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When Is PEP?

When Are the Parents Encouraging Parents Conference?

Please note: The information below refers to the in-person PEP conferences, not the virtual PEP Academy conferences that are offered online.
When is PEP? responds to the many questions participants have asked regarding PEP conferences. This page addresses general hotel information, lodging, meal and transportation costs, as well as the expectations of attendance. It also addresses questions such as what to wear during a conference or what to bring, past attendees' concerns, and wait list information. These guidelines are also an attempt to prevent federal and state funding waste with regard to lodging, meal and resource costs. 
Each PEP conference is intentionally designed to be of greater value to parents and professionals who attend the entire conference, and all topics of discussion at PEP flow together from the opening session to the closing. Registration at PEP conferences begins on a Thursday at 5:00 p.m., then the opening session starts at 6:00 p.m.; the conference day on Thursday ends at 9:00 p.m. The conference begins at 7:30 a.m. on Friday until 5:30 p.m., then again on Saturday at 7:45 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Do I have to stay for the entire conference?


  • It is expected that participants will attend a conference in its entirety. No one will be registered for the conference after 6:00 p.m. on Thursday.
    • Registration at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday
    • Conference in session:
      • Thursday from 6:00 p.m. through 9:00 p.m.
      • Friday from 7:30 a.m. through 5:30 p.m.
      • Saturday from 7:30 a.m. through 3:00 p.m.
  • In the case of an emergency, where a participant must leave the conference, please call the number given in your confirmation and reminder letters. Because emergencies are unexpected and unavoidable, we will gladly give participants the opportunity to attend a future PEP conference.
  • If an emergency occurs before a conference, where you would be late if you tried to attend, or if you will not be able to attend, please email PEP Registration so your name can be moved to the wait list to attend a future conference. You will not be admitted late.
  • In the case of a natural event that prevents a participant from attending, or attending on time, you are still responsible for notifying us by calling the number given in your confirmation and reminder letters. You will have an opportunity to attend a future PEP conference.
  • In the case of a road closure that prevents a participant from attending, you are still responsible for notifying us by calling the number given in your confirmation and reminder letters. You will have an opportunity to attend a future PEP conference.
  • If you are confirmed to attend, and you must cancel, please call the number given in your confirmation letter and your reminder letters. You will have an opportunity to attend a future PEP conference.
  • If you are confirmed to attend and neither come to the hotel to register nor cancel with us, you will be considered a "NO SHOW" and will not be eligible to attend a future PEP conference.

In addition, there are other considerations.

  • During each conference parents and professionals have been moved to the wait list because a conference is full to capacity.
  • If you are unable to commit to the entire conference, you will be referred to a future conference and placed on a wait list to allow another person to attend.
  • Beginning on Thursday night participants attend their first small group. Trust and rapport are built and the group continues through to Saturday. If a participant arrives a day later it disrupts the group, changes the dynamic and has an impact on the other members’ PEP experience.
  • All participants are required to read these rules and have also been sent this information with their confirmation letter.

How much does it cost to attend a PEP conference?

The PEP conferences are free. Funded by both a federal grant and a state grant, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) Exceptional Student Services Unit is able to offer the PEP conferences free-of-charge to Colorado parents* of children with disabilities and to Colorado professionals who work with children and youth with disabilities, and their families. *Colorado parents include couples, single parents, legal guardians, adoptive, and foster parents who have a child(ren) with a disability(ies) ages birth to 21.

  • The CDE will provide for your lodging during the conference if your commute is more than 35 miles from the hotel venue. For PEP guests staying at the hotel, the front desk will require a personal credit card for any incidentals; the lodging costs will be charged to the master CDE bill.
  • The CDE will provide Thursday night's meal, Friday's breakfast and lunch, and Saturday's breakfast and lunch. Friday evening's optional networking meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and is scheduled as free time for participants.
  • Participants are responsible for their own transportation.

If I come alone, must I share a hotel room?

No. If you live more than 35 miles from the hotel venue and

  • If you are the only person listed on your PEP application, you will be reserved alone in a room, unless you indicate on your application that you are willing to share a room with another participant.
  • If you and a second person are listed on your PEP application, you will be reserved in a room with that person. If you do not want to share a room with the second application on your application, please submit separate applications.

What is the dress code?

Dress is casual! Be comfortable! Remember that conference rooms could be stuffy or too chilly for some, due to air conditioning. Bring a tote or bag to carry handouts and resources.

A couple of years ago I attended PEP. Can I attend this year?

No. PEP conferences regularly cover the same or similar topics. If you attended a conference two years ago, you will encounter similar information this year. Therefore, if you register, you will be sent a letter that explains you will be eligible to attend five years from the date you first attended a PEP conference. This will give an opportunity to another parent or professional who has never attended.

If I'm put on a PEP wait list am I guaranteed a reservation the following year?

No. PEP is a highly sought-after conference and slots fill quickly, especially for professionals. Submitting an application does not guarantee a spot at the next PEP conference. However, once placed on the wait list, you will be informed of the next year's conferences and given the opportunity to apply before the conference information is sent to the general public throughout Colorado.

NOTE: If you are on a wait list, you must still apply for the conference you'd like to attend. PEP conference slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. To increase your chances of acceptance to your PEP conference of choice, please complete your application as soon as possible.


More Information about PEP

Pahmela Mendoza
Family School Program Specialist
Phone: 720-237-4600
Email Pahmela Mendoza

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