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Special Education Directors' Corner

COVID-19 and Special Education

View information for educators and parents to support students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 resources for special education

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.

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COVID-19 and Special Education

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.

Ascend Colorado (AnLar)

Ascend Colorado is the new, customized Individualized Education Program (IEP) system currently under development with the Colorado Department of Education by AnLar LLC.  The new system will be available to all Administrative Units (AU) beginning July 1, 2021.  Please visit the Colorado Ascend website at the link below.

Ascend Colorado

Ascend Colorado Webpage

CDE Resources

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 that 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.

Quick Links

Important Dates Coming Up

Year-at-a-Glance for SY 2020-2021 (PDF)


1     2018-19 Standard Record Review due in Data Management System (DMS) (all age groups)

11   2021-22 Federal Application Narrative is due

30   2021-22 Federal Application Budget is due

30   2021-22 Special Education Assurances/Certifications are due

JULY 2021

9    2020-21 EOY Federal Application Performance Reports are due

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 offices 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

Changes to the reporting of the graduation status of students with disabilities

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.

CDE Policy Related to ECEA Funding and December IEP Completion Deadline for the 2020-21 Academic Year

Please review this document for more information on the ECEA Funding and December IEP Completion Policy for the 2020-21 Academic Year only.

2020-2021 Standard Record Review

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) recognizes that educators, students, and families are facing 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 monitoring of the compliance of IEPs, and we must therefore proceed with the annual IEP review process for SY2020-21. 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. AUs must complete IEP file reviews for all age groups by June 2, 2021. 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 SY2020-21” 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

 Meetings and Conferences

2021 Virtual Special Education Legal Conference
The Colorado Department of Education’s Special Education Legal Conference will take place virtually on Thursday, April 15, 2021. The virtual legal conference is designed for individuals involved in developing and supporting special education services for children with disabilities and their families.

For more information please visit:

2020 Fall Directors of Special Education Meeting Information
View session information from the November 2020 Directors of Special Education Meeting.

Memos to AU and Special Education Directors


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Dr. Paul Foster
Executive Director

Email Paul Foster
Phone: 303-866-4093

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