Valley SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area) she partners with teachers to support their work with a high population of students who are dually-identified, English Learners who receive Special Education services. She is dedicated to the students and their families in the largely rural, agricultural communities in the Imperial County. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Vanessa’s approach was to encourage teachers to explore and be creative with technology but to keep the focus on pedagogy that supports content learning and language acquisition. Realizing that the transition in Spring 2020 to virtual teaching and learning was something new for teachers, administrators, students, and families and “truly a shock to everyone’s system”, Vanessa had to respond to field requests coming in from school sites, and reply with suggestions that were responsive to the unique needs of dually-identified special education students and that could be accomplished with resources that teachers already had and those that could be accessed right away. Alongside teachers, she has co-constructed solutions while challenging herself and educators to replicate the social interaction our students really need, monitor student learning, and hold students accountable without overwhelming them.


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SELPA Administrators of California

The SELPA Administrators of California’s, Making It Happen Podcast Series has been released!  Our very own, Dr. Deborah E. Montoya Sr. Director of Imperial County SELPA, along with Dr. Adam Clark, Superintendent, Mt. Diablo Unified School District and Dr. Mary Montle-Bacon, Professional Consultant, Presenter, and Technical Assistance Facilitator, were featured in the podcast: Making It Possible:  The Role of SELPA in Ensuring Equity.  

All five podcasts in the SELPA Administrators of California’s podcast series are available on Apple, Buzzsprout, & Spotify and can be accessed on their website:

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Equity, Disproportionality & Design Podcast

Episode 4 - Promoting Equity for Schools by Creating Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Experiences for English Learners.

GUESTS: Deborah Escalante Montoya, Ed.D., Sr. Director for the Imperial County SELPA, Lupita Olguin-Rubio, Coordinator at Imperial County SELPA and Vanessa Lopez, Coordinator of Inclusionary Practices at Imperial County SELPA.

If you would like to hear more of the Equity, Disproportionality & Design Podcast Podcast click here.

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Bright Spots Podcast

Reopening, Learning Loss and English Learners

Special Guests Vanessa Lopez from the Imperial County SELPA, as well as Christine Kane and Valentyna Banner of San Diego Global Vision Academy join Jeremiah and Moises to discuss COVID-19 related challenges, English Learners, UDL, and much more.

If you would like to hear more of the Bright Spots Podcast by The El Dorado Charter SELPA click here.


The California Department of Education (CDE) Special Education Division, created a new web page that provides information and resources on English Learners with disabilities. This resource can be found on the CDE English Learners with Disabilities web page at

Primarily, this web page provides a variety of information and resources in support of the California Practitioners’ Guide for Educating English Learners with Disabilities (2019). This guide provides information on identifying, assessing, supporting, and reclassifying English Learners who may qualify for special education services and pupils with disabilities who may be classified as English Learners. The guide can be directly downloaded as a portable document format from the CDE English Learners with Disabilities web page at

Moreover, this web page includes specific information and resources from the CDE Special Education Division, the Multilingual Support Division, and additional CDE-affiliated partners from across California and the United States on the following subjects:

  • Distance learning resources for families
  • Resources for English Learners with disabilities
  • Resources for students with disabilities
  • Resources for English Learners
  • Special education laws, regulations, policies, and rights

If you have any questions regarding this subject, contact Patrick Garcia-Smith, Education Programs Assistant, by email at

CDE English Learners with Disabilities Website