Welcome to the Exceptional Student Services Unit (ESSU) family information and resources page! Here you will find helpful information for families and educators of children and youth with disabilities in Colorado.
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A New School Year and New Opportunities
A new school year is a new opportunity to build the relationships that strengthen the foundations of support that are so important for our students with disabilities. As one parent engagement professional stated, “Parents and schools should reach out and open lines of communication in a time of peace before that first poor grade or behavior issue. Find out how people would like to be addressed and their preferred method of communication.”
But how does a parent start the conversation in a way that is focused on strengths just as much as need?
Read how on an OSERS Blog repost of a Disability.Gov Blog post by Carmen Sánchez, Education Program Specialist, Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education and Debra Jennings, Executive Co-Director, SPAN.
Online Courses - Family, School, and Community Partnering (FSCP)
* Please Note: Participants must choose which of these two courses is most relevant for them; credit can only be given for one.
Course: Multi-Tiered Family, School, and Community Partnering*
Course: Family-School Partnering at the Secondary Level*
Course: FSCP High Impact Strategies: Communicating and Designing Homework "Two-Way"
General Information (Every Student)
- Accountability and Support - A Colorado Priority
- Educator Effectiveness - Classroom teaching and principal leadership
- General Assessment Information for Parents
- Standards and Instructional Support - Preschool to Grade 12 (P-12) Academic Standards
- SchoolView - Compare the performance of schools and districts
- Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP)
- Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
- Response to Intervention (RtI)
Special Education Information
- Child Find
- Disability Categories - Find specific information on the various disability categories
- Individualized Education Program (IEP) - IEP forms, an overview of the process and a video
- Special Education Directors - List of the Special Education Directors across Colorado
- State Performance Plan (SPP) - State's plan containing measurable and rigorous targets on 20 indicators
- Annual Performance Report (APR) - State's update of the SPP
- Indicator Profiles - Reports to the Public
- Technical Assistance - Find helpful information about Special Education topics
- Acronyms - A list of acronyms commonly used by CDE
- Bullying and Intervention Resources
- Colorado Accommodations Manual (182 pages.)
- How to Begin a Family, School and Community Partnership - Learn more about how you can partner.
- Parent and Family Resources (CDE) - The links assist parents and students in their school-related needs.
- Colorado and National Resources for families/educators of children and youth with disabilities
- Extended School Year (ESY) Services Guidance Manual (PDF), (51 pages)
- Families of Students with Disabilities - Informed and Active: The State Performance Plan (SPP) (PDF)
- Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) English to Spanish Translation Glossary
- ESSU Responsibility List (PDF)
Looking for a Conference or Training?
- CDE Calendar - Provides links to meetings, workshops, conferences, etc., and lists deadlines and other key dates provided by CDE staff
- Parents Encouraging Parents (PEP)
These conferences are family-centered events designed to offer support, information, and education to parents and professionals
- PEAK Parent Center Calendar [Exiting CDE Website]
Browse this statewide online calendar of events for families and educators of children and youth with disabilities.
- Special Education Legal Conference - Provides special education legal trends / updates both nationally and those specific to Colorado. This conference is for parents, parent advocates, liaisons, parent & school district attorneys, school district special education directors and coordinators, school principals, administrative law judges and mediators, charter school administrators and members of the Colorado Special Education Advisory Committee.
Registration Monetary Assistance
There are limited funds for a family in Colorado with a child (3-21 years of age) who is eligible for special education services to attend a conference.
Colorado Special Advisory Committees
- Colorado Special Education Advisory Committee (CSEAC) - This is a state level committee mandated by federal and state law. Members are interested in the quality of education received by children/youth with disabilities.
- Colorado Interagency Coordinating Council - (Exiting CDE Website)
This council is mandated by federal law and is appointed by the governor to advise and assist the lead agency to implement the requirements of Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
- State Advisory Council for Parent Involvement in Education (SACPIE) - A State Advisory Council for Parent Involvement in Education that will review best practices and recommend to policy makers and educators strategies to increase parent involvement in public education, thereby helping to improve the quality of public education and raise the level of students' academic achievement throughout the state.
Email News Service
To receive news and announcements from CDE, be sure to sign up with the Communications Division.