Special Education


The Fallbrook Union Elementary School District is committed to providing children 3 years through 8th grade with special needs, a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) consistent with federal and state laws. As a member of the North Coast Consortium for Special Education (NCCSE), we offer a full range of special education services that appropriately meet student needs. FUESD has a dedicated staff that provides services for students with disabilities ranging from mild learning disorders to severe physical and mental handicaps. Credentialed special education teachers, speech therapists, occupational therapists, adapted physical education specialists and psychologists make up our exceptional special education professionals. Services and placements are based on each student’s Individualized Educational Program (IEP).
Department Contacts
Leonard Rodriguez | Executive Director of Pupil Personnel Services

Office Fax Number | 760-723-2186


Special Education Department Contacts

Name Title Phone Email
Stephenie Blinco-Martinez
Director, Special Education
(760) 731-5446
Jessica Dutcher
Secretary III (760) 731-5412 jdutcher@fuesd.org
Martha Esteves Special Education Data Technician
(760) 731-5411
Jessica Botica Behavior Specialist (760) 731-5412
Sarah Salberg
Special Education TOSA
(760) 731-5413
Jessica Ramirez
Special Education Literacy Coach
(760) 731-5423
What is Special Education?

Special Education is specialized instruction provided for children from birth to age 22 who are eligible according to the laws and regulations outlined by the state and federal government. A student may be eligible for special education services as an individual with special needs in one of fourteen areas identified by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

These areas are:

  • Autism
  • Deaf
  • Deaf-Blind
  • Emotionally Disturbed
  • Hard of Hearing
  • Intellectually Disabled
  • Multiple Handicapped
  • Orthopedically Impaired
  • Other Health Impaired
  • Specific Learning Disorder
  • Speech-Language Impaired
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment
  • Established Medical Disability
Special Education Services

The Fallbrook Union Elementary School District Special Education Department offers a continuum of specialized services to meet the unique and individualized needs of each student. We are committed to supporting each student’s access to differentiated core instruction in the least restrictive environment, while aligning each IEP (Individualized Education Program) to the Common Core State Standards. Our program spans the spectrum from full integration in the general education environment with accommodations, to separate special education programs addressing more significant needs. The dedicated professionals working to support classroom teachers in achieving these goals include school psychologists, speech-language therapists, occupational therapists, adaptive physical education specialists, behavior interventionists, visual impairment specialists, credentialed special education teachers, and instructional assistants.

It is important to note that special education is a service provided to students with exceptional needs. Special education is not a location or specific classroom. Special education is intended to provide a full range of services in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): the instructional setting that is most similar to the instructional setting attended by general education students.

The LRE requires that students with disabilities are to be educated to the maximum extent possible with children who are not disabled The Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) 34 C.F.R Section 300.114 to 300.117 provide specific federal requirements related to LRE.

North Coastal Consortium for Special Education (NCCSE)

The North Coastal Consortium for Special Education is a Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA) comprised of fourteen local school districts including the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District. Through this partnership, FUESD students, parents, and staff have access to a comprehensive array of services and resources. One of the most useful aspects of the NCCSE services is the parent and community support and resources website.

Member districts within NCCSE work collaboratively to provide a continuum of services for students who are eligible for special education. These include services provided within each district as well as regional services. Regional services include those provided to students who are deaf or hard of hearing, students with severe disabilities, and students with social-emotional disabilities. In addition, audiological services and itinerant teachers for students with hearing and vision impairments are available through the member districts.

Professional development opportunities for school district staff and parent education is available. For more information please visit the NCCSE parent webpage or you may call 760-761-5110.


Public Hearing for NCCSE’s Annual Budget and Services Plan for 2022-2023 School Year


Parent Resources
Community Advisory Council (CAC)
The Community Advisory Council (CAC) is a committee made up of parents, educators, and community members who are involved in special education. The California Education Code requires that each SELPA have a Community Advisory Committee. The CAC meetings take place once a month and consist of a business meeting followed by an educational presentation. Anyone interested is invited to attend. In addition, CAC provides related workshops, activities, and resources at no cost. They are designed to help families understand and participate in their child’s educational decision-making, to access services and resources, and connect families with each other.
You are invited!
  • CAC Meetings
  • Workshops
  • The ABCs of IEPs – a two-part, in-depth workshop for parents
  • The Community Resource and Recreation Fair
  • The Transition Fair
  • Resolutions for Student Success (RSS)
For more information, contact the CAC parent liaison Lisa Houghtelin at 760-761-5120, via fax at (760) 471-2008, or via email at lhough@sdcoe.net.


Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) 
The EFMP assists Active Duty Service Members in managing the dual demands of a military career and having a family member with special needs, whether medical, emotional, or educational. For more information call the office at (760) 725-5363 or visit the website.