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CDE Standards for Placement of Preschoolers with IEPs in Educational Programs

What are the CDE standards for appropriate preschool education for IDEA-eligible preschool students?

Preschool-aged children with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) may be placed by the Special Education Administrative Unit (AU) in educational programs they determine meet or exceed the CDE standards for educational programs. The following standards have been identified by the Colorado Department of Education for educational environments in which Administrative Units place preschoolers with Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs).

  1. The program has a child care center license in good standing that accommodates children of all ages eligible for preschool special education. (Note: Head Start programs are exempt from Colorado's child care licensing requirements.)
  2. Classrooms serving children with IEPs always have fewer than 50% students with IEPs, recognizing that it is best practice for children with IEPs to be represented in classrooms in natural proportions as in the community where they live. The remainder of the classroom is made up of age appropriate non-disabled peers.
    • If a child with an IEP is placed in a classroom with more than 50% students with IEPs, the more restrictive placement is documented and explained in the IEP.
  3. All special education and special services personnel are appropriately licensed by the CDE.
  4. Culturally inclusive practices are delivered by appropriately qualified professionals.
  5. Special education and related services are embedded into classroom routines (unless otherwise specified on the IEP), and in collaboration between the general education teaching team and special educators and special services providers.
  6. Supplementary aids and services that are needed and identified in the IEP are provided to enable the child to receive benefit from the program and makes progress in the curriculum.
  7. The program collects, uses, and appropriately reports ongoing assessment data and summative reporting for Results Matter, Colorado’s process for completing federal Indicator 7/Preschool Outcomes requirements. Personnel completing children’s ratings on approved tools are current on their Inter-Rater Reliability.
  8. The program implements an evidence-based curriculum aligned to Colorado Academic Standards and the Early Learning and Development Guidelines.
  9. When the educational program is not provided directly by the AU or school district, the AU has an MOU in place to ensure expectations of each party are explicit and accountability of these standards is maintained.

Additional information about each standard, including references and resources for each one is available in the PDF document at the link below:

CDE Standards for Placement of Preschoolers with IEPs in Educational Programs (PDF)

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