Navigating PAUSD

If you moved from another district
You'll need a Palo Alto address before you can talk to someone in the district about your IEP. If you had an IEP in another district, you'll work with the PAUSD Special Education Department.

PAUSD tries to keep students at their neighborhood school, but depending on your child’s disability or learning difference and what is written in their IEP, there is a chance that they will be recommended to attend a school that is not your neighborhood school, where appropriate services can be offered.

More info about Special Education Registration

If you moved from overseas
The special education system in other parts of the world can be very different than the system in the US. If your child has a disability or learning difference, you will need to learn about the special education system in the US. Please read our Navigating Special Education section. You may also want to come to one of our events to meet other families.

If you need language help
If you don't speak English as a first language, and need help accessing school services and programs, you can ask for help from one of the district's Family Engagement Specialists. PAUSD Family Engagement Specialists

PAUSD Special Education Department Contacts
General Information

If you have questions about Special Education programs or would like to request a review for assessment, contact Special Education at (650) 833-4257 or or browse the Department Web Site.

The PAUSD Special Education department offers Parent Education programs, often co-sponsored by the Palo Alto CAC. 

Coordinators & Program Specialists (Your path of escalation, after your case manager)

Elementary Education

Jennifer Baker, Ph.D., Interim Director of Special Education, Elementary -

Marissa Ciardella, Special Education Coordinator II, Elementary

Megan Hsu, Program Specialist-

Kristin Bellamy-Lloyd, Program Specialist-


Secondary Education 

Cynthia Loleng-Perez, Director of Special Education, Secondary-

Victoria Luke, Ed. D., Special Education Coordinator II - Non-Public Schools-

Robert Whalen, Special Education Coordinator II, Secondary-

Laurie Garcia, Program Specialist-

Tijen Sumbul, Program Specialist-

Jacqueline Selfridge, Program Specialist-

Mental Health

Wendy Goodridge - Supervisor, Educationally Related Mental Health (650)

504 Plan Contacts
Your primary and first point of contact is someone at your school. In elementary and middle schools, the 504 leads are the school psychologists. In high school, it's the vice principal. This page on the PAUSD website lists the contacts at each school.
If you need to get additional help, after working with your school contact, the District contact is: Lissette Moore-Guerra, Coordinator of Student Services - (650)

Student and Family Engagement Specialist Program (SaFE)
From the PAUSD website: "The Student and Family Engagement Specialists serve as the link between the school, parents, and community. They will develop and foster community collaborations, as well as provide referrals to community-based services for families. Also, they will expand opportunities to families for continued learning, voluntary community service, and civic participation. They will guide parents to understand the educational system so they can become better advocates for their children’s education and empower parents to become decision-makers. In addition, they will provide supports to schools in working on student success goals to help student and families achieve success." PAUSD page with more information

School-Based Contacts
School-based staff are the ones that work the most directly with students. For contact information, go to your school website. Here is an overview of the people you should look for.

All Elementary Schools have a School Psychologist, Speech and Language Specialist, Reading Specialist and a Resource Specialist.  Go to your school’s website to find names and contact information for those people. Barron Park, Briones, Escondido, Walter Hays and Ohlone have Study Centers/Special Academic Instruction Classrooms. Please talk with your case manager about the possibilities.

Middle School
All Middle Schools have a Resource Program/ Study Skills, Speech and Language, Academic Communication/Social Skills Class, Educationally Related Mental Health Services (EMRH) and the Reading 180 reading intervention program. There are classes with co teaching, specialized math instruction, but these vary every year.   Greene, Fletcher and JLS have a Futures program which resembles a Special Day Class. In these programs there are reading and math classes and there is some emphasis on vocational training.  The Futures programs run a smoothie business with the help of the students. Greene also has a Social Cognitive Class and a Therapeutic Support Class. See the district FUTURES brochure  for more info. Please talk with your case manager about the options.

High School
For staff contact info go to the websites for the Paly Special Ed dept and the Gunn Special Ed dept.  All classes available to high school students are listed in the course catalog on the school's websites. In high school the Futures program emphasis is mostly on vocational training and life skills. FUTURES brochure  Both high schools also have Read 180 programs, Academic Communications & Study Skills classes, and a number of co-taught classes. Talk with your case manager about the options.