-FALL 2023-


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    Dear Families of the West San Gabriel Valley SELPA,

    I hope everyone had a nice summer and that students are returning to school refreshed, energized and ready to take on the new year. In visiting school sites and districts, we’re feeling positive energy and excitement, which is so wonderful to see.

    This summer the SELPA continued running professional development for administrators and paraprofessionals. We used grant money to provide behavioral support training to classroom assistants. We also provided seminars for administrators on IEP facilitation and working collaboratively with families.

    Our Teacher Residency program [see page 3] is off and running with 12 resident teachers placed in classrooms with mentor teachers in our member districts. We have added two new staff members, a School Psychologist and a School Psychologist/BCBA to further support our programs [see page 11].

    The WSGV SELPA is committed to working collaboratively with families, staff and the community to support all students with disabilities within our region. Our work is centered on our vision and mission statements:

    Vision: Collectively leverage diverse resources for the support and success of all students.

    Mission: Provide high quality services and support to member districts.

    I’m looking forward to connecting with students and families this year and I’m wishing everyone a fantastic 23/24 school!

    Warm Regards,
    Tamara Schiern
    Executive Director

    WSGV SELPA/ Alder GSE Teacher Residency Program


    West San Gabriel Valley SELPA in partnership with Alder Graduate School of Education is on a mission to create a pipeline of outstanding Education Specialists through a social justice lens. To provide support and training, teacher residents are provided with an exceptional teacher-mentor to co-teach with for the entire school year. During this time, they are able to apply theory and research to serve their Special Education students who are placed in their mentors program. To empower and provide opportunities for everyone that is interested in becoming a teacher, all grant funded programs via the CTC will provide a cost of living stipend of $30,000.00, possibly increased to $40,000.00, thanks in part to our Governor who signed K-12 Omnibus Budget Trailer Bill. The cost of their academic program is funded via largely by state grants which have been set aside for teachers who want work with our neurodiverse students. Upon successful completion of the program each resident will have a Master’s degree in Education and their Education Specialist credential in the area of mild/moderate support needs. Each of our residents is given priority hiring opportunities within the WSGV SELPA consortium as they are are equipped and trained to meet the needs of their students who are well acquainted with the community.

    FAQs About the Program:
    Question: Who makes up your resident cohort?
    Our Residents come from diverse backgrounds; 66% are Hispanic, 16% are multiethnic, 66% are first generation college students and 41% are Pell Grant recipients. Our mission is to create a diverse teaching team that mirrors the diversity present in our K-12 schools, so that our children have role models that look like them!

    Question: Where are they co-teaching?
    Resident Teachers (also known as aspiring teachers) are paired with exceptional mentor teachers who have showcased exemplary teaching practices within their school and school district.

    Currently we have three residents co-teaching alongside a qualified mentor teacher in the El Monte Union High School District, two residents in each of these districts, Alhambra USD, El Monte City SD and Rosemead SD, and one resident in each of these three districts, Temple City USD, San Gabriel USD and Mountain View School District.

    Our goal is to have twenty-five residents placed in all fourteen member districts within the next year. We believe if we can create our own pipeline of teachers, we will be able to meet the needs of our diverse students, develop and establish relationships during our residents program that upon being hired will anchor them to stay teaching within our consortium which will eventually lead them eventually to becoming the leaders within our fourteen member districts.

    Question: Do I need prior teaching experience?
    No, in order to apply for our program you do not need to have any teaching experience. Alder GSE along with our Coordinator of Teacher Residency and mentor teachers will work with you throughout your residency program to guide, support and build your knowledge base in order for you to be able to meet all of the teaching performance evaluation standards to obtain your Education Specialist credential set forth by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

    We have a unique program in that we have built-in supports for our residents to help them meet all of the prerequisites set forth by the Commision of Teacher Credentialing (e.g., RICA, CSET, EdTPA). Along with a year of co-teaching alongside a highly qualified mentor teacher which helps our residents bridge theory and practice.

    Question: What happens to residents after they complete their residency?
    Being that we are a CTC grant funded program, our residents are expected to teach for four years following graduation in exchange for the cost of the living stipend. Knowing this, we will work with each of our fourteen member districts to find them a full-time teaching position for the upcoming fall after their graduation from the program. Our data indicates that at present, 96% of our graduates are hired as full-time teachers and 88% of them stay in the school system in which they complete their residency program. This provides districts and residents to teach in communities that they are familiar with and builds community.

