A Voice for Students with Disabilities for 45 Years

In 1977, all school districts and county school offices in California were required to form geographical regions of sufficient size and scope to provide for all special education service needs of children residing within the region’s boundaries. Each region became known as a Special Education Local Plan Area – SELPA.

Today, there are over 135 SELPAs in the State. The SELPA governance structures vary in form, including models for Multi-District SELPAs, Multi-District/County Office SELPAs, Single District SELPAs, Multi-District/Multi-County SELPAs, County SELPAs with Joint Powers Agreements, and Charter only SELPAs.  Each SELPA's comprehensive Local Plan describes how it provides special education services pursuant to Education Code.

The SELPA Administrators of California is a statewide association made up of nearly all current and retired SELPA administrators.  We meet regularly to obtain the latest information on data and compliance, to share best practices in student programs, to be provided legal updates and state updates, to problem solve systemic issues, and plan events and trainings that will promote student and staff success.  


News and Resources

CAFSE Simulation Released

CAFSE Simulation Released

The Coalition for Adequate Funding for Special Education released talking points about the massive funding shifts it simulated from the actual recommendations of the July 2021 WestEd Special Education Funding System study.

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Professional Learning

Professional Learning

This year's SELPA ADR Conference will be held March 17-18 at the Riverside Convention Center. Come learn how to maintain, repair, and build trusting relationships between school and home.

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Correspondence to the SBE

Correspondence to the SBE

We shared with the State Board of Education our concerns about new proposed 5-year performance indicator targets, along with our recent Compliance Monitoring White Paper recommending reform, alignment, and innovation.

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Transformational Funding

Transformational Funding

SELPA and CAFSE recently honored Tanya Lieberman, Chief Consultant to the Assembly Education Committee, for her partnership in securing $550M in special education COVID relief funds.

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Students First

Students First

Check out our SELPA brochure that details how the behind-the-scenes work SELPAs do has powerful impacts on students' educational journeys and outcomes.

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Federal Advocacy

Federal Advocacy

The Coalition for Adequate Funding for Special Education and SELPA Administrators recently collaborated to advocate for increased federal funding commitments to students with disabilities.

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Toward Equity

Toward Equity

As SELPAs across California submit their COVID Dispute Prevention and Resolution plans and Learning Recovery plans, this document offers ideas to keep student outcomes and equity at the forefront of these activities.

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1515
Local Educational Agencies
136
Total SELPAs in California
769k
Students with Disabilities
6.13m
Students in California

An Integrated Statewide System of Support

California is in the midst of bold educational reform effort that fundamentally changes how the state provides resources to local educational agencies (LEAs). Central to this reform is that LEAs are accountable for improving student performance and narrowing performance gaps among student groups. One of the most pronounced performance gaps relates to meeting the needs of California’s students with disabilities. As the new accountability system shines a different light on students with disabilities, Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPAs) are uniquely positioned to leverage a well-established resource network to support LEAs in improving outcomes for students with disabilities.  In response to the "One System" California Statewide Special Education Task Force Report that called for “one coherent system” to serve all students, the California Department of Education (CDE) designed the “Statewide System of Support” to assist LEAs and their schools in meeting the needs of each student served, with a focus on building capacity to sustain improvement and effectively address inequities in student opportunities and outcomes.  SELPA leadership and expertise is integrated throughout this Statewide System of Support.

Capacity Builders

SELPAs provide targeted technical assistance resulting in quality special education programming and increased student engagement in the least restrictive environment.  As partners in special education compliance monitoring and Differentiated Assistance processes, SELPAs utilize continuous improvement as a framework for identifying equity gaps to improve student outcomes.  SELPAs provide extensive professional development on high leverage, evidenced-based practices, and SELPAs are key collaborators on numerous statewide reform efforts.

Facilitators

SELPAs facilitate equity in local decision-making and access to the full continuum of supports and services in the least restrictive environment for all students with disabilities regardless of where they reside.  The leadership local governance structures facilitate ensures SELPAs equitably allocate resources and disseminate essential information.  SELPAs collaborate with LEAs to ensure alignment of statewide and local improvement efforts.  SELPAs build positive relationships among and between stakeholders by proactively providing conflict resolution services and trainings.

