Endorsement, ELEVATE Early Childhood Special Education

School of Education & Human Development


Degree: Endorsement

Classroom Type: Fully Online

The ELEVATE – ECSE added endorsement program at University of Colorado Denver is designed for teachers holding a Colorado Early Childhood Education license and currently teaching in Colorado who seek to add the ECSE endorsement to their license. The program prepares educators to be leaders who will enrich the life experiences of young children (birth to eight years) with delays and disabilities and their families. It is a one-year (3 semester) added endorsement program with an option to complete the MA in Early Childhood Education.

Application​ deadlines

June 30

One-on-One Support

Students work directly with one instructor throughout the program, including monthly personalized check-ins. The instructor is your ally throughout the program, serving as your coach, mentor and trusted partner in your development as an ECSE educator.

Professional Learning Community

Students belong to a Professional Learning Community (PLC) that supports their continued development as an ECSE educator. The ELEVATE program operates fully online, including virtual PLC meetings.

Online Guided Explorations

The program curriculum is customized to match your experience and needs in the classroom. Each learning activity is linked directly to practice, focused on developing teacher effectiveness as an ECSE educator, and is reviewed by your instructor, who provides written formative feedback.

Program Details

Interest Categories: Education & Counseling Social & Behavioral Sciences

Campus: CU Denver Online

The ELEVATE – ECSE added endorsement is a fully remote, personalized program to meet your needs and experiences. While curriculum is structured into blocks of courses, you will experience a very different kind of learning from traditional graduate courses (online or in-person). You will be assigned one instructor who will take you through the three-block sequence of ECSE curriculum to provide a coherent learning experience for you. 

Upon completion of the program, student will be able to

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the interdependent relationship between sociocultural and biological aspects of child growth and development as well as individual developmental and learning differences between and among young children with and without disabilities.
  2. Design and implement culturally, linguistically and developmentally appropriate curriculum for young children. Students implement a variety of high quality and culturally sustaining practices to individualize learning opportunities for children with diverse identities including children with disabilities.
  3. Observe and document children’s development and learning within their family and sociocultural context. Early childhood professionals select relevant tools and processes, including formal and informal assessments of development, learning, environments and programs.
  4. Know, use, and advocate for ethical guidelines and professional standards related to interactions with young children, families and other professionals within early childhood contexts.

Courses and Costs

The ELEVATE program is a 24-credit ECSE added endorsement that is structured into three semesters (one-year). Each semester is comprised of a block of courses that includes graduate courses, a job-embedded practicum, and credits for prior learning and experiences in the ECE field and ECE license practicum experiences. Students can expect to dedicate approximately 8 - 12 hours per week/month to the program curriculum, including two hours per month for PLC meetings.


  • Block 1 - Foundations of Early Childhood Special Education 11 credits
    • Students design a developmentally appropriate curriculum unit integrating core content areas and addressing all developmental domains, including adaptations to accommodate a variety of individual learning needs and individualized instruction for all children, including those with disabilities.
    • Students collaboratively create a Milestones padlet that requires students to demonstrate understanding around typical developmental milestones within an age range. The milestones padlet then provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate understanding about unique differences or delays that may be present within specific disabilities, as well as differences that may be present due to sociocultural context and values present within a family.
    • Students create a portfolio of key terms, deadlines and requirements under IDEA for students with a disability. This portfolio will also specifically include principles under Parts C and B, qualification requirements under Parts C and B, and a description of Section 619 and its relevance to ECSE work, and key components of procedural safeguards and due process.
    • Students will observe, analyze and reflect on a Child Find team evaluation and an IEP eligibility meeting.

    Block 1 Courses: Fall Semester (11 credits)

    • ECED 5010: Curriculum in Early Childhood Education, 3 credits
    • ECED 6100: Medical & Physiological Aspects of Development, 3 credits
    • ECED 6912: Preschool Practicum, 1 credit
    • Credits for Prior Learning, 4 credits

    *Total costs per semester, includes tuition and student fees = $2674

  • Block 2 - Supporting Individual Children 8 credits
    • Students work with a family using a valid and reliable screening tool to conduct a screening. Students will practice writing the results, including recommendations and next steps they would provide to families.
    • Students will participate in and reflect on an IEP Meeting.
    • Students will create a progress monitoring portfolio that includes administering a curriculum based measure to determine child’s interests, strengths and next developmental steps, document development with artifacts over time, and effectively partner and communicate about development with families and colleagues.
    • Students will create a positive support guidance plan for a child that includes: centering teaming and goal setting; collecting data on social emotional behaviors; conducting a functional behavior assessment (FBA); collaborating with team members, including family, to summarize data and create a plan;  implementing an intervention that promotes social and emotional development; and, collecting post-intervention data to evaluate success.

    Block 2 Courses: Spring Semester (8 credits)

    • ECED 5070: Social Competence and Classroom Support, 3 credits
    • ECED 5200: Screening and Assessment of Young Children, 3 credits
    • ECED 6914, Primary Practicum, 1 credit
    • Credits for Prior Learning, 1 credit

    *Total costs per semester, includes tuition and student fees = $2317

  • Block 3 - Creating Inclusive Communities Where All Children Belong 5 credits
    • Students will engage with a family with an infant/toddler with a disability or at risk for a disability. They will observe the family, interview the family, and participate in typical routines with the family. This experience culminates in a written analysis of their understanding, synthesis and demonstration of the principles of family centered, culturally sustaining practice.
    • Students will observe and analyze a Child Find team evaluation and an IFSP eligibility meeting.
    • Students will create an intervention plan by accessing and summarizing background information in relation to child’s development, including family’s identified priorities and concerns; designing and implementing the routine based intervention plan that is directly linked to the child’s assessment; collect, summarize, and interpret data to inform and evaluate plan; adapt intervention practices as necessary; and reflect on intervention process and collaboration with colleagues and family.
    • Students will complete the professional growth plan that has been iteratively updated each semester. Students will reflect and critically examine their learning from and articulate their ongoing goals as leaders and advocates of equitable and inclusive early childhood environments. Students will include a reflection of their mentor teachers’ feedback as a part of this process.

    Block 3 Courses: Summer Semester (5 credits)

    • ECED 6300: Early Intervention Strategies, 3 credits
    • ECED 6910: Infant/Toddler Practicum, 1 credit
    • Credits for Prior Learning, 1 credit

    *Total costs per semester, includes tuition and student fees = $1375

Recommended Completion Time:1 year

Max Transfer Credits:6

Required Credits for Completion:24

Admission Requirements

How to Apply

 Contact Sara Van Dyke at for information on how to apply.

Qualifications to Apply

  • A minimum of three years as a licensed early childhood educator
  • Must hold a valid ECE license and a current teaching position in Colorado
  • Must currently work in an inclusive ECE classroom setting and while enrolled in the program

Application Requirements

  • Resume/CV
  • Must hold a valid ECE license and a current teaching position in Colorado
  • Verification of employment
  • Transcripts
  • 1 letter of recommendation from a supervisor, principal, director, that provides proof of employment

Application Deadline

The program offers admission only in Fall semester. Application deadline is June 30.

ECE Educator Scholarships

ECE Educator Scholarships, administered by the Colorado Department of Higher Education in collaboration with Colorado Department of Early Childhood, are designed for early childhood education students living in Colorado who are pursuing dedicated coursework, certificates and degrees up to a master’s degree. Awards vary dependent upon credit hours of enrollment and program. All eligible students receive some funding.

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