Special Services

The Rio Rancho Public Schools Special Services Department is responsible for all Special Education programs in the district. We provide a wide range of services in a variety of settings.

We have employed some of the most qualified professionals in all service areas and enjoy seeing successful programs run at every school.

We provide services for children from 3 to 21 years of age, and address students' learning styles from a multi-modality approach. This means that services are integrated with emphasis on cooperative planning and intervention, coordination with the curriculum, and collaboration with the parents. 

Special Services Announcements

Special Services Parent Night

December 12th, 4:45 – 6:00 pm

Please click the link below for more information and to register for the event.

Special Services Parent Night Flyer

Program Information

1. Referral and Identification for Special Services

2. Special Education Definitions

3. Types of Special Education Programs (please see below)

Parent Resources

Parent & Child Rights in Special Education in English, Spanish, Navajo, Russian, Vietnamese, Mandarin, and ASL Video.

Office of the Special Education Ombud Informational Flyer English Spanish

Click here for RRPS Parent Resource Guide: Download and Save a copy to your computer.

  • Referral and Identification Process

  • Procedural Safeguards/Parent Rights

  • Exceptionalities

  • Common Terms

  • IEP Process

  • School/Ancillary Staff

  • Service Delivery Models

Important Documents & Links

girl with happy face painted hands

Special Education Records Requests:

Email: serecords@rrps.net
Business: 505-896-0667 x51182
Fax: 505-994-4609

Administrative Contacts:

1. Jerry Reeder, Executive Director of Special Services (Child Find/SSPS)
Business: 505-896-0667 x51141
Email: Jerry.Reeder@rrps.net

2. Theresa Griffin-Golden, Director of Special Services (High Schools) and Section 504 Compliance Officer
Business: 505-896-0667 x51229
Email: Theresa.Golden@rrps.net

3. Angelica Cuevas-Duran, Director of Special Services (Middle Schools) and Ancillary Services, Assistive Technology, & Medicaid
Business: 505-896-0667 x51166
Email: Angelica.Duran@rrps.net

4.  Christie Polanco, Director of Special Services (Elementary Schools) Deaf and Hard of Hearing Programs
Business: 505-896-0667 x51211
Email: Christie.Polanco@rrps.net

5. LaVonna Archuleta, Special Services Recovery Manager
Business: 505-896-0667 x51151
Email: Lavonna.Archuleta@rrps.net

6. Rachel England, Special Services 504/IEP Compliance Manager and Gifted Education district-wide
Business: 505-896-0667 x51276
Email: Rachel.England@rrps.net

Department Fax
Business Fax: 505-994-4609

Community Resources

NM Public Education Department (PED)

UNM Center for Development and Disability

Special Olympics New Mexico

Cerebral Palsy Guidance

Types of Special Services Programs

Click any shaded bar below for more information on our program types.

Below are some of the continuum of alternative placement options offered for students in Rio Rancho. Also, you can visit a school web page to see more specific descriptions of the programs offered there.

Transition Programs (Ages 18-21)

High School Tiered Transition Programs

Tier I: 4 years of high school:

Students must earn graduation requirements for the number of credits required in the district, pass all sections of the current graduation exit exam, and meet/surpass IEP goals and objectives.

Conditional Certificate of Transition: 

Students in 12th grade who have completed four years of high school and continue to have educational and/or transition needs; may be granted a Conditional Certificate of Transition (which may allow participation in graduation activities with peers) in the form of a Continuing IEP [C-IEP] (student continues to have educational and transition needs and is attending school {½ or more of minimum course requirements for public school students}or Transition IEP [T-IEP] (student continues to have transition needs, however, is attending less than ½ the minimum course requirements). 

If the student has met graduation requirements (not on a Standard Graduation Option) they may be granted a Conditional Certificate of Transition in the form of a Graduated-Continuing IEP [GC-IEP] or Graduated-Transition IEP [GT-IEP] (as indicated above).  This Conditional Certificate of Transition is not a program of study and does not end a student’s right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).



RIO RANCHO HIGH SCHOOL Student To Employment Program (STEP)

STEP is a continuum of a secondary transition education program for students who are 18-22 years of age, who have completed 4 years of high school and who have a Conditional Certificate of Transition (Grades 12+).  The vision for STEP is Self-Advocacy, Teamwork, Encouragement, and Potential.

Requirements:  18-22 years of age; completion of 4 years of HS, continued education/transition needs.



Building Our Lifetime Transition (BOLT)

BOLT is a continuum of a secondary transition education program for students who are 18-22 years of age, who have completed 4 years of high school and who have a Conditional Certificate of Transition (Grades 12+).  BOLT provides comprehensive transition services to high school students with exceptional needs through a student-centered approach. Collaboration occurs between student, family, school, community, and outside agencies. Planning is individualized through the IEP (Individual Education Plan) process and focuses on: vocational exploration, development, and instruction; community access; personal management skill development; functional academics and literacy; and self care and self-determination instruction. Students have equal access to all school-based and co-curricular activities and participate in meaningful inclusive activities.

Requirements:  18-22 years of age; completion of 4 years of HS, continued education/transition needs.

Tier III: Project SEARCH

project search

Project SEARCH High School Transition Program

The Project SEARCH High School Transition Program is a one-year internship program for students with intellectual / developmental disabilities. It is targeted for young adults, ages 18 to 21 years of age who have completed all required graduation criteria (academic coursework and assessment) and whose goal is competitive integrated employment. The Project SEARCH school-to-work internship program gives young adults with disabilities the opportunity to learn marketable job skills to help them gain competitive integrated employment.

Project SEARCH Goal and Referral Process

Ben Vigil, Project SEARCH Instructor
Rio Rancho Public Schools/Rust Medical Center
Email:  Benjamin.Vigil@rrps.net

2023-2024 Project SEARCH Application:

We are no longer taking applications for the 23-24 School Year.