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Special Education Directors' Corner

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Meetings and Conferences

2024 Special Education Law Conference
The 2024 Colorado Special Education Law Conference will be held on Friday, April 12, 2024 at the Denver Marriott West in Golden Colorado. This one-day conference will cover current issues concerning the education of students with disabilities with updates on both the state and national levels. This event is for Educators and administers, and Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers of students with disabilities in the State of Colorado. Registration is open until March 14, 2024. Register here! Please note that we may have to limit registration space by district.

For more information contact Claire Burbank.

Important Dates Coming Up

Year-at-a-Glance for SY 2023-2024 (PDF)

March 2024

1st           2022-23 High-Cost Reimbursement Applications Due to CDE (by upload to the Data Management System)

April 2024   


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

Proposed Changes to ECEA Rules
On March 14th, the State Board of Education approved the public notice of rulemaking for updates to the Exceptional Children’s Educational Act regarding services in facility schools. Senate Bill 23-219 directed CDE to analyze and recommend changes to calculating tuition costs for facility schools and changed the state funding model for approved facility schools. Additionally, HB 23-1089 required an amendment to the definition of an administrative unit of residence.  The State Board of Education will conduct a hearing regarding the proposed rules during its regularly scheduled meeting on May 8, 2024

CDE is currently accepting public comment on the proposed rules. Please click here to review the proposed rules.  Individuals interested in providing comments can do so by clicking here.

Multilingual Learners and students who are Newcomers

Students who are Newcomers Guidance
Newcomers are entitled to school enrollment and equal access to educational programming. This Fact Sheet clarifies the special education process as it relates to Newcomers who are Multilingual Learners identified with or suspected of having disabilities.  Administrative Units must evaluate students who are Newcomers without delay if they are suspected of having disabilities. This evaluation must be non-discriminatory. 

ML Enrollment Scenarios Flowchart
It is the Administrative Unit's responsibility under Child Find to locate and identify all students with disabilities including Multilingual Learners (MLs) with disabilities.   School teams must not identify MLs with disabilities when linguistic and cultural differences or lack of instruction in literacy and math are the determinative causes for their difficulties in school.  When parents or staff members report concerns about a student's academic, social-emotional, functional, or behavioral concerns, IEP teams including educators who are knowledgeable in language acquisition and acculturation should work to investigate these concerns before the special education evaluation referral.

HCPF CDE SPED and Nurse Letter

HCPF-CDE-SPED and Nurse Letter 2-12-2024
Please see the attached joint communication from the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and the Colorado Department of Education. 

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.

Contact Us Icons

Dr. Paul Foster
Executive Director

Email Paul Foster
Phone: 720-926-4033

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