Connectors

Our ability to connect is rooted in shared leadership, expertise, and local control.  SELPAs connect with experts across all domains associated with quality special education programs and services. SELPAs build on parent and community knowledge and engagement through their Community Advisory Committees (CAC) that serve as forums for collaboration, training, and shared leadership in program design.  SELPAs leverage interagency partnerships and resources to help districts and families access specialized supports, enhance learning opportunities, and innovate on behalf of students with disabilities.

Testimonials

Angelika Markes, East San Gabriel Valley SELPA CAC Parent Representative, Baldwin Park USD

Since I became aware of SELPA, I feel validated in my experiences, thoughts and emotions regarding the services I seek and expect for my child. Feeling supported with access to the tools, resources and information, I am equipped to support and advocate for my child. SELPA allows parents to make connections with other parents and people who value our children as productive members of our society.

Angelika Markes, East San Gabriel Valley SELPA CAC Parent Representative, Baldwin Park USD
Craig Helmstedter, Ed.D., Superintendent, Ocean View School District and Ventura County SELPA Superintendents' Policy Council Chair

Superintendents in Ventura County are committed to our collaborative process and interaction with our local SELPA to ensure we meet the needs of each and every student. We recognize both the efficiency and cost effectiveness of sharing resources, services and supports, as well as the resulting high quality programs and instruction that occur because of our work together.

Craig Helmstedter, Ed.D., Superintendent, Ocean View School District and Ventura County SELPA Superintendents' Policy Council Chair
Jim Stolze, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Yucaipa-Calimesa JUSD

The world of special education is so incredibly complex and fluid that trying to navigate things without the steady "support group" of a SELPA behind me would have been incredibly difficult. I am grateful for the expertise, guidance, brainstorming, and fellowship that the SELPA network brought me during my time as a special education director. It's reassuring to know that the SELPA philosophy of collaboration and solidarity is there to support staff, students, and families.

Jim Stolze, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Yucaipa-Calimesa JUSD
Leslie Castellanos, Azusa Parent Alternate, East San Gabriel Valley SELPA Community Advisory Committee

The SELPA makes a difference by creating a bridge between parents, teacher, and administrators. SELPAs encourage and empower parents to get involved in their children's school, district, and community. The SELPA creates a space where the values of IDEA's mission are realized through every parent workshop, support group, legislative day, and Community Advisory Committee meeting.

Leslie Castellanos, Azusa Parent Alternate, East San Gabriel Valley SELPA Community Advisory Committee
Kimberly Tyler, Director of Special Education, Oroville City ESD

Navigating the sea of special education compliance monitoring can be incredibly overwhelming, with ever-changing rules and processes, all with different template formats, phases, requirements, and timelines. LEAs in the state, and particularly smaller LEAs like mine, need resources and support, someone to make sense of it all, and a strong lighthouse to bring us safely into harbor. Our SELPA is that beacon for us, a true lifesaver.

Kimberly Tyler, Director of Special Education, Oroville City ESD
Grace Ventura, Director of Special Education, Jefferson Union High School District

I just love everything about our San Mateo County SELPA! The staff are wonderful. Everyone is passionate and dedicated to giving each and every student a nurturing, supportive and challenging learning environment by supporting all the school leaders and other stakeholders. I was given lots of support, resources, training and connections with other local SELPA leaders so I can be confident in supporting our students and their families. This is just an example of the wonderful caring leadership of San Mateo SELPA and the culture it fosters among everyone.

Grace Ventura, Director of Special Education, Jefferson Union High School District
Jeni Rickard, Ed.D, Assistant Director of Special Education, Pleasanton USD

The connections with other SELPA professionals and resources has been phenomenal. It has saved us time and resources because we are not always re-inventing the wheel. I am able to better understand many more policies, procedures, best practices, and compliance issues to help me support students in our district. The Tri-Valley SELPA is awesome!

Jeni Rickard, Ed.D, Assistant Director of Special Education, Pleasanton USD
Lee Medvedoff, M. Ed., Director of Special Education, Jefferson Union High School District

The San Mateo County SELPA is consistently supportive, informative, and accessible. The SELPA truly seeks to assist us in being as successful as possible in serving our students and families. The professionals that make up our SELPA are approachable, knowledgeable experts that provide us with the guidance and tools necessary to do our best work. We are so grateful to have their support!

Lee Medvedoff, M. Ed., Director of Special Education, Jefferson Union High School District

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