    Marwin Echegoyen
    Blanca Espinoza
    Breezh Nunez


    Marwin Echegoyen is placed at Jansen Elementary School in the Rosemead School District with his mentor Christina Gee. Together they will lead their Special Day Class program for 4-6th grade students. Marwin became excited about becoming a Special Education teacher after spending a few years as a behavior aide. With encouragement from the staff, Marwin applied to our program and we are so glad he did!


    Blanca Espinoza is a mother of three children and has been an outstanding parent volunteer who has supported programs for students who are second language learners within the Alhambra School District. This experience leads her to envision herself as a teacher working with students who often find a school to be a challenge. She wants to be a change-maker in her classroom and is excited about co-teaching at Emma Shuey Elementary school in Rosemead, under the supervision of Esther Park. They will be team teaching in an SDC 4th-6th grade placement.



    Breezh Nunez will be at Rio Hondo Elementary School in the El Monte City School District and with Andrew Belzano they will be crafting engaging lessons for their 6th-8th grade students. While working as a substitute, Breezh realized that she was best suited to be a middle school teacher. She is excited to be co-teaching in this setting and can’t wait to start making an impact in her students’ lives.
    Jorge Fajardo
    David Miranda
    Anya Spalding


    Jorge Fajardo will be co-teaching at Alhambra USD's Northrup Elementary School alongside his mentor Michael Rabatin. They will be teaching in a Collaborative model setting with grades 3rd-5th. Jorge has been a behavior aide for a few years working with students in the San Gabriel Unified School District, but spent a few years at the middle school and elementary school levels. He is excited to return to the elementary school level and gain experience supporting these students.


    David Miranda will be at LeGore Elementary School co-teaching with his mentor Maryester who teaches a 2nd-3rd grade SDC classroom. Prior to becoming a resident, David was a behavior aide working in a middle school classroom. He is excited about developing his skills as a teacher and gaining experience working with elementary school students. He wants to become a teacher who can make a difference and impact in the lives of his students and their families.


    Anya Spalding-Avila will be co-teaching alongside her mentor teacher Susana Taite at the Adult Transition site with students she worked with last year as a paraeducator. This time, however, she is returning as a co-teacher and couldn’t be more excited.

    Morgan Liss
    Stephanie Paz
    Samantha Isherwood


    Under the direction of Raeline Felix, Morgan Liss will be co-teaching at El Monte High School. Before becoming a resident, Morgan ran an afterschool program at Pasadena Unified and worked as a paraeducator with elementary, middle, and high school students. When she arrived at the high school she realized she had found her home, so she is over the moon and ecstatic about co-teaching at El Monte High School.



    Stephanie Paz will be co-teaching at Arroyo High School with Renee Tellez. She worked with high school students at South El Monte prior to becoming a resident and fell in love with having the opportunity to guide and nurture them throughout their high school years. She will be returning to her alma mater Arroyo High School and is thrilled to be working with Renee!



    Samantha Isherwood will be leading a middle school program with her mentor Ana Rodriguez at Payne Elementary School where they will teach 6th-8th grade students. Samantha brings experience as a long-term substitute with a middle school student to her placement. She loves creating engaging lessons for her students.


    Carolina Rosete
    Maria Montes
    Tiffany Aleman


    Carolina Rosete and Jennifer Zhou are back together again! They worked together several years ago when Jennifer was at Repetto Elementary School and when she heard that Carolina needed a mentor, she jumped at the chance. Carolina brings lots of deep, rich, hands-on experience working with our mild to severe students from elementary to the high school level.


    Maria Montes has landed at Oak Avenue Intermediate School with Jennifer Oliver. Last year, she was working as a paraeducator in the El Monte Union High School district, so she has an understanding of the skills her middle school students will need so they can be successful at the high school level. She is looking forward to getting to know her students, mentor, and staff at Oak Avenue this fall!


    Tiffany Aleman is returning to her alma mater Alhambra High School to co-teach alongside Lara Bilemijian who is a collaboration teacher working with 9th-12th grade students. Tiffany has been working as a behavior aide for Alhambra Unified for the past couple of years and enjoys working with our neurodiverse students. This is the first time she working in a high school setting, but she is very excited about broadening her skillset.


