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Special Education Service Review


The Office of Special Education at the Colorado Department of Education offers a school level review of Special Education program(s). This work emanates from the premise within the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that children with disabilities have access to the general education program alongside their non-disabled peers to the maximum extent possible. The results and recommendations from the Special Education Program Review will provide a framework to initiate or improve upon the school’s overall IDEA programming, systems, and supports.  Participating schools will be able determine the degree to which their infrastructure is designed for students with disabilities to thrive.

The review begins with a one- day visit.  A CDE representative will guide the school team (e.g., district and school administration, Special Education and General Education teacher leaders, Administrative Unit representative) through the SWIFT protocol.  For more information about the SWIFT protocol, visit:  Based on the information gathered, CDE will assist the school in identifying prioritizes, action steps, and available resources.


Eligibility: Eligible applicants are schools with an identified need among:

  • students with disabilities in ELA or Math achievement or growth
    • students with disabilities and low graduation rate

Prioritization: In the event that all proposals cannot be funded, priority will be given to schools in the following order:

  1. Administrative Unit is in the bottom quartile for the Results Driven Accountability annual determination
  2. Director of Special Education provides a letter of support
  3. District have multiple schools with an identified need among students with disabilities
  4. Students with disabilities spend more time outside of general education classrooms


Schools are eligible for up to $10,000 for the review and an additional $5,000 for implementation.  Planning funds are also available (see chart in Exploration support document).  The EASI grant cycle for this opportunity is January –– December 30, 2019.  Reviews will be conducted in the spring with planning and implementation occurring during the summer and fall.


Funding from this opportunity may be used for:

  • Costs related to the school IDEA program review (e.g., stipends, subs, travel).  Grantees do not pay for the review.
  • Costs related to planning based upon the review
  • Costs related to parent and community engagement (e.g., childcare)
  • Costs for school leadership to attend related professional learning
  • Staff stipends and/or substitute pay to create time for job-embedded learning opportunities and/or time for collaboration
  • Leadership/teacher development
  • Costs associated with additional CDE facilitated IDEA supports

While this is a planning grant, a small amount of funds may be set aside for initial implementation after the review with approval from CDE.  Funds from this opportunity must be used to supplement and not supplant any federal, state, and local funds currently being used to provide activities. There will be no carryover of funds. Unobligated funds at the end of the fiscal year will be returned to the CDE.



Award notifications


Webinars: School IDEA Review Process

February – May

CDE ESSU Office conducts School IDEA program reviews


Schools and CDE collaborate to conduct initial planning and goal setting


School prepares for implementation phase within EASI application



Each LEA that receives a grant through the EASI process is required to report, at a minimum, a description of planning process and the plans for the next year of the grant, including an implementation plan based on CDE recommendations from the school IDEA program review.  


If approved for participation in the program the LEA and AU will be asked to submit signatures indicating agreement with the following assurances:

LEA /Administrative Unit will:

  • The LEA will coordinate with the Director of Special Education for their Administrative Unit, or their designee, to participate in the Diagnostic Review, develop the report, and school/district level improvement planning.
  • Ensuring that building leadership possess the qualifications and have committed the time necessary to accomplish grant activities to lead to SWD student achievement and growth gains and SWD program(s) improvement.
  • Ensuring that implementation plan includes activities to develop, improve and/or sustain SWD program(s).
  • Ensuring adjustment to implementation plan will be made if data does not indicate progress toward meeting; desired outcome(s) as it relates to SWD program(s) improvement(s).
  • Ensuring that data will be used to monitor SWD disaggregated student group growth and achievement.
  • Ensuring that funds are being leveraged with other local, state, and federal funds (e.g., Titles I, II, III, V, and IDEA) and that accountability for cost-effective management is provided.
  • Working with and providing requested data to CDE for the school SWD program review funding opportunity within the periods specified.

Who Can I Contact For More Information?

Toby King

Deputy Executive Director, Exceptional Student Services Unit