Yucca Valley High School Home

 Special Education Department Chair

Diana Pew

Berry, Randy
Haberstroh, Katherine
Hall, Richard
Hancock, Jacob
Johnson, Gregory
Pessa, Rebecca
Pew, Diana
Reichert, Steve
Ruggiero, Michael
Assistant Principal
Short, Claude
Smith, Melvin
Stephens, Dawn

Teacher - Case Carrier Email Contact

Click to email any member of our staff:

Moderate/Severe Special Ed.

Gilbert Berry

Steve Reichert

Claude Short


Mild/Moderate Special Ed.

Jacob Hancock

Gregory Johnson

Rebecca Pessa

Diana Pew

Melvin Smith

Dawn Stephens

Katherine Haberstroh

Richard Hall


School Psychologist

Randy Berry


Special Education

Mission Statement

The following is how the Special Education Department will support the mission of Yucca Valley High School.


Special Education Department

Mission Statement

The mission of the Yucca Valley High School special education department is to support all students with special needs, their teachers, and their parents. We work to support students withtheir individual academic, personal, and career goals to successfully transition to postsecondary endeavors while promoting the least restrictive environment possible. In doing so, we strive to increase students’ academic and basic skills by supporting their daily efforts within the school environment.

This mission statement will be used to:

1.      Guide the Special Education Department decision making.

2.      Guide special education teacher instruction and planning.

3.      Guide special education case manager responsibilities.

Special Projects

Our students are excited about the Life Skills Program. The Life Skills Program offers parents and teachers a variety of unique and evolutionary education programs that deliver powerful lessons in life skills principles and values to enhance children's academic and personal lives. The first of the series is Mind Magic; a resource and professional development program aimed at promoting the social and emotional wellbeing of children aged 5+. It's a life skills education program which teaches 8 powerful life principles! It’s fun and interactive whilst teaching important skills such as resilience, self-responsibility and self-esteem. It is designed to meet the needs of students with moderate to severe cognitive and communication disorders. There are three courses available to these special students. Students may enroll each year if they are eligible. For more information visit the links listed below.

Special Education at Yucca Valley High School



Yucca Valley High School provides a broad range of services to support the Individual Education Programs of its students receiving specialized academic instruction. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or concerns.

IEP notification: Beginning the 2013-2014 school year, all annual and tri-annual IEP meetings at Yucca Valley High School will be scheduled on Tuesday’s, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Meeting notices will be mailed after case carriers make contact by phone, mail, or email to schedule a meeting.


Interview with Gilbert Berry

            “I spent eight years as an educator at the juvenile hall when I decided to make a change in my career.  In college, teaching was a career path I had considered.   Teaching gave me the opportunity to spend time with my family and share my love of education with others After earning a master's in special education and completing my preliminary clear of my education specialist credential, it was certain that this is where I was meant to be.   Teaching students is like a puzzle, and in the end it all comes together.  Being a teacher since 2005, I have learned that there is not only a lot that my students can learn from me but also a lot that I can learn from them. I have found that sometimes you have to throw your lesson plans away and just listen to what the kids have to say and make each moment a learning opportunity.  I love a good challenge. You have to think within yourself to create the perfect learning environment for each student. Even though I still feel I am at the beginning of this journey that is becoming my teaching career, it is sure that in the years to come, I will only find more joy in my job. I love kids and everything about them and as long as they keep coming into my classroom I will continue to fill their brains with important lifelong skills.”

Severely Handicapped Program

Since special education is a set of services, rather than a specific place for your child to go, the general education classroom is considered the LRE for most kids. That means that your child spends most of her school day in general education with “push in” or “pull out” support from the special education staff (a list of the staffs names are contained below). In other words, your child’s IDEA also requires that a range of placements be available. Besides instruction in general education, other options for receiving special education services may be considered, including special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions. Considering all IEP components, the IEP team must decide which one of these settings in the LRE is right for your child. The IEP team must consider how to educate your child alongside kids without a disability to the maximum extent appropriate for both. The IEP team identifies the services your child needs to reach her goals and objectives and how they’ll be provided. Students with disabilities, like their peers, aspire to take part in a wide range of activities as they leave high school and enter their adult lives. These might include:

  1. Finding and holding down a job
  2. Going to college
  3. Training in a vocational field
  4. Engaging in civic life
  5. Living independently
  6. Maintaining fulfilling relationships
  7. And starting a family


Young adults with disabilities experience all of these outcomes, although not necessarily to the same extent as the general population. Through Workability and TPP, we are getting students more involved in the community and preparing them for hiring in the workplace for employment.

Upcoming Events

There are no scheduled events at this time. But in the future and throughout the school year the department would like to take your children outside of the school environment at some point to expose them to the outside world. Another incoming idea is the prospect of having important members of our community come into the classrooms and talking to the students. Taking the students on these small fieldtrips would expose them to day to day life experiences and would be preparing them for life after high school. Bringing In outside speakers would give the children a chance to identify prominent community leaders and supporters. 

Helpful Links