    Jill Gulick is the Coordinator of Teaching Residency at the West San Gabriel Valley SELPA in collaboration with the Alder Graduate School of Education. If you are interested in becoming an Education Specialist in mild/moderate support needs, please contact her at gulick_jill@ausd.us. The link to apply for our second-year cohort opened on September 1st and admissions is on a rolling cycle, so the earlier you apply the more likely you are to gain admission.
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    An Overview of CAC & 2023-2024 Meeting Dates and Trainings. For more information about CAC, please contact Janet Barakat at barakat_janet@ausd.us

    CAC Leadership
    Janice Trivino, Temple City - Chairperson
    Teresa Vazquez, Monrovia - Vice Chairperson
    Atria MacLellan, Monrovia - Secretary


    CAC FAQs
    Who does the CAC serve?
    The CAC serves as an advisory board to review and help develop the Local Plan for Special Education required under EC Sec 56190.

    What does the CAC do?
    The CAC recommends annual priorities to be addressed by the SELPA, encourages community involvement, assists in parent education and provides support to families with children in special education. In addition, it is a place for parents to collaborate and build community to support one another.

    Who can attend CAC meetings?
    All CAC meetings are open to the public. Everyone concerned with the education of children with special needs are welcome to attend.

    Who can vote at the meetings?
    Voting members are appointed and approved by the school board of each district. The majority of voting membership must be comprised of parents of children with disabilities enrolled in public or private schools within the SELPA.

    Future Meeting Dates and Trainings
    September 11, 2023
    October 2, 2023
    November 6, 2023
    December 4, 2023 (Holiday Gathering/Social)
    January 22, 2024
    March 4, 2024
    May 6, 2024

    Meetings are on Zoom from 5:30pm-7:00pm.

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    Please join WSGV SELPA in welcoming two new members to our community.
    School Psych
    Job Posting


    Lauren DeNoia has enjoyed over 20 years of service in social, emotional, and behavioral health support. Beginning as an inclusion specialist at a summer camp for youth, Lauren developed her passion for helping others achieve equal access. Lauren has worked as a classroom behavior assistant, ABA behavior technician, ABA Program Supervisor, School Psychologist, and School District BCBA/ Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Lauren is a Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP) and pursuing an additional license in Clinical Counseling. She is experienced in assisting and educating teachers, school staff, and parents on practical behavior strategies and the evaluation process. Lauren believes that all students can be given the tools to experience joy and success.


    Alexa Ladd is grateful for the opportunity to bring her experience and commitment to a holistic, strengths-based approach to the West San Gabriel Valley SELPA Team, its member districts, and families in our collaborative effort to support each student's success. She began her career as a vocational counselor in New York State, working with young adults as they transitioned from high school into post-secondary education and employment. Alexa has been a school psychologist since 2003, beginning her career in education at a Residential Treatment Center/Therapeutic Day School for students in grades K through 12 who benefited from additional academic, social, emotional and behavioral support in order to realize their full potential. She has also served as a IEP Coordinator, Special Education Consultant, and developed an Equine-Assisted Therapy Program providing pro-bono services to individuals from underresourced communities.


    Are you interested in joining our WSGV SELPA team?


    Data Program Specialist

    Instructional Specialist - SELPA Data Program Specialist at Alhambra Unified School District | EDJOIN


    On May 18, 2023, WSGV SELPA and Alhambra Unified School District hosted a special event called "Welcome to Paradise". The event would not have been possible without Mark Keppel High School's administration and their Associated Student Body, who spent months planning for this event. The prom was a huge success. District staff, pep teams, and students gathered for lunch, fun, and games. Everyone hit the dance floor and formed conga lines across the gymnasium. The prom had many activities and entertainment that students could enjoy, including a photo booth, craft tables, a candy station, a DJ, and performances from professional Polynesian dancers.
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    Guests were treated to lovely Hawaiian music upon entry and during the prom.
    Some of our wonderful Special Education Directors surfing through the prom.
    So much fun!
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    Mark Keppel High School ASB and student leaders.
    Students having a grand time on the dance floor!
    Alhambra USD leadership team.


    WSGV SELPA Parent Training Opportunities

    Executive Function Bootcamp (Dr. Sheri Wilkins)

    Parent and Family Strategies for Successful IEPs (Dr. Sheri Wilkins)

    Parent and Family Strategies for Successful IEPs (Dr. Sheri Wilkins)

    On-demand Parent Courses

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