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Office of Special Education

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 Gifted and 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.

About the Office of Special Education

This office administers both the state's Exceptional Children's Educational Act (ECEA) and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for children with disabilities. This website is a resource for teachers, administrators, and parents of students with exceptional educational needs due to disability, or learners who are culturally and/or linguistically diverse or have some other special need. The Office of Special Education is one of three offices within the Exceptional Student Services Unit (along with the Office of Facility Schools and the Office of Gifted Education).

Prior Approval

If your AU is planning a purchase of $5,000 or more (eg. Buses, Software, Construction), or if the purchase exceeds your district’s local policy regarding capital thresholds, you must receive prior approval from CDE if the AU is using IDEA Part B Funds or ARP-IDEA Funds. Any single item purchase that exceeds $5000, or exceeds your district’s local policy regarding capital thresholds, must receive prior approval from the CDE. 

  1. Any single item purchase that exceeds $5000, or exceeds your district’s local policy regarding capital thresholds, must receive prior approval from the CDE. 
  2. Once the AU has completed its prior approval request it should be uploaded to the DMS under the Fiscal Tab.  Please email Moira Blake at to advise her that the request has been uploaded.  
    1. Note that the DMS does not generate notifications to CDE staff when a new item has been uploaded.  The AU should follow up via email to ensure a timely review of the request.
  3. If the AU does not already have approval for the appropriate Objective and/or Activity in their most current narrative, for any single item expenditures over $5000, the AU will need to ensure it has addressed Objective 5, Activity 1. The AU must amend both its Federal Application Narrative and its Federal Budget to account for the new activity.  For a single item expenditure of less than $5000, the AU will need to address Objective 5, Activity 2 but it does not need to seek prior approval from the CDE. The AU must provide an evaluation for the new activity.
  4. The AU must amend both its narrative and budget before any expenditures.  These amendments may occur during one of the revision windows after the district has received approval of its request. Revision dates may be found at IDEA Fiscal Timelines 21-22 (PDF). 

Stay Up To Date

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.

Quick Links

What's New

The ASD Guidelines (Guidelines for the Educational Evaluation of Autism Spectrum Disorder)

  • Contains information that may be used to guide the process of identifying students with ASD and developing appropriate programming, supports and services.

CSDB Report - Program Review for the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind

Change in Reporting Requirements for Measuring Indicator 13 Compliance.

CMAS ELA Accommodation Policy Updated to Align with Colorado Academic Standards Expectations (PDF)

Ways to Search this Site

  1. You can use the Google Search box (only searches CDE) at the top right side of the webpage and type in what you are looking for.
  2. You can use our Topic Index - an alphabetical list of topics for the Office of Special Education.

Find what you were looking for?


If you have problems with broken links or accessing the content on this page, please contact our web content coordinator Amanda Timmerman at Please copy the URL link for this page into the email when referencing the problem you are experiencing.