We made it through our first year…thanks to you!

By Kaci Coats, The Collaborative for Exceptional Education

It is hard to believe that the Collaborative Launch Year is coming to an end and we are beginning to look towards our second year of working with Colorado schools as they work to provide high quality programming for their diverse learners. As you can see in the graphic above, we have been busy in our first year! In addition to providing high quality training, we have also partnered with schools and districts to conduct Learning Labs, Inclusive Practices Walkthroughs, Special Education Enrollment Reviews, and Special Populations Program Reviews. And then when COVID-19 hit, and schools began to transition to online learning, we worked quickly to respond to your needs and provide you with implementation guidance, compliance strategies, webinars, support groups, and resources to help guide you during this time of the unknown.   

We have been thankful for every opportunity to partner with you during this time of challenge and uncertainty and we hope to be who you continue to go to when you need resources, guidance, skills, and encouragement. We commit to continuing to stay one step ahead so that we are always providing you with up-to-date resources and guidance so that you never feel like you are going through this alone. 

In this time of uncertainty, we need to come together and collaborate more than ever. The needs of our students, school staff, and districts have only increased as we look to the unknown of the future. The fight for our diverse learners to have access to a high-quality education spans across new challenges that include: 

  • lack of access to tech and connectivity, 
  • increased student engagement challenges, 
  • students and families having limited access to basic needs (i.e. food, safety, lodging, etc.), 
  • risks to school staff’s health and retention,
  • teachers lacking skills and resources to provide student access to grade level, and specialized instruction.

To help you address these new challenges, in addition to providing you direct support and training, we will also be actively working to organize district, community and state organizations to provide schools what they need as they navigate these challenges. Even in a pandemic, ALL students, even our students with disabilities, language and gifted needs, deserve a high-quality education. They don’t have time to waste, every moment counts for them and we need to be urgent and passionate in our efforts to build their independence and academic skills as they strive to reach their future post-secondary goals.   

We hope you will consider formally partnering with the Collaborative either through customized consulting or through one of our support packages that will provide you with access to support and resources as you navigate the unknown of next year. If you don’t know what you need yet, please email me and we can set up a time to talk about how we can collaborate. No one should be doing this work alone...let us be your partner!


Kaci Coats, kcoats@exceptionalcollaborative.org
Executive Director, Collaborative for Exceptional Education


“DLS worked with the Collaborative throughout the 2019-20 school year specifically on our school-wide MTSS process. It was very helpful to have their collaboration, guidance, and review of our current processes and adjustments we could make to strengthen our MTSS process. We also had a few of our SST and Special Education providers participate in some of the Collaborative trainings throughout this past school year. I think DLS would like to continue working with the Collaborative in the future. We found this to be a very helpful partnership.” 

   — Annie Trujillo, Performance & Assessment Coordinator, Denver Language School

”My work with the Collaborative over the past 2 years has helped me to connect with special education administrators in similar roles in other school districts and authorizers. It has offered me the ability to have similar thought partners in others who are supporting charter schools. Additionally, it has helped me to deepen my understanding of charter schools and charter school law, specifically as it pertains to students with disabilities.”

   — Traci Nicks, CEE Advisory Committee Member & Special Education Consultant for APS

“I've worked with [the Collaborative] throughout the course of the year, and in particular during the spring of 2020 during the transition to remote learning during COVID19. [They] immediately responded to the need for guidance and support and put together a webinar series to specifically address special education during a global pandemic… [the Collaborative] is filling a need in Colorado to help ensure all students are receiving a quality education”

   — Kelly Wynveen, Senior Field Consultant, Colorado Department of Education

“At a time of isolation and confusion [caused by COVID-19], [the Collaborative support group] provided me with support, direction, encouragement and hope. Our group leader led this group faithfully every week supporting each individual, created inspiring conversations and provided support at a time of crisis. For me, this group helped me personally and professionally.”

   — Montserrat Casado, M.S. School Counselor, Prospect Ridge Academy 



For more information about signing up,  contact us today.


Some of you may be thinking that you don’t know where to start, well we are here to help! Please register for these today to save your place:

The Road to Re-Opening: School Leader Planning Workshop Series Through this series, leadership teams will conduct a thorough assessment of the needs of their students and the strengths of their teams and structures to design a school wide approach to reopening. Through expert guidance, planning will address both the mental health and academic needs of your students with contingencies for the future unknowns. Participants will be given examples and tools and opportunities to collaborate while being walked through the planning process.

  • The Road to Re-Opening #2: Taking Stock & Refocusing Strengths, Structures, & Resources - 6/3/2020 1:30-3:00 PM MDT In this session, leadership teams will take inventory of existing school strengths, structures, and resources and work to refine or repurpose them to meet new needs. Register Here
  • The Road to Re-Opening #3: Putting It All Together, Part 1 - Wednesday 6/10/2020 9:00-11:00 AM MDT In this session, leadership teams will develop their plan for re-entry as well as contingency plans to address the range of needs in their schools while preparing for the unknown situations our schools will be in when the year begins. Register Here
  • The Road to Re-Opening #4: Putting It All Together, Part 2 - Thursday 6/11/2020 9:00-11:00 AM MDT In this final session, leadership teams will continue to develop their plan for reopening and consider what changes to policies need to be made to prevent parent/student/staff conflicts and also to proactively prepare for the shifts that may take place throughout the year. Register Here


Access & Equity for Students in the Age of COVID-19: Evaluating Needs and Designing Support for Students with Special Needs

  • June 12, 2020 – 9am-4pm
  • Audience: Colorado Charter School Leaders and Authorizers
  • Description: Join us for a 1-day virtual convening that brings together charter school leaders and authorizers to discuss school reentry planning with a focus on expanding access and equity for students with special needs. This event will feature expert guest speakers, a presentation of the best practices we know so far, and opportunities for peer-to-peer strategizing for school reentry. Participants will be exposed to innovative approaches and tools for evaluating students’ needs and designing school-wide, targeted, and tiered systems of support. More information can be found on our website.
  • Featured Keynote Speaker: Robin Lake, Director: Center on Reinventing Public Education
  • Register here!

Virtual Educator Summit Educating Beyond Limits: Overcoming Barriers That Impact Student Success 

  • June 8, 2020 9am-4pm
  • Audience: Teachers & School Leaders
  • Join Colorado charter school educators at the 2020 Virtual Educator Summit. As a participant, you can attend four live sessions plus the live Keynote address and will have access to the remaining eight session recordings. This year’s summit will bring you responsive and engaging topics relevant to virtual and in-person schooling as we explore our theme, Educating Beyond Limits: Overcoming Barriers That Impact Student Success.  For more details about the event, check out our website!
  • Registration here!  


The Collaborative has consultants ready and willing to work with your team as they refine your whole school approach to reopening as well as refine your approach to serving your diverse learners in online, blended, and in-person models.   


Through team development, surveying strengths and needs, and collaborative planning, your leadership team will develop a reopening plan that is customized to your school’s strengths and needs and can receive ongoing coaching to ensure strong implementation and refinement of the plan.


Through online observations, review of materials, and thought-partnership on how to address IEP goals and services, we can help you as you begin to refine your approach to providing high quality online programming for your students. 

For more information about all of our services, check out our flyer or contact us today.


Links to recent state guidance:

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