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Special Education Directors' Corner
New or Reorganization Application & Checklist
*Applications for New or Reorganized AUs are due Wednesday, September 1, 2021, for districts seeking to begin operations for the 2022/2023 school year.
Answers to frequently asked questions such as Compensatory Services, Prior Written Notice, and Special Education Evaluations can be found in Special Education FAQ's.
CDE's Office of Special Education has gathered resources to help answer questions around the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to special education.
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.
We are excited to announce the successful launch of Colorado’s new State-Sponsored IEP system, Ascend. All deliverables in the contract were met on time, and the system went live on July 1. Ascend Colorado is the new, customized Individualized Education Program (IEP) system developed with the Colorado Department of Education by AnLar LLC. Please visit the Colorado Ascend website for more information.
The contract for the Ascend Colorado IEP System is linked below. The contract was signed on Sept. 22, 2020, which is approximately three months later than the anticipated date of July 1. As a result of the later date, the projected schedule included in the RFP was condensed. The revised schedule, including completed milestones, is also linked below as well as on the Ascend Colorado IEP System's webpage.
- The fully executed contract between AnLar LLC and the Colorado Department of Education. (PDF).
- The Project's Schedule. (PDF)
- Enrich to Ascend Presentation
1 SPED December Count Student and Staff Snapshot open
12 Federal Application Narrative Amendment is due
15 2021-22 Budget Revision #1 Window is open through December 10
1 December Count Date
10 2021-22 Budget Revision #1 Submission is due
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.
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.
American Rescue Plan IDEA Fund Webpage
Information related to the American Rescue Plan IDEA Fund is now available at http://www.cde.state.co.us/caresact/arp-idea.
FFY 2020 SPP/APR Stakeholder Involvement
Every 6 years, the CDE must reset baselines and targets for Performance Indicators in the State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report as required by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Between June 2021 and February 2022 (submission date), the CDE will be engaging in several layers of internal and external stakeholder meetings to ensure we meet the reporting requirements as set forth by OSEP. SDLT and Special Education Directors at large will be involved in this process in October – December 2021. You can read more information in the FFY 2020 SPP/APR Stakeholder Involvement document posted on the Directors’ Corner webpage.
Given the implementation of H.B.19-1066, students with disabilities who complete the graduation requirements and continue the services must be reported as “graduates” the year in which the students complete the graduation requirements. The reporting changes have been made to the Student End of Year (EOY) data collection to reflect this new requirement. Please see this guidance document for how these students should be reported starting in the SY2020-21 Student EOY.
ECEA Funding and December IEP Completion Deadline
For the 2020-21 academic year, CDE announced that it would continue to provide ECEA funding for students who were receiving special education services, but did not have a current IEP on file with their district by the December 1 Count deadline (students who were reported with Funding Status Code 51 in the December count). This policy has been extended to SY2021-22 and will apply to the December count 2021. Please review the policy memo from SY2020-21 below. Also, please keep in mind that districts will be required to complete the annual IEP review for these students as soon as practicable, but no later than March 1, 2022.
2021-2022 Standard Record Review - All Age Groups
The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) recognizes that educators, students, and families continue to face unprecedented circumstances and challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, however, the U.S. Department of Education has not granted waivers related to the monitoring of the compliance of IEPs, and we must therefore proceed with the annual IEP review process for SY2021-22. Historically, AUs reviewed IEPs that amount to 3% of the December count IEP enrollment with a minimum cap of 10 and the maximum cap of 50. In SY2020-21, the maximum cap was reduced to 30 to reduce the burden on AUs during this time. CDE will use this reduced sampling amount once again for the upcoming school year’s reviews. AUs must complete IEP file reviews for all age groups by June 1, 2022. Details of the number of reviews required in each age category and directions for completing the reviews can be found in a document labeled, “IEP Record Review Directions SY2021-22” located in the Attachments List of the Compliance tab in the Data Management System (DMS).
Changes in reporting educational environments for 5-year-old kindergartners
- 5-year-old kindergartners must be reported with school-age educational environment categories starting in December Count 2020 (School Year 2020-21). Please see the memo below for details.
2021 New Directors’ Orientation
The 2021 New Directors’ Orientation (NDO) is scheduled for August 25-26, and September 2, 2021. This meeting is for new and near-new directors of special education and will cover information regarding fiscal responsibilities, legal issues, dispute resolution, general supervision and monitoring, and much more. Registration will open on July 19th and will close on August 10th. For more information email Faye Gibson, Gibson_F@cde.state.co.us or Brittany Deyoe, Deyoe_B@cde.state.co.us.
2020 New Directors' Orientation
Access the recordings and handouts from the 2020 New Directors Orientation (NDO) at the 2020 NDO webpage.
Connections: Today's Reality & Beyond - 2021 Directors of Special Education Fall Meeting
The past 18 months have been a challenge for everyone and we have had to find new and often unique ways to connect. Networking and conferencing have taken on a different form; communication with others has often been limited to a small circle; passing social interactions – those incidental meetings with people we haven’t met before – have almost disappeared. Forming new connections has been difficult, making it all the more important that we maintain the ones we have. The Directors of Special Education in Colorado have always been a connected community of caring educators, and we hope to help carry that on.
Please join us for our virtual Directors of Special Education Fall Meeting. Registration is open until 5:00 p.m. September 28th (please note that late registrations cannot be accepted). In keeping with the theme of Connections, directors are encouraged to invite assistant directors, special education coordinators, general education leadership personnel, fellow administrators, and others who may wish to participate in this event. We look forward to connecting with you as we navigate today’s reality and anticipate the times beyond.
2020 Fall Directors of Special Education Meeting Information
View session information from the November 2020 Directors of Special Education Meeting.
- Potential Impact of the Family First Prevention Services Act on Special Education Students (PDF)
- Questions and Answers On Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), Evaluations, and Reevaluations (PDF)
- Letter to State Directors of Special Education (PDF)
- Non-Regulatory Guidance: Ensuring Educational Stability for Children in Foster Care U.S. (PDF)
- Memo Notice of Change in Reporting Requirements and CDE Guidance for Measuring Indicator 13 Compliance (PDF)
- CMAS ELA Accommodation Policy Updated to Align with Colorado Academic Standards Expectations
- OSERS FAQ: The Rights of Students with Disabilities in Public Charter Schools under the IDEA (PDF)
- OCR FAQ: The Rights of Students with Disabilities in Public Charter Schools under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (PDF)
- Comprehensive Plan Documents:
- Uploading Documents for Review
- 2017 Conference - Expand Your Equity Toolkit
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