Overview and Philosophy

Niwot Elementary PE class

Overview and Philosophy

Dear Parents and Guardians

I want to thank you for being a part of the special education community and supporting our teachers, staff and administration in providing the best possible environment for our students to thrive. The start of the a new academic year is always an exciting time for our staff as we continue to build on our strong foundation of excellence in serving our students and families. This year, our staff will be emphasizing increased parent communication and engagement opportunities to better cultivate strong partnerships with students and families. Working together, we will best be able to determine individualized learning pathways, levels of rigor, behavioral and academic goals, student accommodations and other key elements to ensuring a high-quality education for every student in our community. I am very excited for the upcoming year and feel deeply privileged to work alongside such dedicated families, teachers and staff. Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time if you have questions or ideas on how we can better support your student and your family’s ongoing success. We have the most amazing students in our programs and it is an honor to be a part of their learning and growth.  

Thank you,
Laura Hess
Executive Director, Special Education


Special education has been a federally mandated program to serve educationally disabled children, ages 3 to 21, since passage of Public Law 94-142, also known as the Equal Education for the Handicapped Act in 1975, and preauthorized and re-titled in 1990 as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  As a result of this mandate, the St. Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD) presently provides education services for students identified as having mild to profound disabilities.

The identification of an educational disability and the necessary services to be provided to address the student’s needs is a function of a “staffing” process.  The staffing involves parents, school administrators, regular education teacher(s), special education personnel and the student when appropriate.  An Individual Education Plan (IEP) for the student is developed by the staffing team and reviewed yearly with modification made if needed.


It is SVVSD’s philosophy that students with disabilities should be educated with their peers in their neighborhood school unless their needs are better addressed through a more specialized educational environment.  St.  Vrain Valley offers a continuum of services delivered by special education staff members ranging from consultation with regular education teachers to varying amounts of direct services to students with disabilities depending on need.  These support services are provided through building level special education staff and itinerated related service providers (i.e. speech/language, occupational therapists, etc.)

Contact Us

Charity Dostal

Executive Assistant to Laura Hess

Erica Bowman

Special Education Coordinator - Skyline and Silver Creek Feeders

Laura Gold

Special Education Coordinator - Erie Feeder and Child Find Coordinator

Emily Scott

Special Education Coordinator - Longmont and Mead Feeders

Mari Stevenson

Special Education Coordinator - Lyons and Niwot Feeders

Gina Trujillo

Special Education Coordinator - Frederick Feeder and Charter Schools