​Special Education and Alternative Education

What is Special Education?

Special Education is designed to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability at no cost to parents.

What is SELPA?

The Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) coordinates with school districts and the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) to provide programs and services for individuals with disabilities from birth through 22 years of age. There are two SELPA Administrative Unit offices, within the boundaries of Santa Clara County. To determine which SELPA unit you belong to, please visit

Santa Clara County Special Education Programs

SCCOE provides a variety of services for children and students with severe or low-incidence disabilities through instructional programs divided into Early Education (birth to age 3), preschool, elementary, secondary and post-senior. We operate classes on public school campuses to serve children with special needs, and we align all classroom curriculum goals with the California Content Standards and the Preschool Learning Foundations. Our students receive instruction in the regular core curriculum in the state content areas and participate in state testing programs.

What is Alternative Education?

The Santa Clara County Office of Education Alternative Education Department (AED) provides educational programs for students under court supervision, are expelled, or deficient in credits, and have experienced challenges in traditional school settings. AED provides opportunities for preparation for future employment through job development, Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses, credit retrieval, and the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET). All students participate in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). AED's course of studies in the core subject areas address the California Academic Content Standards, and students actively earn credits toward graduation. For more information about Alternative Education, please visit

The Opportunity Youth Academy (OYA)

OYA charter school offers students a blended learning program of teacher-directed instruction and online credit accrual and recovery options for youth ages 16-24. Call 1-844-692-4888 or email for more information.

​How to request special education services in your school district:

  1. Complete Request for Assessment for Special Education Services or submit a letter of request.
  2. Submit request to the school office either in person or by mail.
  3. The school secretary will forward your request to the special education team.
  4. You will be contacted to schedule an assessment appointment.