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Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services (ODLSS)

The Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services works to support networks, schools, and families with all issues related to special education including instruction, interventions, and legal and compliance supports.

Office of Diverse Learner Support and Services


773-553-1801 (Fax)

42 W. Madison St.
Chicago, IL 60602

We provide the tools, guidance, supports, and services necessary to ensure that every diverse learner receives meaningful, rigorous, and relevant access to grade-level core instruction within their neighborhood school, school of choice, or the school closest to their residence.

Responsible for:

  • Providing both direct and consultative services to students with disabilities, including students with physical, visual or hearing impairments, as well as those who must receive services in a hospital setting due to a medical or psychiatric condition
  • Providing guidance for special education and limited general health requirements, as well as medical compliance and direct and indirect mandated IEP/504 Plan services
  • Supporting CPS educators so they can provide high-quality instruction that meets the needs of every student’s IEP 
  • Ensuring the district’s compliance with federal and state laws governing the identification, evaluation, placement, and provision of a free and appropriate public education, including procedural safeguards, for students with disabilities
  • Providing financial and operational support to schools, networks, and central office departments, including the allocation of special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and centrally managed related service providers to schools so that every child is provided with the services outlined in his or her IEP
  • Designing, coordinating, and implementing all ODLSS professional development and follow-ups, which include progress monitoring and evaluation of professional development effectiveness for central office, networks, and schools
  • Overseeing nursing services in schools that are necessary to ensure all students receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) via their IEP or 504 Plan.

Procedural Manuals and Guidance

The Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services (ODLSS) is posting its Draft Procedural Manual for public comment. The public comment period was open for 45 days and closed on August 28, 2023.

ODLSS is committed to providing our diverse learners with the supports needed to help students achieve success in the classroom and in life. The Procedural Manual is a detailed resource providing District staff and stakeholders with guidance on how to support our students with disabilities. It was last published in late 2021. ODLSS appreciates the advocacy of our stakeholders and is grateful for feedback on this Draft Procedural Manual.

Guidance for public comment:

  • All comments will be reviewed prior to being finalized and posted publicly on the CPS ODLSS website. Please allow three to five business days for submitted comments to be reviewed and posted.
  • Do not include student personally identifiable information. If such student information is included in the comment, the comment will be reviewed and maintained but will not be posted for public viewing.
  • Do not include any of your personally identifiable information in the text of your comment if you do not want it publicly available (e.g., name, address, and phone number).
  • CPS reserves the right to review and redact comments it deems offensive or inappropriate. Comments will be redacted if they include defamatory statements; vulgar or threatening language; or confidential information about students, employees, or others.
Draft Document Final Document Public Comment Period Status Comments Summary
Draft 2023-24 IDEA Procedural Manual Final 2023-24 IDEA Procedural Manual July 14, 2023 - August 28, 2023 Closed For Comments View Comments Summary of Changes
Draft 2022-23 IDEA Procedural Manual July 29, 2022 - September 12, 2022 Closed for Comments View Comments Summary of Changes
Draft 2021-22 IDEA Procedural Manual June 25, 2021 - August 17, 2021 Closed for Comments View Comments
Draft 2021-22 504 Procedural Manual June 25, 2021 - August 17, 2021 Closed for Comments View Comments
Draft Recovery Services Guidelines June 25, 2021 - August 17, 2021 Closed for Comments View Comments

Special Education Eligibility Due to HB 40 & HB 2748

As a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, a new Illinois law gives certain students the option of extending their special education eligibility for in-person transition activities and services. To learn more about eligibility and to request placement in the program, view the CPS parent letter and interest form linked below.

If you have questions, please call 773-553-1815 or email

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