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Significant Support Needs Center Program

Significant Support Needs center programs (SSN programs) are located in neighborhood schools. Students in Jeffco Public Schools SSN programs are diverse learners with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) who have extensive needs in the areas of: 

  • Cognition and learning
  • Communication
  • Movement and social and emotional abilities

Students may also have concurrent health, sensory, physical or behavioral needs.

Challenging instruction and programming address individualized needs to improve communication and independence for education, employment and independent living.

Instruction is guided by district-approved curriculum and state-modified standards. Students in SSN programs have the opportunity to achieve a Jeffco high school diploma and access transition services if they are ages 18-21.

Jeffco SSN programs use the Colorado Department of Education’s SSN Quality Indicators.

SSN Program Focus


Educational team members teach academic and communication skills that foster independence to students in ways that match their age, modality and language ability. 

Challenging instruction and ongoing supports that allow SSN program students to meaningfully participate in grade-level curriculum include:

  • Special academic instruction using modified grade-level standards. 
  • Evidence-based, direct small group differentiated instruction in literacy, numeracy and problem-solving.
  • Support and progress monitoring for communication, social and emotional, health, sensory and mobility needs.
  • Assistive Technology (AT) and tools to access the curriculum and to demonstrate knowledge and skills, student behavior, social skills and life skills that foster independence and self-advocacy. This includes access to AT and visual supports.
  • Direct instruction to address student behavior, social skills and life skills that foster independence and self-advocacy. 
  • Each student learns to use a meaningful communication system that is efficient, effective, and understandable across a variety of people and environments. The communication system is used by the student consistently in all school environments.
  • Adapted materials are individualized and differentiated so students can access learning in alternative ways. This allows students to acquire and maintain academic and functional life skills in school, work, home and the community.

Students in the program have significant cognitive disabilities and are assessed using alternate assessments. 

Transition Planning

  • Encourage independence by planning the phasing out of supports to increase and foster independence.
  • Transition planning procedures are customized and accessible for each student to determine interests, strengths and needs in the areas of career and employment, education and independent living.
  • Includes instruction and supports to help students learn and adapt to new environments. Larger topics are broken down into more teachable units, including conversation skills, asking questions, analyzing tasks and taking turns.

General Education Classroom Time

Time in the general education classroom is individualized based on student needs. SSN teams work closely with general education teachers to maximize opportunities to include meaningful time with peers without disabilities.

Adult Support

Each program is staffed with:

  • Learning specialist - Special Education teacher
  • Mental Health Provider (MHP) - Psychologist or social worker
  • Paraeducators

The adult-to-student ratio is 1:3. Partnerships with general education teachers impact the success of students academically and socially. General education teachers build relationships with each student to support their transition in and out of the classroom. The IEP team determines if a student needs SSN programming. The district determines the location of the placement with parent input.

Exit Criteria

Guiding discussion questions focused on independence are considered to determine when a student is ready to exit the SSN program:

  • How does the student independently follow the classroom routines of a general education classroom?
  • How does the student independently follow behavioral expectations in a general education classroom?
  • How does the student access grade-level standards?


Contact Us

Special Education

Special Education Community Support Line: 303-982-6682
Child Find Intake: 303-982-7247
Records Request: