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Special Education Directors' Corner

Rulemaking Hearings

Stakeholder feedback is being sought prior to two rulemaking hearings for the Administration of the Exceptional Children's Educational Act - 1 CCR 301-8 that will take place at the April State Board of Education meeting. The most current redline version of the Rules can be found here.

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Submit Contact Information for Child Find Coordinator

As required in the corrective action plan for State Complaint 2022.549, CDE must publish the name and contact information for each Administrative Unit’s designated Child Find Coordinator by Dec. 30, 2022.

Please use this form to provide the name and contact information for your designated Child Find Coordinator by Dec. 21, 2022. If you have questions, please contact

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COVID Quick Links

Important Dates Coming Up

Year-at-a-Glance for SY 2022-2023 (PDF)


1-May   2022-23 IEP Record Reviews completed for all age groups in the DMS

1-May   2023-24 Federal Application Project Narratives (NEW) Window Opens

1-May   SPED Discipline and SPED EOY open for 2022-2023

31-May 2022 Personnel Status Report Trackers - Phase 2 (5 or fewer staff issues), Phase 3 (6-10 staff issues) Deadline for
submitting error-free trackers


1-Jun     2023-24 Federal Application Project Narrative Amendment Window Opens

1-Jun     2023-24 Federal Application Budget Window Opens

15-Jun   2023-24 Federal Application Project Narratives (NEW) Window Closes

20-Jun   2022 Personnel Status Report Trackers - Phase 4 (11-20 staff issues) Deadline for submitting error-free trackers

30-Jun   2023-24 Special Education Fiscal Assurances/Certifications

Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP)

Address Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP) questions to:

Katherine Rains                  

Submit form via FAX to:


Mail form to:

Colorado Department of Education
Exceptional Student Services Unit, ESP Assignments
1560 Broadway, Suite 1100
Denver CO 80202

New Special Education Director


AU Special Education Director of Record and Fiscal Contact Information

ESSU must have current contact information for all state-level Special Education Directors and Special Education Fiscal Contacts. Our office communicates important updates and information through our listserv, please be sure that we have accurate, updated information. Communications from this listserv will come from CDE_SPED.

ESSU Newsletter

The ESSU e-newsletter is our office's primary form of communication with the field. It is published once a month and contains information from the Office of Gifted and Talented, Office of Facility Schools, and Office of Special Education.

What's New

Process for AU Verification of UPK Provider

Use this guidance to assist your AU to ensure that children whose parents applied for UPK and indicated that their children have active IEPs are matched to a provider where FAPE can be provided. Those reports were made available to you on April 5th in the Data Management System.

Process for AU Verification of UPK Provider - April 24, 2023 updated, NON-Matched and not in Sped December Count
Process for AU Verification of UPK Provider - April 7, 2023

Special Education Services Under the New UPK System

CDE will begin offering bi-monthly meetings beginning Tuesday, February 7th to share information regarding special education services under the new UPK system.  These meetings will occur at 2:00 PM on the first and third Tuesday of each month.  We will be working closely with the Consortium to determine what information you need and what questions you want us to address.  CDE is inviting representatives from CDEC to sit in on the meetings.

We look forward to meeting and partnering with you moving forward. 

All Meetings will be held from 2 pm – 3 pm and can be accessed by selecting the date below.

Stakeholder Meeting for ECEA Rulemaking

CDE hosted two meetings to provide stakeholders with the opportunity to ask questions and provide input into the proposed Rules for the Administration of the Exceptional Children’s Educational Act. These meetings occurred on March 15th and 22nd, 2023 and feedback was incorporated into the most current redline version of the Rules can be found here.

PPRA Rule Making

In the State Board of Education’s February 2023 meeting, CDE staff requested the Board to conduct a rule making hearing for 1 CCR 301-45 - Rules for the Administration of the Protection of Persons from Restraint Act (PPRA).  The primary purpose of the rulemaking hearing was to ensure alignment of the PPRA Rules with the requirements of House Bill 22-1376. 

Please click here for the most current redline version of the proposed rules. 

Please provide feedback by emailing comments to:  To provide CDE staff sufficient time to review and incorporate feedback into the rules for presentation to the State Board, we request comments be submitted no later than close of business on Friday, March 24th. The State Board hearing on the PPRA Rules will be held at their April 2023 meeting.  Please visit the Colorado State Board of Education website for dates and times. 

FAQ on Special Education and UPK Released

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about special education and universal preschool have been released by CDE. The FAQ was developed in response to questions from the field related to preschool special education and universal preschool (UPK). The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is responsible for administering special education, while the Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) is responsible for administering UPK. Answers were developed by CDE with consultation from CDEC.

Additionally, CDE Standards for Placement of Preschoolers with IEPS in Educational Programs has been released. These standards were identified by the Colorado Department of Education based on state and federal special education law, rules, and include supportive resources to assist with implementation.

Please share these documents with others in your system, as appropriate. We anticipate that additional questions and answers will be added to this CDE webpage over time.

Questions may be directed to the Early Childhood Special Education team, or Heidi White, Preschool Director, at

New or Reorganization Application & Checklist

*Applications for New or Reorganized AUs are due Thursday, September 1, 2022, for districts seeking to begin operations for the 2023/2024 school year.

Meetings and Conferences

ESSU 2023 Spring Meeting Registration REMAINS Open Through March 29, 2023

Due to remaining available space, registration will remain open for the ESSU 2023 Spring Meeting. The meeting will be held Thursday, April 13th, and Friday, April 14th, and will be held at the Denver West Marriott, 1717 Denver West Marriott Blvd., in Golden. The primary theme will center on behavior with an emphasis on strategies, resources, and responses related to prevention, intervention, and post-intervention for students with exceptionalities. 

Registration is open on a first come first serve basis and will remain so until capacity is filled and/or end of business March 29, 2023. The conference will feature a smartphone app that will hold the entire agenda, presentation materials, and evaluation opportunities that will be provided after registration.  Attendees will be able to preselect desired sessions before the event using the app.  For attendees who may require accommodation, please carefully note this on your registration. 

Register here

CDE will no longer reimburse travel expenses for this event. Reimbursements must be submitted to individual districts.

The discounted rate for rooms at the Denver Marriott West will be $159 per night.

*If you try to book online and are unable to do so because the discounted rooms are full, email and we can request additional rooms be made available if the hotel has additional space to offer, however this cannot be guaranteed, thus alternate lodging accommodations are suggested.

Other nearby hotels:

For questions or more information, email

Upcoming – ESSU Meetings

  • Fall 2023 ESSU Meeting - Sept. 14 & 15, 2023

New Directors Orientation (NDO)

2022 Orientation for New (or Near-New) Directors of Special Education 

The 2022 Orientation for New (or Near-New) Directors of Special Education will be held on August 29, 2022. View the New Special Education Directors webpage for more information about Orientation for New (or Near-New) Directors of Special Education.   

Information and materials from past NDO meetings

Access the handouts from the 2021 New Directors Orientation (NDO) at the 2021 New Directors' Orientation Resources.

Memos to AU and Special Education Directors


Supporting Displaced Special Education Students

There are many ways that children and families can be displaced. There are floods, fires, and other types of natural disasters that can destroy homes or make them uninhabitable for periods of time. Families can also experience hardships that result in major home life changes.

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Dr. Paul Foster
Executive Director

Email Paul Foster
Phone: 720-926-4033

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